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President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

April 17, 2009 - 12:00am

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WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts: Christine M. Griffin, Deputy Director of Office of Personnel Management; Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, United States Department of Agriculture; Rajiv Shah, Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, United States Department of Agriculture; Michael Nacht, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Global Strategic Affairs), Department of Defense; Mercedes Márquez, Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Raymond M. Jefferson, Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training, Department of Labor; Robert S. Litt, General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and William F. Brinkman, Director of the Office of Science, Department of Energy.

President Obama said, "I am grateful that these fine individuals have made the admirable decision to serve their country. Their expertise and dedication will be a valuable asset both to my administration and our nation as we work to bring about the real change that the American people need today."

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:

Christine M. Griffin, Nominee for Deputy Director of Office of Personnel Management Christine M. Griffin has been a member of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission since January 2006 and currently serves as its Acting Vice Chair.  As a member of the Commission, Ms. Griffin participates, with the other Commissioners, in the authorization of litigation and the development and approval of regulations, policy and guidance that relate to the enforcement of the nation's employment discrimination laws.  Since joining the Commission, Griffin has been vocal in her support of increasing diversity in the federal workforce, most notably through her launch of the LEAD Initiative - Leadership for the Employment of Americans with Disabilities - to address the significant under-employment of individuals with severe disabilities in the federal government.  Prior to joining the Commission, Griffin served as the Executive Director of the Disability Law Center in Boston from 1996 to 2005.  A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Griffin received her undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and her law degree from Boston College Law School, and was awarded the prestigious Skadden Arps Fellowship upon graduation. In 2005, Griffin was selected as one of the nation's eleven "Lawyers of the Year" by Lawyers Weekly USA newspaper.  Griffin is also a U.S. Army veteran.

Kevin Concannon, Nominee for Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, United States Department of Agriculture

Kevin Concannon was appointed Iowa Department of Human Services Director in March 2003.  He was re-appointed as DHS Director by Governor Culver and Lt. Governor Judge in January 2007.  Iowa DHS provides authority and financing for health care for Iowans of all ages through the Medicaid program and the Iowa hawk-i program.  The agency also is the lead agency for child welfare, low income assistance programs, child support collections, food assistance and behavioral health care, and directly operates four state psychiatric hospitals and two State Resource Centers for Iowans with developmental disabilities, two state juvenile residential centers, and the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO).  Previously, Concannon served as Maine's Department of Human Services Commissioner from 1995 to 2003.  From 1987 to 1995 he was the Director of the Oregon Department of Human Services.  From 1982 to 1987 he was Commissioner of the Maine Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. From 1980 to 1982 he was Commissioner of the Maine Department of Mental Health and Corrections.  He has led efforts at the state level to obtain more affordable prescription drugs for state residents.  He has been instrumental in increasing access to food stamps, farmers markets, and simplified application processes for state residents.  He has been a leader in long-term care system reform for elderly and disabled persons and has championed improved child support and child care programs.  Concannon has served as President of the American Public Welfare Association (APWA) and previously served as President of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors.

Rajiv Shah, Nominee for Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, United States Department of Agriculture

Rajiv J. Shah is the Director of Agricultural Development in the Global Development Program for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where he manages the Foundation's Agricultural Development program - including grant-making portfolios in science and technology, farmer productivity, market access, and policy and statistics - with the goal of helping the world's poor lead healthy and productive lives.  Shah joined the Foundation in 2001 and previously served as the Foundation's Director of Strategic Opportunities and Deputy Director of Policy and Finance for Global Health.  In these roles, he helped develop and launch the Foundation's Global Development Program and the International Finance Facility for Immunization - an effort that raised more than $5 billion for child immunization and hopes to save more than five million lives around the world.  Prior to joining the Foundation, Shah was the health care policy advisor on the Gore 2000 presidential campaign and a member of Governor Ed Rendell's transition committee on health.  Shah is the co-founder of Health Systems Analytics and Project IMPACT for South Asian Americans.  In addition, he has served as a policy aide in the British Parliament and worked at the World Health Organization.  Currently, Shah serves on the boards of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the Seattle Public Library, and the Seattle Community College District.  Dr. Shah earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and Master of Science in health economics at the Wharton School of Business.  He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the London School of Economics and has published articles on health policy and global development.  In 2007, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Michael Nacht, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense (Global Strategic Affairs), Department of Defense

Michael Nacht is currently Professor of Public Policy and former Aaron Wildavsky Dean at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California - Berkeley.  Nacht served a three-year term as a member of the U.S. Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee, for which he chaired panels on counter terrorism and counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, reporting to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. He continues to consult for Sandia National Laboratories and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.  From 1994-1997, Nacht was assistant director for Strategic and Eurasian Affairs at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, leading its work on nuclear arms reduction negotiations with Russia and initiating nuclear arms control talks with China. He participated in five summit meetings with President Clinton - four with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and one with Chinese President Jiang Zemin.  Nacht has testified before Congress on subjects ranging from arms control to the supply and demand for scientists in the workplace.  Nacht earned his B.S. in aeronautics and astronautics at New York University and began his career working on missile aerodynamics for NASA before earning a Ph.D. in political science at Columbia University.

