COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today named the director of South Carolina's Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO), Ben Duncan, as South Carolina’s first Chief Resilience Officer. As Chief Resilience Officer, Duncan will lead the S.C. Office of Resilience which was recently created by S.259 in 2020.
As director of SCDRO, Duncan oversees grant programs that focus on rebuilding or repairing homes damaged by severe weather events, such as the severe storm event in October 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and Hurricane Florence in 2019. Additionally, SCDRO 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 the Office of Resilience.
Duncan has worked at the S.C. Disaster Recovery Office since its inception in November of 2015.
"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," said Gov. Henry McMaster. "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," said Ben Duncan. "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."
S.259 enacted the “Disaster Relief and Resilience Act” and created the S.C. Office of Resilience, which is led by the Chief Resilience Officer. The Office is tasked 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 establishes the South Carolina Disaster Relief and Resilience Reserve Fund that will be used to maintain the Statewide Resilience Plan and for disaster relief assistance, hazard mitigation, and infrastructure improvements.
Duncan is a graduate of Benedict College and holds a Masters of Public Administration from the University of South Carolina. He is 60 years old, a resident of Richland County and is married with 2 children.
The position requires confirmation by the South Carolina Senate.