WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden appointed the following individuals to serve in key regional leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the Department of Homeland Security:
- Amy Knapp Pettit, UDSA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Alaska
- Janice Kolvet, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Nevada
- Marcy Svenningsen, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, North Dakota
- Julia Hnilicka, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Alaska
- Chris Kanazawa, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Hawaii
- Terry Goodin, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Indiana
- Scott Soares, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut
- Colleen Landkamer, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Minnesota
- Trina George, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Mississippi
- Jane Asselta, USDA State Director, Rural Development, New Jersey
- Kenneth Corn, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Oklahoma
- David Cash, EPA Regional Administrator, Region 1
- Willie Nunn, FEMA Regional Administrator, Region 10
These regional appointees will be critical to the President’s efforts to rebuild communities most impacted by the pandemic, the economic recovery, and climate change. They bring deep expertise in their issue areas as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal, and local leaders. And, consistent with the President’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, these regional appointees represent the diversity of America and the communities they serve.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs in each U.S. State. Its mission is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed equitably and fairly.
USDA’s Rural Development mission area is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. State Directors lead offices that offer grants, loans, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services.
Amy Knapp Pettit, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Alaska
Amy Knapp Pettit was raised on a cow-calf operation on the Southern Oregon Coast where generations of her family have raised premier beef cattle for over 100 years. Pettit graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business Management in 2003.
She arrived in Alaska in 2005 and began her career with the State Division of Agriculture. During her tenure, she led the Marketing & Development team, was a founding board member of the Alaska Food Policy Council, and sat on the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials Executive Board. Pettit became the Executive Director of the Alaska Farmland Trust in 2015 where her role includes permanently protecting valuable agricultural lands, promoting the industry across multiple platforms, and educating fellow Alaskans on the importance of their food system. When she’s not working to inspire others about Alaska’s agriculture industry, Pettit enjoys chasing her teenaged daughters from the soccer pitch to the basketball court and seeks to balance it all through teaching and practicing yoga.
Janice Kolvet, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Nevada
Janice Kolvet was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. Kolvet began her federal career 25 years ago and served in many positions with the Farm Service Agency in Nevada, California, and Washington, D.C. She managed farm program delivery at the county office level as a district director, and as an agricultural program specialist in both the Nevada and California state FSA offices. In Washington, D.C., she served as a supervisory agricultural program specialist in the Production, Emergencies and Compliance Division, Disaster Assistance Section, at FSA headquarters where she directed a staff charged with national farm policy. She also worked on a 2014 Farm Bill task force, with the responsibility for developing new policy for federal disaster assistance. Kolvet also has previous experience as a cattle rancher in Elko, Nevada. As a career federal employee with both field and national office experience with federal farm programs, and as a rancher, Kolvet knows the importance of federal farm policy for all agricultural producers.
Marcy Svenningsen, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, North Dakota
Marcy Svenningsen has spent most of her adult life advocating for family farm agriculture. She grew up on a family farm and received a degree in Accounting from Valley City State University. Svenningsen and her husband, Greg, live and work on a farm and ranch about 10 miles west of Valley City where they grow wheat, corn, soybeans, and feed for their cattle. Svenningsen spent 12 years as a District Director on the North Dakota Farmers Union state board. She also served as the Chair of the USDA ND Farm Service Agency State Committee for eight years. Most recently, Svenningsen has been serving as the chair of the Cass County Electric Cooperative board of directors and as a director on the Minnkota Power Cooperative board.
Svenningsen and Greg have two married children and five grandchildren. They are working with their son and his family in their farming operation, and Svenningsen has also worked off the farm for over 30 years as a Finance Director for Open Door Center in Valley City, a non-profit corporation that provides services to individuals with disabilities. She is the Secretary/Treasurer for Zion Free Lutheran Church and is an active participant in the church and her community.
Julia Hnilicka, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Alaska
Born and raised in rural Alaska, Julia Hnilicka has resided for the majority of her life in her home village of Nenana. The daughter of a tugboat captain and an educator, her background instills a deep, lived understanding of the complexities of the issues facing rural residents. Her professional experience includes remote logistics, economic development, academic and environmental research, Indigenous studies, politics, education, and business management. Hnilicka’s recent run for Alaska State House, in the rural Interior district, activated her passion and drive for addressing the many persistent problems facing Alaska’s most valuable asset, our people. She obtained her Master’s in Rural Development from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development. While seeking her degree, she traveled throughout Alaska, interfacing with a vast diversity of population and resources. Her decade-long workplace experience in managing a successful freight logistics business on the Yukon River gives her a unique awareness of the challenges that face rural Alaska. Her primary mission is to be a positive force in Alaska’s future, which drives her dedication to address the housing crisis, broadband for all, support for small businesses, and workforce development.
Chris Kanazawa, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Hawaii
Chris J. Kanazawa has over 25 years of experience in the real estate industry. Having served in several leadership roles, Kanazawa has extensive knowledge of planning, land use entitlement, and development of residential, commercial, industrial, resort, and golf course real estate projects. He previously held positions as President of the Land Division for Amfac/JMB Hawaii, and upon leaving the real estate industry, Kanazawa was named President and CEO of Parker Ranch, Inc. in Waimea, Hawaii, the fifth largest cattle ranch in the United States with landholdings of over 133,000 acres.
