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Annie Walker – Director Veteran Education Training and Employment
Annie Walker is a 15 year employee of the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is the Director of Veterans Education, Training and Employment (VETE). VETE is one of six directorates under the Virginia Department of Veterans Services. Mrs. Walker oversees the management of the State Approving Agency for Veterans Education and Training (GI Bill), the Virginia Military Survivors and Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP), the Virginia Values Veterans Employment Program (V3) , the Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP), the Military Medics and Corpsmen Program (MMAC) and the Job Training, Employment Skills Training Apprenticeship and Internships (JTEST-AI) better known as the Virginia Skillbridge initiative. Mrs. Walker presented at the 2013 Governor’s Conference on Housing titled: “Veterans and Their Communities: Strategies for Transition, Jobs, and Thriving Lives: The GI Bill-A Partner in Addressing Homeless Veterans.”
Prior to this position, Mrs. Walker worked as a Truancy/Dropout Prevention Case Manager, Petersburg Public Schools; Foster Care/Adoption Social Worker, Petersburg Department of Social Services and as a Prevention/Community Specialist with Petersburg District 19 Community Service Board. She presented at many venues to include the Title I Regional Parent Involvement Conference on “Working with Children from Environmentally Challenged Communities.”
Mrs. Walker is a retired, disabled veteran from the United States Army. She is a graduate of the Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, Camp Murray, WA but decided to continue her career as an enlisted soldier, where she received many awards to include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Good Conduct Award, Overseas Service Ribbon and the Distinguished Instructor Award.
During her military career, Mrs. Walker was a 21G-Pershing Missile Electronics Material Specialist; 27M-Multiple Launch Rocket Systems Repairer and a 92Y-Unit Supply Specialist. Her last duty assignment was at Fort Lee, Virginia, where she was a Drill Sergeant. Mrs. Walker ended her military career in 1997 as the Director for the Instructor Development Course at the United States Army Quartermaster Center and School.
Mrs. Walker is active on the national level; she is the Vice President of the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA). She was appointed by Secretary Robert McDonald to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Veterans Advisory Council on Education and is a member of the DVA/NASAA Joint Advisory Council. Mrs. Walker has a B.S. in Vocational Education and a Master of Business Administration..
Charlie Palumbo – Director of Transition and Employment Programs
Charlie M. Palumbo is the Director of Transition and Employment Programs at the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS), where she serves as primary lead on developing and overseeing the creation of a transition and employment programs at the DVS. She leads the Virginia Values Veteran Program (V3), Military Medic and Corpsman Program (MMAC), Virginia Transition Assistance Program (VTAP) and the Skills Bridge Program; all of these programs create opportunities and pathways for employment for veterans and their spouses. Prior to DVS, Ms. Palumbo spent three years at the Virginia Employment Commission, as the Veteran Program Manager, where she oversaw the Bridge to Employment Program and the Jobs for Veterans Program. She also worked for several years at the Office of Personnel Management, as a Program Coordinator at the Federal Executive Institute. She spent four years in the Navy stationed in Yokosuka, Japan and then accompanied her husband as a military spouse for a four year tour in Naples, Italy. She is staff for the Virginia Governor’s Workforce Board, lead on the DVS Workforce Steering Committee, and sits on multiple veteran focused committees in Virginia. Ms. Palumbo is a published author of The Face of a Memory
Michael Bluemling Jr. – Virginia Values Veterans (V3) Program Manager
Michael Bluemling Jr. is a veteran who served in the United States Army as a Non-Commissioned Officer. He received the U.S. Army Commendation Medal, two U.S. Army Achievement Medals, the U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, and the NATO Medal during his four-year distinguished military career with a deployment to KFOR in 2000. After an honorable discharge from the military, he went on to hold several positions in the U.S. Government, which in all totaled over thirteen years of service to America as a Public Servant. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from ECPI University, a Master of Professional Studies in Human Resources and Employment Relations from Pennsylvania State University, and a Graduate Certificate from UMass Dartmouth in Organizational Leadership. In addition, he graduated from the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans program from Florida State University. He is also the author of three published self-help books, including Bridging the Gap from Soldier to Civilian: A Road Map to Success for Veterans.
Contact Michael at email@example.com.
Rick Ferry – Regional Program Manager (Northern Virginia and Shenandoah)
Rick Ferry, is a fourth generation veteran of the U. S. military and has had family members serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marine Corps. Ferry himself is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served during the Gulf War 1 era where he was stationed onboard the USS Nassau LHA4 out of Norfolk, VA. Ferry has an extensive knowledge and understanding of challenges related to transition especially in the realm of employment and education. Ferry is frequently called upon to serve as a guest speaker and subject matter expert in forums at the local, state and national levels. Ferry has been a small business owner and understands the need to meet human resources requirements in the development of a business. Prior to DVS, Ferry served as consultant with The Xerox Corporation working in business process analysis and optimization and most recently served as the Manager for the Veterans Employment Initiative (VEI) of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Under the VEI, Ferry developed a compilation of nationally recognized “Best in Class” business driven programs designed to help companies employ best practices related to recruiting, hiring, training and retaining veterans in the workforce. Ferry has served as a member of the Strategic Alliance Council in support of the V3 since its foundation and has provided private sector and industry voice to the development and continuous improvement of the program.
