WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to serve in key roles:
- Amanda Bennett, Nominee for Chief Executive Officer at the United States Agency for Global Media
- Jose Emilio Esteban, Nominee for Under Secretary for Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture
- Geeta Rao Gupta, Nominee for Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State
- Glenna Gallo, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the Department of Education
- Christopher Lowman, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment at the Department of Defense
- Erin McKee, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia at the United States Agency for International Development
- Christopher J. Williamson, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health at the Department of Labor
Amanda Bennett, Nominee for Chief Executive Officer at the United States Agency for Global Media
Amanda Bennett is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, investigative journalist and editor. She was named Director of Voice of America in March, 2016, serving until June, 2020. Previously she was Executive Editor of Bloomberg News, where she created and ran a global team of investigative reporters and editors; Editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer; Editor of the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky; and a managing editor at The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon. Bennett served as a Wall Street Journal reporter for 23 years, including stints in Toronto and Beijing. She has also been a contributing columnist for The Washington Post.
Bennett shared the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting with her Journal colleagues, and in 2001 led a team from The Oregonian to a Pulitzer for public service. Projects she led or edited won awards including Loeb, Polk, Barlett & Steele, Headliners, Society of American Business Editors and Writers and Overseas Press Club Awards. A 1975 graduate of Harvard College, Bennett was a member of the board of the Pulitzer Prizes and served as co-Chair of the Pulitzer Board in 2010. She has also served on the boards of the Lenfest Institute, the German Marshall Fund, and the Committee to Protect Journalists. She is the author of six nonfiction books.
Jose Emilio Esteban, Nominee for Under Secretary for Food Safety at the United States Department of Agriculture
Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban is currently the Chief Scientist for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a position he has held since 2018. As Chief Scientist, Dr. Esteban provides scientific advice to support agency policies including the disciplines of microbiology, chemistry, and pathology. This is his fourth position within FSIS, all within the Office of Public Health Science. Prior to his current assignment, he was Executive Associate for Laboratory Services, the Scientific Advisor for Laboratory Services and Research Coordination, and the Laboratory Director for the Western Laboratory, where he started his tenure at USDA FSIS in 2006. Prior to joining USDA, he worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, Staff Epidemiologist, and Assistant Director of the Food Safety Office.
Outside the US Federal Government, Dr. Esteban is also the Chair for the Codex Alimentarius Commission Committee on Food Hygiene. This committee is where international food hygiene standards are defined for international trade. He is also currently vice president of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). Dr. Esteban was trained as a veterinarian in Mexico and supplemented his training with an MBA, a Master’s Degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine, and a PhD in Epidemiology from UC Davis.
Geeta Rao Gupta, Nominee for Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State
Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta is currently a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and Senior Advisor to Co-impact, a global collaborative philanthropy for systems change. While at the U.N. Foundation, Dr. Gupta founded and served as Executive Director of the 3D Program for Girls and Women. She currently serves as co-chair of the WHO Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for health emergencies, chairs the Global Advisory Board of WomenLift Health, a new initiative to promote women’s leadership in global health, and serves as a member of the Board of UBS Optimus Foundation and of the Advisory Board of Merck for Mothers. She also serves as a Commissioner for the Lancet-SIGHT Commission on Health, Gender Equality and Peace.
Previously, Dr. Gupta was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University and also served as co-Chair of the Gender-Based Violence Task Force of the World Bank. Before that, Dr. Gupta served as Deputy Executive Director, Programs at UNICEF. Earlier, she was a senior fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and served as president of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Dr. Gupta has served on several boards, including the Global Partnership for Education; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; and the MAC AIDS Fund. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including InterAction’s Julia Taft Award for Outstanding Leadership, Harvard University’s Anne Roe Award and Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Award. Dr. Gupta was awarded a PhD in Psychology from Bangalore University and a Master of Philosophy and Master of Arts from the University of Delhi in India.
Glenna Gallo, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the Department of Education
Glenna Gallo has served as the Assistant Superintendent of Special Education in the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) in Washington state since 2017. During her time as Assistant Superintendent, Washington state has increased funding for special education programs while implementing statewide inclusionary practices to ensure all students with disabilities have access to a high-quality education. Prior to that, she spent seven years as the State Director of Special Education for the Utah State Board of Education (USBE), following work as a classroom teacher and administrator. She has over 25 years of public education experience supporting students with disabilities and adults entering and within the teaching profession, and 16 years of experience in state-level educational leadership with expertise in the improvement planning, data analysis, and monitoring of public pre-K-12+ special education programs. Gallo has a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Special Education, a special education teacher and administrative licenses, endorsements as a Program Administrator, Principal, and Superintendent, and an MBA.