In 2010, Kanazawa was appointed by President Obama as the USDA Rural Development State Director for Hawaii. Under his leadership, the Hawaii State Office provided over $2.5 billion in loans and grants to assist residential, commercial, public infrastructure, renewable energy, utility, and agriculture projects. His region of responsibility covered over 4.3 million square miles across the Pacific and included Hawaii, Guam, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, and The Republic of Palau. Kanazawa is a resident of Honolulu and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Hawaii at Manoa as well as a Master of Business Administration degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business.
Terry Goodin, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Indiana
A lifelong Hoosier, Dr. Terry Goodin grew up raising beef cattle on the family farm and has committed his professional life to public service. Most recently, Goodin served for 24 years as a public-school superintendent at Crothersville Community Schools. As superintendent, he developed one of the first Early College Initiatives in the state, allowing students the opportunity to graduate from high school with a college degree. He also initiated vocational classes that allowed students to earn national and international certifications, giving them the skills and confidence to start a profession immediately after high school graduation.
Elected in 2000, Goodin served for 20 years in the Indiana House of Representatives and was chosen by his colleagues as the House Minority Leader in 2017. As a member of the Indiana General Assembly, Goodin committed his time to creating better opportunities for rural Indiana through educational, agricultural, and rural development initiatives and was a staunch advocate for the expansion of broadband connectivity. He also served on the State Budget Committee, was Vice-Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and was a member of the following committees: Agriculture and Rural Development, Natural Resources, Roads and Transportation, International Trade, Banking and Finance, Elections and Apportionment. Goodin is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where he received his Bachelors of Arts in 1989 and Master of Arts in History and Secondary Education in 1990. In 1995 he received his Doctorate from Indiana University Bloomington. Goodin is a native of Austin, Indiana where he resides with his wife and three children and continues to raise beef cattle on the family farm.
Scott Soares, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut
Scott J. Soares is the owner of Boston Bay Consulting. Drawing on over 25 years of experience, he offers a broad range of government relations services, business and project development assistance, and organizational management support to those working in aquaculture, agriculture, fisheries, and food systems. Soares was appointed by President Obama to serve as USDA Rural Development State Director for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island where he oversaw staff and program delivery for a suite of over 50 programs that were aimed at improving economic prosperity for Southern New England’s rural communities. Through his work as Executive Director of the U.S. Cranberry Marketing Committee (CMC), Soares worked with the cranberry industry across the United States, led a redesign and implementation of new processes and data collection services for CMC, and propelled marketing initiatives in Europe, Asia, and South and Central America. Soares began his career at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources where he held a variety of leadership positions including the Commonwealth’s first Aquaculture Program Director and culminating with a gubernatorial appointment as Commissioner of the Department in 2009.
Soares received a double major in Biology and Marine Biology from The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and completed course work in aquaculture and fisheries at University of Rhode Island. Soares is also a proud veteran of the United States Army where he served as an Airborne Field Artillery Surveyor and the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Colleen Landkamer, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Minnesota
Colleen Landkamer was first elected to the Blue Earth County Board of Commissioners in 1988. After 21 years of service, she was appointed by President Obama to serve as USDA Rural Development State Director for Minnesota in 2009. Following her eight-year appointment and almost 10 years away from serving on the Blue Earth County Board, Landkamer was re-elected to the board in 2019. In southern Minnesota, Landkamer represents a district located within the county seat of Mankato.
Landkamer has an enormous passion and energy for county government. She has brought the concerns of counties to the national stage since her involvement in forming the National Association of Counties Rural Action Caucus (RAC) in 1998. Landkamer’s enthusiasm for RAC helped take it from an organization of 20 members to several hundred. In 2006 and 2007, Landkamer served as President of the National Association of Counties (NACo) and has also served on NACo’s executive board since 2002. Landkamer is a past president of the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC). In 2000, Landkamer was recognized by American City and County Magazine as 2000 County Leader of the Year. She has attended the Army War College, has been a Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow, a Columbia University rural policy fellow, graduate of the Senior Executive Program in State and Local Government at Harvard University, and a graduate of the 2005 New York University leadership program.
Trina George, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Mississippi
Filled with a passion to serve her fellow Mississippians, Dr. Trina George’s service includes decades of experience working to develop rural communities and economic development in Mississippi. Previously, she was employed as the Special Projects/Community Outreach and Development Coordinator in the Office of Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02). This experience allowed her to directly engage and support the surrounding communities of western Mississippi, assisting constituents with rural housing, water, wastewater, and infrastructure requirements. Her hands-on experience collaborating with federal, state, and local governments to develop rural communities prepared her for her appointment as the USDA Rural Development State Director for Mississippi in 2009. As a part of the Obama Administration, this opportunity enabled George to continue her service to the people of Mississippi, facilitating programs that resulted in the distribution of over $5 billion in federal loan and grant funds to rural communities. In addition to her professional dedication to public service, George has served as a President of the Parent Teacher Association, AmeriCorps volunteer, lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America, and an active member in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
She is the proud parent of three children, all of whom are serving their country in the Armed Forces. George earned her Ph.D. from Walden University in Public Policy and Administration. She holds a master’s degree from Mississippi State University and a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi Valley State University. She also has a Specialized Certification in Creating Collaborative Solutions: Innovations in Governance from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Executive Education and a Professional Certificate in Management and Leadership from the NeighborWorks Training Institute of America in Washington, D.C.
