THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
________________________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      July 6, 2009
 

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts:
  • John Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Economic Development Administration Administrator, Department of Commerce
  • Anthony Marion Babauta, Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Department of the Interior
  • Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health, Department of Labor
  • Alexa E. Posny, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education
  • Christopher P. Bertram, Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Transportation
  • Terry A. Yonkers, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations and Environment, Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense
  • Kelvin James Cochran, U.S. Fire Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security 
  • Joseph G. Pizarchik, Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Department of the Interior
  • Daniel R. Elliott, III, Chairman, Surface Transportation Board
  • Patricia D. Cahill, Member of the Board of Directors, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
President Obama said, "Each of these individuals brings with them valuable expertise in their respective fields, and I am grateful for their decision to serve in my administration. They will be important additions to our team as we work to guide this country back on the path to prosperity, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:
John Fernandez, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Economic Development Administration Administrator, Department of Commerce
For more than 20 years, John Fernandez has played a prominent leadership role in Bloomington’s and Indiana’s civic life.  In 2007, Mr. Fernandez joined the Obama for Change Indiana leadership team serving as a senior advisor and fundraiser.  Mr. Fernandez was also the Indiana Democratic Party’s candidate for Secretary of State in 2002.  A first generation American, Mr. Fernandez was born in Canton, Ohio. Mr. Fernandez received a Doctor of Law (J.D.) from Indiana University School of Law.  He also earned a Master of Public Affairs (M.P.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  After clerking for a state Supreme Court justice, Mr. Fernandez entered the private practice of law as a member of Bingham Summers Welsh and Spilman’s litigation practice group.  He served on the Bloomington City Council for five years and as its president in 1991.  Mr. Fernandez also served as Bloomington’s Mayor from 1996 to 2003.  Early in his first term Thomson Consumer Electronics announced plans to close its Bloomington plant. Mr. Fernandez marshaled community, state, and federal resources and developed a strategic redevelopment plan that led to over $200 million in private investments and created hundreds of new jobs.  As Mayor, Mr. Fernandez also developed an aggressive downtown revitalization plan resulting in more than $100 million of new investments.  He also worked with business and Indiana University leaders to launch Bloomington’s Life Sciences Partnership, securing more than $243 million in private investments and creating more than 3,700 jobs.  After leaving the Mayor’s office, Mr. Fernandez joined the Indianapolis-based law firm of Krieg Devault.  In his Of-Counsel role, Mr. Fernandez advises private and governmental organizations on economic development, public finance and public policy issues.  Mr. Fernandez also serves as Bloomington-based First Capital Group’s Senior Vice President.  In this capacity, he leads the real estate investment firm’s new development and acquisition team.  Mr. Fernandez’s community activities include service on a number of philanthropic boards including, the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation and the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County.
Anthony Marion Babauta, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Department of the Interior
Tony Babauta previously worked on the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee, as its Staff Director for the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans, and Wildlife.  As Staff Director he advised the full committee on US policy towards U.S. territories and other U.S. affiliated island nations.  Tony was instrumental in advancing the renegotiated compact with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, the Guam war claims, and the political advancement of Puerto Rico.  Tony also directed the Subcommittee’s jurisdiction and responsibilities over other issues pertaining to the Department of the Interior.  He has developed and maintained working relationships with island leaders which include presidents, governors and ambassadors.  Tony first joined the Natural Resources Committee in 1998 as Professional Staff under its then Ranking Member, the Honorable George Miller; and his service to the Committee continued under then Ranking Member and now Chairman, the Honorable Nick Rahall.  In his role as Professional Staff, Tony served as the main advisor on all matters regarding U.S. territories and the Freely Associated States.  He assisted in the formulation of policy alternatives through specialized knowledge and experience. 
Joseph A. Main, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health, Department of Labor
Joseph A. (Joe) Main, has vast mine health safety experience in the U.S. and is internationally recognized as an expert in mining health issues.  A Greene County Pennsylvania native, now residing in Spotsylvania, VA, Mr. Main began working in coal mines in 1967 and quickly became an advocate for miners safety as a union safety committeeman as well as serving in various local union positions in the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). He was employed by the UMWA in 1974 as a Special Assistant to the International President, and joined the UMWA Safety Division in 1976, serving as Safety Inspector, Administrative Assistant, and Deputy Director. In 1982 he was appointed Administrator of the UMWA Occupational Health and Safety Department, a position he held for 22 years, managing the international health and safety program and staff. He has considerable hands on experience inspecting and evaluating mining conditions, plans and systems. Mr. Main currently works as a self-employed mine safety consultant.  His recent work has focused on international mine safety, research and analysis projects on preventing mining accidents, and development of training programs and facilities to prepare miners and emergency responders for mine emergencies.  He was born in Waynesburg, PA, and is a graduate of the National Mine Health and Safety Academy.
