Lee dePalo is the Regional Administrator for FEMA Region VIII. In this role, he oversees and coordinates FEMA’s all-hazards preparedness and emergency management efforts within the region’s tribal nations and states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. These efforts include executing FEMA’s preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation programs in concert with partners from all levels of government, volunteer and faith-based groups, and the private sector.
Mr. dePalo began his career at FEMA in January 2014 as part of the Federal Coordinating Officer cadre, leading disaster operations for the agency. He then became the Response Division Director for FEMA Region VIII in January 2015. As the Response Division Director, he led a region-wide effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Region VIII’s ability to respond to a catastrophic disaster. Mr. dePalo served in a detail capacity as the Acting Deputy Regional Administrator in Denver for the six-state region from June-November in 2017.
Mr. dePalo is a U.S. Air Force veteran whose career spanned 26 years, 14 different locations, and multiple combat deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkey. He was a career special operations and combat rescue helicopter pilot with over 3,800 hours primarily in MH-60G “Pave Hawk” and HH-3E “Jolly Green Giant” helicopters. Mr. dePalo’s military career culminated with a command of the 563rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, after which he was selected as the Vice Wing Commander of the 11th Wing at Andrews AFB, Maryland. He led a 1,600 person organization responsible for installation security, services, emergency management and airfield management to support the President, Vice President, other U.S. senior leaders as well as more than 50 organizations and federal agencies. After transitioning from the military in 2012, Mr. dePalo served as a senior program manager for Jacobs Technology contracted to develop a leadership development program for the U.S. Special Operations Command.
Mr. dePalo graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Management. He holds a Master of Strategic Studies degree from Air War College, and a Master of Arts degree in management from Webster University. He also is a graduate with academic distinction of the Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama; a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, NAS Norfolk, Virginia; and a distinguished graduate of the Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.