On Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. in the Pugh Hall Ocora, WUFT-FM, the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service hosted former Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate. Fugate discussed his experiences serving as President Barack Obama’s FEMA Administrator, the future of disaster response, increasing disaster risk and the rising costs associated with natural disasters.
Fugate led FEMA through multiple record-breaking disaster years and oversaw the Federal Government’s response to major events such as the Joplin and Moore Tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Matthew and the 2016 Louisiana flooding. FEMA’s effectiveness in dealing with more than 500 Presidentially-declared major disasters and emergencies restored the faith of the American people in the Federal Government’s ability to respond to disasters. Fugate is from Alachua County, attended Sante Fe High School and worked as a lieutenant with Alachua County Fire Rescue. He then worked as an emergency manager for the county for 10 years before moving up to the state level, serving as deputy director for the Florida Emergency Management Division and then becoming director under Gov. Jeb Bush in 2001. He returned to Gainesville after stepping down when the Trump administration took office in January.