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A New Captain Takes the Helm


 This photo shows the swearing in ceremony for Administrator Brock Long. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly stands at left, FEMA Chief of Staff Eric Heighberger stands in the middle holding a Bible for the official ceremony, and FEMA Administrator Brock Long stands at the right. Kelly and Long have their right hands raised for the oath.

Whether it’s a captain of a professional sports team, a captain of a ship, or an administrator of a federal agency, strong leadership qualities are important.

As we head into hurricane season, with storms already brewing, we are excited to welcome our new administrator back to FEMA.

Since the change in administration, we’ve had strong leadership. Region 9 Administrator Bob Fenton stepped in to take the reins as the administration transitioned. His hard work is appreciated, and we thank him for his continued service and dedication to the agency.

Now, the individual appointed by the President is ready to take the helm: Mr. Brock Long.

Mr. Long has an accomplished history in emergency management at a variety of levels, at the state, as well as in the private sector. From 2008 through 2011, he was the head of Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency, his tenure included when Tuscaloosa and Birmingham were struck by an EF4 tornado, one of the strongest the state’s ever seen. He also served in Georgia’s Department of Emergency Management. Both states have the potential to face severe impacts from hurricanes, making this experience invaluable.

During his time in the private sector, he helped to develop a variety response plans for active threats on university campuses and designing complex evacuation plans. This experience led to him serving as a Private Sector Committee Chairman of the National Emergency Management Association, an association of state emergency management directors who work toward greater public safety and collaboration between emergency management officials at all levels.

His service also includes a prior stint with FEMA, as a Regional Hurricane Planner. If you’ve been watching the outlooks from the National Hurricane Center or seeing any of the national news coverage in recent days, you might have seen how this experience may come in handy.

Fortunately for us, he understands the breadth of work we do and holds an immense amount of respect for our staff as he stated in his confirmation hearing:

This agency has one of the most important missions inside the federal government and I believe the staff inside that agency are the most important asset. I look forward to working with them. I think they're very service-oriented individuals regardless of the criticism they may receive. They get up, dust themselves off, go to work, and try to truly protect America, save lives, and help people in times of their greatest need.

A captain with excellent leadership skills, an understanding of the work we do, and an immense background in emergency management will serve us and the nation well. Our work is wide-reaching and important, and as Mr. Long eloquently submitted in his written statement to Congress:

…FEMA’s mission is one of the most important within the Federal government, and it is a privilege to be considered to lead this agency ultimately charged with saving and protecting lives, and helping communities recover in times of their greatest need. Americans rightfully have high performance expectations of FEMA, and I desire to help the agency further our Nation’s collective levels of readiness and resiliency for future disasters.

His leadership and experience is welcomed with open arms, and we truly look forward to his tenure here as our administrator.


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Last Updated: 
06/26/2017 - 12:11

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