Executive Staff and Presidential Appointees
Edgar Bennett is Acting Chief Management Officer. Previously, he was Director of the Budget Department from August 2008 through October 2014. Prior to his arrival at PBGC Mr. Bennett came from the Executive Office of the President, where he served as the Budget Officer, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, and the Chief Financial Officer. During his civilian federal career, he also worked in the resource management field at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Architect of the Capitol. Prior to that, Mr. Bennett served twenty-one years' as a United States Navy Supply Corps Officer in various leadership, financial operations, logistics, and acquisition positions. He earned an MBA from National University, and a BS in Accounting from Miami University.
Constance Donovan is the Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate. The position was created when the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) was signed into law on July 6, 2012. The PBGC Board selected Ms. Donovan to serve as a liaison between the Corporation and participants and plan sponsors and to advocate on behalf of retirees. Prior to joining PBGC in December 2013, Ms. Donovan served as a pension counsel in the Office of the General Counsel at the Department of the Treasury. Previously, Ms. Donovan worked with PBGC during her tenure at the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration. While there, Ms. Donovan coordinated daily activities between PBGC's board agencies comprised of the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Commerce, and PBGC staff to assist in the Board's oversight functions. Ms. Donovan also served as executive director and general counsel to several prominent public pension plans. She began her career in business with NCR Corporation where she assumed increasing management and leadership responsibilities within the company. Ms. Donovan earned her LL.M. in Taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center, her J.D. degree from the American University Washington College of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts from Boston College.
Patricia Kelly is Chief Financial Officer and Acting Chief of Technology Operations. She joined the PBGC in November 2007 after serving in the same position at the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prior to that, Ms. Kelly was the CFO and Budget Officer for the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. During her federal career, she also worked at the Bureau of the Census where she was the Assistant Division Chief in the Decennial Census, the largest peacetime operation of the United States government. She earned an MBA from American University, and an MA and BA from Pennsylvania State University. Ms. Kelly also holds a CPA license and a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) certification.
Leslie Kramerich rejoined PBGC in October 2012 and is now Senior Advisor. Leslie is an attorney who has been a Congressional staff member for both sides of the Hill and both sides of the aisle. She has worked for authorizing and appropriations committees. She has been a law partner with Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson & Hand, a part of Mercer Human Resource Consulting's Washington Resource Group, a retirement and tax lobbyist for the Investment Company Institute, an Assistant Secretary of Labor heading what is now the Employee Benefits Security Administration, and a consultant to varied organizations including the Aspen Institute's Initiative on Financial Security, the Pension Rights Center, AFSCME and AARP. She was part of PBGC from 1993 to 1998 as Attorney-Advisor to the Chief Negotiator and was closely involved with the Early Warning Program.
Cathleen (Cathy) Kronopolus is the Acting Chief of Benefits Administration and Acting Director of the Benefits Administration and Payment Department (BAPD). She is responsible for planning and directing PBGC's benefits administration activities. Ms. Kronopolus joined PBGC in September 2012 to serve as the Director of the Workplace Solutions Department. Prior to joining PBGC, Ms. Kronopolus served in a number of executive positions at the General Services Administration, including the Regional Commissioner for the Public Buildings Service for the National Capital Region, the Assistant Commissioner for Real Property and Asset Management, the Chief of Staff for the Public Buildings Service and the Acting Chief of Staff for GSA during the last Administration transition. Ms. Kronopolus began her federal career with the Environmental Protection Agency, where she served in a number of staff and management positions focused on protecting workers and the environment from possible exposures to licensed chemicals. Ms. Kronopolus holds a B.A. in Geological Sciences from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a Masters in Regional Planning from the University of Massachusetts. .
Ann Orr is Chief of Staff. Ms. Orr's prior government service includes eight years at the National Endowment for the Humanities where she was Chief of Staff. In her tenure at NEH, Ms. Orr successfully fought off efforts to eliminate the agency. She also created programming to engage the general public in humanities disciplines such as history, English and philosophy. Ms. Orr was also a professional staff member on the predecessor to the Senate HELP Committee. During her ten years of service on the now Senate HELP Committee she worked to enact legislation in elementary and secondary education and vocational education. She also worked on titles of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 and the Omnibus Drug Act. In addition to her stints in government, she was the executive director of two foundations. Ms. Orr was the Executive Director of the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and Executive Director of the National Trust for the Humanities. Ms. Orr holds a B.A. from Yale University.
J. Jioni Palmer is Acting Chief Policy Officer. Prior to joining PBGC, Mr. Palmer was Communications Director for the Congressional Black Caucus where he was responsible for developing and implementing a proactive national communications strategy to raise the profile of the 42 member caucus, which included the House Majority Whip, four full committee chairs and 18 sub-committee chairs. Immediately prior, Mr. Palmer served as National Press Secretary at Media Matters for America where he helped coordinate a multi-pronged rapid response media relations, external affairs and online advocacy operations with nationwide reach. Previously, Mr. Palmer served as press secretary for the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives overseeing communications strategy involving multiple policy areas including tax, health, and social services. Before March 2007, he was a reporter with Newsday, where he started as a summer intern in 1999 and subsequently covered the various levels of government and politics in New York. Joining the Washington bureau in September 2004 as Newsday's Congressional Correspondent, he began reporting on the daily activities on Capitol Hill, focusing on the New York delegation. He was awarded a Newsday Publisher's Award for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent rebuilding of New Orleans. Mr. Palmer is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles where he majored in African American Studies.
Sanford (Sandy) Rich is Chief of Negotiations and Restructuring. Sandy joined PBGC in 2012 and has long and varied experience in business, in finance and in restructuring. Immediately before joining PBGC, he was a Managing Director of Whitemarsh Capital Advisors, LLC, which provides restructuring and financial advisory services to businesses in the healthcare, real estate, housing, manufacturing, media, energy, retailing and technology industries. Prior to that, he served for decades in senior leadership roles at Merrill Lynch in investment banking, GEM Capital as a manager of investment portfolios, and Citicorp managing the loan business. Sandy has operating experience serving as CEO, Director and Audit Committee Chairman of both public and private companies. Sandy graduated with a BS from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and received his MBA from New York University Stern School of Business.
Judith Starr is General Counsel. She came to PBGC in July 2005 from the Department of the Treasury, where she served as chief counsel of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network with responsibility for administering the Bank Secrecy Act. In that position, she oversaw the creation of information-sharing mechanisms among government entities and the financial services industry, and the expansion of suspicious-activity reporting and anti-money laundering requirements. Prior to that, she was assistant chief litigation counsel in the Securities and Exchange Commission's Division of Enforcement. Ms. Starr also served as a special prosecutor for the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She has published a number of articles on both securities and bankruptcy law, and is a recipient of the SEC's Stanley Sporkin Award for outstanding contributions to SEC enforcement. Ms. Starr began her legal career as a clerk to Judge William Schwarzer of the U.S. District Court for Northern California. Before entering government service, she was a commercial litigator in private practice in Los Angeles. Ms. Starr received her juris doctor from Harvard Law School, where she served as an editor of the Harvard Law Review, and her bachelor of arts from the College of William and Mary.
Dr. Barry C. West is Chief Information Officer. He came to PBGC in March 2013 after five years in the private sector as the Executive Vice President of SE Solutions Inc. He has more than 30 years of information technology experience, and uniquely combines the expertise of a technologist with that of a business leader in the government IT community. Prior to his last position in the private sector, Dr. West was the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Chief Information Officer and Director of the IT Services Division for the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Chief Information Officer of the National Weather Service. He also held IT leadership positions at the General Services Administration, the National Technical Information Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Air Force, and Tab Books Inc. Dr. West earned his Executive Doctorate of Business degree at the Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. He earned his Executive Master of Science degree in Information Technology from the University of Maryland University College, where he also completed the Chief Information Officer Certificate Program. He earned a Master of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University and Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems from Northern Michigan University. In addition, he is an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School of Business, Advanced Management Program (AMP). Dr. West is the recipient of numerous awards including the Federal Computer Week's FED 100 and the CES Government Leadership Award. He is the current President of the Association for Federal Information Resources Management (AFFIRM) and former President of the American Council for Technology / Industry Advisory Council (2003-2007). He teaches as an adjunct assistant professor in the graduate school at the University of Maryland University College.