Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: August 2, 2019
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alenaa Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments

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

Secretariat of the Commonwealth

Elizabeth Woodhead, Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Commonwealth
Elizabeth Woodhead has been appointed Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Prior to her appointment, Elizabeth served as Executive Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade. She has previously worked as an executive assistant and secretary senior in the Office of the Director of the Richmond City Health District, a senior executive assistant in the Office of the Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), and as an executive assistant with the VCU Health System, including in the office of the CEO and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Marketing.

Secretariat of Finance

Nathan Dowdy, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Finance
Nathan Dowdy has been appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary of Finance. Prior to his appointment, Nathan served as a 2019 Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Finance. Previously, he worked for the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission and interned for the Secretary of Technology in the McAuliffe administration. A native of Henrico County, Nathan received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Secretariat of Health and Human Resources

Rachel Becker, Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Rachel Becker has been appointed Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health and Human Resources. She previously served as a 2019 Governor’s Fellow in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Resources and as an intern in the Office of Senator T. Montgomery “Monty” Mason. Rachel is a native of Chesapeake and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the College of William & Mary.

Secretariat of Transportation

John W. Lawson, Deputy Secretary of Transportation
John Lawson has been appointed Deputy Secretary of Transportation. He was appointed Acting Deputy Secretary of Transportation in April. Prior to that, John served as Chief Financial Officer for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) since 2010 and has worked for the agency since 1987. In his role as Chief Financial Officer, John was responsible for the execution of the agency’s financial planning, capital investment, fiscal management, and tolling programs, and was instrumental in establishing the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank and Virginia’s Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles (GARVEE) program. John received an Associate of Arts and Sciences degree from Rappahannock Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Christopher Newport University, where he studied accounting. John is also a graduate of the Virginia Executive Institute.

Secretariat of Veterans and Defense Affairs

Steven Combs, Acting Commissioner, Virginia Department of Veterans Services
Steven Combs has been appointed Acting Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS). He joined DVS in 2004 and has served as Deputy Commissioner since 2015. He served on active duty in the United States Air Force from 1990 to 2000 as a Command and Control officer and later as a Logistics officer. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Public Policy from the College of William & Mary.

Board Appointments

Board of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

  • Dr. Corliss V Booker, APRN, FNP-BC* of Chester, Nurse Practitioner
  • Kyttra L. Burge* of Manassas

Board of Visitors to Mount Vernon

  • Beau Blevins* of Richmond, Director of Government Consulting, VML/VACo Finance
  • Sheila Coates* of Herndon, President, Black Women United for Action (BWUFA USA)

Coal Surface Mining Reclamation Fund Advisory Board

  • John Paul Jones* of Bristol, Senior Vice President of Environmental Affairs, Contura Energy

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council

  • Sharon E. Pandak* of Woodbridge, Partner, Greehan, Taves & Pandak, PLLC

Virginia Coastal Land Management Advisory Council

  • Jill Bieri* of Cape Charles, Director, Virginia Coast Reserve, The Nature Conservancy
  • Hali Plourde-Rogers of Onancock, Executive Director, Virginia Eastern Shore Land Trust

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy

  • Dr. William M. Habeeb* of Arlington, Adjunct Professor of Global Politics and Security, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
  • Dr. Lenneal J. Henderson, Jr.* of Claremont, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Eminent Scholar, Virginia State University
  • Iris E. Holliday of Chesterfield, Retired Director of Corporate Philanthropy and Community Partnerships, Dominion Energy
  • Sylvester Johnson of Blacksburg, Assistant Vice Provost for the Humanities, Director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities, and Professor of Religion and Culture, Virginia Tech

Virginia Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Education Commission

