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The White House

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 10/9/09

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                      October 9, 2009
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:
  • Elizabeth M. Harman, Assistant Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Grant Programs), Department of Homeland Security
  • George Apostolakis, Commissioner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • William D. Magwood, IV, Commissioner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Peter A. Prahar, Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia
  • Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary
President Obama said, "As we take on the 21st century challenges facing our nation, I am confident that these individuals will work to keep our nation safe at home, and strengthen our partnerships abroad. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:
Elizabeth M. Harman, Nominee for Assistant Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Grant Programs), Department of Homeland Security
Elizabeth M. Harman, a former fire fighter and paramedic in Fairfax City, Virginia, is the director of the Hazardous Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction Training Department at the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). She began working at the IAFF in 2004. In 2005 she became director of the Hazardous Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction Training Department, managing millions of federal funds to support the largest HazMat/WMD training program of fire fighters in the U.S. Ms. Harman has also served the emergency management community with administration, exercise and evaluation, and teaching at various institutions, including Northwestern State University, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute at the University of Maryland and George Washington University. She holds an MS in Emergency Health Services from the University of Maryland and an MBA from California Pacific University.
George Apostolakis, Nominee for Commissioner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Dr. George Apostolakis is the Korea Electric Power Company professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and a professor of Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in engineering science and applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1973. He is a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society and of the Society for Risk Analysis. He received the Tommy Thompson Award for his contributions to improvement of reactor safety in 1999 and the Arthur Holly Compton Award in Education in 2005 from the American Nuclear Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2007. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal Reliability Engineering and System Safety and the founder of the International Conferences on Probabilistic Safety Assessment and Management (PSAM). Dr. Apostolakis is a member and former chairman of the statutory Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His current research interests include methods for risk and reliability assessment of complex technological systems; nuclear reactor safety; uncertainty analysis; the use of Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) in design; infrastructure security; risk-informed and performance-based regulation; and risk management involving multiple stakeholders. He has published numerous papers and has participated in many PRA courses and PRA reviews.
William D. Magwood, IV, Nominee for Commissioner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
William D. Magwood, IV was the longest-serving head of the United States’ civilian nuclear technology program, serving two Presidents and five Secretaries of Energy from May 1998 until he stepped down on May 24, 2005. He then founded the firm Advanced Energy Strategies to provide strategic advice to domestic and international clients. As the Director of Nuclear Energy with the U.S. Department of Energy, Mr. Magwood was the senior nuclear technology official in the United States Government and the senior nuclear technology policy advisor to the Secretary of Energy. Under Mr. Magwood’s leadership, the Office of Nuclear Energy encouraged a new consideration of nuclear power technology in the United States. Among other efforts, he led the creation of the "Nuclear Power 2010" initiative, which remains the cornerstone of U.S. industry’s exploration of building new nuclear power plants to provide for the Nation’s future energy needs, and led efforts that reversed the decline in American nuclear technology education. Mr. Magwood was also a strong advocate of international technology cooperation and was elected Chairman of both the Generation IV International Forum and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Steering Committee on Nuclear Energy. Prior to his appointment as Director of Nuclear Energy, Mr. Magwood served as the Associate Director for Technology and Program Planning in the Office of Nuclear Energy for four years. From 1984-1994, he managed electric utility research and nuclear policy programs at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington, DC; and he was a scientist at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he analyzed radiological and hazardous waste disposal, treatment, and handling systems. Mr. Magwood holds a B.S. degree in Physics and a B.A. degree in English from Carnegie-Mellon University. He also holds an M.F.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
Peter A. Prahar, Nominee for Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia
Peter A. Prahar is member of the Senior Foreign Service now serving as the Transnational Crime Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Prior to this assignment, he was Deputy Director then Director of the Office of Asian, African and European Programs in the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. His previous assignments also include tours in the People’s Republic of China, Japan, Albania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and as desk officer for Rwanda. He served with the CSCE Mission in Kosovo in 1993 and returned to Kosovo in 1998 to assist in establishing a U.S. observer mission. He also served as a linguist in the U.S. Air Force from 1971-1975 with assignments in South Korea and Taiwan. Mr. Prahar graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Political Science.
Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary
Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis is a Northern California businesswoman, civic leader and philanthropist. As president of AKT Development Corporation, one of California's largest land development firms, Mrs. Kounalakis has spearheaded major projects that are now home to thousands of families. Passionate about the need to house California's growing population while working toward a sustainable environment, she has worked tirelessly on public policy issues both locally and nationally. Mrs. Kounalakis served two terms as a California State World Trade Commissioner, where she engaged in the dynamics of the global economy. She traveled extensively as part of her cross-cultural work with the World Council of Religions for Peace, for which she engaged in the diplomacy of global interfaith dialogue. She is a first generation American and an active member of the national Greek American community. She was the Pan-Arcadian Federation of America's 2006 person of the year, and was recently awarded the medal of St. Paul, the Greek Orthodox Church of America's highest honor. Mrs. Kounalakis is a trustee of Robert Redford's Sundance Preserve and sits on Conservation Fund's National Forum on Children and Nature. She earned an MBA from the University of California - Berkeley and her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth.