North Carolina Emergency Management Chief of Staff William Ray was recently appointed director of the division, replacing Director Mike Sprayberry, who is retiring at the end of the month.
Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks announced the appointment last week. Ray takes over as director effective Aug. 1 and will lead the state’s preparedness and recovery efforts. Ray also will serve as the state’s deputy homeland security adviser.
“I am extremely grateful Will has accepted this important leadership role for North Carolina,” said Hooks in a statement. “Will has been exceptional in his role as Assistant Director and more recently as the Chief of Staff under Director Mike Sprayberry. He has earned the trust of local, state and federal partners to ensure Emergency Management remains a national leader in emergency management services.”
Sprayberry, who also served as director of the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, was appointed in February 2013 and served as the division’s seventh director and has more than 42 years of service with the state.
“We’re pleased that Will has been selected and agreed to lead North Carolina Emergency Management,” said Sprayberry. “He’s proven that he’s the right person for the job and he’s earned the respect of the Emergency Management staff both at our agency and, just as importantly, with our county partners.”
As the chief of staff, Ray has been the principal deputy coordinating and supervising the work of Emergency Management and the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency. This includes management of complex programs, senior government interagency coordination, and development and implementation of strategic priorities, initiatives and plans.
“It is a privilege to serve alongside the entire Division of Emergency Management team, and I am honored to continue serving the people of North Carolina in this new role,” said Ray in a statement. “I am humbled by this opportunity and thankful for the confidence and support of Governor Cooper and Secretary Hooks. The Division will continue to focus on safeguarding all North Carolinians, leveraging the whole-of-government and whole-of-community approach for effective preparedness, response and recovery.”
Ray previously was assistant director or section chief for the Plans and Homeland Security section at Emergency Management.
“We are fortunate to have the strongest Emergency Management team in the country and Will Ray has been an instrumental leader in making sure North Carolina is ready for whatever crisis comes our way,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “I thank Will for this critical service to our state and am confident he will continue to innovate and improve our preparedness and response operations in North Carolina.”
Ray previously served in emergency response roles at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and in local government and the private sector.
Ray holds a bachelor’s in international studies from the Virginia Military Institute and a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He and his family reside in Durham.