  • Blair Blanchette of Richmond, Outdoor Field Educator, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Al Byers of Chesterfield, Visiting Scholar for STEM Education, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Dr. Jared A. Cotton of Chesapeake, Superintendent, Chesapeake Public Schools
  • Marie T. Culver of Virginia Beach, Gifted Resource Teacher, Virginia Beach City Public Schools           
  • Rebecca Dovi of Henrico County, Director of Education, CodeVA
  • Charles English of Midlothian, Virginia STEM Coordinator, Science Museum of Virginia
  • Dr. David Eshelman of Midlothian, Director, Workforce Development and Initiatives, Virginia Department of Education
  • Todd Estes of Williamsburg, Director, Career Education Programs and Workforce Partnerships, Virginia Community College System
  • Jocelyn Forest of Halifax County, Educator, Halifax County High School
  • Megan Graybill of Salem, Computer Science Teacher, Salem City Schools
  • The Honorable Megan Healy of Richmond, Chief Workforce Development Advisor to the Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Dr. David C. Jeck of Marshall, Superintendent, Fauquier County Public Schools
  • Barbara Kanninen of Arlington, School Board Member, Arlington Public Schools
  • Matt Kellam of Henrico, Military and Recruitment Program Coordinator, Dominion Energy      
  • Bobbie Greene Kilberg of McLean, President and CEO, Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC)
  • Helen W. Kuhns of Virginia Beach, Assistant Director and Pearl Programs Coordinator, Lynnhaven River Now, and Executive Board Member, Virginia Association for Environmental Education
  • Dr. Pamela Leigh-Mack of Chester, Professor and Chair, Department of Engineering and Computer Science, Virginia State University
  • Dr. Louie R. Lopez of Bel Air, Maryland, Director, STEM Education and Outreach, United States Department of Defense
  • Dr. Emily Loving of Chesterfield, Lead STEM and Secondary Science Specialist, Chesterfield County Public Schools
  • Dr. Susan Magliaro of Christiansburg, Professor Emerita, Virginia Tech
  • Dr. Tina Manglicmot of Newport News, Director of STEM and Innovation, Virginia Department of Education
  • Kate Matthew of Charlottesville, Senior Research Specialist, University of Virginia
  • Margaret Mayer of Glen Allen, Managing Vice President – Technology, Capital One
  • Dr. James A. Meyer of Spotsylvania, Representative, Virginia School Boards Association         
  • Pamela Northam of Richmond, Former Science Educator, First Lady of Virginia
  • Angela Patton of Chesterfield, Founder, Camp Diva and CEO, Girls For A Change
  • James Pohl of Virginia Beach, Chief Academic Officer, Newport News Public Schools
  • Dr. Tinell L. Priddy of Leesburg, Principal, The Academies of Loudoun, Loudoun County Public Schools
  • The Honorable Atif Qarni of Prince William, Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Casey M. Roberts of Chesapeake, Executive Director, New Horizons Regional Education Centers
  • Eric Robertson of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Global Education, Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Paula Fisher Robinson of Newport News, Assistant Director of College Access and PK12 Outreach, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
  • Krystal Rubio of Colonial Heights, Student, CodeRVA Regional High School
  • Amy Sabarre of Rockingham County, Director of STEM Education, Harrisonburg City Public Schools           
  • Kamaljeet Sanghera of Fairfax, Executive Director of STEM Outreach, Volgenau School of Engineering at George Mason University
  • Dr. Matthew W. Shields of Charlottesville, Teacher, Charlottesville City Schools
  • Troy Simpson of Chatham, Director of Advanced Manufacturing, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
  • Zuzana Steen of Manassas, Academic and Community Relations Manager, Micron Technology, Inc.
  • Lily Toombs of Charlotte County, Student, Virginia Council on Women’s 2019 STEM Essay Contest award recipient
  • Clayton Turner of Hampton, Deputy Director, NASA Langley Research Center
  • Jorge Valenzuela of North Chesterfield, Educational Coach and Teacher, Lifelong Learning Defined and Old Dominion University
  • Amy Stinnett White, MS of Buchanan, Dean, School of STEM, Virginia Western Community College
  • Elizabeth (Beth) Wright of Abingdon, Associate Professor of Nursing, Virginia Highlands Community College

Virginia Wine Board

  • Courtney Anderson Mailey of Richmond, Owner and General Manager, Blue Bee Cider
  • Megan M. Seibel, PhD of Roanoke, Manager, Mountain View Farm and Vineyard 
  • Kirk Wiles* of Clifton, CEO and Founder, Paradise Springs Winery

*denotes reappointment

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