How do you choose between fast, perfect and cheap in response to disasters?
W. Craig Fugate began serving in the position of Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in May 2009.
Prior to coming to FEMA, Mr. Fugate served as Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM). In that role since 2001, he managed 138 full-time staff and a budget of $745 million. His agency coordinated disaster response, recovery, preparedness and mitigation efforts with each of the state's 67 counties and local governments.
Mr. Fugate began his emergency management career as a volunteer firefighter, Emergency Paramedic, and finally as a Lieutenant with the Alachua County Fire Rescue. Eventually, he moved from exclusive fire rescue operations to serving as the Emergency Manager for Alachua County in Gainesville, Florida. He spent a decade in that role until May 1997 when he was appointed Bureau Chief for Preparedness and Response for FDEM.
Within FDEM, Mr. Fugate's role as Chief of the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) kept him busy during 1998. That year, the SERT team was active for more than 200 days as a result of numerous floods, tornadoes, wildfires, and Hurricane Georges.
In September 2003, again under Mr. Fugate's stewardship, the Florida Emergency Management Program became the first statewide emergency management program in the nation to receive full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP).
During his years at FDEM, Mr. Fugate served as the State Coordinating Officer in Florida for 11 Presidentially-declared disasters and the management of $4.5 billion in federal disaster assistance.
In 2004, Mr. Fugate managed the largest federal disaster response in Florida history as four major hurricanes impacted the state in quick succession (Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne). In 2005, Florida was again impacted by major disasters when three more hurricanes made landfall in the state (Dennis, Katrina and Wilma). The impact from Hurricane Katrina was felt more strongly in the Gulf Coast states to the west but under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact or EMAC, Florida launched the largest mutual aid response in its history in support of those states.
Mr. Fugate and his wife Sheree hail from Gainesville, Florida.