Fugate knows when a Waffle House is closed. The FEMA administrator who faced down Hurricane Sandy is an advocate for the Waffle House theory of disaster control: When the local Waffle House is open, an area is in the clear. If not, that's when things start getting dicey. Since starting at FEMA in 2009, Fugate, 54, has seen his share of closed eateries. He is a former volunteer firefighter and a Florida State Fire Control College graduate, born and raised in Alachua, Fla. Before joining FEMA, he ran the Florida Division of Emergency Management, handling the state's response to a series of major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. Few people have had more experience with natural disasters. Sandy, though, is not yet through with Fugate. Since the storm hit, he has promoted a "whole community" effort with states to help the storm's survivors. But that's not all he has on his plate; the administrator has spent time this summer dealing with devastating tornadoes in Oklahoma. Fugate's deputy at FEMA, Richard Serino, defines him as a person who is "always looking forward," challenging FEMA to do the most it can in the wake of storms. After four years on the job, plenty of challenges remain.