"Regional Administrators are crucial to our ability to respond effectively to emergencies based on the needs of the communities we serve," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "Andrew Velasquez is not only an experienced emergency manager with deep roots in the region, but also a dedicated public servant. His knowledge and experience make him uniquely qualified to help lead our efforts there."
Velasquez has served as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and State Homeland Security Advisor since 2007, and prior to that was Executive Director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC).
As Director of IEMA Velasquez directed the response and recovery effort of more than 100 Illinois counties declared State disaster areas. He has also served as the state coordinating officer and the governor's authorized representative for eight presidential disaster declarations.
A native of Chicago, Velasquez was appointed Executive Director of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) in 2005 after serving in the Chicago Police Department in various capacities for ten years. He was also a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for a total of six years.
Velasquez serves on the Board of Directors for the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) and was chairman of the response committee for the Governor's Campus Safety Task Force (CSTF), which was formed after the Virginia Tech shootings.
Velasquez holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Illinois State University. He also received a Master of Business Administration in Management from Saint Xavier University. In 2009, Mr. Velasquez completed the Executive Leadership program at the Naval Post Graduate School - Center for Homeland Defense and Security.