eBenefits Access Your VA & DoDo Benefits 24-7 www.ebenefits.va.gov
 

Phoenix Regional Benefit Office

Meet Our Leadership Team

 

Sandra D. Flint

Director: Sandra D. Flint

Sandra D. Flint was appointed Director of the Phoenix Regional Office (RO) in June 2003. She administers benefits and services to the estimated 562,916 Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and survivors in Arizona. Prior to this appointment, she was Director of the Albuquerque RO.

Ms. Flint began her VA career in July 1980 at the Philadelphia RO and Insurance Center. She was promoted to the Management Officer position in the Office of the Deputy Chief Benefits Director for Field Operations in VA Central Office in June 1986. She held that position both in VA Central Office and in the Western Area Office in San Francisco until being promoted to Senior Management Officer in September 1991. In October 1994, Ms. Flint was selected as Assistant Director at the Oakland RO and, in December 1996, was appointed Director of the Albuquerque RO. In 2009, she received the 2009 Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award.

Ms. Flint earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Swarthmore College and completed coursework for a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of New Mexico.


Photo Not Available

Assistant Director: Sergio Chao

Mr. Chao was selected to the position of Assistant Director at the Phoenix VA Regional Office in September 2013.  He shares responsibility for the effective and efficient direction, control, and operation of benefits delivery for Veterans and dependents residing in the State of Arizona.

Prior to this appointment, he had been the Assistant Pension Management Center Manager at the Milwaukee PMC from June 2008.  In this role, he was responsible for providing benefits and services to recipients of pension and survivor benefits residing in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee.  During his time in Milwaukee, Mr. Chao has also completed several details at VA Central Office in Washington D.C.  These include Assistant Director for the Quality Assurance Staff in 2011, Assistant Director for Pension Services in 2012, and most recently, Project Manager for a White House initiative.  Mr. Chao is also a member of the 2013 Assistant Director Development Program.

Mr. Chao started his VA career in 1997 as a work-study student at the Houston VA Regional Office (RO). He was selected as a Program Support Clerk in the Support Services Division in 1998, and held several other positions at this RO including a position in Human Resources, Budget Analyst in SSD, as well as Veterans Service Representative (VSR) and Rating VSR in the Veterans Service Center.

In 2006 he was select to be a Consultant in Compensation and Pension Services (C&P) in Washington D.C.  While with C&P, he worked on the Procedures Staff, and on the Quality Assurance Staff. He was responsible for the development and dissemination of procedures for the administration of the Compensation and Pension benefit programs.  Mr. Chao was also responsible for conducting site visits to regional offices across the country, ensuring that VBA policies and procedures pertaining to the Compensation and Pension business lines were followed consistently nationwide.

Mr. Chao served on active duty in the Army and was discharged in 1996.  He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Houston Clear Lake, and completed coursework towards a Master in Business Administration at this university. 


Mary Souza

Assistant Director: Mary Souza

Mary Souza was selected for this position in March 2012. Ms. Souza shares responsibility for the effective and efficient direction, control, and operation of VA benefits and service delivery to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and survivors.

Prior to her current position, Ms. Souza served as the Supervisory Management Analyst (Lead Analyst) in the VA Western Area Office in Phoenix. She was responsible for assisting the Western Area Director with the oversight of the delivery of Compensation, Pension, Vocational Rehabilitation, Loan Guaranty, and Education benefits for 16 regional offices, including offices in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines. Ms. Souza worked with regional offices to ensure VBA priorities, responsibilities, and assignments were conveyed clearly and concisely and that established priorities and goals were realized.

Ms. Souza began her VA career in 1998 at the Portland (Oregon) RO as a Veterans Claims Examiner. She assumed positions of increasing responsibility, including Rating Specialist, Fiduciary and Field Examiner Supervisor, and Supervisory Veterans Service Representative (coach). She had additional responsibilities as the RO’s Women Veterans Coordinator, Military Outreach Specialist, Casualty Assistance Officer, and Privacy Officer.

Ms. Souza entered active duty in the U.S. Air Force in 1994 and served in the Oregon Air National Guard as an Air Battle Manager until January 2007. She graduated from Park College with a Bachelor of Science in Social Psychology and has completed coursework for a master’s degree in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.


Susan Lloyd

Loan Guaranty Officer: Susan Lloyd

Susan Lloyd was selected for this position in November 2010. She is responsible for the management and administration of the Phoenix Regional Loan Center (RLC), which delivers the home loan benefit to Veterans in Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Ms. Lloyd began her VA career in 1983 at the Atlanta RO. Working primarily in the Loan Guaranty business, she assumed positions of increasing responsibility, including Administrative Assistant, Staff Appraiser, and Assistant Loan Production Officer.

In October 2001, she was Loan Production Officer in the Phoenix RO and then, in August 2004, was promoted to Assistant Loan Guaranty Officer, a position held until November 2010. She also administered the implementation of the Lender Appraisal Processing Program (LAPP) in Atlanta, conducted nationwide training as a member of the Satellite Broadcast team from 1998 to 2005, and graduated from Leadership VA in 2008.

Ms. Lloyd graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s degree in History.


Walter Strong Jr.

Vocation Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Officer: Walter Strong Jr.

Walter “Walt” Strong Jr. was selected for this position in April 2011. He ensures the effective and efficient administration of VR&E benefits to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and survivors in Arizona. He oversees the day-to-day operations of 33 divisional employees, including those based in Tucson, in Flagstaff, and at Arizona State University.

Prior to his current position, Ms. Strong served as the Assistant VR&E Officer in the Phoenix RO where he assisted in the administration of VR&E and supervised roughly 25 employees.

Mr. Strong began his VA career in 2000 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Lincoln RO. He also worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at the Waco RO.

Mr. Strong earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Education and a Master of Science in Counselor Education, with an emphasis in Rehabilitation Counseling, from Mississippi State University.


David Luzi

Veterans Service Center Manager: David Luzi

David Luzi is the Veterans Service Center Manager for the Phoenix RO. Prior to this assignment he was the Executive Management Officer for the Western Area. In that capacity, he assisted the Western Area Director with the oversight of the delivery of benefits and services for 16 regional offices, including offices in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Philippines.

Mr. Luzi began his VA career in 1991 as a Veterans Claims Examiner. He was promoted to the position of Rating Technician, Rating Specialist, Decision Review Officer, Coach, Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager, Veterans Service Center Manager, and Assistant Director. Mr. Luzi served as the Assistant Director for the Phoenix RO for four years. While there, he led the Evaluation Builder workgroup. He also participated in a business process reengineering program in Little Rock, Ark., from 2009 to 2010. He served a nine-month detail during 2011 and 2012 for the Implementation Center in Washington, D.C.


Jill Rufener

National Call Center Manager: Jill Rufener

Ms. Jill Rufener was selected as the Phoenix National Call Center Manager in April 2012.  She is responsible for providing timely and accurate telephone service to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and survivors who call the toll-free hot line at 1-800-827-1000.   Prior to her current position, Ms. Rufener served as the Public Contact Supervisor, Women Veterans Coordinator and Congressional Liaison in the Veterans Service Center of the Phoenix Regional Office.

Ms. Rufener began her VA career in 1993 at the Detroit Regional Office.  Ms. Rufener has gained experience working in several business lines, to include Human Resources, Education, Compensation and Pension.