At a press conference this afternoon in the Church Creek area of West Ashley, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg announced the appointment of Dutch Dialogues Co-Founder Dale Morris as the city of Charleston’s new Chief Resilience Officer.
Mr. Morris will replace Mark Wilbert--the city’s first Chief Resilience Officer--who will retire in September. Mr. Wilbert joined the city as Emergency Management Director in 2013 and has served as Chief Resilience Officer since 2017.
“In the 20th century, our challenge as a great and historic city was to preserve and protect our past. Today, in the 21st century, it's to preserve and protect our future in the face of rising seas and ever-more extreme weather,” Mayor Tecklenburg said. “As our first Chief Resilience Officer, Mark Wilbert has been an invaluable leader in helping to chart that new course. And as both an internationally-recognized leader in flood control and a co-founder of the Dutch Dialogues, Dale Morris is precisely the right person to carry on those efforts going forward."
Mr. Morris said, “It’s truly an honor to be joining the city team as its next Chief Resilience Officer. Over the past few months, people have asked me why I’m leaving an excellent job with the Water Institute of the Gulf to come to Charleston to deal with flooding. The reason is this: with all of the outstanding progress the city has made on these issues to date, it has a real opportunity to become a model of how best to protect citizens from the effects of flooding, rising seas and extreme weather, and I’m excited to be a part of that effort moving forward.”
Mr. Wilbert said, “I am deeply proud of how far our city has come in just a few short years and of all the work we’ve put in together to make Charleston a leader in resilience. Mayor Tecklenburg could not have chosen a better person to step in and move Charleston forward in the race to address the many challenges that lay ahead.”
Mr. Morris comes to the city from The Water Institute of the Gulf, a technical research not-for-profit focused on flood risk mitigation and adaptation in Louisiana and the US Gulf Coast, where he has served as Director of Strategic Partnerships for the past three years.
As co-founder of the Dutch Dialogues workshop process, Mr. Morris is well versed in Charleston’s unique flooding challenges and has worked closely with city officials and staff on this critical issue.
Prior to his work at the Water Institute, Mr. Morris worked at the Royal Netherlands Embassy for 24 years, serving as congressional liaison, deputy press secretary, and senior economic adviser and economist. Then, after Hurricane Katrina, he directed the Dutch Government’s water management and adaptation work in the U.S., focusing on Louisiana, Florida, California, New York and Virginia.
Morris served in the U.S. Air Force after high school and is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Virginia with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.