Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response • Have you downloaded COVIDWISE, Virginia's COVID-19 exposure notification app? Add your phone to the fight here. For up-to-date information, assistance, and resources from across state government, click here.

Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 31, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel,

Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.

Office of the Governor

Ofirah Yheskel, Acting Communications Director
Ofirah Yheskel has been appointed Acting Communications Director. She has served as Press Secretary since January 2018. Prior to that, she served as a senior communications advisor to the governor’s transition and inaugural committees, Press Secretary for the Ralph Northam for Governor campaign, and Wisconsin Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications Studies and Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Global Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Office of the Chief Workforce Development Advisor

Natalie Chapman, Executive Assistant to the Chief Workforce Development Advisor
Natalie Chapman has been appointed Executive Assistant to the Chief Workforce Development Advisor. She previously served as a 2018 Governor’s Fellow in the Office of First Lady Pamela Northam. Natalie is a native of Wise County in Southwest Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics.

Secretariat of the Commonwealth

Emma Williams, Special Assistant, Notary and Authentications Division
Emma Williams has been appointed Special Assistant in the Notary and Authentications Division of the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Prior to her appointment, she held positions in the Office of the Attorney General and the Senate of Virginia, and served as a 2015 Governor’s Fellow with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. A native of Hanover County, Emma earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Randolph College.

Board Appointments

Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism

  • Lily Beres of Falls Church, Student, University of Virginia, Class of 2022
  • Vanessa Diamond* of Richmond, Director/Vice President, HandsOn Greater Richmond/ Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence
  • Omari Faulkner* of Bluemont, Business Development Director, ManTech International
  • Tyee Davenport Mallory of Henrico, Regional Director, Office of United States Senator Tim Kaine
  • Julie M. Strandlie, Esq.* of Alexandria, Principal, Strandlie Advocacy, LLC, and Commissioner, Fairfax County Planning Commission
  • James H. Underwood* of Midlothian, Retired Business Manager, IBEW Local 666
  • Leah Dozier Walker, MPA* of Henrico, Community and Minority Affairs Liaison, Virginia Department of Education

Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Certified Interior Designers, Land Surveyors and Landscape Architects

  • Hypatia L. R. Alexandria of Loudoun, PhD Student, Virginia Tech
  • Karen Moore Reynes of Norfolk

Board for Asbestos, Lead, and Home Inspectors

  • James Haltigan* of Bridgewater, President, SEMCO Services, Inc.
  • Rick Holtz* of Henrico, Owner and President, H. J. Holtz & Son, Inc.
  • Galappa “Madhu” Madhusudhan of Clifton, Project Management for Fairfax County Government, Vice President for IAFPE
  • Gene E. Magruder* of Newport News, Newport News Shipbuilding, USW Local 8888
  • Patrick Studley of Hampton, Certified Industrial Hygienist, Marine Chemist Service, Inc.

Board of Trustees, Family and Children’s Trust Fund

  • Kenneth Carter Batey, Jr.  of Alexandria, Government Affairs Manager, Children’s National Health System
  • Jennifer Gillyard, MSSW, MDiv of Alexandria, Research & Information Specialist, District of Columbia Child & Family Services Agency
  • Kay Kovacs* of Bristol, retired as Founding Executive Director of Children’s Advocacy Centers of Virginia
  • Judy Kurtz, PT, MPH* of Virginia Beach, Virginia Department of Health, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Fatality Review and Surveillance Program

Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations

  • John Cooper of Virginia Beach, AMVETS Past National District Commander, Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations
  • Kevin Hoffman of Staunton, Virginia Army National Guard Officers Association Representative, Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations
  • Colonel Frank Gannon Wickersham III* of Warrenton, Vice President for Corporate Responsibility (Veterans Outreach) and Director of Recruiting, VSE Corporation

New College Institute

  • Richard Hall of Martinsville, Managing Director, Orion Capital
  • Naomi Hodge-Muse* of Martinsville, President, Martinsville-Henry County NAACP

Potomac River Fisheries Commission

  • Kyle J. Schick of Colonial Beach

Secure and Resilient Commonwealth Panel

  • Michael L. Hamlar, MBA* of Roanoke, Owner, Hamlar-Curtis Funeral Home
  • Aaron Hughes of Vienna, Vice President and Deputy CISO, Capital One
  • Anna McRay of Henrico, Deputy Coordinator of Emergency Management, County of Henrico
  • Jonathan Newmark, MD, MM, COL (ret.), MC, USA of Burke, Adjunct Professor of Neurology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences; Staff Neurologist, Washington, DC Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center
  • Andrew M. Ramsey, MD of Richmond, Emergency Physician, Henrico Doctors’ Hospital
  • James Redick* of Norfolk, Director, Emergency Preparedness and Response, City of Norfolk
  • Marci Stone of Roanoke, Battalion Chief Emergency Management & Community Preparedness, City of Roanoke

Virginia Asian Advisory Board

  • Shaheen E. Lakhan, MD, PhD, MEd, MS, FAAN of Roanoke, Chief of Pain Management, Carilion Clinic

Virginia Latino Advisory Board

  • Paul Berry of Arlington, Director of Data Intelligence, Aegis Mobile

*denotes reappointment

# # #