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Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack names additional staff at USDA

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack Aug. 7 announced the names of five additional staff that will hold positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These people will work in various agencies within the department.

"USDA is fortunate to have outstanding staff who work diligently in support of the Department's mission and vision," Vilsack said. "President Obama and I are pleased that these individuals will contribute to our efforts to achieve strong rural communities, improve the environment, and ensure our food supply remains safe, sustainable, and nutritious."

Farm And Foreign Agricultural Services

Jim Monahan--Deputy Administrator of Commodity Operations. Monahan most recently served as executive director of the Ag Council on the Environment where he built coalitions with producers, landowners, and groups to initiate, expand and support water quality projects. During the Clinton Administration, Monahan served as the state executive director for the Farm Service Agency in Vermont and the Virgin Islands, and later as a special assistant to the FSA administrator. He served as a legislative assistant to Vermont Senator Leahy after serving for 15 years in USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. He is a disabled Marine from the Vietnam era, who currently serves as a National Board Director for Veterans and Military Families for Progress, a nonprofit organization helping Veterans and their families. Monahan graduated from Johnson State College with a double major in environmental science and economics and resource management.

Office Of The Secretary

Carmen Jones--Special Assistant, Departmental Administration. Jones most recently was the president and founder of the Solutions Marketing Group, a marketing consulting firm that advises Fortune 500 corporations on employment programs for people with disabilities. From 1998 to 2006, Jones worked at the U. S. Department of Transportation under Secretaries Rodney Slater and Norman Mineta. While there she worked on several secretarial initiatives to include ONE DOT, an organizational change strategy that enhanced the performance of DOT's senior leadership. Jones is a graduate of Hampton University (Virginia) where she studied Marketing.

Quinton Robinson--Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. Robinson brings 13 years of congressional staff experience and 6 years government affairs experience to this position. During his tenure on congressional staff, he served in key legislative positions such as legislative director in the U.S. House of Representatives and as assistant counsel on the House Committee on Agriculture. Robinson holds a B.A. in Political Science from the Albany State University, Albany, Ga.; a M.A. in Political Management from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C.; and a J.D. from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Steve Silverman--Deputy General Counsel. Silverman most recently served as USDA's Regional Attorney in Denver, Colo., where he oversaw legal issues arising in the mountain states. Prior to that, Silverman was a Senior Attorney at the Environmental Enforcement Section of the U.S. Department of Justice. Silverman received his J.D. with distinction from Stanford Law School and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Princeton University with a major in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Silverman is married to Kathryn Schmidt, who also is an attorney. They have two children, Sam and Ben.

Suzanne Smith Palmieri--Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary. Palmieri served in the Clinton Administration at Peace Corps, the US Agency for International Development and as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary for Rural Development at USDA. She has also worked for the Department of State. Ms. Palmieri began her federal service with Senator Patrick Leahy, both in his personal office and on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Before coming to Washington, she was a staff member of the Governor's Office in her home state of Arkansas. Ms. Palmieri graduated from Vassar College and earned her Masters Degree in Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Palmieri is married to Francisco Palmieri, a Foreign Service Officer, currently posted in Washington. They have two children, Ellis and Madeline.



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