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Buffalo Regional Office

Meet Our Leadership Team

Donna Mallia 

Director: Donna Mallia

Donna Mallia was appointed Director of the Buffalo Regional Office (RO) on Oct. 31, 2004. She manages the full range of benefits and services to Veterans, Servicemembers, their families and survivors in the 31 western counties of New York, and educational benefits in the 31 US States, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands, and foreign schools. Prior to this position, Donna Mallia served as Executive Management Officer, Office of Field Operations from August 2002 to December 2004.


 

Assistant Director: Jennifer Cassidy

Jennifer Cassidy was approved by VBAs Under Secretary of Benefits to be the Assistant Director, Buffalo RO in November 2020.  Ms. Cassidy started her career with the Veterans Benefits Administration in April 2001 when she was selected for the Veterans Case Manager position in the Buffalo Regional Processing Office (RPO).  Ms. Cassidy was promoted to the position of Management Analyst, Office of the Director, Buffalo Regional Office in August 2003.  Ms. Cassidy served as one of the Management Analysts in the Office of the Director until May 2008 when she was selected for the Chief, Support Services position, Buffalo Regional Office.  Ms. Cassidy served as the Chief, Support Services Division from May 2008 until January 2014 at which time she was selected for the Assistant Education Officer (AEO) position.  As one of four AEOs, Ms. Cassidy oversaw high profile projects such as The Edith Nourse Rogers STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Scholarship program. STEM Is centrally processed out of the Buffalo RO via two dedicated processing teams.


Acting Assistant Director: Dr. James Lester

James Lester, VR&E Officer, Columbia Regional Office has been selected to serve as the Acting Assistant Director in a virtual environment beginning Monday, April 19th through Friday,  July 2nd.  James is a United States Marine Corps Veteran and a success story of VR&E.  While starting college, James began as a work-study at VA, then was hired as a Program Support Clerk.  While finishing college, James spent the next several years moving his way through jobs as a Claims Assistant (CA), Veterans Service Representative (VSR), and Program Support Specialist.  James was then hired as a VRC and then a Lead VRC, before leaving for Central Office’s STAR and Site Visit Team.  After STAR, James was selected as the VR&E Officer in Hartford and also served as Acting Director, Hartford RO on several occasions.  James then moved to the Columbia RO as the VR&E Officer.  James has been in several development programs to include Leadership VA (LVA), Leadership Coaching Program (LCP) and is currently a participant in VBAs Assistant Director Development Program (ADDP).  James also serves as a mentor for many programs including Leadership Enhancement and Development Program (LEAD), Leadership Enrichment and Progression Program (LEAP), Leadership VA and VR&Es New Manager Training program.  James has a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Counseling, a Master’s degree in Counseling, a Doctorate in Business Psychology and post-doctoral work at MIT and Yale.


Kimberly Wagner 

Education Officer: Kimberly Wagner

Kimberly Wagner began her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in February 1991, as a Veterans Claims Examiner (VCE). Throughout her VA career, she worked as a Senior Veterans Claims Examiner (SVCE), Supervisory VCE, Assistant Education Officer, and has been the Education Officer for the Buffalo RPO since July 2013. In this role, she is responsible for management of Education benefits for Veterans, service members and dependents for over fifty percent of the country.  The Division is comprised of over 500 employees committed to the efficient processing of benefits.  

She has also served several details for Education Service in the roles of Deputy Director as well as Project Implementation Officer. She appreciates her mission and is proud to provide her very best to our Veterans and their dependents.


Antoinette M. Zingale 

Veterans Service Center Manager (VSCM): Antoinette M. Zingale

Antoinette Zingale was appointed to the VSCM position effective November 26, 2017. Prior to her appointment as the Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager in August 2015, Ms. Zingale served as a coach with the Cleveland Regional Office where she was responsible for effectively leading and establishing a high performing special operations team. Ms. Zingale holds a Juris Doctor Degree from Cleveland State University. Prior to being the Veteran Service Center Manager, Ms. Zingale served as the Acting VSCM for the Buffalo RO since December 2016.


Susan H. Fitzgibbons 

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Officer: Susan H. Fitzgibbons

Ms. Fitzgibbons took this position in 2005. She supervises 17 staff members who administer VR&E benefits for Veterans in western New York. She began her VA career in 2002 as a VR&E Counselor at the Hartford RO.