President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday appointed several individuals to serve in key regional leadership roles at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA).
“These regional appointees will be critical to the President’s efforts to rebuild communities most impacted by the pandemic, the economic recovery, and climate change,” the White House said in a statement. “They bring deep expertise in their issue areas as well as critical relationships with federal, state, tribal, and local leaders. And, consistent with the President’s commitment to building an administration that looks like America, these regional appointees represent the diversity of America and the communities they serve.”
- Emily Cole, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Connecticut
- John Patterson, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Ohio
- Gail Greenman, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Oregon
- Eric Scherer, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Rhode Island
- Kelly Adkins, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Texas
- Jill Floyd, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Arkansas
- Thomas Carew, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Kentucky
- Michele Weaver, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Utah
- Aikta Marcoulier, SBA Regional Administrator, Region 8
The USDA’s Farm Service Agency implements agricultural policy, administers credit and loan programs, and manages conservation, commodity, disaster, and farm marketing programs in each U.S. State. Its mission is to equitably serve all farmers, ranchers, and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs for all Americans. State Executive Directors oversee this work, ensuring the needs of local constituents are met and that USDA resources are distributed equitably and fairly. USDA’s Rural Development mission area is committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. State Directors lead offices that offer grants, loans, and loan guarantees to help create jobs and support economic development and essential services.
Emily Cole, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Connecticut
Dr. Emily Cole previously served as the New England Regional Deputy Director for American Farmland Trust (AFT), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices, and keeping farmers on the land. As Deputy Director, she developed AFT’s New England regional Climate and Agriculture program focused on supporting farmers across New England in their efforts to adopt climate smart agriculture through innovative technical and financial assistance, which includes the largest soil health project in New England history.
Cole is passionate about improving all Connecticut farmers’ access to financial and technical assistance to support farm viability and the vitality of Connecticut agriculture. Cole has 18 years of experience as an educator in the field and in the classroom. She earned her Ph.D. in Plant and Soil Sciences from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her research focused on improving soil health and carbon sequestration on farmland in the Connecticut River Valley. While at UMass, she was a part of the Crops, Dairy, Livestock, and Equine Extension Team. Cole also holds a Master’s degree in Science Education from Boston University and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Kenyon College. Cole lives in Simsbury, CT with her husband Ray, a professor at Southern Connecticut State University, and their daughter. She enjoys reading, gardening, and spending time outside with her family and their husky Sasha.
John Patterson, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Ohio
John Patterson is a former state legislator and retired classroom teacher whose work experience spans over 40 years. He recently completed eight years in the Ohio House until term limits prohibited his continued service. During his time in the House, Patterson served on the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, including two terms as ranking member. Patterson was a co-author of HB 7, which provides funding for the H2Ohio initiative begun by Governor DeWine. He was also an original co-author of the Young Farmers Tax Credit bill. A Co-Chairman of the Finance Subcommittee on Primary/Secondary Education in his last term, Patterson co-authored the Cupp-Patterson Fair School Funding Plan which was incorporated into the state budget in 2021.
Prior to his time in the House, Patterson taught U.S. History at his alma mater, Jefferson Area High School in a small, rural district in northeast Ohio. He taught Advanced Placement, Honors, and General U.S. History, retiring in 2012. In addition to his teaching duties, Patterson served as the Model United Nations advisor for nearly three decades. Patterson was also the chief negotiator for his union for over twenty years—a position from which he learned much about compromise and the pursuit of mutually beneficial goals. He also coached basketball, baseball, golf, and cross-country. Patterson earned his Ph.D. in Education at Kent State University in 1996. He has been married to his wife Nancy for 38 years and has two sons, Joshua and Jeremiah.
Gail Greenman, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Oregon
Most recently, Gail Greenman served as the Executive Director of the Westside Economic Alliance (WEA), where she oversaw daily operations of the organization and brought together businesses and elected officials to further the advancement of transportation, workforce development, affordable housing, and other infrastructure issues critical to the Portland metropolitan region. Prior to her time at WEA, Greenman served as the lead federal public affairs professional at the Oregon Farm Bureau, where she cultivated relationships with Oregon’s congressional delegation. She also worked in the federal education policy arena, serving as the director of Government Affairs for the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools.
Eric Scherer, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Rhode Island
J. Eric Scherer is currently a technical consultant to the public and private sector on natural resource issues, including land use and environmental impact. As a certified USDA Technical Service Provider and USDA Certified Conservation Planner, he also assisted agricultural producers on comprehensive nutrient management plans and grazing management plan for USDA program participation and the Rhode Island Farm, Forest and Open Space program, developing Conservation Farm Plans for individuals.
Scherer served as the Executive Director of the Southern Rhode Island Conservation District, where he provided program leadership for the Conservation District programs that assisted private landowners, municipalities and state government, conservation partners, and others with an interest in conserving and protecting natural resources. Scherer serves as an advisor to the Rhode Island State Conservation Committee and is currently working on the first statewide operational guide for the Committee and conservation districts. Scherer’s past work experience includes 37 years of federal service that began with a tour of duty with the Peace Corps in Belize, and has included working for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in six states in various positions. Scherer enjoys living in the beautiful state of Rhode Island with his wife, Linda, of 38 years, sharing time with his three children and four grandchildren, and is still “learning” the game of golf.
