Pete Gaynor

Senior Advisor

Rhode Island

Pete is an accomplished executive with over 14 years of leadership in Emergency Management & Homeland Security at every level of government. He has led a wide variety of challenging disasters at the local, state, and federal levels. Most recently he served as the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, FEMA Administrator, and Deputy FEMA Administrator.

Education
  • B.A. Rhode Island College
  • M.A. Naval War College

Meet Pete

Pete is an accomplished executive with over 14 years of leadership in Emergency Management & Homeland Security at every level of government. Results orientated, decisive leader with proven success in creating vision, implementing strategy, gaining momentum, and enriching culture in complex organizations. Outcome focused achiever skilled in leading the development, coordination, and implementation of enterprise strategy to improve programs, policies, deliverables, and apply best practices for optimal organizational effectiveness. Consistently delivered mission-critical results at the National-level during historic natural disasters, economic hardship and global pandemic. Extensive experience in managing a diverse, multi-generational workforce.

He has led a wide-variety of challenging disasters at the local, state and federal level. Most recently he served as the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, FEMA Administrator and Deputy FEMA Administrator.

Pete understands that every disaster is unique, and requires the ability of leaders to adapt to the challenge at hand at a moment’s notice. In today’s demanding environment leaders must be ready for the unthinkable.

During his time at FEMA, Pete led the agency’s response to over 300 presidentially declared emergencies and major disasters. During the historic year of 2020, Pete oversaw FEMA’s first ever operational response to a nationwide pandemic while simultaneously responding to a record number of historic natural disasters. As a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Pete directed FEMA’s operational coordination for the whole-of-Government response to COVID-19. Prior to his career in emergency management Pete served twenty-six years in the United States Marine Corps as both an enlisted Marine and commissioned officer.

Pete was recently awarded the Department of Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal and the United States Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Medal for his service at FEMA.

Pete received a bachelor’s degree in history from Rhode Island College and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He is also a graduate of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s Executive Leaders Program.

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