WASHINGTON – Today, President Joe Biden appointed the following individuals to serve in key regional leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the Department of Homeland Security:
- Amy Knapp Pettit, UDSA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Alaska
- Janice Kolvet, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Nevada
- Marcy Svenningsen, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, North Dakota
- Julia Hnilicka, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Alaska
- Chris Kanazawa, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Hawaii
- Terry Goodin, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Indiana
- Scott Soares, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut
- Colleen Landkamer, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Minnesota
- Trina George, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Mississippi
- Jane Asselta, USDA State Director, Rural Development, New Jersey
- Kenneth Corn, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Oklahoma
- David Cash, EPA Regional Administrator, Region 1
- Willie Nunn, FEMA Regional Administrator, Region 10
These regional appointees will be critical to the President’s efforts to rebuild communities most impacted by the pandemic, the economic recovery, and climate change. They bring deep expertise in their issue areas as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal, and local leaders. And, consistent with the President’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, these regional appointees represent the diversity of America and the communities they serve.
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA)
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs in each U.S. State. Its mission is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed equitably and fairly.
USDA’s Rural Development mission area is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. State Directors lead offices that offer grants, loans, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services.
Amy Knapp Pettit, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Alaska
Amy Knapp Pettit was raised on a cow-calf operation on the Southern Oregon Coast where generations of her family have raised premier beef cattle for over 100 years. Pettit graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business Management in 2003.
She arrived in Alaska in 2005 and began her career with the State Division of Agriculture. During her tenure, she led the Marketing & Development team, was a founding board member of the Alaska Food Policy Council, and sat on the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials Executive Board. Pettit became the Executive Director of the Alaska Farmland Trust in 2015 where her role includes permanently protecting valuable agricultural lands, promoting the industry across multiple platforms, and educating fellow Alaskans on the importance of their food system. When she’s not working to inspire others about Alaska’s agriculture industry, Pettit enjoys chasing her teenaged daughters from the soccer pitch to the basketball court and seeks to balance it all through teaching and practicing yoga.
Janice Kolvet, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Nevada
Janice Kolvet was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. Kolvet began her federal career 25 years ago and served in many positions with the Farm Service Agency in Nevada, California, and Washington, D.C. She managed farm program delivery at the county office level as a district director, and as an agricultural program specialist in both the Nevada and California state FSA offices. In Washington, D.C., she served as a supervisory agricultural program specialist in the Production, Emergencies and Compliance Division, Disaster Assistance Section, at FSA headquarters where she directed a staff charged with national farm policy. She also worked on a 2014 Farm Bill task force, with the responsibility for developing new policy for federal disaster assistance. Kolvet also has previous experience as a cattle rancher in Elko, Nevada. As a career federal employee with both field and national office experience with federal farm programs, and as a rancher, Kolvet knows the importance of federal farm policy for all agricultural producers.
Marcy Svenningsen, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, North Dakota
Marcy Svenningsen has spent most of her adult life advocating for family farm agriculture. She grew up on a family farm and received a degree in Accounting from Valley City State University. Svenningsen and her husband, Greg, live and work on a farm and ranch about 10 miles west of Valley City where they grow wheat, corn, soybeans, and feed for their cattle. Svenningsen spent 12 years as a District Director on the North Dakota Farmers Union state board. She also served as the Chair of the USDA ND Farm Service Agency State Committee for eight years. Most recently, Svenningsen has been serving as the chair of the Cass County Electric Cooperative board of directors and as a director on the Minnkota Power Cooperative board.
Svenningsen and Greg have two married children and five grandchildren. They are working with their son and his family in their farming operation, and Svenningsen has also worked off the farm for over 30 years as a Finance Director for Open Door Center in Valley City, a non-profit corporation that provides services to individuals with disabilities. She is the Secretary/Treasurer for Zion Free Lutheran Church and is an active participant in the church and her community.
Julia Hnilicka, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Alaska
Born and raised in rural Alaska, Julia Hnilicka has resided for the majority of her life in her home village of Nenana. The daughter of a tugboat captain and an educator, her background instills a deep, lived understanding of the complexities of the issues facing rural residents. Her professional experience includes remote logistics, economic development, academic and environmental research, Indigenous studies, politics, education, and business management. Hnilicka’s recent run for Alaska State House, in the rural Interior district, activated her passion and drive for addressing the many persistent problems facing Alaska’s most valuable asset, our people. She obtained her Master’s in Rural Development from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development. While seeking her degree, she traveled throughout Alaska, interfacing with a vast diversity of population and resources. Her decade-long workplace experience in managing a successful freight logistics business on the Yukon River gives her a unique awareness of the challenges that face rural Alaska. Her primary mission is to be a positive force in Alaska’s future, which drives her dedication to address the housing crisis, broadband for all, support for small businesses, and workforce development.
Chris Kanazawa, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Hawaii
Chris J. Kanazawa has over 25 years of experience in the real estate industry. Having served in several leadership roles, Kanazawa has extensive knowledge of planning, land use entitlement, and development of residential, commercial, industrial, resort, and golf course real estate projects. He previously held positions as President of the Land Division for Amfac/JMB Hawaii, and upon leaving the real estate industry, Kanazawa was named President and CEO of Parker Ranch, Inc. in Waimea, Hawaii, the fifth largest cattle ranch in the United States with landholdings of over 133,000 acres.
In 2010, Kanazawa was appointed by President Obama as the USDA Rural Development State Director for Hawaii. Under his leadership, the Hawaii State Office provided over $2.5 billion in loans and grants to assist residential, commercial, public infrastructure, renewable energy, utility, and agriculture projects. His region of responsibility covered over 4.3 million…