PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The former director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA), who has been serving as the acting administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for nearly a year, is now officially leading the national agency.

On Tuesday, Peter Gaynor was confirmed as FEMA’s new administrator by the U.S. Senate.

Gaynor joined FEMA back in October 2018 as deputy administrator after being tapped for the role a few months prior. He then became the acting administrator in March 2019 when former FEMA Administrator Brock Long retired.

Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Gaynor has proven himself as an “invaluable leader of the agency.”

“I look forward to continuing to work with him to support the men and women of FEMA as they carry out their incredible work,” Wolf said.

As acting administrator, Wolf said Gaynor led the agency’s recovery efforts for many devastating disasters including the California wildfires, tornado outbreaks, severe storms, flooding in the Midwest and the Puerto Rico earthquakes.

During his tenure as deputy administrator, Wolf said Gaynor guided FEMA through the 2018 hurricane season and helped provide much-needed assistance to disaster survivors across the country.

Prior to joining FEMA, Gaynor led RIEMA for three years, serving as a liaison between the state and federal agencies. Before that, he led the Providence Emergency Management Agency.

Congressman Jim Langevin said he’s excited that Gaynor is now officially at the helm of the national agency.

“Peter Gaynor possesses a wealth of experience in emergency preparedness and response operations spanning local, state and federal capacities that has prepared him to lead FEMA effectively,” Langevin said. “It is exciting that the top post in such a critical agency will be held by someone who understands the needs of Rhode Islanders and has demonstrated exceptional professionalism throughout his tenure.”

“I am confident that Peter will fulfill his duties in a manner that fosters collaboration to ensure the wellbeing of our citizens,” Langevin added.