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Mayor de Blasio, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand Announce Daniel Zarrilli's Appointment To FEMA National Advisory Council - Members Ensure Effective Coordination of Federal Preparedness, Response, and Recovery for Natural Disasters

August 7, 2014

Zarrilli, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, has been a key leader in NYC’s rebuilding and resiliency; Senators Schumer and Gillibrand recommended Zarrilli for appointment


Staten Islander Zarrilli to provide expertise on infrastructure protection on FEMA National Advisory Council

NEW YORK—New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has appointed Daniel Zarrilli, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, to serve on the FEMA National Advisory Council (NAC). NAC ultimately advises FEMA on all aspects of emergency management and was first established by the enactment of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006.

This spring, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand urged FEMA to appoint Mr. Zarrilli to the Council because of his experience as the Director of the City of New York’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and his leadership following Hurricane Sandy. FEMA received over 200 applications for the open positions; Zarrilli is one of only 12 new members. His appointment ends in July 2017.

Zarrilli, a professional engineer, lives on Staten Island and has extensive experience in resiliency and sustainability issues, especially following Hurricane Sandy. Zarrilli has worked as Senior Policy Advisor for Coastal Protection for the New York City Office of the Mayor and was the Director of Resiliency, leading the implementation of “A Stronger, More Resilient New York.” In March 2014, Mayor de Blasio created the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency, the first-ever City office focused on resiliency, and appointed Zarrilli as its director.

“I appointed Dan as the director of our new Office of Recovery and Resiliency because he understands the risks we face and has the expertise to help ensure a stronger, more resilient New York,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Now, he’ll bring his unique perspective and understanding to our federal emergency management planning, as he continues and expands his invaluable work here in New York City—a win for us all. Congratulations, Dan!”

“Daniel Zarrilli’s personal experience on Staten Island and leadership following Superstorm Sandy make him a terrific choice for the National Advisory Council, and I am pleased that FEMA agrees,” said Senator Schumer. “I am confident that Mr. Zarrilli will provide the necessary expertise to help make New York and the rest of our country safer and stronger in the event of a future disaster like Sandy.”

“This is great news for New York,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Daniel Zarrilli’s extraordinary experience makes him an excellent choice for the National Advisory Council, and I am proud to have supported his nomination. As a Staten Islander, Mr. Zarrilli knows firsthand what New York communities need to be well prepared before and after future disasters hit our shores. Mr. Zarrilli’s expertise is exactly what New York families need on the Council.”

“I’m thrilled to be appointed to FEMA’s National Advisory Council. The risks of extreme weather and climate change are changing our approach to disaster recovery, and this is a unique opportunity to work together across levels of government,” said Daniel Zarrilli, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. “I look forward to bringing the experience of New York City to FEMA and its leadership to enhance preparation, recovery and resiliency for our City and the entire nation. Thanks to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their support.”

Members of NAC are appointed by the FEMA Administrator. According to FEMA, NAC consists of 35 members, who serve three year terms. The council is made up of experts who have knowledge of federal disasters, experience coordinating activities with federal, state and local organizations, proven ability to provide expert technical advice on critical issues, and more.

The text of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s letters can be found below.

About Daniel Zarrilli

Daniel Zarrilli is currently the Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Acting Director of the Office Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, leading the implementation of A Stronger, More Resilient New York, the City’s efforts to improve resiliency by strengthening coastal protections, upgrading buildings, improving infrastructure, and making neighborhoods safer and more vibrant.

Until June 2013, he served on the Mayor’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, leading the City’s efforts to develop a comprehensive coastal protection plan for the five boroughs. In a previous role, he was the Senior Vice President for Asset Management at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), responsible for maritime assets and operations, including the City’s two cruise terminals and numerous other transportation and waterfront assets. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Zarrilli spent five years with Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation.

He is a professional engineer in the State of New York and holds an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT, and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University.

Senator Charles E. Schumer’s Letter:

Administrator Fugate:

I am writing to support Daniel Zarrilli’s National Advisory Council membership. Mr. Zarrilli is currently the Director of the City of New York’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. Since Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Zarrilli has been one of the key leaders behind New York City’s planning and response to make the City more resilient. He would be an asset on FEMA’s National Advisory Council. 

After Hurricane Sandy, Mr. Zarrilli was a leader of New York City’s Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency. He provided technical expertise, while developing the City’s first comprehensive coastal plan, PlaNYC: A Stronger, More Resilient New York. Mr. Zarrilli’s dedication and expertize through this planning process led to his appointment as the Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency. This newly created position gives Mr. Zarrilli the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the plan’s 257 initiatives in order to strengthen the City’s coastal defenses, as well as upgrade new and existing buildings, protect infrastructure and services, make the City’s neighborhoods safer and more vibrant. In this role, Mr. Zarrilli has successfully coordinated with federal and state efforts along with private utility and infrastructure providers.

I believe Mr. Zarrilli’s experience and leadership qualities would be greatly beneficial to the National Advisory Council and would further the resiliency and sustainability of New York City.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Letter:

Dear Administrator Fugate,

I write in support of Daniel Zarrilli’s request to serve on the National Advisory Council and urge you to highly consider appointing Daniel to the infrastructure protection seat. As Director of Resiliency and Acting Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, Daniel is uniquely qualified to serve and advise the council on infrastructure protection. In his capacity as Director of the Office of Recovery and Resiliency Daniel will continue to oversee the implementation of 257 initiatives aimed at strengthening the City’s costal defenses, upgrading new and existing building and protecting infrastructure to make the City’s neighborhoods safer and more vibrant. His experience in waterfront asset and emergency response management as well as in developing and implementing projects in a sprawling, high density city with a housing stock that includes multi-family, brownstone and high rise buildings will bring a dynamic perspective to the Council’s approach to disasters and rebuilding in cities like New York City. As we learned from Hurricane Sandy, the solutions that work for areas with lower density and low rise homes do not necessarily work for cities of New York’s scale.

For the past 15 years Daniel has used his engineering background to address New York City’s critical infrastructure and economic development needs particularly as it pertains to New York’s harbors and waterfronts. His work has resulted in millions of dollars of investment, hundreds of jobs created and newfound access to once inaccessible waterfronts in some of the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. Having managed large scale assets for the City of New York, positions Daniel as an expert on everything from developing best practices in waterfront design construction, procurement, financing and contracting to community engagement, and tidal habitat restorations and improvements. With this wide range of experience Daniel would surely be an asset to the Council and his presence would further the resiliency and sustainability of New York City.

In conclusion, FEMA plays such a fundamental role in our ability to prepare for and respond to disasters, it is clear that New York City needs to have representation on the National Advisory Council. I can say with the utmost confidence that Daniel is exactly the kind of representative that New York City needs sitting on the Council. Thank you for your consideration.


Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator

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