City of Portland names new Emergency Management Director

Press Release

After a national search, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is pleased to announce Shad Ahmed will lead the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM). PBEM coordinates Portland’s disaster response efforts, promotes readiness, and builds community resilience. This includes advancing the City’s mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities.

Shad has extensive background in emergency management with experience in local and state government, higher education, public health, and public safety. Shad serves as a subject matter expert in emergency management for several organizations and is a certified instructor. He holds a master's degree with a concentration in critical infrastructure protection and was recently appointed to an International Association of Emergency Managers commission. Shad currently lives in New England. He will relocate to Oregon in the coming months.

Shad will lead a bureau recently called upon to manage Portland’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple weather-related emergencies—the most recent being a cold weather sheltering operation in December.

PBEM’s Interim Director Jonna Papaefthimiou will become the City’s first Chief Resilience Officer. In her newly created role, she will coordinate initiatives around hazard mitigation, climate adaptation, and seismic retrofits. Portland declared more disasters in the past year than it did in the previous decade. This and national trends around weather-related disasters highlight emergency management’s importance, and the necessity of advancing long-term disaster resilience work.

“I am confident Shad’s background and experience will provide valuable contributions to the bureau’s existing work and position Portland to be better prepared for future challenges,” said Mayor Wheeler. “I also want to sincerely thank Jonna Papaefthimiou for her service as PBEM’s interim director. Her leadership and resourcefulness helped guide us through very difficult times. I look forward to seeing her experienced skillset advance resiliency initiatives in the city.”