WASHINGTON, D.C. — the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week announced more key appointments.
Tanya Bradsher, chief of staff, Office of the Secretary: Prior to her arrival at VA, Tanya Bradsher served as special assistant to the president and senior director for Partnerships and Global Engagements at the National Security Council. On Capitol Hill, Bradsher was chief of staff for Virginia Congressman Don Beyer. During her tenure at the American Psychiatric Association, she served as chief of communications and held the same post for Plans and Operations at the Defense Health Agency. At the Department of Homeland Security, she was assistant secretary for Public Affairs and for the president’s Office of Public Engagement, associate director for Veterans, Military Family and Wounded Warriors. Bradsher is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and is a combat Veteran who served 20 years.
Melissa Bryant, deputy assistant secretary, Office of Public Affairs (OPA): Since February, Melissa Bryant has been an OPA senior advisor focused on the American Rescue Plan; Asset and Infrastructure Review Commission; COVID-19; diversity, equity and inclusion; economic relief; Electronic Health Record Modernization; and sexual assault and harassment. Bryant’s public service includes roles in both the military and civil service as a senior intelligence officer. As a plans, policy and operations expert for the Department of Defense and intelligence community, she served in key leadership positions with the Defense Intelligence Agency, Joint Staff, United States Military Academy and Army intelligence. A third-generation combat Veteran, she also served as national legislative director for The American Legion and as chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Bryant is widely recognized for championing causes impacting women, minority service members and Veterans.
Chris Díaz, deputy chief of staff and White House liaison, Office of the Secretary: Since January, Chris Díaz, has been serving as acting chief of staff and now focuses fulltime on his deputy chief of staff and White House liaison duties. Díaz is founder and former executive director of the Veteran-led non-profit, Action Tank, whose mission tackles the toughest challenges facing that community. He has sat on numerous boards in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, helping to shape the future of the region. For leading these efforts, he has received national recognition earning the South by Southwest Community Service Award, Aspen Ideas Fellowship and Pat Tillman scholarship. Díaz is a U.S. Navy Veteran.
Michael Parrish, principal executive director, Office of Acquisition, Logistics and Construction (OALC): Since the beginning of March, Michael Parrish has been at the helm of OALC providing policy and oversight for the department’s $36 billion acquisition needs and managing VA’s major construction and leasing program. Parrish has more than 35 years of senior leadership experience in the military and government, and with corporate and non-profit organizations. Prior to joining VA, he served as professor of practice and senior advisor of Systems Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Parrish has been chairman and CEO of several publicly traded companies and was founder and CEO for multiple service-disabled Veteran-owned businesses. Additionally, he has held executive leadership positions for several General Electric (GE) companies to include general manager for global logistics and services for GE’s water business, and as managing director for GE Capital specializing in ecommerce, six sigma and productivity of several GE’s equipment management groups. A retired colonel, Parrish served 14 years on active duty and 21 years in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Shawn Turner, senior advisor for Strategic Engagement, Office of the Secretary: Shawn Turner comes to VA as a professor of National Security Communication at Michigan State University and a National Security analyst for CNN. Turner previously served as communications director of at the Center for a New American Security and former chair of Information Operations at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security. As a senior executive in the federal government, his positions include White House deputy press secretary for National Security, communications director for National Intelligence at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and deputy press secretary for Foreign Affairs for the National Security Council. A published author, Turner served 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Additional announcements are expected.
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