U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue introduced five new leaders within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Departmental Administration. The key personnel named are: Donald Bice, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration; Gary Washington, Chief Information Officer; Mary Pletcher, Chief Human Capital Officer; George Cabaniss, Senior Procurement Executive; and Joseph Doyle, Customer Service Coordinator.
“One of my top priorities has been to make USDA the more effective, most efficient, and best-managed department in the entire federal government, and these highly qualified people will help us toward that goal,” Perdue said. “These are people who have demonstrated dynamic, innovative organizational leadership, and I know we can count on them to put that skill and talent to work on behalf of USDA’s customers, the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers of America. We’re excited to welcome them to our team.”
Donald Bice, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration
Donald Bice has been USDA’s Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration since September 2017. Prior to serving in this capacity, Mr. Bice was the Associate Director of USDA’s Office of Budget and Program Analysis and the Performance Improvement Officer. As the Associate Director, Mr. Bice was responsible for managing the development and execution of the department’s budget, managing regulatory and legislative reporting processes, and coordinating performance improvement activities. From 2007 through February 2011, Bice served as the Deputy Director for Budget, Legislative, and Regulatory Systems in the same office. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Government and Politics and holds a law degree from American University.
Gary Washington, Chief Information Officer
Gary Washington, who formerly served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, has been the Acting CIO since September 2017. Washington also has served as CIO and Director of the Information Technology Division for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Prior to his appointments as the CIO of USDA, APHIS and NRCS, Washington was a portfolio manager in the Electronic Government Office in the Executive Office of the President-Office of Management and Budget, where he was responsible for managing the Internal Effectiveness and Efficiency portfolio. Additionally, Washington managed the financial management, human resources and infrastructure lines of business, and the E-gov initiatives.
Washington also has worked at the Food and Drug Administration, where he was the Director of IT Governance and the Deputy Director of Infrastructure, and at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, where he was the service manager for one of the first nationwide seat management programs. Washington spent 5 years in private industry as well as 10 years as a Computer Operator and Command Control Specialist in the U.S. Air Force. He is an elected member of the Association for Federal Information Resource Managers and a 2006 graduate of the Industry Advisory Council Partners Program. Washington is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Strayer University in Washington D.C.
Mary Pletcher, Chief Human Capital Officer
Mary Pletcher will be joining USDA on February 5, 2018. She previously served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Capital and Diversity for the Department of the Interior. As the Chief Human Capital Officer for Interior, Ms. Pletcher provided leadership and executive oversight for the department’s human capital programs, including human resources; civil rights; employee and organization development; and occupational safety and health. Prior to this role, Pletcher served as the Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, supporting the Assistant Secretary of Interior in the implementation of management initiatives and transformation efforts. She has also served as Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Interior Business Center, Deputy Recovery Act Coordinator for Interior, and the department’s capital planning and investment control program manager.
Before joining the federal government, Pletcher led the information technology strategic consulting practice for an 8(a) company and served as a project manager for a leading government strategy and technology firm. Ms. Pletcher received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida. She received her Juris Doctor, with honors, from the American University Washington College of Law. Pletcher was nominated and selected as a 2011 Service to America Medal Finalist.
George Cabaniss, Senior Procurement Executive
George Cabaniss joined USDA in August as the Senior Procurement Executive and Director of the Office of Procurement and Property Management. He has been a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES) since 2011. Cabaniss has a diverse background with over 30 years of federal and private sector experience. Prior to joining the OneUSDA team, he led 2,500 contracting professionals located at more than 30 offices across the United States in supporting veterans as the Deputy Chief Procurement Officer for the Veterans Health Administration. His first SES appointment was as the Deputy to the Commanding General for the Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command. As the command’s senior civilian, he led some 1,200 civilian and 500 soldiers assigned to more than 30 contracting offices across the United States in providing contracting support to Army soldiers, families, and civilians. Prior to his SES appointment, Cabaniss held contracting leadership positions with several Army and Navy commands as well as with the General Services Administration.
In addition to his federal service, Cabaniss practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia for 10 years. He is also licensed to practice law in the state of Florida. Cabaniss holds a Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, Fla., where he was a Law Review editor; a Master’s in Public Administration from Golden Gate University in Tampa, FL, and a Bachelor of Arts from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA.
Joseph Doyle, Secretary’s Customer Service Coordinator
Joe Doyle joins USDA having spent a long career at the intersection of customers and employees, both as the owner of a successful 240-store retail chain in Georgia and through his transformative work in Georgia state government. Doyle led the Office of Customer Service for the State of Georgia when Secretary Perdue was governor. His work was nationally praised for building and championing a customer-first attitude in employees.
Doyle previously held positions with Arthur Andersen & Co. and the Augusta National Golf Club. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame. Doyle is also an active member of his community, including membership in the Atlanta Businessmen’s Roundtable and service as Vice-Chair of the Cashiers Historical Society. In 2009, Doyle was selected as a Toll Fellow, one of the highest honors a public servant can receive.