NC emergency management director set to retire in August

Mike Sprayberry (Photo: WTVD)

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks announced on Friday the planned retirement of Michael Sprayberry, executive director of the N.C. Division of Emergency Management (NCEM) and the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR).

Since his appointment in February 2013, Director Sprayberry has served as the division’s seventh director, and will retire Aug. 1 with more than 42 years of state service.

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“Mike Sprayberry has served our state with distinction, keeping North Carolinians safe through unprecedented natural disasters and a global pandemic,” Governor Roy Cooper said. “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 the state’s longest serving emergency management director, Sprayberry was charged with leading efforts to ensure the state’s preparedness and with coordinating needed staff and resources to support local responses to and recovery from all hazards and threats.  During his tenure as director, he successfully led the State Emergency Response Team in its response and recovery efforts for 19 state declared disasters and 11 federally declared disasters, to include Hurricane Florence, now known as North Carolina’s “Storm of Record.”  In 2015, he briefed President Obama at the National Hurricane Center on the state’s hurricane readiness.

“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 stated.

Under his leadership, N.C. Emergency Management achieved an Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan State status which earned the state millions of dollars in additional funding to build resiliency, achieved national reaccreditation for the emergency management program and has increased the capacity of North Carolina’s Hazardous Materials Response program as well as its internationally renowned Search and Rescue program.  Moreover, NCORR became known as an outstanding manager of HUD funding to expedite assistance to disaster survivors in addition to leading the way in 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?”

A native of Charlotte, Sprayberry was sworn in as the deputy director of Emergency Management in 2005 after his service to our country as a member of the N.C. Army National Guard. Prior to his service as a Guardsman, he was a Marine in the United States 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.

Director Sprayberry leaves a lasting and positive mark on NCEM and NCORR history through his many achievements, to include being the recipient of the following awards: two departmental Secretary’s Gold Circle Awards, the N.C. Emergency Management Association Colonel William A. Thompson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Emergency Management, the North Carolina Housing Coalition Public Official of the Year, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners Friend of the Counties, and the National Emergency Management Association Presidential Citation.  He is also a proud member of the North Carolina National Guard Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.