HOPE Coalition America Advisory Board Member Since: January 2014
As Vice President, Jason McNamara is a member of Obsidian’s executive management team, directing our disaster recovery program area as well as services for state and local clients. Mr. McNamara comes to Obsidian as a national leader in homeland security and emergency management, having been Chief of Staff for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the past four years. In that role, Mr. McNamara worked with leadership at FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House to transform FEMA into a highly effective response and recovery agency.
As FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate’s Chief of Staff, Mr. McNamara oversaw the cutting of red-tape, the staffing of FEMA with outstanding managers who are widely recognized as the most experienced and talented in the agency’s history, as well as the reinvigoration of the nation’s response and recovery strategies for disasters. Mr. McNamara also helped change FEMA’s orientation towards an emphasis on survivor outcomes and incorporation of the Whole Community in delivering solutions. In addition, he played a key role in legislative accomplishments such as the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, legislation providing tribal governments the ability to directly request disaster assistance from the President, and the five-year reauthorization of the national flood insurance program. Mr. McNamara has been at the forefront of decision-making during all of the major events the last four years, including the tornado in Joplin, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, and Hurricane Sandy.
Mr. McNamara’s career spans more than 20 years of staff-level and supervisory experience in emergency management legislation, policy, planning and operations, including 12 years with FEMA. Prior to his role as FEMA’s Chief of Staff, Mr. McNamara was an Associate Vice President and the Director of Emergency Management/Homeland Security for Dewberry & Davis LLC, an A&E consulting firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA. Mr. McNamara also served as a Professional Staff Member for the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security, leading the Democratic staff efforts for the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness and Response, and as an Assistant Vice President for Program Management at Science Applications International Corporation, where he was the Deputy Division Manager for SAIC’s Readiness and Response Division.
Earlier, Mr. McNamara served as the Acting Chief of the Interagency and Catastrophic Planning Section at FEMA. In this role, he managed day-to-day Federal response planning activities with all Federal Response Plan signatory agencies, and implemented changes and additions to the Federal Response Plan. He also served as Operations Section Chief for Headquarters-based National Emergency Support Team in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and as agency liaison officer to the U.S. Capitol Police Board in response to the anthrax attack on the United States Senate.
Mr. McNamara holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Psychology from the Johns Hopkins University, and a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Moira Whelan, and his sons, Finn and Declan.