Michael Pena, Executive Vice President, Homeland Security
With more than 35 years’ experience in emergency preparedness, response, recovery, continuity of operations, homeland security and facility protection, Michael Pena is overseeing Apprio Inc.’s growing homeland security practice that includes work with such clients as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Guard Bureau (NGB), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and USAID.
Pena’s background includes 21 years’ experience as a first responder with the New York City Fire Department’s (FDNY’s) Special Operations Command. As a member of the FDNY, Pena served with the elite rescue companies in Manhattan and Brooklyn with responsibilities for citywide response to major fires, terrorism response, emergencies and technical search and rescue operations. Pena served as an FDNY Technical Rescue School instructor, proving training for hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction response, high-angle rope rescue and technical rescue operations. He served as liaison with federal agencies on all aspects of fire safety, emergency planning and response tactics for presidential and United Nations dignitary visits to New York City.
He deployed with the New York City Task Force 1 as part of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue program where he served as a rescue team manager and planning and information specialist. He was responsible for managing and coordinating team operations during deployments and rescue operations, and he deployed both nationally and internationally with natural disaster rescue operations and standby for the Olympic Games.
Most recently, Pena managed Brookhaven National Laboratory’s (BNL) Laboratory Protection Division for the Department of Energy where he served as the director for the laboratory protection division which included the protective force, fire rescue, emergency management office and security operations for classified programs. His responsibilities included critical infrastructure protection, emergency preparedness and response, training, audits, assessments and program development. His duties also included the development and implementation of the laboratory’s active shooter program and continuity of operations (COOP) plan.
Before joining BNL, Pena was director of response operations for DHS FEMA Region 2. In this position, he was responsible for coordinating and implementing the federal response to major disasters, including planning, operations, emergency communications and logistics within New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He managed and directed the regional response coordination center and served as the chairperson of the regional interagency steering committee. He served as the regional DHS senior federal official for planning and coordination of regional national special security events.
In 2002, Pena first joined DHS, FEMA Region 2 in the operations and planning branch, serving as operations chief for presidential declared disasters. He served as the regional lead planner for national level exercises and national special security events. Pena has attended the National Emergency Training Center and the National Fire Academy. He has completed professional courses for the national incident management system, incident command system, federal response operations, professional continuity practitioner and critical infrastructure. He has instructor certifications in emergency response to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, technical rescue and emergency planning.
In 2005, Pena served as the regional emergency manager for the General Services Administration (GSA) for region 2. In this capacity, he was responsible for assisting regional federal agencies in their COOP, preparation, training and testing and served as a member of the New York City Federal Executive Board COOP working group. He also served as the GSA representative to coordinate, facilitate and direct GSA resources to respond to emergency situations and declared disasters when directed by the FEMA regional response plan.