No. 24: Mark Ghilarducci
When you head California’s Office of Emergency Services, you’re pretty busy. For the last few years, the state has been devastated by wildfires, and now we’re caught – yet again – in a drought. On top of that, we’re in a pandemic, and we haven’t even mentioned earthquakes or floods. For Mark Ghilarducci, it’s all becoming the new normal. Ghilarducci heads the OES, and as such he’s California’s top official in disaster response. Jerry Brown appointed him 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. Throughout the pandemic, regular meetings of the administration’s Covid response team have been held at OES headquarters in Rancho Cordova which, it turns out, is closer to Newsom’s home than the governor’s office downtown in the Capitol. Ghilarducci is a UC Davis graduate in science, and graduated from Harvard’s Kennedy School program for senior government executives.
Updated Aug. 25, 2021.