SC governor names state’s first chief resilience officer

SC governor names state’s first chief resilience officer
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster named Ben Duncan as South Carolina's Chief Resilience Officer. (Source: SC Governor's Office)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster named the man who will lead the state’s Office of Resilience.

Ben Duncan, who is currently director of the state’s Disaster Recovery Office, will lead the office, McMaster said Tuesday.

In his current role, Duncan oversees grant programs that focus on rebuilding or repairing homes damaged by severe weather events.

“Director Duncan’s exemplary leadership and wealth of experience at the Disaster Recovery Office will be critical in his new role as South Carolina’s first Chief Resilience Officer,” McMaster said. “Look no further than his management of existing programs that have resulted in thousands of South Carolinians finding safe and reliable housing after experiencing devastating losses at the hands of natural disasters. Director Duncan is exactly who South Carolina needs leading this new office as we work to build on these successes, redouble our commitment to mitigation efforts, and widen the scope of our work to create community resilience throughout the state.”

“Through proper coordination, cooperation and collaboration, the South Carolina Office of Resilience can ensure that the state is maximizing the effectiveness of all available resources to best protect the lives and property of our citizens,” Duncan said. “South Carolinians are a resilient people. Through disaster after disaster, we have seen our state bend but not break. My team is ready and excited to execute the strategic goals established by the legislature and Governor McMaster, and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the state I love and proudly call home.”

Duncan’s office has helped families recover from recent weather events including severe storms in October 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and Hurricane Florence in 2019.

SCDRO also manages federal funds available to assist in disaster recovery.

Previously housed under the S.C. Department of Administration, the Disaster Recovery Office is now a part of Office of Resilience.

The Disaster Relief and Resilience Act of 2020 created the Office of Resilience.

The law tasks the office with developing, implementing, and maintaining the Statewide Resilience Plan with a goal of coordinating statewide resilience and disaster recovery efforts with the federal, state, local and non-governmental entities.

The legislation also established the South Carolina Disaster Relief and Resilience Reserve Fund to maintain the Statewide Resilience Plan and for disaster relief assistance, hazard mitigation, and infrastructure improvements.

Duncan, 60, is a graduate of Benedict College and holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina. He lives in Richland County and is married with two children, according to the governor’s office.

Duncan has worked at the S.C. Disaster Recovery Office since its inception in November of 2015.

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