William H. (Bill) Clay is the Deputy Administrator for APHIS' Wildlife Services (WS) program. In this position, he is responsible for overall planning, coordinating, and direction of the national WS operational and research programs. Before assuming the role of Deputy Administrator in August, 2000, Mr. Clay was the WS Associate Deputy Administrator for a period of 3 years, and was the WS director of the operational support staff for a period of 7 years. Prior to that, he served as the State Director for the WS program in North Dakota, and Assistant to the State Director for the Texas WS program.
Mr. Clay is a native of San Antonio, Texas. He obtained his B.S. degree in Wildlife Management from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, in December 1974 and is a certified wildlife biologist.
Prior to becoming Deputy Administrator in May 2004, Dr. Clifford served as VSí acting Deputy Administrator. He was the Associate Deputy Administrator National Animal Health and Policy program where he led VSí efforts to protect, sustain, and improve productivity, marketability, and health of the nationís animals, animal products, and biologics.
Dr. Clifford served as VSí Assistant Deputy Administrator from 1997-2002. He also has extensive field experience. Since joining APHIS in 1985, Dr. Clifford has also served as the area veterinarian in charge in Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, and Indiana; the National Health Monitoring System coordinator in Ohio; and the brucellosis epidemiologist and veterinary medical officer in Kentucky.
Before beginning his work with APHIS, Dr. Clifford was a private veterinarian in a mixed practice. He received his DVM and BS degrees in animal science from the University of Missouri.
A native of Kentucky, Dr. Clifford currently resides in Virginia with his wife, Sara.
Dr. Chester A. Gipson was appointed Acting Deputy Administrator in November 2001, and then Deputy Administrator, of Animal Care (AC) in May 2002. He and his staff (which includes headquarters personnel in Riverdale, Maryland, regional personnel in Raleigh, North Carolina, and regional personnel in Fort Collins, Colorado) are responsible for the enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and the Horse Protection Act (HPA).
Dr. Gipson has worked for APHIS for more than 20 years. His first job was as a Veterinary Medical Officer (VMO) on the Sheep, Goat, Equine, Ectoparasite, and Miscellaneous Disease staff within Veterinary Services (VS). After that, he served as a VMO with Policy and Program Development, where he and other staff and line officials developed broad policies and veterinary medical programs for VS. After serving a year as Assistant Director of VSí Southeastern Regional Office, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, he served as Director of that program, until he became the Director of VSí Animal Health Programs in Riverdale, Maryland, and, later, the Associate Deputy Administrator of VS.
Dr. Gipson received a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama; a Masterís of Agriculture (specializing in Physiology) from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida; and a Bachelor of Science (with a major in Animal Science and Biology) from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.
Osama El-Lissy is the Deputy Administrator for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ). In this position, he leads and directs a nationally dispersed staff that safeguards U.S. animal and plant resources from destructive pests and diseases.
For nearly two years before becoming PPQ’s Deputy Administrator, Osama was the Associate Deputy Administrator responsible for policy and financial management within PPQ. Before that, he directed PPQ’s emergency management, providing national coordination in the preparedness, response, and recovery from plant health emergencies in the United States. This included working with federal and state governments, industry stakeholders, and subject matter experts to develop and implement comprehensive plans designed to safeguard American agriculture against invasive pest outbreaks such as the recent citrus black spot in Florida, European grapevine moth in California, and potato cyst nematode in Idaho.
From 2000 to 2005, Osama served as the APHIS National Coordinator for cotton pest programs. In that role, he provided the coordination for national cotton pest programs in the United States and Mexico, including the boll weevil and pink bollworm eradication programs.
Osama’s previous experience includes more than twelve years in the private sector managing large scale pest control and eradication programs. As the director of the Texas boll weevil eradication program from1994 through 2000, Osama led one of the largest pest eradication programs in the world, affecting approximately four million acres of cotton and providing services to several thousand cotton producers and landowners.
Osama Earned a Master’s Degree in International Business Administration from Georgetown University, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from American University, and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Production and Entomology from Cairo University.
Bethany Jones is the Deputy Administrator of Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). In this position, she provides leadership and guidance to effectively communicate APHIS policy developments and program accomplishments. Ms. Jones is responsible for the overall planning and direction of LPA activities, which include media and industry outreach, legislative analysis, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act requests, production of informational materials, and response to media, congressional, intergovernmental, and citizen inquiries about APHIS programs.
Michael Gregoire is the Deputy Administrator for APHIS’ Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) program. In this position, he provides leadership and direction to ensure the safe development and introduction (importation, interstate movement, and field testing) of genetically engineered organisms.
