Baker-Polito Administration Names Samantha Phillips as MEMA Director
BOSTON, MA: Office of the Governor reports 2.20.2019 — The Baker-Polito Administration has named emergency management expert Samantha Phillips as the new director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the state agency that works to ensure the state is prepared to withstand, respond to and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters. She will succeed outgoing Director Kurt Schwartz, who has spent 30 years in public service to the people of Massachusetts.
“Samantha’s extensive skills and experience in the public and private sectors, as well as academia, will help her lead this critical state agency and I am very pleased to have her on our team,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We thank outgoing Director Schwartz for his many years of dedicated service protecting the people of the Commonwealth and advancing MEMA’s vital work.”
“Samantha Phillips’s impressive track record and leadership qualities make her a great choice to run MEMA,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “From preparing for large scale events such as the Boston Marathon to responding to severe weather, the role that MEMA plays is vital and we are very glad to welcome Samantha to this position.”
“We are grateful to Kurt Schwartz for his 30 years of service to the people of the Commonwealth and we look forward to working with Samantha to continue advancing emergency public safety in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco.
“It is an honor to join the Baker-Polito Administration as the Director of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency,” said Phillips. “I am excited to get to work with MEMA’s dedicated team and our colleagues across the Commonwealth; through partnership, collaboration, and innovation we can build upon the work that has been accomplished in creating a comprehensive and sophisticated emergency management program.”
“I’d like to express my thanks for the opportunity to lead an agency with such a critical mission, and to have worked with so many talented and committed people at MEMA and across the Commonwealth who work every day to ensure our ability to respond to and recover from a wide array of threats and hazards,” said outgoing Director Kurt Schwartz.
About Samantha Phillips, M.A., M.P.H:
Samantha Phillips has served two mayors as the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Philadelphia, led a research and training center at SUNY Albany, and has worked as an emergency management consultant. Her achievements include major organizational restructurings to improve capacity, strategic planning, a focus on operational integrity, and an ability to implement emergency management initiatives. While serving in Philadelphia, Phillips was integral in the City’s response to several citywide emergencies, several of which received Presidential Disaster Declarations, including Superstorm Sandy (2012), Hurricane Irene (2011), and Tropical Storm Lee (2011), major snow storms, record flooding events, and the fatal Amtrak 188 derailment (2015). Phillips was also responsible for public safety coordination for major special events and served in a leadership capacity for the visit of Pope Francis in September 2015 and the Democratic National Convention in 2016, both National Special Security Events. During Phillips’s tenure, the City of Philadelphia received full accreditation from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program becoming the largest community in the nation to receive accreditation. The accreditation demonstrates the comprehensiveness of the city’s emergency management program. Phillips has extensive leadership experience, is a frequent presenter before state and local audiences, and has been selected to serve on various emergency management forums, including FEMA’s National Advisory Council. Phillips has a bachelor’s degree from American University and master’s degrees from George Washington University and the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.