Ms. Andrea M. Lapinski was appointed Assistant Director of the San Diego VA Regional Office on July 12, 2015. On March 1, 2023, she became the Acting Director with 808 employees, of which 77 percent are Veterans. She is responsible for administering the Department’s non-medical programs, providing financial and other forms of assistance to 490,153 Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors. The San Diego Regional Office's jurisdiction covers one of the largest concentrations of Veterans in the country, encompassing Imperial, Riverside, San Diego, and Orange counties.
Ms. Lapinski began her career at New York State University, Downstate Medical Center where she practiced as a Medical Social Worker. Starting in 1994 and for the next couple of years, she served in several social work roles, including practicing as a Medical Clinical Social Worker at the Rady's Children's Hospital, Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women, Sharp Memorial Hospital, and Naval Medical Center San Diego. During this time, she also started a psychotherapy private practice.
In 2006, she was appointed the Naval Medical Center San Diego's Patient Relations Department Head as the medical center’s patient advocate. Four years later, in 2010, she assumed the position as a Special Assistant for Healthcare Resolutions in an executive leadership role, reporting directly to the Navy Medicine West and South Pacific Commanding Officer addressing unanticipated outcomes of care and medical errors.
In 2012, Ms. Lapinski worked in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy within Military Manpower and Personnel in the Pentagon as a Special Assistant for Health Affairs. In this capacity, she functioned as an analyst, advisor, and subject matter expert on military health affairs, policy formulation and the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. She also served on the Navy's Board for Correction of Naval Records and worked on special projects within the Sexual Assault and Response Office.
Mr. Edward A. Croft was appointed Assistant Director of the San Diego VA Regional Office on October 7, 2019. San Diego is home to the largest military complex in the United States and the office has jurisdiction over one of the largest concentrations of Veterans in the country. Mr. Croft leads a dedicated workforce of 808 full-time employees, of which 77 percent are Veterans. Previously, Mr. Croft served as an Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager (AVSCM) of the San Diego.
Mr. Croft began his career with the Department of Veterans Affairs on July 2, 2001, as a Veterans Service Representative (VSR) with the New Orleans RO. In 2005, he was selected to serve as the first Overseas Military Services Coordinator (OMSC) in Southern Japan and in 2006, he was promoted to Rating VSR. Mr. Croft received the VA Secretary’s Hero Award and Public Service Excellence Award for his recovery assistance to the New Orleans RO and Louisiana Veterans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
From February 2008 until August 2010, Mr. Croft served as a Lead Operations Analyst for Compensation and Pension Service auditing staff in Washington DC, conducting operational compliance reviews of Veteran Service Centers (VSCs) throughout the US and overseas. In August 2010, Mr. Croft was selected as an AVSCM for the Los Angeles RO and served in this capacity until his transfer to the San Diego in March 2014.
In 2015, Mr. Croft was selected as the “Outstanding Member of the Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Benefits Administration” for the state of California by the Department of Disabled American Veterans and served as a volunteer member on the Board of Directors for The Elizabeth Hospice.
Mr. Croft served in the United States Navy from 1987 to 1991, receiving an honorable discharge. Following his military service, Mr. Croft attended Colorado State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts and Humanities with a minor in Philosophy (cum laude) and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
Mr. Marvin Rivas was appointed Veteran Service Center Manager of the San Diego VA Regional Office in October of 2018. Marvin began his VA career as a Veteran Service Representative (VSR) at the Los Angeles Regional Office (LARO) in October of 2006. As a Veteran himself, he wanted to help as many Veterans as possible.
In October of 2020, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) announced the establishment of eight (8) standalone divisions designated as the Benefit Eligibility Support Team (BEST). The San Diego Regional Office (SDRO) was selected as the BEST site representing the Pacific District. That same month, Ms. Amanda Matthews was appointed as the SDRO BEST Manager. Ms. Matthews and her team of more 143 employees, process Veteran benefit adjustments, required benefit reviews and unique eligibility decisions. Additionally, Ms. Matthews and her leadership team perform various responsibilities including resource allocations, workload management, and general administrative support duties required for the Division. Prior to her appointment as BEST Manager, Ms. Matthews started at SDRO as a Veterans Service Representative (VSR) in 2008, and joined the leadership team in 2012. She has supervised various teams throughout the Veteran Service Center (VSC), to include the Quality Review Team (QRT), Outreach/Public Contact and Appeals.
Ashley Johnson was appointed as the Supervisory Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at the San Diego VA Regional Office in March of 2016. Prior to this appointment, she was a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the San Diego and Seattle VA Regional Offices. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) as designated by the Commission of Rehabilitation Counselor Certification.
James (Jim) Smith was appointed as the Chief of Support Services Division at the San Diego VA Regional Office in May of 2020. Prior to this appointment, he was a Supervisory Veteran Service Representative overseeing the Outreach and Public Contact Teams at the San Diego Regional Office.
Jim began his VA career as a Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) at the San Diego Regional Office in 2009 and also served as a Military Service Coordinator (MSC) working out based at the Naval Hospital Balboa in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) program prior to entering the Leadership Team in 2013.