After receiving his undergraduate degree, Mr. Gregoire worked for 2 years as a Social Welfare Examiner with the Erie County Department of Social Services in Buffalo, New York. He began his Federal career as a Budget Analyst with APHIS in 1978 and served in progressively responsible roles as an analyst and manager. From 1978 until 1992, Mr. Gregoire worked in the APHIS Budget and Accounting Division and served as the Agency’s Budget Officer for several years. From 1992 until 1995, Mr. Gregoire was the Chief of Staff to the APHIS Administrator. In 1995, he assumed a leadership position in the Agency’s information technology organization and was named APHIS Chief Information Officer in 1996.
Mr. Gregoire received his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Niagara University in 1976 and a Masters Degree in public administration from George Washington University in 1983.
Mr. Gregoire is a native of Buffalo, New York. He is married and has three children.
Beverly Simmons is the Deputy Administrator for APHIS' International Services (IS)
Previously in APHIS, Simmons served as the Associate Deputy Administrator for Emerging and International Programs of Biotechnology Regulatory Services. In that role, she was responsible for developing new programs and initiatives to meet the evolving nature of APHIS’ biotechnology regulatory framework, and for advancing its international objectives.
Before joining APHIS, she was the Assistant Deputy Administrator of the Office of Scientific and Technical Affairs of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. In that role, Simmons led the Agency’s efforts to develop strategic and tactical approaches to address technical, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers to agricultural trade. As director of the biotechnology group, she coordinated program and policy development for agricultural biotechnology trade-related issues. Other positions within FAS include Assistant Deputy Administrator for International Trade Policy and Assistant to the Deputy Administrator for Commodity and Marketing Programs. Simmons has also served as Agricultural Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in London. Simmons earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in business/marketing and agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland at College Park.
Christine Zakarka is the Deputy Administrator of Policy and Program Development (PPD) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). She provides leadership for the overall planning and directions of policies, programs and activities at APHIS. She is also responsible for the Agency’s budget, regulation development and environmental compliance programs.
Prior to her recent appointment, Ms. Zakarka served since 2001 as Chief of PPD’s Planning, Evaluation, and Monitoring staff. In that role, she was responsible for developing the Agency’s strategic and operational plans, evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of APHIS programs, and analyzing and improving business processes. Ms. Zakarka has also held numerous other positions in APHIS, including as a Manager of Information Technology Planning and as an Employee Development Specialist. She has served on several temporary managerial details, including Acting Director for the Agency’s Conflict Prevention and Management Program, Acting Director of the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, and most recently, Acting Assistant Human Resources Director.
Ms. Zakarka obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from Fordham University and her Masters degree from University of Maryland University College.
Marilyn L. Holland is the Deputy Administrator for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Business Services (MRPBS). In this capacity, she is responsible for providing human resource management, financial management and administrative services to support the objectives of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. Ms. Holland also provides a variety of support services to APHIS, including information technology management, emergency management and investigative services.
Ms. Holland led APHIS' Modernization Project Management Office from 2011-2012. Prior to that assignment, she was APHIS' Chief Information Officer from 2008 through 2011. Ms. Holland came to APHIS in 2006 as the Deputy Chief Information Officer. She has also worked in the area of IT Management at USDA's Office of the Chief Information Officer and Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation SErvice (now Farm Service Agency). She began her career at USDA as a financial analyst in the Farmers Home Administration (now Rural Development).
Ms. Holland holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Masters in Business Administration from Georgetown University.
Kenneth E. Johnson (Ken) is the Director of the Office of Civil Rights, Diversity and Inclusion (OCRDI) of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection (APHIS). He is responsible for providing leadership, direction, coordination, evaluation and support to the APHIS: Formal and Informal Complaint Programs; Cultural Transformation and Diversity and Inclusion Programs; Tribal Consultation and Outreach Programs; Civil Rights Compliance Program; and Minority Outreach and Special Emphasis Programs.
During his 37-year Federal Career, Ken spent 10 years with the Agricultural Marketing Service, 2-years with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and 25 years with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. He has held positions such as Special Programs Consultant to the Administrator; Acting Director, USDA Center for Minority Farmers; Director Emergency Planning and Response Division; Director of the Riverdale/Washington Business Site; Director Resource Management, Wildlife Services; Branch Chief, Procurement Policy and Safety Management; Budget Analyst; Administrative Officer; and Agricultural Marketing Specialist.
In addition to his Federal service, Ken served 9 years as an elected member of the Prince George's County Maryland Board of Education. During his tenure on the Board, Ken's colleagues elected him Chairman of the Board three times.
Ken received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1976 from South Carolina State University. He resides in Mitchellville, MD, with his wife, daughters, son-in-law, and granddaughters.