Cal OES Celebrates Two Decades of Disaster Management at Mather’s State Operation Center

Simpler times and humble beginnings – the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) started as a department called the State War Council in 1943. With an increasing emphasis on emergency management, it officially became OES in 1970. Three decades later, it was apparent OES had outgrown the confines of its timber and tin Quonset hut, the WWII-era former CHP academy. So, with the support of law makers, especially Senator William Campbell, a new headquarters building was commissioned. Then on May 9, 2000, the ribbon was cut on the new home to Cal OES.

“The key thing is that this center constantly has to be updated,” Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci says, “and upgraded to meet the demands and the kind of challenges that we are seeing in the state day in and day out.”

Today, Cal OES performs its broader mission by preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters, and through it all helps create a more resilient California.​​​ To maintain that mission, the Cal OES State Operation Center continues to expand its staff, employ the latest technology and invest in additional resources.

So it’s time to celebrate all the dedication, sacrifice and pride Cal OES staff has embodied in the two decades since that ribbon cutting on that warm spring day in 2000. The building itself has weathered well, and will serve Californians for many decades to come.

“I would hope in 20 years from now if I came back and visited,” says Lee Dorey, Chief of Cal OES Response Operations, “it still looks brand new and fresh, it’s well taken care of because this building helps take care of the people in California.”

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