Commissioner Franz Appoints New Policy Director & Chief Resilience Officer
News Date: 
July 7, 2021

Marissa Aho is the former Chief Resilience Officer for the cities of Houston and Los Angeles

Today, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the hire of Marissa Aho as its new Policy Director and Chief Resilience Officer.
Previously, Aho served as the Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Houston. In that role, Marissa led city-wide resilience-building efforts to help the city prepare for catastrophic events and address chronic stresses, from floods and hurricanes to aging infrastructure and extreme heat. This work included developing the Resilient Houston strategy, a comprehensive framework to build resilience for individuals, neighborhoods, watersheds, city government, and the region.
Aho’s first day will be July 12.
“The extreme weather we have seen this week reinforces how crucial building resilient lands and communities is for Washington going forward,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “That starts with developing and implementing bold policies and strategies to confront our greatest challenges – from climate change to wildfire. Marissa’s expertise will enhance and guide our efforts to strengthen communities and steward our public lands.”
“I’m thrilled to be joining a state agency that is at the forefront of addressing critical issues including climate change, environmental justice and disaster preparedness,” said Aho. “I’m ready to hit the ground running as DNR continues to bring forward bold, innovative approaches to building resilience for our people, our lands and our waters.”
Prior to her work in Houston, Aho served as the first Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Los Angeles. In that capacity, she led development of the Resilient Los Angeles strategy, which focused on disaster resilience, climate adaptation, infrastructure modernization, and economic security. Aho is the only Chief Resilience Officer to lead the development and implementation of resilience strategies for two cities. Aho is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
Aho grew up in Washington and has a master’s degree in planning, with a focus on social and community development, from the University of Southern California.
Photo available for media use.
Darwin Forsyth
Deputy Communications Director