A Commonwealth of Virginia Website
For Immediate Release: February 23, 2018
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Ofirah Yheskel, Ofirah.Yheskel@governor.virginia.gov

Governor Northam Announces Administration Appointments


RICHMOND – Governor Ralph Northam announced additional appointments to his Administration today.

Office of the Govenor

Cassidy Rasnick, Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Trade for Rural Economic Development
Cassidy Rasnick joins the Northam administration from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, where she managed the economic development efforts of two of the Commonwealth’s largest industries, agriculture and forestry. Previously, Cassidy served as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for Governor McAuliffe. Before joining the administration, she worked for the Virginia Manufacturers Association and the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild, and spent more than five years working for U.S. Senator Mark Warner. A native of Botetourt County, Cassidy is a graduate of James Madison University and the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

Secretariat of Commerce and Trade

John Warren, Director, Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy
John Warren has been reappointed as the Director of the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. He previously served as the Director of Government Affairs for Greenbiologics, Prior to this, John served as Director of Project Development and Government Relations with Osage Bio Energy. Before his time at Osage Bio Energy, he served as the State Energy Office Director in the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, a Diploma in Energy Management from North Carolina State University/Virginia Tech, and a Master’s in Public Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Secretariat of Health and Human Resources

Raymond E. “Ray” Hopkins, Commissioner, Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired
Raymond E. “Ray” Hopkins has been reappointed as Commissioner for the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired, a position he was first appointed to under Governor Tim Kaine. Previously, he worked for the US Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration, where he oversaw the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program, an entrepreneurial program serving persons who are blind. Prior to that, Ray worked as the Administrator of the Division of Visual Services, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Arts in Rehabilitation of the Blind from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Eric Raff, Director, Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Eric Raff has been appointed as Director of the Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Previously, Eric served as the Deputy Director for the department. Prior to this, he served as the Director of the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Olympia, Washington. He worked as a Consultant for the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Previous experience includes Deaf Network Manager for the Center for Behavioral Health in Bloomington, Indiana, Information Coordinator for the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Community Liaison/Case Manager for the National Mental Health Institute on Deafness in Louisville, Kentucky. Eric received his Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and his Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University.

J.R. Simpson, Chief Deputy Commissioner, Department of Social Services
J.R Simpson has been reappointed as Chief Deputy Commissioner for the Department of Social Services. Previously, J.R. served as the Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Social Services. He joined state government in 1997 after his retirement from the US Navy. Since then, he has held a series of increasingly responsible positions with the Departments of Conservation and Recreation, Taxation, and Social Services. J.R. completed his undergraduate studies at Henderson State University in Arkansas and earned his Master in Business Administration from the University of Georgia. 

Secretariat of Natural Resources

Steven G. “Steve” Bowman, Commissioner, Virginia Marine Resources Commission
Steven G. “Steve” Bowman has been appointed as the Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, a position he also held under Governors Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Chief of Police for the Town of Smithfield, Virginia. Previously, Steve served the Virginia Marine Resources Commission in various capacities including Deputy Commissioner, Chief of Law Enforcement, and Deputy Chief of Law Enforcement. Steve also has extensive law enforcement experience including Chief Deputy Sheriff for the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Department and Virginia State Trooper. He is a graduate of the Virginia State Police Academy, The University of Louisville, Southern Police Institute and Advanced Administrative Officer’s courses. Steve received his Bachelor of Science in Governmental Administration from Christopher Newport University.

Julie Langan, Director, Department of Historic Resources
Julie Langan has been reappointed as the Director of the Department of Historic Resources (DHR). Previously, she held leadership positions with both regional and local preservation nonprofits and two state historic preservation offices, Virginia and Arkansas. Julie also worked for nonprofits in Cleveland, Ohio. For the ten years prior to her move to Cleveland, she held several positions with the Virginia Department of Historic and taught historic preservation at the University of Mary Washington College and Virginia Commonwealth University. Julie received her Master of Arts in Architectural History from the University of Virginia, and her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Wheaton College.

Secretariat of Public Safety and Homeland Security

Katya N. Herndon, Chief Deputy Director, Virginia Department of Forensic Science
Katya N. Herndon has been reappointed as the Deputy Director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Previously Katya was the Director of Legislative and Public Relations for the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia. She began her legal career at the Supreme Court of Virginia, clerking first in the Chief Staff Attorney’s Office, and then for Senior Justice Richard H. Poff. She subsequently became an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Henrico County.  After prosecuting for three years, Katya was hired as the first in-house legal counsel to what was then the Virginia Division of Forensic Science. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Justice and Policy Studies from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Richmond.

Jeffrey D. “Jeff” Stern, State Coordinator, Virginia Department of Emergency Management
Jeffrey D. “Jeff” Stern has been reappointed as the State Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He has over 25 years of local and federal government experience as an emergency manager and first responder, having been a firefighter, paramedic, and battalion chief, leading hazmat, technical, and swiftwater rescue teams with fire departments in Virginia, Maryland, and Colorado. Jeff served in leadership roles as Director of the Northern Virginia Emergency Response System and in the Arlington County Office of Emergency Management, and helped lead teams in response to Hurricanes Charley and Katrina and the Haitian earthquake. He was also the Executive Director of the Homeland Security Advisory Council at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Jeff earned his Bachelor of Arts in Government from the College of William & Mary, his MPA from the American University School of Public Affairs, and received his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech’s Center for Public Administration and Policy. He is a Certified Emergency Manager through the International Association of Emergency Managers, a member of the InterAgency Board, and is a Senior Fellow with the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute.