Press Releases

Tennessee Gov. Haslam Announces Cabinet Positions for Transition Period

Press Release from Gov. Bill Haslam, Jan. 14, 2011:

NASHVILLE – Governor-elect Bill Haslam today completed his cabinet appointments for the transition period.

The 20 positions that are filled include seven females, five minorities and geographical representation from across the state.

Candidates for cabinet appointments in Education and Health remain under consideration with decisions expected in the near future. In the interim, Commissioner of Health Susan Cooper will continue to serve indefinitely and Patrick Smith, who is the executive director of the Race to the Top Oversight Team, will be acting Commissioner of Education.

“I am pleased that during the transition we have been able to attract a strong, diverse team to lead the departments,” Gov.-elect Haslam said. “Experienced men and women from across Tennessee will provide the leadership for great customer service and efficient operations.”

Gov.-elect Haslam said his commitment to education reform has led to a nationwide search to identify the most qualified person to lead the state’s efforts for educational excellence. “We are talking to several top candidates and will take the appropriate time to select the right choice to lead our reform efforts,” he said.

While the search continues for a Health commissioner, Gov-elect Haslam announced the formation of a new Tennessee Commission on Health and Wellness. Dr. John W. Lacy, chief medical officer for the University of Tennessee Health Center in Knoxville, will lead the commission.

Commissioners announced on Friday included Labor and Workforce Development, Human Resources, General Services, and Environment and Conservation.

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Steve Cates – Commissioner of General Services: Cates just completed serving as Chairman of the National Home Builders Association Political Action Committee, having previously served as Fundraising Chair.

Karla Davis – Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development: Since 2006, Davis has been Director of Urban Strategies Memphis Hope, managing and overseeing the Community and Supportive Services Program for three U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOPE VI public housing redevelopment projects and two HUD ROSS Grant projects in Memphis.

Mark Emkes– Commissioner of Finance and Administration: Emkes spent his entire professional career at Bridgestone, working his way up from a trainee to chairman, CEO and president before retiring in February, 2010 after 33 years at the company.

Bill Gibbons– Commissioner of Safety and Homeland Security: Gibbons has served as Shelby County District Attorney General since November 1996.

Greg Gonzales– Commissioner of Financial Institutions: Gonzales has served as Commissioner since 2007 serving as the state’s chief regulatory officer of all state-chartered depository and licensed non-depository financial institutions.

COL Many-Bears Grinder – Commissioner of Veterans Affairs: She is a Bronze Star Medal recipient, and she is an Operation Enduring Freedom combat veteran.

Bill Hagerty – Commissioner of Economic and Community Development: He served as a National Finance Chairman for Romney for President in 2007-2008.

Major Gen. Max Haston – Adjutant General of the Tennessee Military Department: In May 2005, he mobilized and deployed as the Chief of Reserve Components, Multi-National Corps Iraq (XVIII Airborne Corps).

Raquel Hatter– Commissioner of Human Services: Devoting her life to social work, Hatter served the last three years as the President and CEO of Family & Children’s Service, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of families, children and individuals.

Jim Henry– Commissioner of Intellectual Disabilities: For the past 13 years, Henry has been the President and CEO of Omni Visions, Inc., a company serving adults with developmental disabilities and children and families in crisis.

Rebecca Hunter – Commissioner of Human Resources:Hunter was Director of Human Resources for Hamilton County, serving there for the past six years.

Julius Johnson– Commissioner of Agriculture: Johnson has been the Chief Administrative Officer for the Tennessee Farm Bureau for the past 15 years.

Robert Martineau – Commissioner of Environment and Conservation: Martineau is a partner at Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis, PLLC, practicing in the area of environmental and regulatory law.

Julie Mix McPeak – Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance: . She has more than 12 years of legal and administrative experience in state government, recently serving as Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance (KOI).

Kathryn “Kate” O’Day– Commissioner of Children’s Services: She began her career as a youth counselor with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

Richard Roberts – Commissioner of Department of Revenue:Roberts currently serves as a director of Miller Industries, Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of towing and recovery vehicles.

Derrick Schofield – Commissioner of Department of Corrections:Schofield was named Georgia Assistant Commissioner of Corrections in 2009 and has 19 years total experience in the field working his way up and gaining more and more responsibility in Georgia Corrections as his career progressed.

John Schroer– Commissioner of Transportation: Schroer was sworn in as Franklin Mayor in 2007, and is a member of the Middle Tennessee Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Regional Transit Authority.

Susan Whitaker– Commissioner of Tourist Development: A former Vice President for Marketing for Dollywood, Whitaker is a Chicago native and a direct descendant of Tennessee’s first governor, John Sevier.

Doug Varney – Commissioner of Mental Health:Varney has spent his professional career with Gray, Tenn.-based Frontier Health, a community mental health center serving families and individuals affected by behavioral health, substance abuse and intellectual deficit issues.