Cal Poly Emergency Management Director Graduates from FEMA Executive Academy

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Anthony J. Knight, Cal Poly’s director of emergency management, recently graduated from a Federal Emergency Management Agency executive academy designed to give him tools, resources and insights to prepare for and respond to all types of disasters.

Knight, who has been with Cal Poly’s Department of Emergency Management since April 2016, graduated Dec. 7 from FEMA’s National Emergency Management Executive Academy at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Maryland. 

At Cal Poly, Knight serves as director of the university’s Emergency Operations Center, which coordinates campuswide efforts in an emergency.

“We’re fortunate to have someone of Anthony’s caliber leading our emergency management team at Cal Poly,” University Police Chief George Hughes said. “Anthony’s experience quickly raised the level of campus emergency preparedness. By completing this training, Anthony will bring back enhanced strategic, leadership and critical thinking skills that will bring our emergency response efforts to an even higher level to meet any challenge.”

Knight is an emergency management veteran who has responded to more than 250 catastrophic incidents over 13 years.

The U.S. Coast Guard Reserve member spent 23 days in Puerto Rico in September and October, where he coordinated emergency planning for the agency’s response in the wake of Hurricane Maria. As the Coast Guard’s deputy planning section chief, Knight coordinated humanitarian aid efforts, the restoration of port operations, search and rescue, and hazmat oil spill responses as officials worked to stabilize the U.S. territory.

Upon returning home, he immediately headed to Sonoma County to serve as the U.S. Coast Guard planning section chief as part of the response to the fires in Northern California.  

FEMA’s executive academy — intended for senior executives at the pinnacle of their careers — instills emergency management leaders with a deeper understanding of contemporary and emerging emergency management issues, debates and public policy, according to FEMA. The program is intended to challenge and enhance the skills of emergency management leaders through critical thinking, visionary strategic planning, negotiation and conflict resolution applied to complex real-world problems.

It provides the opportunity to work collaboratively, share practices and participate in exercises with other leaders facing similar challenges. The academy is the final phase of FEMA’s Emergency Management Professional Program. 

For more information on FEMA’s training classes through the Basic, Advanced, and Executive Academies, or other emergency management courses, go to

To learn more about Cal Poly’s Department of Emergency Management, go to


Anthony Knight, Cal Poly's director of emergency management, pictured with Katie Fox, FEMA's acting deputy administrator, protection and national preparedness, at Knight's graduation on Dec. 7.

Anthony J. Knight, Cal Poly's director of emergency management, graduated Dec. 7 from FEMA's National Emergency Management Executive Academy. Katie Fox (left), FEMA acting deputy administrator, protection and national preparedness, congratulates Knight. (Photo courtesy Shane Gibbon of FEMA.)

Contact: Matt Lazier

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