Meet Milwaukee’s New Emergency Manager
Ryan Zollicoffer boomerangs back to Milwaukee in time to prepare the city for 2024 RNC.
Just in time for a potential Republic National Convention, there’s a new head of emergency management in Milwaukee.
Earlier this month, Ryan Zollicoffer started as the director of emergency management and communications for the City of Milwaukee. Mayor Cavalier Johnson appointed Zollicoffer and he was unanimously confirmed by the Common Council on July 12.
The emergency director officially reports to Todd, but is a cabinet-level position. The director is responsible for the “emergency operations center” during a crisis, coordinating the city’s inter-departmental response and emergency prepardness.
It’s a lessor known position within city government, and one that is virtually invisible when things are going right. It’s also a position that has been vacant for some time.
Todd said Zollicoffer was “walk-in ready” for the job.
Zollicoffer spent the past 13 years doing disaster planning and emergency services work for Menlo Park, CA, but the Milwaukee native sought a return home. His career began as a firefighter with the North Shore Fire Department, and later the Wauwatosa Fire Department, before transitioning to emergency preparedness. In addition to his role in Menlo Park, Zollicoffer was on one of FEMA’s urban search and rescue taskforces.
Is he ready for the 2024 Republican National Convention, a “National Special Security Event” that requires thousands of public safety officers?
“We get a lot of high dignitary visits,” said Zollicoffer. He said that included planning for a Dalai Lama visit to a Menlo Park school.
Republicans are expected to announce Friday that Milwaukee will host the convention.
“I look forward to working with you,” said Alderman Mark Borkowski. The two will serve together on the Ambulance Service Board.
Ald. Khalif Rainey said he was impressed by Zollicoffer’s knowledge.
“So often we talk about the brain drain and people leaving our state. Here we have the wonderful story of someone wanting to leave San Francisco and come back home,” said committee chair Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa.
Zollicoffer holds an associate’s degree in fire science from Milwaukee Area Technical College and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the now-shuttered Mount Senario College. He told the Public Safety & Health Committee he is pursuing a master’s degree and has attended a number of emergency preparedness programs, including a certification from Stanford University.
The position, according to the 2022 budget, pays $90,000 annually.