James “Kevin” Smith became Director of the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives in July 2018 (DHS Center). Mr. Smith is a Certified Emergency Manager who has worked with faith and community based organizations for more than 20 years. Most recently, Mr. Smith served as the State Director for Emergency Disaster Services for The Salvation Army, Florida Division.
In 2001, Mr. Smith served multiple roles for the Salvation Army following the attacks on September 11. In 2004, he supported recovery efforts as the Area Commander for Salvation Army disaster relief in Florida following the unprecedented hurricane landfalls that year. For Feeding America, America’s largest network of more than 200 local and regional food banks, he coordinated immediate response efforts for Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Mississippi, and then supported their recovery operations for the entire Gulf Coast.
From 2005-2008, Mr. Smith served as the National Disaster Specialist with Feeding America. His primary role was to build resilience and response capacity within food banks and community based organization member agencies.
In 2008, Mr. Smith returned to the Salvation Army where he served as the Florida Area Commander for all Salvation Army disaster response efforts until he left to join the DHS Center. While in Florida, he led the Salvation Army’s efforts to support the 2016 Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew and the 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Outside Florida, he also supported the Salvation Army for the Haiti earthquake response in 2010, and served a leadership role during the South Carolina floods in 2015, and Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in Houston, Texas.
As the Director for the DHS Center for Faith and Opportunity initiatives, Mr. Smith and his team promote developing partnerships between the public, faith and community based organizations, emergency managers and first responders to strengthen the resilience of our nation. This includes increasing faith-based and community engagement in support of the DHS Blue Campaign, the unified voice for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) efforts to combat human trafficking.
In 2015, Mr. Smith completed Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. He received the Distinguished Service Award at the National Hurricane Conference in 2005, and again at the Florida Governor’s Hurricane Conference in 2018.