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Lillian Salerno
Administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service
Photo of Lillian Salerno

On July 1, 2013, Lillian Salerno began serving as the Administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS), an agency within the Rural Development mission area of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). As Administrator, Ms. Salerno is responsible for overseeing the Agency's $10.7 billion guaranteed loan portfolio. RBS provides financial and technical assistance to small businesses and cooperatives throughout rural America to expand job opportunities, helps businesses grow, promotes energy independence through energy efficiency and the development of clean, renewable forms of energy.

As Administrator, Lillian has focused on strengthening economic development capacity in rural communities including initiatives for job creation, increased access to capital, regional collaboration, and energy efficiency. Ms. Salerno further promotes the Secretarial priorities for strengthening the bioeconomy and supporting local and regional foods. During her tenure at USDA, Lillian has played a key role in support of several Administration initiatives including The White House Business Council,'Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership' (IMCP) initiative, Advanced Manufacturing and Small Business Credit Initiatives.

As a former manufacturing entrepreneur (founded rural enterprise with a Small Business Innovation Research grant which currently employs 150 people in rural Texas), Ms. Salerno understands what it takes to start a business from the ground up. She has first-hand experience as a federal grant applicant, community leader, and small business advocate for increased anti-trust enforcement to ensure competition; and these experiences guide her commitment to entrepreneurs who take on the formidable task of building businesses in rural America.

Administrator Salerno grew up in rural Texas, where her family currently resides and her manufacturing business continues to thrive and support the local economy. She attained a B.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, a Master's Degree in Sociology and Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas, and a J.D. from Southern Methodist University in Austin, Texas.