Justo “Tito” Hernández is the senior member of the Field Leader cadre of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Hernández joined the cadre in 1999. In 2014, Mr. Hernández became a member of the Senior Executive Service and accepted the Team Leader position for the third National Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) which responds to large scale natural or man-made events, including CBRNE events. In 2017, Mr. Hernández was made Division Director of the Operational Coordination Division (OCD) in the Field Operations Directorate (FOD). Shortly after receiving his promotion, he was deployed to Puerto Rico in response to Hurricane Maria. Now after two years, he returns to Headquarters to oversee the Field Leader cadre and the IMATs once again, as Division Director of OCD.
Born in Río Grande, Puerto Rico, Mr. Hernández joined FEMA in 1989 as a local hire during Hurricane Hugo recovery operations on the island. With over 80 deployments in his career, Mr. Hernández is the most senior FCO in the cadre; he has served in disaster and emergency operations throughout the nation, including many large-scale events. He has engaged lead roles as FCO, Deputy FCO, and other key positions in numerous disaster operations, including the 9/11 World Trade Center response, the NASA Shuttle Discovery disaster, Typhoon Pongsona in Guam, the 2003 Northeast Blackout, and natural disasters in many states. Mr. Hernández was the official spokesperson during the 2004 Florida disaster recovery operations. In Florida, he implemented the Diversity Outreach Program. The program made possible the identification and delivery of emergency aid to over two hundred thousand non-documented aliens. Mr.
Hernández’s performance has resulted in various commendations from state and local emergency management directors and elected officials, including the governors of Vermont, West Virginia, North Dakota and Florida. In 2009, Mr. Hernandez coordinated the response and recovery efforts in North Dakota following unprecedented statewide flooding – response efforts alone lasted more than three months. He returned to North Dakota in 2010 to lead and coordinate response to and recovery from four disasters – another round of flooding, preceded by a series of destructive winter storms. He has also served as the FCO is his native Puerto Rico following widespread flooding on the island. Recently he has been designated to lead as Coordinator for Non-Stafford Act declarations such as the Unaccompanied Children operation in 2014, an Economy Act declaration as well as leading his team in Atlanta, assisting the Centers for Disease Control in their fight with Ebola.
Mr. Hernández has completed the Executive Leadership Development coursework at the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Executive Institute. In addition, he has completed postgraduate courses under the Executive Leaders Program of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Center for Homeland Defense and Security.
Prior to joining the FCO cadre Mr. Hernández developed a wealth of experience as a Field Inspector, Human Services Branch Chief, and Response Operations Chief, working major events including hurricanes Andrew, Georges, Hortense and Marilyn, the 1993 Midwest Floods and the Northridge Earthquake. Additionally, Mr. Hernández was a member of the ACE Task Force which developed the cutting-edge electronic inspection system used by the Disaster Housing Program.
Mr. Hernández served seven years in the U.S. Coast Guard, receiving an Honorable Discharge in 1987.