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News Release

Release No. 0362.09
Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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WASHINGTON, July 31, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the names of five additional people who will hold staff positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"I'm pleased to announce additional USDA staff who will work with President Obama and me to help move our country forward," said Vilsack. "Together we can make progress in building stronger rural communities, improving the environment, and ensuring our food supply remains safe, sustainable and nutritious."


Pat Engel – Senior Advisor, Risk Management Agency (RMA). Formerly with Amplify Public Affairs, LLC, in Washington, D.C., Engel is a specialist in third party relations. She leveraged her expertise in rural and agricultural issues to provide third party stakeholder management to rural and agricultural groups as well as supporting corporate clients. Earlier Engel served with USDA as the External Affairs Director of RMA. Engel was the assistant director of Student Services of Monroe College where she helped design an educationally viable, cost-effective student tutoring center. Engel holds an undergraduate degree from the Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York. Engel and her husband of almost 30 years, Congressman Eliot Engel, have three children.


Michael Martinez – Special Assistant, Natural Resources Conservation Service. Martinez has served at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in a variety of roles, including project and team management, environmental policy, and real estate program administration. Martinez earned a Juris Doctor degree from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, Minn. He earned a B.S. degree in natural resource recreation planning and management from the University of Illinois, and a M.A. in environmental studies from Northeastern Illinois University.


Jenny Montoya Tansey – Special Assistant, Rural Housing. Born and raised in Albuquerque, N.M., Tansey received her bachelor's degree from Columbia University and her law degree from Stanford Law School. Upon receiving her J.D., she joined President Obama's primary field campaign in Nevada in July 2007.


Vianca Monet Dyer – Staff Assistant, Office of Congressional Relations. Dyer most recently served as the greetings coordinator for the White House Office of Presidential Correspondence. Prior to that, she was a Staff Assistant in U.S. Senator Barack Obama's Washington D.C. office and formerly interned in his Chicago office. A native of San Diego, Calif., Dyer earned her B.S. in Communication Studies with a double major in Political Science from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Chad Maisel – Staff Assistant, Office of the Deputy Secretary. Prior to joining USDA, Maisel served on the Presidential Inaugural Committee for the National Day of Service. He worked on the 2008 campaign for approximately 18 months as regional field director for the Obama campaign in Ohio and as a staffer for Hillary Clinton's primary bid in several states, beginning in Iowa. While in college, he interned in the Washington offices of Sen. Jon Corzine (NJ) and Sen. Robert Menendez (NJ). Maisel, of Princeton, N.J., is a graduate of Emory University, with majors in Political Science and Spanish.


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