Photo of Mary Ellen CarrollMary Ellen Carroll
Executive Director

Mary Ellen Carroll was appointed Executive Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) in August 2018 by Mayor London N. Breed.  Carroll oversees a department of 241 employees who are responsible for leading San Francisco in planning preparedness, communications, response and recovery for daily emergencies, large scale City wide events and major disasters.

Carroll brings almost 25 years of experience in local public service to the Department of Emergency Management. She has served for the past seven years as the Director of Emergency Planning and Security for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, where she supervised all security and emergency management operations.

She managed the response to the 2013 Rim Fire that resulted in almost $50 million in damage to City assets, and has led numerous incident command activations throughout her tenure. Carroll has deployed in a mutual assistance role to regional disasters including several wildfires. She managed the City’s pilot policy on drone usage and she is an active member of the California Water/Wastewater Response Network.

She joined the City’s Department of Public Health in 2005, where she led planning and coordination efforts for San Francisco’s health systems. Carroll spent several years working in the Controller's Office developing business continuity plans for key City services. She also developed city-wide plans for state and federal cost recovery activities to ensure rapid recovery from disasters and reimbursement for disaster damages. 

Carroll holds a B.A. in International Studies from George Washington University and an Master of Arts in Urban Studies from Virginia Tech.


Photo of Adrienne Bechelli

Adrienne Bechelli
Chief of Staff

Adrienne Bechelli is the Chief of Staff for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management.   She develops and implements strategic agency-wide initiatives focusing on regulatory and legislative changes to enhance San Francisco’s resiliency.  Prior to this role, she spent six years at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission as an agency planner, trainer and emergency analyst where she managed the Department’s emergency training and exercise program.  She has led the activation of the incident command system in both planned and emergency incidents, and has spoken throughout California and Nevada on best practices during emergency incidents in the utility sector.

Adrienne is an experienced emergency manager who has been deployed to respond to multiple emergencies affecting the San Francisco Bay Area.

Adrienne is a San Francisco native and graduate of St. Ignatius College Preparatory.  She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.



Rob Smuts

Robert Smuts
Deputy Director, Division of Emergency Communications

Robert Smuts is a Deputy Director for the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, where he leads the Emergency Communications Division. Robert is an experienced administrator with a background in emergency management and public safety.

Robert previously served as the City Administrator for New Haven, Connecticut from 2007 to 2013, he was the chief administrator for most operational departments and provided budget and personnel oversight. During his tenure he established the Department of Public Safety Communications which created a combined public safety answering point for all police, fire, and emergency medical services. As part of his duties, Smuts also served as the City of New Haven’s Director of Emergency Management. Prior to serving as City Administrator, Smuts was the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Mayor of New Haven.

Smuts holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Yale University. 



Photo of Bijan Karimi, Acting Deputy Director, Emergency Services

Bijan Karimi
Acting Deputy Director, Division of Emergency Services

Bijan is the Acting Deputy Director of Emergency Services for the Department of Emergency Management. He directs response operations, policy implementation, hazard and threat analysis, training and excercise development and planning.

Bijan came to the world of emergency management after nearly a decade in the financial services industry. Bijan is pursuing his doctrate in Policy and Planning from the University of Sourthern California. He has a Master's degree in Security Studies from the Naval Post Graduate School and a Masters in Business Administration from California Polytechnic State Univeristy, San Luis Obispo.

In his free time, Bijan is a podcast host, Marin County Search and Rescue volunteer, trail runner and equipment fabricator.




 Will LeeWilliam Lee
Deputy Director, Administration and Support

William Lee is a Deputy Director of the Department of Emergency Management, where he has overseen the Administration and Support personnel since 2002. The administrative staff are responsible for performing department-wide functions, such as budgeting, accounting, grant administration, purchasing, human resources, recruitment, payroll, IT support, and facility management.

Since 1997, Will has served as the Chief Finance Officer for several City and County of San Francisco Departments, including the Solid Waste Management Program, the Department of Human Resources, and the Department of Emergency Management. In addition, Will was part of the 9-1-1 Project Team, which implemented and established the current 9-1-1 Communications System, the 800 MHz Radio Network System, and the Combined Emergency Communications Center.

Will holds a BS in Environmental Economics from U.C. Berkeley. He is a native San Franciscan and graduate of Lowell High School.