Kelly Adkins, USDA State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency, Texas
A native of Haskell, Texas, Kelly Adkins was raised on small family farm in Haskell County where he attended Haskell High School and later Texas Tech University. While a student at Texas Tech, Adkins was employed by Texas A&M Agricultural Research and Experiment Station where he gained a further knowledge of agriculture. Upon graduation from college with a Bachelor of Business Degree and a minor in Agriculture, Adkins became employed by the Farm Service Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Adkins enjoyed a career serving the farmers and ranchers of Texas and the Farm Service Agency in many capacities. Those positions included serving as County Executive Director in Grimes and Randall County in Texas, District Director for the agency, TASCOE Director, Mediation Coordinator, and as a County Office Trainee Program Trainer and Instructor. He is currently a resident of Canyon, Texas and is involved in a small farming/cattle operation in Randall County. Adkins has been involved in community activities and several state agricultural commodity associations.
Jill Floyd, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Arkansas
A native Arkansan, Jill Floyd is the Director of Community and Client Engagement with Little Rock-based CDI Contractors, a commercial general contractor and construction management firm, where she is responsible for developing relationships with potential clients and increasing spend with MWBE Construction Subcontractors. She also leads the company’s K-12 STEM initiative to encourage girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, math, and construction. Prior to her current role, she was a Project Manager responsible for delivering a variety of construction projects across central Arkansas.
Floyd began her career in manufacturing as a Project Manager with Cummins Engine, after which she joined Ford Motor Company as a Quality Engineer focused on improving processes and part quality at Supplier plants, and subsequently moving into procurement where she managed a global portfolio of purchased parts. Floyd holds several board and commission appointments, including on the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport Commission, and the Boards of Arkansas Capital Corporation (a CDFI) and the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas. She also serves on the Arkansas Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. She previously served on the Mayor’s Opportunity Zone Task Force and Housing and Mobility Transition Team Task Force. Floyd received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and MBA/MS Engineering in Quality and Manufacturing Management from Penn State University.
Thomas Carew, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Kentucky
Prior to joining USDA as Kentucky State Director for Rural Development, Dr. Thomas Carew worked in Central Appalachia with Fahe from 2008-2017 as Executive Vice President of Membership and Advocacy. While at Fahe, Carew was the Principal Author of the 502 Direct Packaging Demonstration with USDA. Through his leadership, Fahe’s membership grew from 44 to over 55 affordable housing nonprofits, and he led Fahe’s membership expansion into two new states, Alabama and Maryland.
Carew has deep roots in Appalachia, dedicating his 35-year career to the provision of affordable housing in the region. He served as the Director of the Appalachian Housing Program and the Design and Construction Department for the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s housing finance agency, Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC), from 2000-2005. While at KHC, Carew oversaw the development of the Appalachian Housing Summit, an annual event for the Central Appalachian Housing Finance Agencies and the non-profit builders and developers working in these four states. Carew also created and implemented a Universal Design and Minimum Design Standard for KHC. Kentucky Housing was the first State Housing Finance Agency in the nation to develop these design standards. Prior to his work with KHC, Carew was the founding Executive Director of Frontier Housing, a non-profit affordable housing developer based in Morehead, Kentucky. He is the recipient of the Dorothy Williams Lifetime Achievement Award from Kentucky Housing Corporation, the highest award given in the Commonwealth for non-profit housing producers. In 1992, Carew received an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree from Fairfield University; and in 2010, Carew received the Cochran Collings award from the Housing Assistance Council for service to Rural America.
Michele Weaver, USDA State Director, Rural Development, Utah
Michele Weaver has brought a wealth of resources to housing and economic development efforts in rural Utah and across the western region. Her broad background includes small business owner, banking, and non-profit work. In 2018, she was appointed to the Utah Commission for Housing Affordability by Governor Herbert where she effectively highlighted challenges in rural communities and led efforts to increase funding and positively impact statewide policy. As a member of various boards and councils, she’s an instrumental advocate for rural Utah issues and its residents.
With more than 25 years of experience in affordable housing development, Weaver has been providing economic development technical assistance and training, assisting nonprofit organizations, tribal housing development, and administering small business lending programs. Her most recent work includes technical and management assistance and capacity building through Rural Development funding. A finance graduate from the University of Utah, Weaver can be found outdoors enjoying the unique variety of geography that Utah has to offer.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (SBA)
The 10 SBA Regional Offices, led by Regional Administrators, oversee the SBA’s 68 district offices and ensure the goals and objectives of the Agency are met by each district office and field operations staff. The district offices are the point of delivery for most SBA programs and services, providing quality service to the local small business community. They work with SBA resource partners and intermediaries to accomplish the SBA mission of assisting America’s small businesses.
Aikta Marcoulier, SBA Regional Administrator, Region 8
Aikta Marcoulier joined the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) team as the director of the Pikes Peak Center in May 2012. Prior to the SBDC, she was the Director of Partnership Marketing with the Professional Bull Riders. Marcoulier is also the program creator and manager of the Colorado SBDC’s Cyber: Cover Your Assets program providing education, training, and one-on-one consulting to small businesses throughout Colorado. She also serves as a regional coordinator for the NorthStar CMM program.
Marcoulier is involved in the El Pomar Emerging Leaders Program and is an active board member of the Pikes Peak Workforce Development Board and vice-chair of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. She is on the Pikes Peak Community College Business Advisory Board and is president of the Colorado Business Development Foundation. She serves on numerous committees for the Colorado Springs Business Journal and is on the technology and capacity committees for the Colorado SBDC Network. Additionally, she is a member of ROAR (Relationships, Opportunities, Acumen, and Readiness Committee) for the UCCS College of Business. Marcoulier received her MBA in global management from the University of Phoenix and undergraduate degrees in both economics and psychology from the University of Iowa. She has received several awards, including the University of Iowa Leadership Award in 2011, and was named one of the Colorado Springs Business Journal’s Rising Stars for 2013 and Women of Influence and is the 2021 Leadership Pike Peak Modeling the Way Award winner.
Region 8 serves Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.