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V.I.-Born FEMA Leader Returning to Direct Local Emergency Management

July 23, 2008 — With 19 years of experience with the federal government under this belt, Mark A. Walters will soon come home to serve as head of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. announced Walters' appointment Wednesday. Walters will be on loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will replace Stevelyn Parris, who has served as VITEMA's interim director since January, according to a Government House news release.
Walters' most recent assignment was director of the Management Division for FEMA Region II, which has jurisdiction over the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, New Jersey and New York. In his capacity as director, Walters was responsible for the financial management of disaster grants, human capital, facilities and acquisition management, information technology and administrative services. Most recently, he was also responsible for overseeing multi billion-dollar grants transferred to FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security.
After Hurricane Katrina, Walters served as a senior FEMA liaison to New Orleans, where he was responsible for assisting the city with developing housing strategies for displaced victims. He provided guidance to the mayor's office and the city's leadership on disaster-assistance programs, according to the release.
"We are most grateful to FEMA for providing us with one its most seasoned managers, who will have an opportunity to make a substantial contribution to his community through this assignment," the governor said Wednesday. "I could think of no better candidate to bring the necessary leadership, vision and stability to our community at a time when we are seeking to revitalize our approach to emergency preparedness in the Virgin Islands."
Walters also served as FEMA's recovery branch chief, a supervisor, information analysis officer and human services specialist for the agency's Caribbean Division. He earned the agency's Director's Award for Outstanding Performance in Leadership for responding to and helping individuals and businesses recover from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
"I am elated at the opportunity to return home and assist the people of the Virgin Islands," Walters said Wednesday. "This is truly an honor and a privilege."
After Hurricane Marilyn, Walters served as a senior program manager for initiatives that provided more than $200 million in disaster housing, personal property and other individual assistance, the release said. Serving as a disaster-assistance employee with FEMA after Hurricane Hugo, Walters assisted hurricane victims with obtaining disaster assistance and later managed the territory's temporary housing. He has served on numerous emergency-response teams in lead or senior management positions in disaster operations throughout the United States.
Walters studied at the University of South Florida in Tampa after graduating from the Florida Air Academy. He attended Charlotte Amalie High School on St. Thomas and also served in the National Guard, both in New York and the Virgin Islands.
Walters is also a volunteer webmaster and photographer with the V.I. Amateur Boxing Federation and a certified open-water diver. He is married to Susanna Velazquez. They have two children, Matthew and Meaghan.
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July 23, 2008 -- With 19 years of experience with the federal government under this belt, Mark A. Walters will soon come home to serve as head of the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. announced Walters' appointment Wednesday. Walters will be on loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and will replace Stevelyn Parris, who has served as VITEMA's interim director since January, according to a Government House news release.
Walters' most recent assignment was director of the Management Division for FEMA Region II, which has jurisdiction over the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, New Jersey and New York. In his capacity as director, Walters was responsible for the financial management of disaster grants, human capital, facilities and acquisition management, information technology and administrative services. Most recently, he was also responsible for overseeing multi billion-dollar grants transferred to FEMA from the Department of Homeland Security.
After Hurricane Katrina, Walters served as a senior FEMA liaison to New Orleans, where he was responsible for assisting the city with developing housing strategies for displaced victims. He provided guidance to the mayor's office and the city's leadership on disaster-assistance programs, according to the release.
"We are most grateful to FEMA for providing us with one its most seasoned managers, who will have an opportunity to make a substantial contribution to his community through this assignment," the governor said Wednesday. "I could think of no better candidate to bring the necessary leadership, vision and stability to our community at a time when we are seeking to revitalize our approach to emergency preparedness in the Virgin Islands."
Walters also served as FEMA's recovery branch chief, a supervisor, information analysis officer and human services specialist for the agency's Caribbean Division. He earned the agency's Director's Award for Outstanding Performance in Leadership for responding to and helping individuals and businesses recover from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
"I am elated at the opportunity to return home and assist the people of the Virgin Islands," Walters said Wednesday. "This is truly an honor and a privilege."
After Hurricane Marilyn, Walters served as a senior program manager for initiatives that provided more than $200 million in disaster housing, personal property and other individual assistance, the release said. Serving as a disaster-assistance employee with FEMA after Hurricane Hugo, Walters assisted hurricane victims with obtaining disaster assistance and later managed the territory's temporary housing. He has served on numerous emergency-response teams in lead or senior management positions in disaster operations throughout the United States.
Walters studied at the University of South Florida in Tampa after graduating from the Florida Air Academy. He attended Charlotte Amalie High School on St. Thomas and also served in the National Guard, both in New York and the Virgin Islands.
Walters is also a volunteer webmaster and photographer with the V.I. Amateur Boxing Federation and a certified open-water diver. He is married to Susanna Velazquez. They have two children, Matthew and Meaghan.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.