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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Appoints Leaders to University Board Along With Housing and Human Services Posts


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(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced his appointment of 10 outstanding professionals to posts in the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHDC) and the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) Board of Trustees.

David Berns has been nominated to serve as DHS Director; John Hall is the Mayor’s nominee for Director of DHCD; and George Vradenburg, Dr. Ricardo Brown, Dr. Carmen Ramirez, Christopher Bell, Stephen Porter, Gen. Errol Schwartz, LuAnn Bennett, and Katherine Bradley have been tapped to serve on the UDC Board of Trustees.

“My administration has recruited outstanding professionals to serve the residents of the District of Columbia, and these individuals are no exception,” said Mayor Gray. “I know they will serve with integrity, character, and leadership.”

David Berns comes to DHS from Casey Family Programs, which he has served as Executive Vice President for Child and Family Services since 2006. He provided strategic direction to the foundation’s nine field offices in Arizona, California, Idaho, Texas and Washington, and its Indian Child Welfare office in Colorado. He has also served as director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security. He managed a staff of 10,000 employees and a budget of $2.7 billion, leading Arizona's welfare programs, development disabilities services, employment services, child welfare, child support, aging and community services.
Mr. Berns received his M.A. in Public Administration from Northern Michigan University, was named social worker of year in 1999 by the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and received the Award for Excellence in Public Child Welfare Administration from the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators.

John Hall comes to DHCD after serving as Field Office Director in Richmond, Va., and D.C. for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In that role, Mr. Hall’s responsibilities included the administration of HUD programs throughout Virginia and the District, establishing effective networks with local community groups and public and elected officials throughout Virginia and the District of Columbia. Prior to joining HUD, Mr. Hall worked as the Executive Director of the North and East Lubbock Community Development Corporation in Lubbock, Texas. In this role, he leveraged federal and local resources to spur growth in a state designated enterprise zone and developed and delivered financial and homeownership training which led to families owning homes. Mr. Hall received his M.P.A. from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs in Syracuse, N.Y., and will be moving to the District from Glen Valley, VA.

George Vradenburg has served in senior executive positions at AOL, AOL Time Warner, Time Warner, CBS, and Fox, Inc. His community leadership is also outstanding, and he has chaired the DC Education Compact, the Potomac Conference, and the Alliance for Regional Stewardship, among others. He has received the Outstanding Community Leadership Award, the Golden Links Award from the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and the Bridge Builders Award from the Partners for Livable Communities. He is a Ward 3 resident and received his J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Dr. Ricardo Brown is currently the CEO of RAB Associates Consulting and has served as the Associated Vice President for Sponsored Programs at Howard University, as well as on the National Institute of Health’s Human Capital Assessment Committee. He received his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from Howard University and is a resident of Ward 4.

Stephen Porter is a senior partner of the Real Estate Practice Group at Arnold & Porter and has also served the District of Columbia as Chairman of the Board for the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, a Director of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Federal City Council. Mr. Porter received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin and lives in Ward 2.

Gen. Errol Schwartz has served as the Commanding General of the District of Columbia National Guard from June 2008 to present. General Schwartz received his M.A. in Business Management from Central Michigan University and his M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University. He currently resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

Dr. Carmen Ramirez is the Director of the Latino Nursing Career Opportunity Program at the Catholic University of America. She has also served the Director of Health Programs at the Carlos Rosario Adult Education Center and Charter School and the Director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs in the District of Columbia. Dr. Ramirez received her Ph.D. in education from the University of Oregon and resides in Ward 3.

Christopher Bell is the Associate General Counsel for Housing and Community Development at Fannie Mae. He received a J.D. from the University of Texas and a M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Mr. Bell lives in Ward 3.

LuAnn Bennett is the President and Owner of the Bennett Group, a construction and property management services company in the District of Columbia. She also serves on the board of the National Children’s Museum, the University of the District of Columbia Foundation Board, and the Charity Works Advisory Board. Ms. Bennett lives in Delaplane, Va.

Katherine Bradley is the President of the CityBridge Foundation, a D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to solving the educational achievement gap. In addition to her work with the CityBridge Foundation, Mrs. Bradley serves as a board member for America’s Promise Alliance, the KIPP Foundation, Fight for Children, and Princeton University, She graduated in 1986 from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She resides in Ward 3.

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