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The White House

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-24-09


Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                June 24, 2009

President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts: Rafael Borras, Under Secretary for Management , Department of Homeland Security; James L. Hudson, Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; Brenda Dann-Messier, Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, Department of Education; Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Department of State; Bryan H. Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Health and Human Services; and Christopher A. Hart, Member, National Transportation Safety Board.

President Obama said, "I’m grateful for the decision of these fine individuals to serve their country at this critical time for our nation.  Their expertise and commitment make them valuable additions to our team as we work to confront our many challenges.  I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead."

President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals today:

Rafael Borras, Nominee for Under Secretary for Management , Department of Homeland Security
Rafael Borras currently serves as a Vice President, Construction Services, for the Mid-Atlantic Region with URS Corporation, a global engineering services firm.  Prior to joining the URS, Mr. Borras served as the Regional Administrator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the U.S. General Services Administration.  Prior to serving in this position, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Mr. Borras also served as Deputy City Manager in the City of Hartford, Connecticut, where he was responsible for the departments of finance, police, fire, code enforcement, information technology, purchasing, budget, and human relations. Mr. Borras began his public sector career with Metropolitan Dade County Government, serving in the Office of the County Administrator as an administrative officer.

James L. Hudson, Nominee for Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Mr. Hudson has been a venture capital principal for the past twenty-three years, focusing on projects in energy cogeneration and efficiency, real estate development, commercial enterprises and consumer products. He served as Chairman of JLH Partners, LLC and as Managing Partner and Co-Founder Hudson Leftwich & Davenport, where he provided counsel to municipalities on commercial development and transportation issues. Previously, Mr. Hudson was a Research Fellow on housing services at The Urban Institute and a member of the firm Rhyne & Rhyne. Mr. Hudson was Chairman of the Finance Committee of the National Capitol Revitalization Corporation Board in Washington, D.C. He was the former Board Chairman of the Morehouse College Trustees and served on the Board of Directors for the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, WETA Public Television and the National Mentoring Partnership. He has been Senior Advisor to Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, and Political Advisor to the mayors of several major U.S. cities. Mr. Hudson holds a B.A. from Morehouse College and a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.

Brenda Dann-Messier, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, Department of Education
Dr. Brenda Dann-Messier is currently the President of Dorcas Place, an Adulwhitt and Family Learning Center in Providence, Rhode Island.  Prior to coming to Dorcas Place she worked at the Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory at Brown University.  She also previously served the Department of Education as Secretary Richard Riley’s Regional Representative for Region I in Boston, Massachusetts.  Before going to work for the Clinton Administration, Brenda directed two TRIO programs, the Rhode Island Educational Opportunity Center (1987 - 1993) and the Educational Talent Search Program (1991 – 1993) of the Community College of Rhode Island.  Dr. Dann-Messier is a member of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education and chairs the Academic and Student Affairs subcommittee for the board.  She received her BA and her M.Ed from Rhode Island College and her ED.D. in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University.

Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones, Nominee for Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Department of State
Dr. Kerri-Ann Jones is currently an independent consultant. She has served previously as the Director of the National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science and Engineering.  Dr. Jones has also served as Acting Director and Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs in the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP). Prior to joining OSTP, Dr. Jones worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where her work focused on science and technology development activities. She served in New Delhi, India as the biotechnology advisor to the USAID mission. Dr. Jones began her government career as a Science, Engineering, and Diplomacy fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Barnard College.
Bryan H. Samuels, Nominee for Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Health and Human Services
Bryan H. Samuels has spent his career formulating service delivery innovations and streamlining operations in large government organizations on behalf of children, youth, and families.  His commitment to public service is largely motivated by his own success in overcoming great personal hardship during his eleven and half years of growing up in a residential school for disadvantaged children. This experience helped shape his commitment to serve children who lived in foster care and reinforced his belief that dedicated people and well-designed programs can make a dramatic impact on the lives of at-risk youth.  As Chief of Staff for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Mr. Samuels played a leadership role in managing the day-to-day operations of the third largest school system in the nation with 420,000 students, 623 schools, 44,000 employees, and a $5 billion budget.  His responsibilities include reviewing all policy changes recommended to the Chicago Board of Education and developing a model to address the impact of exposure to violence on student outcomes.  Prior to this role, from 2003 to 2007, Samuels served as the Director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the nation’s third largest child welfare agency.  While Director, he moved aggressively to implement comprehensive assessments of all children entering care, redesigned transitional and independent living programs to prepare youth for transitioning to adulthood, created a child location unit to track all runaway youth, and introduced evidence-based services to address the impact of trauma and exposure to violence on children in state care.  As a result of his efforts, DCFS established the lowest caseload ratios for case managers in the nation; reduced the number of youth "on run" by 40 percent and number of days "on run" by 50 percent; decreased the use of residential treatment or group homes by 20 percent; and eliminated the number of past due child protection investigations by 60 percent.  Prior to 2003, Samuels taught at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, while also providing technical assistance to state and local governments to improve human service delivery to vulnerable populations.  Samuels holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy Studies and a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from the University of Notre Dame.  
Christopher A. Hart, Nominee for Member, National Transportation Safety Board
Christopher A. Hart, an attorney (J.D., Harvard Law School) with two engineering degrees (M.S.E., B.S. E., Aerospace Engineering, Princeton), previously served as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1990-1993.  Since 1995 he has applied his legal and technical backgrounds at the Federal Aviation Administration to create processes for using information proactively to help identify and address potential safety issues before they cause mishaps.  His internationally recognized expertise has helped many other industries—such as health care, nuclear power, chemical manufacturing and financial—learn from the success of aviation safety processes to improve their own risk management and safety.  Mr. Hart’s previous positions have included Deputy Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Deputy Assistant General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Transportation, attorney with the Air Transport Association of America, and managing partner of Hart, Carroll & Chavers, a Washington, D.C., law firm.  Mr. Hart is a veteran pilot with commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings.