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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

  • Makila James – Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland, Department of State
  • Richard Norland – Ambassador to Georgia, Department of State
  • Carlos Pascual – Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, Department of State
  • Mark A. Pekala – Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia, Department of State

The President also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts

  • David C. Lizárraga – Member, Community Development Advisory Board
  • Ron Phillips – Member, Community Development Advisory Board
  • Charles Shively - United States Alternate Commissioner, Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission
  • Earnie Gilder – United States Commissioner, Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission
  • Gary W. Loveman – Member, President’s Export Council
  • Denise Morrison – Member, President’s Export Council
  • Amy Gutmann – Chair, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
  • James W. Wagner –Vice Chair, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
  • David Strauss –Chairman, Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

President Obama said, “I am grateful that these impressive individuals have chosen to dedicate their talents to serving the American people at this important time for our country.  I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Makila James, Nominee for Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland, Department of State
Makila James, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, currently serves as the Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs at the Department of State.  From 2007 to 2009, she was the Deputy Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs.  From 2006 to 2007, she was the Principal Officer of the Consulate General in Juba.  Previously, Ms. James was a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff from 2003 to 2006.  Other positions in Washington include: Research Fellow at the Georgetown University Institute for the Study of Diplomacy; International Relations Officer in the Office of International Organization Affairs; Desk Officer in the Office of West African Affairs; and Watch Officer at the Operations Center. Overseas assignments include: Political Officer in Zimbabwe; Political/Economics Officer in Nigeria; and Consular Officer in Jamaica.  Ms. James received a B.A. from Cornell University, a Masters in National Security Studies from the National Defense University, and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School.

Ambassador Richard Norland, Nominee for Ambassador to Georgia, Department of State
Ambassador Richard Norland, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, serves as the International Affairs Advisor and Deputy Commandant at the National War College.  From September 2007 to July 2010, he was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Uzbekistan.  Prior to which, he served for two years as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.  Additional overseas assignments have included: Deputy Chief of Mission in Riga, Latvia; Diplomat with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs team in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan; Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin; and Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.  He was Director for European Affairs on the National Security Council for two years during the Clinton and Bush administrations.  Ambassador Norland has a B.S. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and National War College.

Ambassador Carlos Pascual, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Energy Resources, Department of State
Ambassador Carlos Pascual has served as Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs since May 2011.  From 2009 to 2011, he was U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.  Previously, from 2006 to 2009, he was Vice President and Director of the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution.  Prior to joining Brookings, Ambassador Pascual served as the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the Department of State from 2004 to 2006.  From 2003 to 2004, he was Coordinator for U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia.  Ambassador Pascual served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine from 2000 to 2003.  From 1998 to 2000, he was Special Assistant to the President and National Security Council (NSC) Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.  He previously served as the NSC Director for the same region from 1995 to 1998.  Before joining the NSC, Ambassador Pascual was the United States Aid for International Development (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator Europe and Eurasia.  He previously served with USAID in Sudan, South Africa and Mozambique.  Ambassador Pascual received his M.P.P. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and his B.A. from Stanford University.

Mark A. Pekala, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia, Department of State
Mark A. Pekala, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, is currently the Director of the Entry-Level Division in the Bureau of Human Resources.  Previously, he served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in France (2007-2010), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (2005-2007), and the Deputy Chief of Mission in Estonia (2002-2005).  In 2001, Mr. Pekala was Director for Russian Affairs for the National Security Council.  Mr. Pekala’s previous Washington posts have included: Senior Watch Officer in the Department of State Operations Center; Special Assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for the New Independent States; and Russia Desk Officer.  Additional overseas assignments have included: First Secretary to the U.S. Mission to NATO in Belgium; Political Officer in Azerbaijan; and a Consular Officer in Poland.  Mr. Pekala received a B.A. from the University of Michigan, an M.I.A. from Columbia University, and an M.Phil. from Columbia University.

President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:

David C. Lizárraga, Appointee for Member, Community Development Advisory Board
David C. Lizárraga is the President and CEO of the community development corporation TELACU/Millenium. He also serves as Chairman of the Board at Community Commerce Bank and is a member of the Minority Business Roundtable. Mr. Lizárraga is the immediate past Chairman of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has served on a number of other boards, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Corporate America Task Force, Wells Fargo’s Community Development Enterprise, and Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council. Prior to joining TELACU in 1973, Mr. Lizárraga founded Casa Maravilla in Los Angeles, California where he worked as Executive Director, and before that, as Area Coordinator of the Teen Post Program, also in Los Angeles.  He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce Chairwoman's Award, the U.S. Small Business Administration's Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year Award, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Thurgood Marshall Award.  Mr. Lizárraga received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from the California State University at Los Angeles.

Ron Phillips, Appointee for Member, Community Development Advisory Board
Ron Phillips is the President and CEO of Coastal Enterprises (CEI), a primarily rural nonprofit community development corporation and community development financial institution he founded in 1977. Prior to that, Mr. Phillips worked for the National Council of Churches’ Corporate Information Center and Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the United Methodist Church’s Mission at the United Nations on economic development policy issues from 1969 to 1974.  Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the national Local Initiatives Support Corporation and its Rural Advisory Board.  He previously served on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Consumer Advisory Council and was a member of the Opportunity Finance Network, The Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Keybank’s National Community Development Advisory Board, the Maine Small Business Advisory Council, and the National Congress for Community Economic Development.  Mr. Phillips was also a founding member in 1998 of the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition, where he is currently on the Executive Committee and served as President from 2008 to 2010.  He received his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary and his B.A. from Boston University.

