Trent Richardson, PhD

Dr. Trent Richardson is currently serving as Acting Associate Director for Natural Hazards where he oversees the geologic hazards and coastal-marine programs of the USGS and coordinates the hazard response and planning activities for the Bureau.


USGS Experience

As Deputy Associate Director, Trent advances strategic mission area initiatives across the Natural Hazards Mission Area (NHMA) programs as well as across the USGS. Through this role, he guides the development, implementation, and evaluation of mission area-wide policies and programs and represents these accomplishments for the USGS Missions, Bureau, and Department of the Interior. Trent is focused on improving the effectiveness of operations, evaluating organizational structure, and successfully executing the mission area’s appropriations. He is a champion for a diverse set of mission area science initiatives and conveying their purpose and value to a wide range of audiences.

Trent also coordinates NHMA performance management activities, program reviews and metrics, and the mapping of science initiatives to the Director’s and Secretary’s priorities. In addition, Trent serves as the primary point of contact regarding recruitment activities, workforce planning, and ensuring supervisory duties across the mission area are carried out in accordance with policy and regulation. Trent fosters a work environment among staff where the 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, coordinating event response, and improving communication activities across the NHMA. A few recent examples:

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. Trent originally joined the Minerals Management Service (MMS) during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill event (2010) and was directly involved in the subsequent reorganization of MMS into three separate bureaus: BOEM, BSEE, and ONRR.

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 the University of Mary Washington, an M.S. in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences from George Mason University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and Policy with honors, also from George Mason University.

His academic research focused on understanding the patterns and timing of coastal change and tidal inlet response on the sandy mixed-energy coastlines along the Delmarva Peninsula. The work-integrated and analyzed a rich set of shoreline and tidal inlet data over a range of spatial and temporal scales.