Bill Peterson has over 40 years of experience in the public safety sector and possesses a unique blend of expertise. Bill joined SGR in 2009 after retiring as Regional Administrator of FEMA. Prior to being appointed by the President of the United States to this role, Bill served for more than 23 years as Fire and EMS Chief and Emergency Management Coordinator in Plano, Texas. He also served as Fire Chief in Waukegan, IL, and with the Bolingbrook and Evergreen Park, IL, Fire Departments. Before entering the career fire service, Bill was a civil engineer for the Natural Resources Division of General Dynamics Corporation.
He has served in board or other key leadership roles with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, the Institution of Fire Engineers, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Fire Service Training Association, National Fire Protection Association, and the Texas Fire Chiefs Association. He currently serves as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Crisis Response Journal in London, England, and as an appointed member of the Local Mitigation Strategy Working Group for Osceola County, Florida.
During his accomplished career, Bill's emphasis on critical thinking, analysis, evaluation, openness to new information, tolerance of ambiguity, and the importance of seeking feedback have allowed him to understand and provide input for national and international policy. In this vein, Bill was also named as Fire Chief of the Year by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and FIRE CHIEF Magazine. He was also recently awarded the DECORATION (Bronze Medal) OF MERIT FOR IMPROVING FIRE PROTECTION IN THE REPUBLIC OF POLAND, by the Minister of the Interior, for the Republic of Poland. Bill holds a Bachelor of Arts in Fire Protection Administration from Lewis University and a Master of Public Administration and Human Relations from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He also is a graduate of the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.