Alexa E. Posny, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education
Alexa E. Posny currently serves as the Commissioner of Education for the state of Kansas.  As Commissioner, she is responsible for helping over 450,000 students meet or exceed high academic standards, licensing over 45,000 teachers, and overseeing a state education budget of a little over $4.5 billion dollars.  Prior to this, Posny was appointed as the Director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) for the U.S. Department of Education, a position in which she assisted state and local efforts to effectively educate all children and youth with disabilities. Other positions that Posny has held included the Kansas Deputy Commissioner of Education , Kansas State Director of Special Education, Director of Special Education for the Shawnee Mission School District, Director of the Curriculum and Instruction Specialty Option as part of the Title 1 Technical Assistance Center (TAC) network of TACs across the United States, and a Senior Research Associate at Research and Training Associates in Overland Park, KS.  Posny earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, a master’s degree in behavioral disabilities and a doctorate in educational administration both from the University of Wisconsin Madison.  Currently she serves on the Board of Directors for the Chief State School Officers, the National Council for Learning Disabilities, and chairs the National Assessment Governing Board’s Special Education Task Force.  Most importantly, she has been a teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels and remains a teacher today, serving as adjunct faculty with the University of Kansas. 
Christopher P. Bertram, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Transportation
Christopher P. Bertram is currently a professional staff member with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.  In that position, he has been responsible for legislation related to aviation, auto and highway safety, transportation security, railroads, and fuel efficiency standards for automobiles.  Prior to joining the Commerce Committee, Bertram served as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Assistant Administrator for Financial Services and Chief Financial Officer.  Bertram earned a Master in Public Policy degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity University. 
Terry A. Yonkers, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations and Environment, Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense
Mr. Yonkers is currently Senior Vice President, Business Development Director for ARCADIS-US. Inc., working with federal clients to bring innovative and cost saving solutions to engineering, energy, and environmental programs.  Previously, he served as the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health and Director of Environmental Programs for the Air Force’s Base Conversion Agency.  He has held numerous other positions throughout his 22 year career in public service with the Air Force as well as six years of private sector experience with Southern California Edison Company and TRW.  Mr. Yonkers holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University and is a graduate of the National Defense University’s – Industrial
College of the Armed Forces.
Kelvin James Cochran, Nominee for U.S. Fire Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security 
Kelvin Cochran has had 28 years of experience from Firefighter to Assistant Chief Training Officer to Fire Chief of Shreveport, Louisiana, to Fire Chief of Atlanta, Georgia with involvement in all phases of the fire service: fire fighting, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, recruiting, public education, research and development, employee counseling, discipline, performance evaluation, and administration, with specialization in training and strategic planning/facilitating. He has also served as the 1st Vice President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), President of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association, and Vice Chairman of Volunteers of America (VOA).
Joseph G. Pizarchik, Nominee for Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Department of the Interior
Joseph Pizarchik is a pragmatic innovator with 17 years of involvement in many progressive advancements in Pennsylvania's mining program.  Joe has been the Director of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, Department of Environmental Protection since 2002.   Before becoming Director, he served as Assistant Director, Bureau of Regulatory Counsel where he counseled the Pennsylvania mining program for 11 years.  Mr. Pizarchik has been with the Department of Environmental Protection since 1991.  He was one of the authors of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Good Samaritan Act, provided counsel during the development and implementation of the Good Samaritan program, and now oversees its implementation.  He has worked on various mining related statutory and regulatory amendments.  Mr. Pizarchik helped develop Pennsylvania’s program for volunteers to clean up abandoned coal refuse sites and helped develop Pennsylvania’s program for mine operator’s to establish trust funds as a means of meeting their financial obligation to ensure funds are available to perpetually treat the discharges caused by their mining.  He also worked closely with the Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security promulgating regulations for security at explosive storage magazines to prevent unauthorized access to the sites.  As well, Mr. Pizarchik represents Pennsylvania at the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board, and serves as the Secretary of Environmental Protection’s designee on the Mine Subsidence Insurance Board.  He has served several times as faculty for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute’s Environmental Law Forum providing continuing legal education training to Pennsylvania lawyers on "Regulatory Takings" and new developments in mining laws and regulations.  He has also provided training for the Office of General Counsel’s Continuing Legal Education sessions covering "Original Jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Court" and covering "Water Supply Replacement" under Pennsylvania mining law.  He is a past Treasurer of the Conference of Government Mining Attorneys.  Prior to serving with the Department of Environmental Protection he was counsel with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for 5 years dealing with contracts, mass transit, aviation, contractor qualifications, and minority business enterprises.  He formerly worked in private practice and also for an insurance company. 
Daniel R. Elliott, III, Nominee for Chairman, Surface Transportation Board
Daniel R. Elliott, III has been an Associate General Counsel of the United Transportation Union since 1993.  In that position, he has represented the union in numerous proceedings before the Surface Transportation Board, as well as proceedings before the National Mediation Board, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Department of Labor.   He also has handled litigation for the union in the federal courts in a wide variety of cases.  Dan earned his J.D. from Ohio State College of Law in 1989 and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 1985.
Patricia D. Cahill, Nominee for Member of the Board of Directors, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Ms. Cahill has worked in public radio since 1969. She is currently the General Manager of KCUR-FM, a public radio station at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which boasts more than 190,000 listeners weekly.  Ms. Cahill is also assistant professor of communication studies at the University where she teaches broadcast management.  Prior to joining KCUR, Ms. Cahill served as General Manager of KMUW-FW at Wichita State University for over a decade while teaching broadcasting and journalism at the University.  She has served on the Board of Directors of National Public Radio and as President of Public Radio in Mid America. She has also worked with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, reading grant applications and performing committee work.  Ms. Cahill received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Kansas.
 

White House Shareables