Charles Shively, Appointee for United States Alternate Commissioner, Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission
Charles Shively is the Director of Public Works for the City of Coffeyville, Kansas, a position he has held since 2004.  During his thirty year tenure at the City of Coffeyville, Kansas, he has served as Director of Water & Wastewater Utilities; Assistant City Engineer; Superintendent of Engineering; and CAD Operator and Draftsman.  He is a member of the American Water Works Association, the Kansas Rural Water Association, and the Kansas Water Environment Association.  Mr. Shively received an A.A. and an A.A.S. degree from Coffeyville Community College, an A.A.S. in Environmental Water Technology from Fort Scott Community College, and a B.S. in Engineering Technology from Pittsburgh State University.

Earnie Gilder, Appointee for United States Commissioner, Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission
Earnie Gilder is the President of Interstate Properties, Inc., a position he has held since 1978, and the United States Alternate Commissioner to the Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission, having been appointed in 2003.  Mr. Gilder is a Certified International Property Specialist and has been a licensed real estate agent for more than 30 years. He previously served as an Oklahoma Commissioner on the Arkansas-Oklahoma Arkansas River Compact Commission from 1994 to 1998.  Mr. Gilder is currently a member of the Muskogee Chamber of Commerce, Muskogee City/County Port Authority; and the Muskogee Community Foundation.  Mr. Gilder received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. 

Dr. Gary W. Loveman, Appointee for Member, President’s Export Council
Dr. Gary W. Loveman is President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Caesars Entertainment Corp.  Previously, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer from 2003 to 2005, President and Chief Operating Officer from 2001 until 2003, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from 1998 to 2001.  Dr. Loveman was an associate professor at the Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration from 1989 to 1998, and a research assistant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston from 1982 to 1984.   Dr. Loveman is on the Board of Directors of Coach, Inc., FedEx Corp., and the American Gaming Association, for which he served as Chairman from 2007 to 2009.  He also sits on the Board of Trustees at Children’s Hospital, on the Visiting Committee of the Department of Economics at M.I. T. and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston from 2005 to 2009.  Among other recognitions for his work, Institutional Investor magazine named Dr. Loveman the gaming and lodging industry’s best CEO for the four consecutive years from 2003 to 2007.  He holds a B.A. in Economics from Wesleyan University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from M.I.T., where he was an Alfred Sloan Doctoral Dissertation Fellow.

Denise Morrison, Appointee for Member, President’s Export Council
Denise Morrison is President and Chief Executive Officer of Campbell Soup Company.  Ms. Morrison joined Campbell in 2003 as President of Global Sales and Chief Customer Officer.  She became Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2010; Senior Vice President and President of North America Soup, Sauces, and Beverages in 2007; and President of Campbell USA in 2005.  Ms. Morrison previously held general management, marketing and sales roles at Kraft, Nabisco, Nestle, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble.  She serves on the board of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and is the chair of its Health & Wellness Committee. In addition, she is a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and is also on the board of the Consumer Goods Forum.  Ms. Morrison formerly served on the boards of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Ballard Power Systems.  She earned her B.S. in Economics and Psychology from Boston College.

Dr. Amy Gutmann, Appointee for Chair, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
Dr. Amy Gutmann is the President of the University of Pennsylvania and the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the School of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Gutmann currently serves as Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, having been appointed by President Obama in 2009.  Prior to joining the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Gutmann held a variety of positions at Princeton University, including Provost of the University (2001 – 2004); Founding Director of the University Center for Human Values (1990 – 1995 and 1998 – 2001); Director of the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs (1990 – 1995 and 1997 – 2000); and Dean of the Faculty (1995 – 1997).  Dr. Gutmann serves on several boards and commissions, including as a member of the Board of Directors for the Carnegie Corporation of New York and as a member of National Constitution Center Board of Trustees.  A recipient of numerous awards and honors, Dr. Gutmann received the Carnegie Corporation Academic Leadership Award, the Harvard University Centennial Medal, and, in 2011, was appointed to the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences established by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Gutmann holds a B.A. from Harvard-Radcliffe College, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Dr. James W. Wagner, Appointee for Vice Chair, Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues
Dr. James W. Wagner is the President of Emory University and, since being appointed by President Obama in 2009, Vice Chair of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.  Prior to joining Emory University, Dr. Wagner served as Dean, Provost, University Vice President, and Interim President of Case Western Reserve University from 1998 to 2003.  Throughout his time at Case Western, Dr. Wagner was also a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.  From 1984 to 1997, Dr. Wagner taught Materials Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where he served as Chair of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 1993 to 1997 and held a joint appointment in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.  Prior to joining academia, Dr. Wagner was an Electronics Engineer from 1975 to 1984 at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Dr. Wagner has chaired several conferences on nondestructive evaluation, and served on the National Research Council's National Materials Advisory Board.  Dr. Wagner received the Region III President’s Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in 2011, and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2009.  Dr. Wagner holds a B.S. from the University of Delaware, an M.S. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

David Strauss, Appointee for Chairman, Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation
David Strauss is the Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, having been appointed by President Obama in 2009.  From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Strauss served as Chairman of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party.  Previously, Mr. Strauss was the Executive Director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation from 1997 to 2001, and Vice President Al Gore's Deputy Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997.  From 1981 to 1994, Mr. Strauss was a senior staffer in the U.S. Senate where he served as staff director for the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works, and chief of staff for Senator John Breaux and the late Senator Quentin Burdick.  Strauss graduated magna cum laude from Minnesota State University Moorhead, with a B.A. and B.S, and was selected as an Eastman Kodak Congressional Fellow for the Senior Managers in Government Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.