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Frank M. Wood, Director, USDA Office of Hearings and Appeals

Mr. Frank M. “Max” Wood was named the Director of the National Appeals Division (NAD) on October 15, 2019.

Mr. Wood is a native of the Atlanta, Georgia area. He graduated Cum Laude from LaGrange College in 1981 and from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1985.

Mr. Wood served in the United States Air Force as a Judge Advocate for five years and remained in the Reserves and/or Air National Guard until he retired with the rank of Colonel in December of 2015. As a reserve Air Force officer, Mr. Wood deployed to Baghdad, Iraq and Islamabad, Pakistan.

Mr. Wood served as the Chief Assistant District Attorney of the Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit in Georgia and also worked in a private practice in Macon, Georgia.

In 2001, he was appointed the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia by President George W. Bush and served until 2009. While serving as United States Attorney, Mr. Wood deployed to Baghdad, Iraq for one year to serve as the Department of Justice Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Mr. Wood was appointed Chief Administrative Law Judge for the State of Georgia in 2010 by Governor Sonny Perdue.

Mr. Wood is married to the former Suzanne Bronson, and they have three children.


Mrs. Jennifer Nicholson has been with the National Appeals Division (NAD) for nearly fifteen years. She has held several positions related to adjudicating administrative appeals.  Since 2019, Mrs. Nicholson has been the Deputy Director of the Office of Hearings and Appeals, primarily responsible for overseeing the operations of NAD’s regional offices and the issuance of Director Review Determinations. 

Mrs. Nicholson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University and her law degree from Creighton University.  She completed judicial clerkships with the Circuit Court of St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.


Mr. Jeffrey Hunt joined the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) in June 2022 as the Assistant Director of Administration.  Prior to joining the OHA team, he was the Director of Security for the Secretary of the Navy.  Preceding this position, Mr. Hunt was the Resource and Program Manager in Headquarters, Navy Public Affairs at the Pentagon. 

Mr. Hunt is a retired U.S. Army intelligence officer who retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2014 after 23 years on active duty.  His assignments in the Army include Germany, Washington, DC (twice), California, and Texas.  In addition, Mr. Hunt has completed three combat deployments to the Middle East in support of U.S. and coalition forces.  His awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, five Meritorious Services Medals and Induction into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara.

Mr. Hunt earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in public finance.