Zachary Iscol will serve as commissioner of NYCEM. Christina Farrell will serve as first deputy commissioner, the first woman ever to serve in that role. She previously served as acting commissioner.
Staffed by 200 professionals, NYCEM works with agencies across city government to develop disaster readiness plans and respond to emergencies when they arise.
Commissioner Iscol and First Deputy Commissioner Farrell will both be responsible for delivering on Mayor Adams’ vision of a safer city by implementing upstream strategies to ensure the city is prepared for and able to mitigate emergencies before they become crises.
“Emergencies are inevitable in a city as large and dynamic as ours and, sadly, we have already faced a number of them during my first six weeks in office,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “One of the core functions of government is to keep people safe. Ensuring we have strong leadership to prepare for emergencies and respond appropriately when they occur is critical to this mission. I am proud to have Zach Iscol and Christina Farrell join our team. They are proven leaders, who will help us keep New Yorkers safe and ‘Get Stuff Done.’”
“The Adams administration is laser-focused on keeping New Yorkers safe — and these appointments underscore that commitment,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks. “From preparing for the next pandemic to hardening our defenses against natural disasters, the job of NYCEM has never been more urgent. I look forward to working with Commissioner Iscol and First Deputy Commissioner Farrell to deliver on Mayor Adams’ vision for a safer, more equitable city.”
“Throughout my career, whether in combat, addressing a suicide epidemic, or on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve seen that government works best when it works together,” said NYCEM Commissioner Zachary Iscol. “Mayor Adams and his administration understand the importance of moving our city upstream and getting city agencies to work together and with their federal, state, and private sector partners to solve the many pressing issues facing New Yorkers. That’s how we create a safer, more equitable, and more resilient city. I am incredibly honored to be joining this administration and the remarkable team at NYCEM to make that vision of effective government a reality in addressing 21st-century challenges and crises.”
“I am honored to be officially named the first female First Deputy Commissioner of New York City Emergency Management, an agency like no other,” said NYCEM First Deputy Commissioner Christina Farrell. “Over the past 19 years, I have been proud every day to help the residents of New York City during many emergencies, including the 2003 citywide blackout, Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, Ebola, building explosions, blizzards, and, of course, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The women and men of our agency are beyond dedicated, and consistently give of themselves selflessly to make our city safer and more prepared. I thank Mayor Adams for this opportunity.”
“Congratulations to Zach Iscol and Christina Farrell on their appointments as our city’s next commissioner and first deputy commissioner of Emergency Management,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Zach is a lifelong public servant with a proven track record leading through crises and putting others first, and Christina has already proven to be a critical partner in helping our communities recover from too many recent tragedies. I am looking forward to working with both of them in continuing to build a more equitable and resilient borough and city.”
“Zach Iscol’s long history of leadership and service to our nation and our city make him an ideal choice to lead our emergency and disaster planning and response efforts as commissioner of New York City Emergency Management,” said Vincent Alvarez, president, New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO. “Our city’s workforce is the best in the world, and we’re confident that under Zach’s stewardship, we can continue to improve coordination and cooperation between our municipal agencies and with our state and federal partners — resulting in a safer, more resilient New York City.”
“I want to congratulate Zach Iscol on his appointment as our city’s next commissioner of Emergency Management and Christina Farrell as the first deputy,” said Andy D’Amora, former commissioner, NYCEM. “I had the pleasure of working alongside Zach and saw his leadership abilities firsthand, pulling together over 40 federal, state, and city agencies to put politics aside and focus on serving New Yorkers during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic at Javits Medical Center. I know with Zach as commissioner and Christina Farrell as first deputy commissioner the agency and the tremendous team at NYCEM are in good hands and commend the mayor on these exciting appointments.”
“During these challenging times for our city, the selection of Zach Iscol as the commissioner of Emergency Management represents a great appointment by Mayor Adams,” said Ken Chenault, chairman, General Catalyst; and former CEO and chairman, American Express. “A true public servant, Zach brings a wealth of crisis management and leadership experience from across the private and public sector that will serve the city well. I look forward to working with him and the rest of the administration to ensure New York’s best days remain in front of us.”
“Congratulations to my good friend Zach Iscol,” said Jake Wood, founder, Team Rubicon. “I’ve had the privilege of working alongside him in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and he has an incredible track record from leading Marines in heavy combat operations to addressing a suicide epidemic amongst our fellow veterans at home to serving New Yorkers during the most recent pandemic. Zach will do so much to keep the City of New York safe and secure. I look forward to serving and working alongside him again in the future.”
“Zach is a great choice to bring fresh insights and energy to NYCEM,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City. “His background of service to the country and state has given him broad exposure to the complex issues that the city must address in preparing for and managing a range of crises.”
Zachary Iscol will serve as commissioner of NYCEM. Iscol previously pulled together over 40 federal, state, and city agencies as the deputy director of Joint New York Medical Station, one of the largest and only successful COVID-19 field hospitals in the country. He recently ran for New York City comptroller.
As a Marine, Iscol served two tours in Iraq and on other assignments throughout Africa and the Middle East.
During his second tour of duty, he led a combined unit of US Marines and Iraqi soldiers in some of the heaviest fighting of the Iraq War during the Second Battle of Fallujah, where he was awarded a Bronze Star for valor.
He later helped build many of the components of the Marine Corps’ First Special Operations Command (MARSOC) and was deployed on one of the first MARSOC teams to deploy overseas.
Over the past decade, Iscol has built and led businesses and a non-profit health care provider, the Headstrong Project.
The Headstrong Project now cares for over 1,000 veterans a week, in more than 30 cities, and provides world-class, cost- and bureaucracy-free mental health care to veterans and service members so that they can recover from hidden wounds and get back to the best versions of themselves.
Iscol received his B.A. from Cornell University. He lives in Manhattan with his wife Meredith, their four children, and three rescue dogs.
Iscol will report to Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks.
Christina Farrell will serve as the first deputy commissioner of NYCEM. She has been acting first deputy since October 2021 and acting commissioner since January 2022.
Since the beginning of 2022, Farrell managed the citywide response to multiple snowstorms, the tragic Bronx fire, and multiple building explosions.
During her time at the agency, Farrell has served as the director of grants, as well as assistant commissioner and deputy commissioner of external affairs.
Under her leadership, foundational programs at New York City Emergency Management have been created and grown to national prominence, including the New York City Community Emergency Response Team Program, Ready New York, and Notify NYC.
A city employee for more than 27 years, Farrell started at New York City Emergency Management in 2003.
She is a graduate of Colgate University and has a Master of Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Farrell resides in Whitestone, Queens, with her husband Tim and their four children.