Paul “Mac” McNamara has resided in Escondido for almost 25 years, and has always been very active in the civic affairs of the community. After serving 8 years as an elected trustee of the Palomar College Governing Board, he is now the Mayor of Escondido. Mac is a US Marine Corps veteran having served in multiple operations during his career to include Operation Desert Storm and as attaché for the US Defense Intelligence Agency in Mexico City where he focused on countering human trafficking and illegal drugs. Mac is currently the Executive Director of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Museum Foundation. Before this, Mac had over a decade of professional work in the private sector with extensive experience in management of defense technology and engineering programs.
Paul “Mac” McNamara was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1953. He grew up in a hardworking, blue- collar family which shaped his values and developed his strong work ethic. From the age of 9, Mac held many jobs including paper boy, delivery boy and stock boy. He excelled at sports, achieved Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, and was awarded The National Eagle Scout Association’s Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. He was encouraged to attend college by his high school teachers. His mother stressed the importance of self-improvement. He was the only member of his family to graduate from college.
Mac attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison on an NROTC scholarship and was commissioned a 2/Lt in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation.
Mac started as an Infantry Officer and served two tours. One was at Camp Lejeune and the other was at Okinawa, Japan. During those tours Paul deployed to various places, of note, his unit conducted a non-combatant evacuation of Beirut, Lebanon during the civil war there.
After completing two “fleet” tours Paul was assigned to Officer Recruitment based out of Boston, MA. Paul then attended Flight School and was again assigned to Camp Lejeune. During this tour, he deployed twice. One deployment was in support of operations in Beirut, Lebanon. He was chosen to attend the highly selective Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, and upon completion was one of the early WTIs in the Marine Corps.
He served in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Marine Aircraft Wings (Okinawa, North Carolina, Hawaii, and California) In addition to squadron staff tours, he commanded both a Marine Helicopter Squadron and Marine Aircraft Group.
Mac participated in Operation Desert Storm as well as other smaller operations. He flew in support of relief operations during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines. He also supported other hurricane and natural disaster relief operations.
Mac served on diplomatic duty as an attaché for the Defense Intelligence Agency in Mexico City, Mexico. During this assignment, he focused on three areas – insurgency operations principally in Chiapas, Mexico from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), and was at one point detained/held by them. Additionally, he also focused on counter drug efforts and the smuggling/human trafficking of Chinese immigrants. He was designated a Foreign Area Officer for Latin America. He was awarded the Merito Militar de 2/a. Clase by the Mexican Secretary of Defense. And was also commended by the U.S. Coast Guard for his participation in counter drug operations.
He also served as the 3D Marine Aircraft Wing Chief of Staff, under Major General Bolden, former head of NASA, and the Chief of Staff for the First Marine Expeditionary Force, serving the Commanding General, LtGen Mike Hagee, who went on to become the Commandant of the Marine Corps and with the Deputy Commanding General, BG Jim Mattis, who went on to eventually become the Secretary of Defense. In that role, he led the staff in the planning and execution of immediate post 9/11 Marine Corps operational activities in Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for these efforts.
Mac is currently the Executive Director of the MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) Museum Foundation. In this role, he supports the museum programs which include veteran outreach and teaching values through history to youth, especially youth in Title I schools.
Previously, he was the General Manager for a SDVOSB, a for-profit LLC that specialized in Analysis, and Technical and Engineering services. Prior to that Position he was the General Manager of a joint venture between the Inupiat Native Alaskans (Eskimos) from Barrow, Alaska, and Native Hawaiians. He was hired to turn the company around, which he did. Prior to this position, he held corporate leadership roles that related to Information Systems. He was the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder for Shee Atika Technologies, an Engineering, and Technical Services Native Alaskan (Tlingit) owned LLC from Sitka, Alaska. Of note in this role, he led strategic analysis teams in a variety of projects for Marine Corps System Command in Information Architecture design, and hardware and software procurement. Previously, he was the VP and COO of Technology Intelligence International, an Information Architecture Design and Development company. While there he authored the Marine Corps’ initial overarching Command and Control vision as well as transformational IT efforts for the United States Navy. Prior to serving in this position, Paul was a Program Manager for JAYCOR Defense Systems Division, Titan Corporation. In this responsibility, he served as the Chief Technical Advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and was responsible for assisting the Marine Corps in its technology transition, and in developing its Information Technology strategy and implementation. Additionally, he served as an advisor to the Program Manager for the development of the Deployable Joint Command and Control (DJC2) effort.
Mac works tirelessly for the causes he believes in. He a member and volunteer of numerous community organizations which include the Escondido Rotary Club (President 2018-19), former member of the Executive Board of the Escondido Charitable Foundation, and the Executive Board of Girls Incorporated of San Diego. He is a lifetime member of several organizations to include the Marine Corps Association, the Marine Corps Aviation Association, the Disabled American Veterans, and the MCRD Museum Foundation.