Mercedes Márquez, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Department of Housing and Urban Development

Mercedes Márquez assumed her duties as the General Manager of the City of Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) in January 2004.  Mercedes returned to public service after serving as Vice-President of McCormack Baron Salazar, Inc., a national firm specializing in the development, consultation, and management of urban communities.  Márquez oversaw developments throughout the Southwest and California, which included initiating new developments, coordinating the planning process, acting as liaison with joint venture partners, and interfacing with government officials and local community groups.  Prior to her time with McCormack Baron Salazer, Inc, she served in the Clinton administration as the Senior Counsel to the Secretary and Deputy General Counsel for Civil Rights and Fair Housing for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Washington, D.C.  She was principal advisor to former Secretary Andrew Cuomo on civil rights policy including fair lending and fair housing enforcement, and led investigations and negotiations of housing discrimination cases resulting in landmark settlements.  She also advised the Secretary on rural housing and economic development policy, supervised farm worker and Colonias Community Builder specialists in five states, and served as a U.S. delegate to international commissions.  From 1992 to 1997,  Márquez was a partner at Litt & Márquez, where she specialized in complex public interest litigation including slumlord, fair housing, public housing, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, and constitutional issues cases.  Márquez is an Advisory Board Member of The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers & Human Rights Project and the Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence, a former Trustee of The McAuley Institute, and past national Vice-President of the YWCA of the USA.  Márquez has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California and a J.D. and LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. 

Raymond M. Jefferson, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Veterans Employment and Training, Department of Labor

Ray Jefferson is a leadership consultant with over 20 years of experience spanning several of the world's premier organizations.  From 2006 to 2008, he served with McKinsey & Company in Southeast Asia where he created and delivered leadership training and development programs for clients and offices throughout Asia.  His focus areas are organizational change, inspirational leadership, top team development and peak performance.  Ray graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a major in leadership.  He served as an Army Officer with the infantry, Rangers and Special Forces, with leadership positions in the U.S. Presidential Honor Guard, 3rd Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group.  While attempting to protect his teammates from a hand grenade detonating prematurely during Special Forces training, he lost all five fingers on his left hand.  After recuperating, Ray attended Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, earning an MPA in Strategic Management with Distinction as a Littauer Fellow.  He then earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and was recognized with the Dean's Award for exceptional leadership and service.  Upon graduation, he was selected as a White House Fellow and worked as a Special Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.  Ray then served as a Fulbright Fellow in Singapore, where he studied leadership within Asian contexts.  Afterwards, he served as the Deputy Director for the State of Hawaii's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT).  DBEDT's mission involves creating jobs, facilitating business development, diversifying the economy and creating renewable energy initiatives.  While at DBEDT, he co-led the organizational transformation for a department of over 230 team members with an operating budget of $182 million.  Ray was selected by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell as one of the two inaugural recipients of the Harrison H. Schmitt Fulbright Alumni Leadership Award for dedication to public service.  He is a member of the Asia Society, the Fulbright Association, the NAACP and the Special Forces Association.  Born and raised in Guilderland, New York, he now considers Honolulu, Hawaii his home.

Robert S. Litt, Nominee for General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Robert S. Litt is a Partner at Arnold & Porter LLP, where he specializes in white collar criminal defense. Prior to joining the firm, Litt served for five years at the Department of Justice as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division. In these positions, his responsibilities included matters relating to national security, healthcare fraud, public corruption, computer crime and intellectual property. From 1978 to 1984, Litt served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, including as Chief Appellate Attorney. Litt is a member of the governing Council of the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association and is a member of the Advisory Committee to the ABA's Standing Committee on Law and National Security. He clerked for the Honorable Edward Weinfeld in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the Honorable Potter Stewart on the U.S. Supreme Court. Litt holds an A.B. from Harvard College, a M.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from Yale Law School.

William F. Brinkman, Nominee for Director of the Office of Science, Department of Energy

William F. Brinkman is currently a Senior Research Physicist in the Physics Department at Princeton University. He retired as Vice President of Research from Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, NJ. In that position his responsibilities included the direction of all research to enable the advancement of the technology underlying Lucent Technologies' products. Previous to this position he was Physical Sciences Research Vice President and Vice President of Research at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. William received his BS and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Missouri in 1960 and 1965, respectively. He joined Bell Laboratories in 1966 after spending one year as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Oxford University. In 1972, he became Head of the Infrared Physics and Electronics Research Department, and in 1974 became the Director of the Chemical Physics Research Laboratory. He held the position of Director of the Physical Research Laboratory from 1981 until moving to Sandia in 1984. He returned to Bell Laboratories in 1987 to become Executive Director of the Physics Research Division. In 1993, he became Physical Sciences Research Vice President, and in January 2000 became Vice President, Research. William is a member of the American Philosophical Society, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on a number of national committees, including chairmanship of the National Academy of Sciences Physics Survey and their Solid-State Sciences Committee.

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