Will Ray in front of blue background

William Ray

Director, Emergency Management

William Ray was appointed director of Emergency Management in July 2021 and is charged with leading efforts to ensure the state’s preparedness and coordinating needed staff and resources to support local responses to, and recovery from, all hazards and threats.  He also serves as the state’s deputy homeland security advisor collaborating with federal and state public safety, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies.

Ray most recently served as the chief of staff at North Carolina Emergency Management. As such, he was the principal deputy coordinating and supervising the work of NCEM and the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, including managing complex programs, as well as developing and implementing strategic priorities, initiatives and plans. He joined NCEM in early 2018 as the assistant director for the Plans and Homeland Security Section. Ray also has served in several emergency response roles at the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, in local government and in the private sector.

Ray holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the Virginia Military Institute and a master’s degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He currently serves as Vice Chair of the State Emergency Response Commission, on the Radiation Protection Commission, and on the Interagency Council for Coordinating Homelessness Programs.

Ray also serves on the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor Council (GHSAC) Executive Committee, the GHSAC Foreign Influence Work Group Steering Committee, the ASTHO Preparedness Policy Committee, the NEMA-GHSAC-ASTHO Collaborative, and the N.C. Institute of Medicine’s Pandemic Preparedness Task Force Steering Committee.