Meet the Executives
Ray Shirkhodai, Executive Director
Ray Shirkhodai provides leadership and oversight for PDC’s operation, management, administration, and program development. He joined PDC in January 2002 as Chief of Information Systems and also served as Chief Operating Officer prior to his appointment as Executive Director in 2006. Shirkhodai has overseen PDC’s expansion into the global hazard and risk information markets and directed the development of DisasterAWARE and Disaster Alert, PDC’s flagship early warning tool and mobile application, respectively. His experience in information management and senior leadership includes corporate governance, executive management, strategic planning, program development, and management of web-based applications and Information Technology infrastructure.
Chris Chiesa, Deputy Executive Director
Chris Chiesa is responsible for PDC operations and program development, as well as client services. Since joining PDC in 2002, he has led the establishment and development of enterprise geospatial data services, the Center's GIS-based "Global Hazards and Vulnerabilities Atlas," and the PDC-hosted "Global Hazards Information Network," a geospatial information sharing service. During the past decade, Chiesa has been actively involved in disaster management activities throughout the Asia-Pacific region, directing programs in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. He is an active member of APEC’s Emergency Preparedness Working Group and the Pacific Risk Management Ohana (PRiMO) Navigators Council chairing it from 2012-2014. He has previously served as PDC’s Chief Information Officer and Director of the Data and Information Resources Division.
Carlos Villacis, Director of Applied Science
As Director of Applied Science, Dr. Carlos Villacis oversees the application and integration of the latest disaster sciences into PDC’s products and services. Dr. Villacis brings over thirty years of experience with him to PDC, having advised local and central governments worldwide. He has implemented multidisciplinary disaster risk reduction initiatives in more than fifty countries in collaboration with international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, USAID, NATO, GFZ, SDC, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Dr. Villacis comes to PDC from Italy, where he was the Regional Program Manager and Strategy Coordinator for the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation. Prior to his most current role, he designed and coordinated the implementation of the Global Risk Identification Program (GRIP), a multi-agency initiative hosted by UNDP in Geneva, Switzerland, adopted as the official platform for Priority II of the Hyogo Framework for Action: Risk Identification and Early Warning.
Dr. Villacis holds a Ph.D. in Earthquake Engineering and Disaster Mitigation from the University of Tokyo, Japan; a Master in Public Administration from Harvard University’s J.F. Kennedy School of Government; a specialization in Earthquake Engineering from the International Institute of Seismology and Earthquake Engineering, Japan; and a degree in Structural Engineering (Graduation Summa Cum Laude) from the Escuela Politecnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador. Among his other notable academic achievements, Dr. Villacis has acted as Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and was Mason Fellow at the J.F. Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Villacis is fluent in four languages: Spanish, English, Japanese, and Italian.
Erin Hughey, Director of Disaster Services
Dr. Erin Hughey is responsible for bridging disaster risk research and practice by integrating the most recent advances in disaster risk reduction into national disaster plans and training curriculum. During her time at PDC, she has developed a six-course disaster management curriculum for the nation of Vietnam, provided technical support to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and developed a series of three knowledge exchanges between The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the U.S. Government, in support of USNORTHCOM, and worked with USSOUTHCOM to enhance DisasterAWARE.
Mateo Manzari, Director of Information Technology
Mateo Manzari manages the employee groups responsible for PDC’s High Technology Enterprise and leads development teams working to enhance infrastructure design, cloud computing, security, server and network architecture, and data center management for all operational technology. Manzari also serves as the Project Director for the ongoing development and enhancement of the Center’s flagship technology, the DisasterAWARE platform. This includes the Global Hazards Atlas and Disaster Alert mobile app as well as numerous custom, separately secured versions of this software. Before Manzari joined PDC in February 2015, he already had more than 15 years’ experience in high-level/high-security information technology development, oversight, and management, ranging from planning and conceptualization through contracting, analysis, design, deployment, and optimization.
Scott Okada, Director of Finance & Administration
Scott Okada is responsible for PDC’s fiscal planning and management in all areas of budgeting, financial analysis, procurement, and business information technology applications. He has experience and training as a financial forecaster, auditor, tax-compliance officer, and report compiler for national and governmental organizations. His experience also includes high-level oversight of human resources management and loss prevention, as well as cash management and cost control functions.