MCC alumna appointed commissioner of New York City emergency management

NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that Deanne B. Criswell will serve as commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department.

Criswell brings over 25 years of experience in federal, military and local government response to complex incidents and disasters, including six years at FEMA, to the department. She is also a retired member of the Colorado Air National Guard, where she served 21 years as both a firefighter and Deputy Fire Chief. She will become the first woman to lead NYC Emergency Management in the city’s history.

“NYC Emergency Management is at the forefront of our city’s response to threats and disasters, and they must be prepared for anything that might come our way,” said mayor Bill de Blasio. “Deanne is a trailblazer with the experience, passion, and skill necessary to prepare us for the unexpected. I thank Joe for his steadfast leadership over the last five years.”

CRISWELL

Criswell said she is ready to get to work as commissioner.

“Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for the opportunity to bring my 25 years of experience to plan for, respond to, and protect 8.6 million New Yorkers when the city faces a crisis,” she said.

Prior to joining NYC Emergency Management, Criswell served as the leader of one of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) National Incident Management Assistance Teams (N-IMAT) and as a federal coordinating officer. In this role, Criswell was the primary federal representative responsible for leading the agency’s response to and recovery from emergencies and major disasters, from severe flooding in North Dakota to hurricanes in South Carolina to fires in Colorado.

She also served as the head of the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Aurora, Colorado, where she led strategic change in the city’s emergency and disaster planning. During her tenure there, Criswell coordinated transitional housing and family reunification efforts in response to receiving 2000 evacuees from Hurricane Katrina.

In 2001 while serving with the Colorado Air National Guard, she deployed to Kuwait to serve as a fire officer in crash fire rescue efforts, and in 2010, she deployed Qatar, Afghanistan and Iraq to advise senior leadership on fire protection requirements for new and existing military bases.

“Deanne served as a FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer and lead one of FEMA’s National Incident Management Teams. She has briefed Presidents, Governors, and Mayors. As a former first responder, she has worked at all levels of disasters with a focus on survivors, first responders, and the communities impacted. I am very confident in her abilities to lead and coordinate NYC’s emergency management team,” said Craig Fugate, former Administrator of FEMA.

Criswell is a highly respected national expert in the emergency management and public safety field. Most recently, she led the emergency management practice for the Cadmus Group LLC. She served in an executive role for clients at the federal, state and local levels, as well as the private sector, providing exceptional technical expertise and the experience necessary to help her clients achieve their critical missions.

Criswell is a graduate of Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in Technology Education and Training (2003) and holds a Master of Public Administration (2006) from the University of Colorado, Denver and a Master of Arts in Security Studies (2011) from the Naval Postgraduate School, Center for Homeland Defense and Security. She is a 1984 graduate of Manistee Catholic Central.

She has two sons, RJ and Eddie, and three grandchildren. She will begin her role as commissioner one July 1.

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