No. 23: Mark Ghilarducci
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when California didn’t have catastrophic wildfires every year, but those days are long gone. Now, we seem to have them all the time, even in the winter, and that’s where Mark Ghilarducci comes in. He’s the head of state Office of Emergency Services, and while wildfires aren’t the only disasters on OES’s plate – don’t forget earthquakes, floods, drought, pandemic and mudslides – they are among the most visible and terrifying. Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Ghilarducci OES director in 2013, and Gov. Gavin Newsom kept him on. Ghilarducci has been dealing with disasters professionally for years: He was a deputy state fire chief, a deputy OES director, a coordinating officer in FEMA under Bill Clinton and board chair of the California Earthquake Authority. Ghilarducci is a UC Davis graduate in science, and graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School program for senior government executives.
Updated Aug. 9, 2022.