RALEIGH – Michael Sprayberry, the state’s longest serving emergency management director, has announced his plans to retire later this year.
“Mike Sprayberry has served our state with distinction, keeping North Carolinians safe through unprecedented natural disasters and a global pandemic,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Director Sprayberry has worked to make our state more resilient and prepared than ever to withstand future storms and emergencies and overcome challenges. He has set a high bar, leading North Carolina Emergency Management with his daily refrain of ‘One team, one mission, one family,’ and I deeply appreciate his service.”
As executive director of the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management and the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, or NCORR, since February 2013, Sprayberry will retire Aug. 1 with more than 42 years of state service, according to an announcement from Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks.
“Over the last four years we have faced major hurricanes, winter storms, earthquakes, and a global pandemic, yet Director Sprayberry has been steadfast in his passion for the people of North Carolina and his commitment to strong partnerships across all communities and levels of government,” Secretary Hooks said in a statement.
During his tenure as director, the Charlotte native led the State Emergency Response Team in its response and recovery efforts for 19 state declared disasters and 11 federally declared disasters, including Hurricane Florence in 2018. In 2015, he briefed President Obama at the National Hurricane Center on the state’s hurricane readiness.
Officials credited Sprayberry’s leadership with N.C. Emergency Management, achieving an Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan State status that qualified the state for millions of dollars in additional funding to build resiliency, national reaccreditation for the emergency management program and increasing the capacity of North Carolina’s Hazardous Materials Response program, and Search and Rescue program. He was also credited for NCORR’s management federal funding to expedite assistance to disaster survivors and resiliency planning and projects.
“Director Sprayberry’s career of service to our state and to our nation has been exceptional. He is an extremely valuable member of my DPS leadership team as well as my trusted Deputy Homeland Security Advisor,” Secretary Hooks added. “His day-to-day leadership has been key to our public safety mission in North Carolina. I honor and thank Mike for his service and his many sacrifices during his outstanding career.”
“This has been the most satisfying opportunity of my career. It has been an incredible honor to serve the people of North Carolina throughout the years facing many hazards and threats together, to include over a year of responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s now time to enter the next phase of my life with my family who has provided me with such great love and support,” said Sprayberry. “I have enjoyed working alongside outstanding professionals, including both the agencies I have had the privilege of leading as well as our local, state, federal, volunteer and private sector partners. They are responsible for our successes and I am so thankful for all of them. I am especially appreciative of our local county partners who have always been there for us. Our motto remains to always ask ourselves each day, ‘What have you done for the counties today?’”
Sprayberry was sworn in as the deputy director of Emergency Management in 2005 after his service as a member of the N.C. Army National Guard. He previously served in the Marine Corps.
Sprayberry served as the president and vice president of the National Emergency Management Association, a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency National Advisory Council, the state’s Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, the vice chair of the State Emergency Response Commission and a commissioner of the Radiation Protection Commission.