(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Bowser announced that she has appointed longtime U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policy strategist Kevin Bush as DC’s first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The Chief Resilience Officer is a new position in DC Government and was created to lead citywide resilience efforts in partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC). As Chief Resilience Officer, Bush will lead an office dedicated to building resilience to shocks and stresses and oversee the development and implementation of a comprehensive Resilience Strategy.
“In 2017, integrating resilience into the everyday functions of city life and government is more important than ever,” said Mayor Bowser. “Kevin is a national resilience expert and now he will bring his record of designing and implementing award-winning resilience initiatives at a national level to the District. With Kevin on our team, DC will be able to tackle our resilience challenges while serving as a model for other cities to follow.”
Bush has extensive experience building coalitions that design and execute award-winning resilience and threat assessment initiatives. He previously served as a Community Planning and Infrastructure/Supervisory Resilience Specialist at HUD. In this position, Bush led HUD’s first-ever team dedicated to resilience policy, risk reduction, community engagement, and infrastructure. At HUD, Bush also coordinated efforts across multiple federal agencies to establish a uniform Federal Flood Risk Reduction Standard. Among the many recognitions that he has received, Bush earned the Secretary’s Recognition for Hurricane Sandy Recovery and the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Disaster Assistance. He is a recognized leader of national policy and best practices to address climate change and issues of affordable housing and planning at the municipal and regional levels.
“Cities across the country have always looked to Washington, DC for leadership, and with Mayor Bowser’s commitment to a resilient DC and the support of 100RC, the nation’s capital can produce the solutions to some of our most complex 21st century challenges,” said Chief Resilience Officer Bush. “I’m excited to take on this new role and look forward to working closely with Mayor Bowser to strengthen the city’s long-term stability.”
Appointing a CRO is an essential element of the District’s partnership with 100RC, an organization that is part of a $164 million commitment by The Rockefeller Foundation to build urban resilience in 100 cities around the world. 100RC supports the adoption and incorporation of a view of resilience that includes not just the shocks – earthquakes, fires, floods, etc., but also the stresses that weaken the fabric of a city on a day-to-day or cyclical basis. The CRO position is specifically designed to break down existing barriers at the local level, account for pre-existing resilience plans, and create partnerships, alliances, and financing mechanisms that will address the resilience vulnerabilities of all city residents, with a particular focus on low-income and vulnerable populations. The CRO position will be fully funded by 100RC.
“Kevin Bush joins a network of peers from cities across the globe that will share best practices and surface innovative thinking,” said Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities. “He will become a global leader in resilience, and will be an asset for Washington, DC and other cities around the world. This is particularly exciting because with his appointment, all 24 U.S. cities in the 100RC Network now have a Chief Resilience Officer.”
Additionally, Mayor Bowser named Harrison Newton as the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer. Newton, who led early efforts to prepare the District for the 100 Resilient Cities project launch, is a long-time District official with a history of working on community-focused programs within the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE). He previously served as the Associate Director of the Efficiency and Affordability Division at DOEE, where he led an effort to develop strategic priorities for programs that help thousands of DC residents control their energy costs. Newton is a founding Board member of the Alliance for National and Community Resilience.
“I’m incredibly proud of the team we’ve assembled with Kevin Bush and Harrison Newton at the helm,” said City Administrator Rashad Young. “Our next steps include working closely with 100RC to study our shocks and stresses and build the District’s resilience plan. It is a robust effort that will yield immediate benefits to District residents while ensuring our long-term well-being in times of crisis.”
Bush and his team will receive personnel and technical support from 100RC and utilize resilience building tools from private, public, academic, and NGO sector organizations that have partnered with 100RC.
About 100 Resilient Cities—Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation
100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to social, economic, and physical challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each of their cities; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. For more information, visit www.100ResilientCities.org.