Andrew Velasquez, III, is the Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency, Region V. He coordinates preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation activities for the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Mr. Velasquez recently completed a six-month special duty assignment as the Acting Region IV Administrator serving the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. He was charged with the critical responsibility of ensuring effective readiness in preparation for the 2014 Hurricane Season.
Appointed by President Obama in 2010, Velasquez brings to FEMA extensive experience in emergency management and homeland security at both the state and local level. In addition to directing the delivery of federal disaster assistance for numerous presidentially declared disasters and emergencies, Velasquez has implemented a number of key initiatives. These initiatives have focused on enhancing the region's readiness posture with an emphasis on leveraging technology and data for analysis and decision support to improve response and recovery operations, individual and community preparedness and planning for all types of threats and hazards.
Recognizing the importance of planning for catastrophic incidents, Mr. Velasquez initiated and exercised leadership over the development of a comprehensive operational plan to address the effects of an Improvised Nuclear Device detonation in a large metropolitan area. This integrated planning effort includes FEMA Region V, the States of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, the City of Chicago and surrounding counties and various private sector entities.
Mr. Velasquez has also served a key role in FEMA’s support of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Civil Emergency Planning Committee events. As a keynote speaker for the NATO 2012 High Visibility Event seminar in Brussels, Velasquez presented an overview of U.S. planning efforts in support of NATO’s 2012 Chicago summit and participated in a facilitated discussion on high visibility incident scenarios. This seminar assisted allied and partner nations in consideration of their planning factors for events such as the EuroVision Song contest, Sochi Winter Olympics and future Olympic bids. In 2014, Velasquez provided the keynote address to the NATO Civil Protection Group seminar on Catastrophic Emergency Planning in Finland. His keynote address highlighted FEMA Region V’s catastrophic earthquake and nuclear incident planning efforts and the importance of catastrophic planning in improving overall emergency operations. Mr. Velasquez has also supported the U.S. Mission to NATO in outreach to NATO’s partner nations.
Previous to his appointment as FEMA Regional Administrator, Velasquez served as a member of the Governor's cabinet, both as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and as Homeland Security Advisor. In these positions, Velasquez oversaw Illinois' disaster preparedness, response, nuclear safety and homeland security programs. As the IEMA Director, he directed the response and recovery efforts for numerous large-scale disasters and served as the state coordinating officer and Governor's authorized representative for nine presidentially declared disasters.
Prior to serving as IEMA Director, Velasquez was Executive Director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. As a member of the Mayor's cabinet, he directed the city's homeland security, emergency management, 911 police and fire emergency dispatch operations, and traffic management services. Before his appointment as OEMC Executive Director, Velasquez served the Chicago Police Department in various capacities for more than 10 years, most recently as the Director of Criminal Identification and Records Services Division, overseeing the criminal identification of arrested persons, latent fingerprint processing, criminal warrants, offender extradition and subpoena processing.
Velasquez has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Chicago, teaching in the University's graduate program in Threat and Response Management. He continues to serve the University as a guest lecturer on a variety of emergency management and homeland security subjects, including the integration of technology to support homeland security and emergency management operations.
A native of Chicago, Velasquez was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for six years. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Science degree in criminal justice from Illinois State University and received a Master of Business Administration in Management from Saint Xavier University. He also completed the Executive Leadership Program at the Naval Post Graduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security.