Jane Asselta, USDA State Director, Rural Development, New Jersey
Jane Asselta serves as Vice President of the Southern New Jersey Development Council (SNJDC), a 501(c)(6) non-profit business association comprised of key leaders and decision-makers representing businesses and organizations in the public and private sectors who care about the issues concerning the current and future development in New Jersey’s eight southern counties.
Prior to joining the SNJDC, Asselta operated a boutique fundraising consulting firm in Chicago, which relocated to South Jersey in 2005, providing candidates for public office services including developing a fundraising strategy and plan; structuring, staffing, and supervising a finance department and team; and organizing major fundraising events with high-profile special guests. Asselta is a native of Vineland, growing up a few miles from the family’s produce farm when “farm to table” was a way of life. Asselta is a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University, and Vineland High School.
Kenneth Corn, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Oklahoma
Kenneth Corn has spent his entire adult life serving the people of Oklahoma, including serving in the Oklahoma House of Representatives after being elected at age 22 and later in the Oklahoma State Senate. During his tenure, Corn was honored to serve as the Democratic Caucus Chair as well as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-committee for Public Safety and Judiciary where he was considered a strong advocate for law enforcement and good steward of taxpayers’ dollars. During his service in the Oklahoma Legislature, Corn was a driving force behind increasing teacher pay, working hard to pass the Larry Dickerson Flexible Benefit Act providing 100 percent health insurance to school personnel throughout Oklahoma. Additionally, he tackled prison overcrowding and staffing shortages, additional academies to put more troopers on the street, and increased the pay of state law enforcement officials.
In 2010, Corn returned home to Poteau where he worked in the oil and gas transportation industry and in 2015, Corn was appointed the City Manager of Anadarko, OK where he manages the day-to-day functions of the city government and the public works authority.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA)
Regional Administrators lead the EPA’s 10 regional offices around the country, each of which is responsible for the execution of EPA programs within a set of several states and territories. EPA regional offices also ensure the views and needs of each region are incorporated into the formulation of agency and national policy.
David Cash, EPA Regional Administrator, Region 1
David W. Cash has spent his career in public service harnessing science, innovative policy, and participatory decision-making to solve challenges and seize opportunities at the intersection of environment, economy, and equity. In his most recent position, Cash was the Dean of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Cash spent a decade in Massachusetts state government, where he held a range of senior positions. As Assistant Secretary of Policy in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in Governor Deval Patrick’s Administration, he was an architect of nation-leading climate, clean energy, and environmental justice policies. All of these initiatives were grounded in the notion that wise environmental policy, economic policy, and policies for equity can and should go hand-in-hand. He then served as a Commissioner in the Department of Public Utilities, followed by serving as the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection.
With this rare experience of being both an environment and an energy commissioner, Cash had the unique perspective of understanding the importance of breaking down silos and focusing on complex issues in much more comprehensive and integrative ways. In these roles, he collaborated in government and with communities and the private sector to craft and implement innovative science-based policies around climate, environmental justice, energy, job creation, water, land use, waste management, and grid modernization. Cash holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He and his wife Annie Weiss, a psychotherapist, live in the Boston area and have two young adult daughters.
Region 1 serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA)
Regional Administrators lead FEMA’s 10 Regional offices and coordinate directly with the FEMA Administrator to support state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) communities in their geographic area of operations delivering frontline services across the spectrum of preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, and continuity programs. The Regional Administrators play a critical role in delivering timely, efficient, effective, and accessible federal assistance.
Willie Nunn, FEMA Regional Administrator, Region 10
Willie G. Nunn is a Type 1 Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO1) and a member of the Field Leadership Cadre in the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). As an FCO, Nunn serves as the representative of the President of the United States, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and FEMA Administrator during major disaster and emergency declarations; and as an FCO1 serves as FCO1 Field Leader Supervisor for FEMA Regions II, VIII, IX, & X.
Prior to joining FEMA, Colonel Nunn completed a United States Air Force career with over 26 years on active duty. His assignments included two command tours and two combat tours in in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM 2002 in Afghanistan and IRAQI FREEDOM 2003 in Iraq. As a Master Air Battle Manager, he has over 2,900 flight hours on board AWACS and JSTARS with 201 flight hours in combat. Nunn graduated from the University of Alabama-Birmingham with a Bachelor of Arts in History and from the University of Oklahoma with a Master of Public Administration. He and his wife Sylvia have three children, Sacha, Adam, and Alene.
Region 10 serves Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.