Durbin Applauds Decision to Appoint Andrew Velasquez as FEMA Regional Administrator

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today applauded President Obama’s decision to appoint Andrew Velasquez as the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Regional Administrator for Region 5.  Velasquez has been the Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) since March 2007.  As Region 5 Administrator, he will coordinate FEMA’s preparedness, mitigation and disaster response and recovery activities in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

 “Andrew Velasquez has shown tremendous leadership as Director of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency – coordinating the response and recovery effort to emergencies that included flooding, severe storms, and the tragic campus shooting event at Northern Illinois University,” said Durbin.  “He is a great choice for FEMA’s Region 5 Director and I look forward to working with him in the future.

Durbin and then-Senator Barack Obama worked closely with Velasquez who helped coordinate the emergency response during the Mississippi flooding in 2008.

Velasquez was appointed Director of IEMA on March 16, 2007.  As director, Mr. Velasquez oversaw Illinois' disaster preparedness and response, nuclear safety and homeland security programs.  Since November 2007, he also has served as the Illinois Homeland Security Adviser.  Prior to becoming IEMA director, Mr. Velasquez was the Executive Director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.  He also served the Chicago Police Department in various capacities for 10 years and was a member of the U.S. Army Reserve for a total of six years.

A native Chicagoan from the Humboldt Park neighborhood and public school graduate, Velasquez holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Illinois State University. He also received a Master of Business Administration in Management from Saint Xavier University. In 2009, Mr. Velasquez completed the Executive Leadership program at the Naval Post Graduate School - Center for Homeland Defense and Security.