SAN FRANCISCO - For the last ten years, Craig Dziedzic has spearheaded the Bay Area’s partnership with the federal government through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI). Dziedzic servers as the organization’s general manager, working with the Department of Homeland Security to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from terrorist incidents and catastrophic events. “We promote regional initiatives that align with the grant, the reason for the grant—there’s a nexus to terrorism,” said Dziedzic. “To prevent, protect the communities against a terrorist event.”
Dziedzic works directly with DHS to allocate regional grants. He’s worked in all levels of government for more than 20 years. But, back in 1980, he was a student at American University in Washington DC. “Wanted to have some experience, knowledge working in DC,” said Dziedzic. “Washington DC is to politics—it’s sort of the LA regarding the entertainment world.”
Like many of his friends and classmates, Craig wanted to work on Capitol Hill. He found a senator who he thought matched his interests. “I applied and I interned for Joe Biden,” recalled Dziedzic. “At that time, he was the youngest senator, he was on the Foreign Senate Relations committee.”
Craig still has the signed photo from his time in Biden’s office. He says one story from the internship sticks out. He was asked to pick up lunch for his new boss, but when he went to drop it off, then-Senator Biden was the only one in the office. “Oh sit down, tell me about yourself, what classes are you taking—what do you like? And it was, this conversation,” said Dziedzic. “He didn’t need to do that.”
Craig says the 20-minute meeting solidified his respect for Biden and set a framework for how he treats his staff including interns to this day. “The person that can speak and relate, that can show empathy, that has emotional intelligence—it’s amazing, the inner person hasn’t changed,” said Dziedzic about Biden.
Now that his boss from 40 years ago is the president-elect, Craig says it’s a bit of a full circle moment for him. While he continues to partner with the federal government, he has this message for the man who helped him launch his career. “You were always my hero and I’m glad that you’re in a position that will make a difference.”