Trent Richardson, PhD

Dr. Trent Richardson is currently serving as Acting Associate Director for Natural Hazards, leading the Natural Hazards Mission Area (NHMA) in fulfilling the mission for conducting and delivering the science and applications needed to reduce risks from natural hazards.


Trent’s leadership at NHMA advances initiatives for monitoring, assessing, and conducting targeted research on a wide range of natural hazards. Trent directs the diverse NHMA team, including the Bureau-level Emergency Management staff, to work with multiple partners in responding to hazards as well as planning activities so that staff, policymakers and the public have the understanding they need to enhance preparedness, response, and resilience.

He also works to ensure that staff within the NHMA programs work seamlessly across the Bureau. In fulfilling the NHMA mission, he consults, guides development of, implements and evaluates NHMA-wide policies, programs, systems, and procedures with staff, ensuring that NHMA is aligned and well-coordinated across the USGS. Trent is focused on improving the effectiveness of operations and evaluating organizational structure to ensure it fulfills the USGS mission successfully. Trent is a champion for USGS and NHMA science initiatives, working to strengthen linkages with other mission areas and programs across the Bureau to enhance integrated science capabilities and budget efficiency. Trent represents NHMA accomplishments through reports, briefings, presentations, blogs and issue papers for the USGS Mission Areas, Bureau, Department, OMB, and Congress. He is adept at communicating and conveying the purpose and value of NHMA expertise to a wide range of audiences.

Trent coordinates NHMA performance management activities, program reviews and reporting program metrics and the mapping of these initiatives to the USGS Director’s and Interior Secretary’s priorities. In addition, Trent serve as the primary point of contact regarding recruitment activities, workforce planning, and ensuring supervisory duties across the mission area are carried out in accordance to policy. Trent fosters a positive work environment among staff where USGS core values are recognized and respected across the breadth of the organization.

Career History and Highlights

Trent has made key accomplishments through championing groundbreaking science initiatives and ensuring that USGS scientific capabilities and expertise are brought together and well-coordinated, especially in response to natural hazard events. He has also focused on raising visibility and awareness of NHMA contributions and accomplishments through improving communication activities and developing new products both within and beyond the NHMA. A few recent examples demonstrate the many ways USGS brings a suite of expertise and knowledge to address natural hazards and reduce their impacts.

Prior to joining the USGS, Trent served as the Chief of Staff of the Office of Strategic Resources within the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). During this time, Trent was a key advisor to BOEM leadership on energy exploration and development issues on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf and the conveyance of marine minerals for beach nourishment and coastal restoration efforts. He also served as liaison to the Office of Environmental Programs, Office of Renewable Energy programs and regional offices in Louisiana, California and Alaska. He was a subject matter expert on the use of marine mammals for coastal restoration and the principal budget administrator for the Office of Strategic Resources. Trent originally joined the Minerals Management Service (MMS) during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill event (2010) and was involved in the subsequent reorganization of MMS into three separate bureaus: BOEM, BSEE and ONRR. In this capacity, he provided support and guidance to senior leadership, advising on policy-based decisions, developing briefing materials for senior staff, and coordinating a wide range of reorganization activities at both the headquarters and regional levels.

He has experience with private industry consulting and served as Capitol Hill Policy Intern in the U.S. Senate.


Dr. Richardson has B.S. double major in Geography and Political Science from Mary Washington College, an M.S. in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences from George Mason University, and a Ph.D in Environmental Science and Public Policy with honors, also from George Mason University.

His academic research has focused on understanding patterns and timing of coastal change and tidal inlet response. Focused on the sandy mixed-energy coastlines along the Delmarva peninsula, the work integrated a variety of geospatial data with analysis over a range of spatial and temporal scales and shoreline conditions.