No. 15: Mark Ghilarducci
Years ago, the term “Master of Disaster” was applied to a prominent political consultant, but that title is a much, much better fit Mark Ghilarducci. Ghilarducci has been the head of California’s Office of Emergency Services for the past seven years, appointed first by Jerry Brown and then reappointed by Gavin Newsom. Ghilarducci has spent much of his professional life dealing with emergencies: He has been deputy director of OES and a deputy state fire chief and he served as a coordinating officer in FEMA under Bill Clinton. At various times, he’s handled everything from emergency communications to threat assessments to counter-terrorism. Much of the public associates OES with fire fighting, but OES also gets involved in floods, quakes and – you guessed it – the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, key meetings of the administration’s top staff about COVID-19 often take place at OES headquarters in suburban Sacramento, where security is ultra tight. He’s also board chairman of the California Earthquake Authority. Ghilarducci is a UC Davis grad in science, and graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School program for senior government executives.