Janet M. Odeshoo is the Deputy Regional Administrator for the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V in Chicago, Illinois, a position she has held since 1996. A career member of the Senior Executive Service, she coordinates and oversees FEMA preparedness, mitigation and disaster response and recovery activities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Mrs. Odeshoo has been with FEMA since 1981, has served in a number of management and leadership positions and has extensive experience in all of FEMA’s programs. As Deputy Regional Administrator, she has served as Acting Regional Administrator for extended periods on numerous occasions. Mrs. Odeshoo has held many positions including Disaster Assistance Program Manager, Emergency Analyst, Director of the Natural and Technological Hazards Division and Director of the Mitigation Division. She is responsible for many improvements made in damage assessment, estimating, response, recovery and mitigation strategies, policies and procedures. In January 2000, Mrs. Odeshoo was invited to Nicaragua to assess that country’s emergency management capability and recommend programs and technical assistance necessary to improve that capability and to build disaster resilient communities.
Mrs. Odeshoo has participated in response and recovery operations for scores of major disasters and emergencies, including Hurricane Hugo in 1989, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Great Midwest Floods of 1993, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the 2008 Midwest floods, Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Flint, MI water contamination crisis in 2014 and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in 2017. She has served in numerous management and leadership positions during response and recovery operations, including being designated the Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer for Mitigation on FEMA’s first National Emergency Response Team established for large-scale and high visibility events. She was also appointed as a Federal Coordinating Officer by President Bush subsequent to Hurricane Katrina to oversee and coordinate the assistance provided to the more than 25,000 evacuees that came to all six states in Region V. Mrs. Odeshoo was named the Senior FEMA Official on the H1N1 Pandemic Influenza Regional Coordination Team for Region C, which includes FEMA Regions V and VIII. In this role she was responsible for overseeing actions to ensure a prompt and effective Federal response to a pandemic.
Mrs. Odeshoo has served on a number of committees, task forces and advisory groups, including the Executive Committee of the Chicago Federal Executive Board, the Chicago Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, the Great Lakes Hazard Coalition and the FEMA Region V Advisory Council, which she co-chairs.
A native of Chicago, Mrs. Odeshoo holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Illinois, in Champaign-Urbana.