Mr. Jesus “JB” Cuartas serves as the Regional Emergency Coordinator for Emergency Support Function (ESF) #11- Agriculture and Natural Resources for FEMA Region II with the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). ESF #11 works during actual and potential incidents to provide nutrition assistance; respond to animal and agricultural health issues; provide technical expertise, coordination and support of animal and agricultural emergency management; ensure the safety and defense of the Nation's supply of meat, poultry, and processed egg products; and ensure the protection of natural and cultural resources and historic properties.
Prior to joining USDA, Mr. Cuartas led transformational and client-focused teams as a Manager of State and Local Response and Recovery Programs with Innovative Emergency Management (IEM), Inc. where he oversaw major growth in public assistance and energy sector client operations including client response and recovery operations for Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. Previous roles include:
-Member of the New Jersey State Senior Executive Service as the Director for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities’ Reliability and Security Division where he oversaw the State’s utility emergency management response, natural gas pipelines, underground facilities safety, utility cyber security, and other functions on behalf of the President of the BPU;
-Department Head for conEdison’s Emergency Preparedness Exercises, Training, and Interagency Coordination Department. In this role, he oversaw the company’s preparedness, readiness, and ability to coordinate with public and private stakeholders before, during, and after disasters strike. In August 2020, his team coordinated interagency efforts following TS Isaias which resulted in the second largest response in company history.
-Chief of Operational Planning for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Region II covering New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As the Chief of Operational Planning, Mr. Cuartas managed deliberate catastrophic planning and the Regional Hurricane Program for Region II. Mr. Cuartas was also a member of FEMA’s Field Leadership Apprenticeship Program (Federal Coordinating Officer option) Pilot Cohort. Mr. Cuartas held leadership positions in multiple Presidentially-declared disasters and national and international crisis operations including Branch Director during the response to Hurricane Maria and Infrastructure Directorate Deputy Director responsible for leading Federal infrastructure recovery operations in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Mr. Cuartas served as the Region II Exercise Director for the 2017 National Level Exercise Gotham Shield.
-Chief of Operational Planning for FEMA Region III where he managed catastrophic planning including Improvised Nuclear Device Response Plans for the National Capitol Region and Philadelphia, chaired the Consequence Management Subcommittees for multiple National Special Security Events (NSSE) occurring in the Region to include the World Meeting of Families-Papal Visit, and oversaw the Regional Emergency Communications Program, Regional Geospatial Information Systems Program, and Regional Hurricane Program.
-Regional Continuity Manager where he worked with multiple State and Federal Departments and Agencies to develop plans and policies, execute continuity exercises, and served as a course manager and instructor for FEMA emergency management and continuity courses within the Region and at FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.
-Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Operations Coordination serving as a senior continuity policy analyst drafting multiple Department-wide policies and plans.
-Emergency Preparedness Program Manager for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
Mr. Cuartas served nine years in the US Army, including two combat tours in Iraq totaling 29 months of combat operations conducting Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) operations. He served as a Combat Engineer and Explosives Ordnance Clearance Agent with the 111th Sapper Company, 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division and Technical Rescue Operations/Planning Section Chief for the 911th Technical Rescue Engineer Company, Military District of Washington.
Mr. Cuartas is a Doctoral Candidate at Drexel University's LeBow College of Business in Business Administration, holds an Executive Master’s in Emergency and Disaster Management from Georgetown University, Bachelor of Arts in Emergency and Disaster Management, is an International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Certified Emergency Manager (CEM), graduate of FEMA’s Emergency Management Academy and Master Continuity Practitioner Level II, was awarded the FEMA Administrator’s Award for Excellence in Emergency Management and holds numerous certifications in the fields of emergency management, continuity, technical rescue and fire services.