Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks has appointed William Ray as North Carolina’s new director of Emergency Management. Ray will be charged with leading efforts to ensure the state’s preparedness and coordinating needed staff and resources to support local responses to, and recovery from, all hazards and threats. As director, he also will serve as the state’s deputy homeland security advisor.
“I am extremely grateful Will has accepted this important leadership role for North Carolina,” said Secretary Hooks. “Will has been exceptional in his role as Assistant Director and more recently as the Chief of Staff under Director Mike Sprayberry. He has earned the trust of local, state and federal partners to ensure Emergency Management remains a national leader in emergency management services.”
“We are fortunate to have the strongest Emergency Management team in the country and Will Ray has been an instrumental leader in making sure North Carolina is ready for whatever crisis comes our way,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “I thank Will for this critical service to our state and am confident he will continue to innovate and improve our preparedness and response operations in North Carolina.”
Ray currently serves as the chief of staff at North Carolina Emergency Management. In this leadership role, he is the principal deputy coordinating and supervising the work of NCEM and the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency. This includes management of complex programs, senior government interagency coordination, and development and implementation of strategic priorities, initiatives and plans.
“We’re pleased that Will has been selected and agreed to lead North Carolina Emergency Management,” said retiring Director Mike Sprayberry. “He’s proven that he’s the right person for the job and he’s earned the respect of the Emergency Management staff both at our agency and, just as importantly, with our county partners.”
Ray’s prior role at NCEM was as assistant director/section chief for the Plans and Homeland Security section. Before his work at NCEM, Ray served in several emergency response roles at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, in local government and in the private sector.
“It is a privilege to serve alongside the entire Division of Emergency Management team, and I am honored to continue serving the people of North Carolina in this new role,” said Ray. “I am humbled by this opportunity and thankful for the confidence and support of Governor Cooper and Secretary Hooks. The Division will continue to focus on safeguarding all North Carolinians, leveraging the whole-of-government and whole-of-community approach for effective preparedness, response and recovery.
“I am especially grateful to Director Sprayberry for his leadership and contributions to the state as he approaches a well-deserved retirement.”
Ray holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the Virginia Military Institute and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He and his family currently reside in Durham.