It was in 2008, near the end of an 11-year stint at the Democratic National Committee, that McNamara first worked with then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano. When the time came, after a stint helping to select convention delegates, to look for another job —"I always said I would stay at the DNC as long as it took to elect a Democratic president"—McNamara decided to follow Napolitano to DHS. For nearly four years, he served as the executive secretariat in the office that directly supports the secretary and deputy secretary, before becoming assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs earlier this year. Now he helps ensure coordination between the agency and its state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, and makes sure their voices are represented at the federal level. The mission of DHS—which was formed after the Sept. 11 attacks—is also personal for McNamara, 38, whose father is a retired firefighter. "I remember myself thinking immediately after 9/11 with those couple hundred brave New York firefighters who died, I was lucky—that could have been my dad as a firefighter running into a burning building," he said. McNamara grew up in Clinton, Mass., and graduated from the University of Massachusetts.