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Hurricane Sandy Recovery Leadership

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This page provides the biographies for the directors of the New Jersey and New York Sandy Recovery Offices and includes their responsibilities, background and mission.

Christopher Hartnett

Headshot picture of New Jersery Sandy Recovery Office Director, Christopher Hartnett
Christopher Hartnett, Director, New Jersey Sandy Recovery Office
Christopher Hartnett is the Director of FEMA’s New Jersey Sandy Recovery Office. In that capacity, he is responsible for maintaining the continuity of all operations of the New Jersey Sandy Recovery Office, and providing daily oversight of more than 200 FEMA employees and contractors engaged in advancing New Jersey’s recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

Hartnett joined FEMA in May 2013 following a 25-year career with the New Jersey State Police. While with the State Police, he served as a New Jersey State Trooper, Supervisor Law Enforcement Administrator, emergency manager and project manager. Some of his initiatives included critical infrastructure assessment, criminal investigations, school security and safety, emergency preparedness, response, recovery, training and exercise with the State Office of Emergency Management.

During his tenure with the State Police Office of Emergency Management, Hartnett was appointed as Deputy State Coordinating Officer for ten federally declared disasters, responsible for ensuring that all disaster recovery coordination initiatives and protocols for the State of New Jersey adhered to federal requirements for reimbursement.

Prior to those appointments, Hartnett also served as Public Assistance Unit Head for the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and was responsible for overall project management of FEMA project worksheets for all of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities and multiple private non-profit organizations. In that capacity, Hartnett facilitated payments through proper grants management totaling more than 800 million dollars.

Hartnett served as Infrastructure Security Coordinator for the North Region of New Jersey, working in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security to assess infrastructure, identify vulnerable facilities, communities, schools, offices and manufacturing plants and make recommendations for risk mitigation and preparedness.

A Jersey City native, Hartnett resides in Morris County with his wife and children.

John Covell

Headshot picture of New York Sandy Recovery Office Director, John Covell
John Covell, Director, Sandy Recovery Office
John Covell, Director of FEMA’s New York Sandy Recovery Office in Forest Hills, N.Y., is responsible for overall policy and direction of Sandy recovery operations in New York.

Covell joined FEMA after completing 29 years of naval service and two years as a professor in the College of Operational and Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Naval War College. A graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he attended Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Fla., receiving his commission in 1983.

Upon completing Hawkeye Naval Flight Officer (NFO) training, Covell reported to Carrier Early Warning Squadron (VAW-123) onboard the USS America. Subsequent flying tours included the E-2C (Hawkeye Early Warning Aircraft) Training Squadron, as an instructor, operational tours with VAW-122, VAW-125 and a command tour with the Black Eagles of VAW-113. During these tours, Covell participated in Libyan operations, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Southern Watch and operations over the former republic of Yugoslavia, amassing more than 3,500 flight hours and more than 550 arrested landings.

Staff assignments included Supreme Allied Command Atlantic (SACLANT) as a staff communications officer, Navy Warfare Development Command as a Fleet Battle Experiment Director, and Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) as N5 and again as the liaison officer to Central Command. Covell commanded Airborne Command Control and Logistics Wing, the E-2 C-2 Type Wing and was the director of the U.S. Navy Command Leadership School.

Covell earned a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College. He was the 2002 recipient of the James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership.

Last Updated: 
02/10/2015 - 11:06