In July of 2020, Mr. Samaniego became a member of the Senior Executive Service and accepted the Team Leader position for the National Incident Management Assistance Team (IMAT) in Sacramento, CA, which responds to large scale natural or man-made incidents. Before his promotion Mr. Samaniego was a member of the Federal Coordinating Officer cadre since January of 2013. Since then he has been assigned to over 20 presidentially declared disasters/emergencies to include the Flint Water Crisis, liaison officer to the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria, the 2018 California Wildland fires, and as the Division Supervisor at the Navajo Nation helping to organize their response to COVID-19. Formerly, he retired from California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) as Assistant Chief of Administration. As Administrative Officer he was responsible for all financial, administrative, and personnel transaction occurring within the Unit. He is highly experienced in the Incident Command System as part of the CAL FIRE Command and General staff member during large scale emergency incidents.
Samaniego garnered experience in the Incident Command System during large scale incidents, and commanded and coordinated personnel and equipment for wild-land fire suppression. He is trained as Operations Section Chief Type I and Finance Section Chief Type I.
During his 27 year career with CAL FIRE, Samaniego also served as Battalion Chief of 911 center, Inmate Fire Crew Supervisor, Emergency Command Center floor supervisor, Station Fire Captain, and Statewide Command Center Coordinator in the California Office of Emergency Services SOC.
Samaniego earned his Bachelors in Business and Economics from California State University, where he was a member of the US Army ROTC. He is credentialed as a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), as well as a member of the National Peace Corps Association, and the California State Firefighters Association. In November 2016, he and his team received the Secretary of Homeland Security’s Unity of Effort Award for managing the Flint Water Crisis. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Mediterranean and speaks Spanish.