Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: September 21, 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, Communications Director
Ofirah Yheskel has been appointed 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.

Secretariat of Natural Resources

Ann C. Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection
Ann C. Phillips has been appointed Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection. Ann Phillips is a recognized leader in the field of sea level rise resilience advocacy and climate impact on national security at the regional, national and international level. In Virginia, she chaired the Infrastructure Working Group for the Old Dominion University-convened Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Pilot Planning Project from 2014 to 2016, and continues to focus on building a collaborative approach to address the impact of sea level rise across Hampton Roads.

Prior to her appointment, Ann Phillips served nearly 31 years on active duty, retiring as a Rear Admiral. Her final Flag command was as Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group TWO, including 14 ships and 10 subordinate commands—all the Amphibious Expeditionary Forces on the East Coast of the United States. Earlier she served as Deputy Director on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff and then Director of Surface Warfare Division, and had the honor to commission and command USS MUSTIN (DDG 89) and to command Destroyer Squadron 28. 

Rear Admiral Phillips earned a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at The College of William and Mary, and she is a 1983 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Professional, Level 2, and coordinates an evolving wetlands restoration project for her Norfolk neighborhood.

Secretariat of the Commonwealth
Board Appointments

Advisory Board on Respiratory Care

  • Santiera Brown, MSHA, BA, RRT of Chesapeake, Clinical Respiratory Specialist, Sentara Healthcare 
  • Daniel U. Gochenour of Charlottesville, Clinical Supervisor of Pulmonary Diagnostics & Respiratory Therapy, University of Virginia Medical Center
  • Bruce K. Rubin, MEngr, MD, MBA, FRCPC* of Henrico, Jessie Ball duPont Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine; Physician in Chief, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
  • Denver Supinger of Reston, Legislative Assistant, Virginia House of Delegates
  • Shari A. Toomey, MBA, RRT, NPS of Roanoke, Clinical Team Leader Respiratory Therapist, Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital

Board for Coal Mining Examiners

  • Larance Eugene Middleton* of Big Stone Gap, Belt Examiner at Deep Mine 41, Paramount Contura Energy

Board for Hearing Aid Specialists and Opticians

  • ReBecca Bennett of Fredericksburg, Deaf/HH Outreach Coordinator, The disAbility Resource Center
  • Beth Connors, Au.D of Arlington, Audiologist, Doctors Hearing Services/Eric J. Furst M.D., Arlington Audiology Associates/Arlington ENT Associates.
  • Debra Ogilvie* of Chesterfield, Audiologist, Richmond Hearing Doctors

Board of Game and Inland Fisheries

  • The Honorable John W. Daniel II of Henrico, Government Affairs Officer, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority; former Secretary of Natural Resources
  • Karen Terwilliger of Locustville, President, Terwilliger Consulting, Inc.
  • Gerald K. Washington of Buckingham County, Retired Regional Operations Chief, Virginia Department of Corrections

Board of Trustees, Family and Children’s Trust Fund

  • Reverend Dr. Yvonne Jones Bibbs of Richmond, Pastor, Sixth Baptist Church

Citizen’s Advisory Council on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion

  • Anne Geddy Cross of Hanover, Community Volunteer, Past President of the Board of Preservation Virginia
  • Peggy Layne of Henrico, Community Volunteer

Foundation for Healthy Youth

  • Gina A. Bellamy, MSA, BSN, RN, NCSN of Manassas, School Health Services Coordinator, Office of Student Services, Prince William County Public Schools; President-elect, Virginia Association of School Nurses
  • W. Curtis Coleburn of Midlothian, Attorney
  • Sarah Bedard Holland* of Richmond, Chief Executive Officer of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition
  • Patte G. Koval of Richmond, Consultant, The Monument Group
  • Andre A Muelenaer, Jr., MD of Roanoke, Pediatric Pulmonologist, Carilion Children’s Hospital
  • The Honorable John M. O’Bannon of Richmond, Neurologist; former Member, Virginia House of Delegates
  • Vineeta Shah* of Henrico, Registered Dietitian, Community Volunteer
  • Lekeisha Terrell, MD of Arlington, Pediatrician and Adolescent Medicine Specialist

Veterans Services Foundation

  • Anthony Gitalado of Suffolk, Co-founder, Tremo Enterprise, LLC
  • The Honorable John Lesinski of Washington, Executive Vice President, Colliers International

*denotes reappointment

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