Governor Moore Appoints First Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Resilience Officer in Maryland’s History

Maryland Governor Wes Moore today announced the appointment of Meghan Conklin as the state’s first chief sustainability officer and Michael Hinson as the state’s first chief resilience officer. According to Governor Moore, through a whole-of-government approach, the chief sustainability officer and the chief resilience officer will work to address climate change’s current and future effects.

Due to a changing climate, communities face more frequent and complex disasters. Climate change drives a range of effects, from discrete events like extreme weather to longer-term impacts that vary by location, such as drought, sea-level rise, regional energy vulnerabilities, increased wildfires, habitat modification, and emerging diseases.

“Addressing the existential threat of climate change requires bold and decisive action. We must think strategically and address our present challenges to prevent future effects,” said Governor Moore. “I am confident that Meghan Conklin and Michael Hinson possess the leadership qualities necessary to meet this moment. I look forward to working with them to promote a cleaner, greener, more resilient, and more sustainable Maryland.”

The chief sustainability officer will work to ensure Maryland meets the state’s bold climate and environmental goals, while the chief resilience officer will ensure Maryland is prepared to adapt, mitigate, and recover from all hazards and emergencies, including disasters that have increased in frequency and intensity from climate change.

Michael Hinson, Chief Resilience Officer

Michael Hinson spent over ten years with the Howard County Office of Emergency Management, including over three years as director. He also served as president of the Maryland Association of County Emergency Managers, a MACo affiliate.

In addition, he previously served as deputy director and as a senior emergency management specialist in the office, assisting with recovery efforts after the devastating 2016 and 2018 floods in downtown Ellicott City. Hinson is also an adjunct faculty member at the Mid-Atlantic Center for Emergency Management and Public Safety at Frederick Community College.

Hinson will work within the Maryland Department of Emergency Management to provide statewide coordination for resilience across all hazards, ensuring that Maryland can adapt to changing conditions and prepare for, withstand, and rapidly recover from disruptions to everyday life. The position — one of just seven similar jobs nationwide — was authorized last year by the Maryland General Assembly, with MACo’s support, after being created by a bill sponsored by Senator Katie Fry Hester.

Hinson will focus on developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary resilience strategy for the state to adapt, mitigate, and recover from all hazards and emergencies. Leading the Office of Resilience at the Maryland Department of Emergency Management, he will coordinate state and local efforts to build resilience to risks identified in the Maryland Hazard Mitigation Plan, ensure that investments prioritize vulnerable communities and environmental justice, coordinate across state and local agencies to prepare and implement resilience strategies, and identify/provide funding and technical assistance for state and local resilience efforts.

“Michael Hinson’s appointment as Maryland’s first chief resilience officer is a significant step towards enhancing our state’s preparedness and resilience,” said Maryland Department of Emergency Management Secretary Russ Strickland. “His extensive experience in emergency management and tenure as the chief emergency manager in Howard County has given him valuable insights into the importance of coordination and community relationships in our state’s resilience efforts. We believe that, under his leadership, Maryland will stand as a national leader in resilience, and we look forward to supporting his endeavors to ensure the safety and resilience of our communities.”

Meghan Conklin, Chief Sustainability Officer

Meghan Conklin has over 20 years of experience in climate change, environment, and energy policy, having served in senior roles in the Obama Administration, the US Senate, and the US House of Representatives. Meghan served four years as policy advisor to US Senator Chris Van Hollen on climate, environment, energy, agriculture, and more. In the Obama Administration, Meghan served as deputy assistant secretary for transmission permitting in the Office of Electricity at the Department of Energy and Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

As Maryland’s chief sustainability officer, Conklin will collaborate with internal and external stakeholders to coordinate efforts and resources needed to design, implement, and track progress toward the state’s nation-leading environmental and climate goals. Conklin will participate as a member of the Governor’s Climate Subcabinet and Bay Subcabinet, developing and implementing climate-related policies, regulations, and programs and fostering partnerships with federal, state, local, and private stakeholders to provide additional resources needed to meet the state’s climate goals on time, including reaching net-zero emissions by 2045, improving water quality, and making Maryland the greenest state in the country.

Visit Governor Moore’s website for more information.

Emergency managers play a critical role in community resilience, including developing the comprehensive strategies needed to address the hazards associated with climate change. At the 2023 MACo Winter Conference session “Batten Down the Hatches: Mitigating a Changing Climate,” an expert panel will share practical insights and actionable strategies to foster a more sustainable and prepared future.

The 2023 MACo Winter Conference is December 6-8 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel in Cambridge, Maryland.

Learn more about MACo’s Winter Conference: