David Paulison

Former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director

David Paulison Biography

After a career serving at every level of firefighting and emergency response, David Paulison took over the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. As FEMA Director, he overhauled the agency, creating a nimble and proactive emergency response organization that could predict and mitigate the potential dangers from natural disasters and other threats. Calling on his experience as a paramedic, a firefighter, a fire chief in Miami-Dade county, and the head of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Paulison reshaped FEMA based on the combined knowledge and expertise of emergency responders and managers with real-world experience. Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, David Paulison understands what it takes to turn around a large organization when the stakes are high, and he explains how organizations can recreate themselves to be more responsive and more effective when times get tough.

The Nation's First Responder. Throughout his career, Paulison has been at the eye of the storm for several crisis situations and natural disasters, and his presentations are filled with personal stories about the harrowing circumstances and behind-the-scenes efforts to save lives. He was the man in charge at the crash of the ValuJet Flight 592 that went down in the Everglades, and he oversaw the relief efforts after Hurricane Andrew. After Hurricane Katrina he was called in to take over FEMA on September 12, 2005. Paulison was previously appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate as the administrator for the U.S. Fire Administration in December 2001. In that role, Paulison headed the U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA's Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, supporting state and local fire service programs, and overseeing programs to reduce life and economic losses due to fire and related emergencies.

The Man to Call in an Emergency. Paulison's speeches on leadership and crisis management are informed by a career of impeccable public service under tough conditions. He began his career as a rescue firefighter and rose through the ranks of rescue lieutenant commander, district chief of operations, division chief, assistant chief and then deputy director for administration before becoming the Miami-Dade Fire Chief. This lifetime of experience in public service made him the ideal candidate to serve as the director of the FEMA's Preparedness Division, in the newly created Department of Homeland Security. He held the post from 2003-2004, and during his tenure, he administered a broad range of programs designed to strengthen state and community emergency preparedness in order to reduce loss of life and property in disasters. He administered first responder grant programs totaling more than $1 billion, and oversaw more than 350 employees. He was also responsible for training federal, state, and local emergency managers and first responders, and for conducting a nationwide program of exercises. Before joining FEMA, Paulison, who has 30 years of fire/rescue services experience, was chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. In that position, he oversaw 1,900 personnel with a $200 million operating budget and a $70 million capital budget. He also oversaw the Dade County Emergency Management office.

More About David Paulison. A certified paramedic, Paulison oversaw the Miami-Dade Urban Search and Rescue Task Force. His emergency management experience includes Hurricane Andrew and the crash of ValuJet Flight 592. He is also past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. A native of Miami, Florida , Paulison earned a bachelor of arts from Florida Atlantic University and completed the program for senior executives in state and local government at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2004, he received the Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award from the Congressional Fire Service Institute. Additionally, he has received the LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Award and has been inducted into the Miami-Dade Community College Hall of Fame. In 1993, Paulison was selected as Fire Chief of the Year by his colleagues from the state of Florida.

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David Paulison is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book David Paulison for your event is $10,000 - $50,000. David Paulison generally travels from Washington, DC, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Viola Davis, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Rashida Jones and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling David Paulison for an upcoming event.


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