Christopher Lowman, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment at the Department of Defense
Christopher Lowman has served for over 30 years as a United States Marine and member of the Army Civil Service. Most recently, he served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff to the G-3/5/7 Directorate, which provides planning and staff management for agencies under the authority of the Combined Arms Support Command. In that capacity, he provided oversight and guidance to the Strategy, Plans and Policy, Administration and Resources, Resource Management, and Command and Control Support Agency Directorates. Previously, Mr. Lowman served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition Policy and Logistics where he was responsible for policy and oversight for Army and Joint systems acquisition and sustainment to ensure effective, efficient, and secure acquisition, life cycle logistics operations and defense industrial base oversight.
He deployed as the Director of Essential Function 5 (Sustainment), of the Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, Oct 2017 to Oct 2018. Prior to deploying, he served as the Director for Maintenance Policy, Programs and Processes for the United States Army, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-4. Additionally, from 2003 to 2006, Mr. Lowman was the Chief, Supply and Maintenance, HQ, U.S. Army Europe. Mr. Lowman started his military career as a United States Marine in 1984 and entered the Army Civil Service as an Army Maintenance Management Intern in 1989.
Erin McKee, Nominee for Assistant Administrator for Europe and Eurasia at the United States Agency for International Development
Erin Elizabeth McKee is currently the United States Ambassador to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, to the Solomon Islands, and to the Republic of Vanuatu. Prior to her appointment, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Jakarta, and Mission Director for USAID/Indonesia and USAID/ASEAN also in Jakarta. Ambassador McKee is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, with the rank of Career Minister, and brings a wealth of foreign policy and development experience to her position. Prior to her tour in Indonesia, Ambassador McKee served as Senior Deputy Assistant to the Administrator for the Human Capital and Talent Management Office (HCTM). She also served as the Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau of Policy, Planning and Learning (PPL). Preceding her assignments in Washington, D.C., Ambassador McKee was the USAID Regional Mission Director for Central Asia. There, she was responsible for direct management of USAID’s programs in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Before her assignment in Central Asia, Ambassador McKee was the supervisory contracting officer at USAID’s missions in Iraq, South America (covering Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Brazil), and West Bank-Gaza. From 1995 to 1999 she served as a private enterprise officer, then as the chief of the economic growth office in USAID/Russia. Ambassador McKee was recruited as a Foreign Service Officer in 1995 from the private sector.
Before her U.S. government career, Ambassador McKee served as the general manager and then executive director for Capital Investment Group’s (CIG) Russia operations, and earlier for Morrison Knudsen, Inc.’s international mining division throughout the former Soviet Union. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, and a Master’s degree from the University of Washington. She speaks Russian, Spanish, and Bahasa Indonesia.
Christopher J. Williamson, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health at the Department of Labor
A proud Appalachian and native of the coalfields of southern West Virginia, Christopher J. Williamson currently serves as Senior Counsel to Chairman Lauren McFerran of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Prior to joining the NLRB, he served in the Obama-Biden Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor as a member of the senior leadership team at the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). In that role, he advised the Assistant Secretary for MSHA on all aspects of agency policy, operations, and communications. Before his service at MSHA, Williamson worked in the United States Senate as Labor Counsel to Chairman Tom Harkin on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Joe Manchin III. As Labor Counsel, he advised Chairman Harkin and Committee Members on labor, occupational and mine safety and health, and black lung benefits and other workers’ compensation issues. Serving on Senator Manchin’s Legislative Team, Williamson was the Senator’s primary policy advisor on labor, mine safety and health, pensions, and agriculture issues and also advised him on energy and environmental policy, including Senator Manchin’s work on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Williamson began his career in public service as an attorney-advisor to Administrative Law Judge Jacqueline R. Bulluck at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. He earned a Juris Doctor from the West Virginia University College of Law, a Master of Public Policy from American University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from West Virginia University. Williamson is originally from Dingess in Mingo County, West Virginia, and currently resides with his wife and children in Crofton, Maryland.