Ferry lives in Haymarket, Virginia and holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia. Ferry is the proud father of three: Gabriella 19, Katarina 15 & Mark 13 and honored to be the husband of his wonderful wife Michelle. Contact Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ross Koenig – V3 Regional Program Manager (Central and Southwest Virginia)
Mr. Ross Koenig brings to the team a wealth of knowledge, having been an early contributor to the success of the V3 program since its creation in June 2012. Ross is a 2005 graduate of Virginia Tech with degrees in Communication and Business Management with a background in Human Resources, Recruiting, Program/Project Management and Government Contracting. Ross’ dedication and talent were an integral part of V3’s growth through its first three years. As the Regional Program Manager for Central and Southwest Virginia, he is the primary point of contact for companies in these regions that want to become V3 Certified or Recertified, and assists in the program strategy and execution of the V3 program throughout the Commonwealth. He and his wife, Tammy, are raising their young daughter Ryleigh and currently reside in Midlothian, VA. Contact Ross at email@example.com.
Mark Buehlman – V3 Regional Program Manager (Hampton Roads)
Mark Buehlman is a Retired Army Veteran and Program/Project Manager with over twenty-five years experience in active-duty military, contracting/corporate, higher education, and workforce development environments, at multiple organizational levels and in a variety of locations. During his active-duty career, he successfully provided leadership and management of technical, operational, and planning programs and teams, as well as diverse organizational staffs at a variety of levels and locations from small response teams, to strategic-level organizations, to the White House staff.
After having a successful transition from active duty to the contracting/corporate environment, Mark was directly involved in Program and Project Management, Business Development and Marketing, as well as all phases of the Human Resources and Recruiting processes. He also founded and developed a Service-disabled, Veteran and Minority-owned, Small Consulting Business.
Recently, Mark found himself on more of a service path, providing formal career services coaching and instruction as a facilitator for the Department of Labor’s Employment Workshop supporting Department of Defense Transition Assistance Programs and providing career services and employment assistance in both the higher education and workforce development fields. During that time period, and especially while working as a Career Developer and Military Services Representative at Opportunity Inc, he became passionate about helping Veterans.
Mark has a Master’s Degree in Human Resources Development, previously held a Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification, and is a Virginia Certified Workforce Development Professional (CWDP).
He lives in Smithfield with his wife Vanessa and his son Spencer. They have been in Hampton Roads since 2007. Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jasmine Gore – Operations Coordinator (Headquarters)
Jasmine Gore had a sense of civic duty inspired by her Veteran parents that enabled her to make history in November 2012. At the age of 25, Ms. Gore became one of the youngest local elected officials within the Commonwealth of Virginia when she was elected to represent Ward 4 for the City of Hopewell, Virginia. In that election, she also became the first African-American and first female ever to hold that seat. For two years Ms. Gore served as one of the youngest Vice Mayors in Virginia.
Her forward thinking has earned her the distinction of “Emerging Leader of the Year”, and recognition by Style Weekly as one of “Richmond’s Top 40 Under 40” for being among “young standouts who are lifting the community to greater heights.”
In November 2014, she become the youngest appointed Board Member for the National League of Cities. In addition, she was elected to serve as the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials Region 3 Director.
Governor McAuliffe tapped Ms. Gore for a gubernatorial appointment to serve on the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board of Medicine. She has proven her advocacy for Veterans, rallying the City of Hopewell behind a pledge to end Veteran homelessness. As a result, the City of Hopewell was acknowledged both federally and statewide as contributing to the Commonwealth being the first state to functionally end veteran homelessness.
She holds a B.A. in political science with a B.S. in biology and a minor in chemistry from Virginia Commonwealth University.Contact Jasmine for any questions about the V3 Program at email@example.com.
Sequoia Freeman – V3 Training Coordinator (Statewide)
Sequoia Freeman was born at Dover AFB, Delaware and has traveled the world as a military dependent. Her passion for the military runs deep as her great grandfather served in the Navy, both her grandfather and uncle are retired Air Force, and her parents are retired Army.
Sequoia brings over 10 years of managerial experience to the team. While working in the private sector, her areas of expertise included operations, human resources, sales and marketing, public relations, communications, and training and development. In this effort, she is accustomed to motivating team members to excel and achieve the best results.
Sequoia lives in Richmond, Virginia and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and will graduate in May 2017.
Contact Sequoia for questions regarding training events or webinars at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara Potecha – Curriculum Developer / Trainer / Strategic Consultant
Sara is a West Point graduate and a former Army Officer and logistician. After her military service, she began her corporate career, and has held ever more challenging roles in Fortune 100 and 200 companies spanning the past 20 years. She has been the Director of Change Management, and Lean Six Sigma Program Manager for a large financial institution. She has been an Organizational Development consultant for a large electrical utility where she co-wrote the company’s Diversity training program. She has been a partner in a management consultancy and co-authored Keeping the Best!, a recruiting and retention tool kit for Virginia’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS) providers. She also developed the first-of-its-kind leadership development program for the state’s EMS workforce. Her work has been recognized at National Symposiums and has been used in several states. As the owner of Lean Insight, LLC, she has researched and written extensively on the subject of Veteran unemployment and is the author of the current V3 Employer training curriculum. A highly effective facilitator and instructor, Sara has spoken and taught in sessions of over 300 participants. She holds a B.S. in General Engineering from the United States Military Academy and an M.A. in Organizational Management and Development from Fielding Graduate University. In her spare time, she is writing her first book and enjoys kayaking, hiking and skiing with her husband and children. Contact Sara at email@example.com.
Bernadette Gilmore – V3 Marketing Specialist (Statewide)