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San Juan Regional Office

Meet Our Leadership Team


Director Hawthorne

Acting Director: Cory A. Hawthorne

Cory A. Hawthorne was appointed Director of the VA Regional Office in Montgomery, Alabama in March of 2014. As the Director, he is responsible for administering approximately $1.4 billion in annual federal benefit payments to 415,000 Veterans and their families living in Alabama. These benefits include Compensation, Pension and Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment entitlements.


Prior to this appointment, Mr. Hawthorne was the Director of the VA Regional Office in St. Louis, Missouri. In this role, Mr. Hawthorne was responsible for administering approximately $71.6 million in monthly federal benefits to 505,900 beneficiaries living in Missouri. These benefits included Compensation, Pension, Education and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment entitlements.


Under Mr. Hawthorne’s leadership as Director, the VA Records Management Center was one of ten winners in FY2010 of VA’s first Innovation Initiative competition for an employee-generated idea to scan and digitally store VA disability claims-related information. The initiative resulted in more efficient claims processing timeliness and the ability to fully adjudicate a claim in a paperless environment, a major accomplishment for 21st Century Transformation. Mr. Hawthorne received the VA Secretary’s Hero Award for assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (2005). Mr. Hawthorne was a student-athlete while at LaGrange College (Men’s basketball) (NAIA Academic All-Conference Team).



2014 – Present Director, VA Regional Office, Montgomery, Alabama

2012 – 2014 Director, VA Regional Office, St. Louis, Missouri

2010 – 2012 Director, VA Records Management Center, St. Louis, Missouri

2006 – 2010 Assistant Veterans Service Centre Manager, VA Regional Office, Nashville, Tennessee

2004 – 2006 Supervisory Veterans Service Representative (Coach), VA Regional Office, St. Petersburg,


2003 – 2004 Supervisory Veterans Service Representative (Assistant Coach), VA Regional Office, St.

Petersburg, Florida



2009 – 2010 VBA Assistant Director Program

2000 Bachelor of Science in Psychology, LaGrange College, LaGrange, Georgia


Assistant Director: Rafael De Los Santos

Rafael De Los Santos was appointed the Assistant Director for the Department of Veterans Affairs, San Juan Regional Office (SJRO) on May 21, 2023. He assists the Director in the management of all aspects of the Regional Office and assumes full responsibility for the station’s activities in the Director’s absence. The San Juan Regional Office administers a wide array of benefits in the areas of Compensation, National Call Center, and Veteran Readiness and Employment to Veterans and their families living in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.

Since 2001, Rafael De Los Santos has worked in VBA in the following positions: file clerk, claim assistant, Veteran service representative (VSR), rating VSR, assistant coach, coach, assistant Veteran service center manager, and Assistant Decision Review Operations Center (DROC) Manager. During his assignment at the St. Petersburg DROC, he was responsible for assisting in the administration control, and direction of approximately 489 employees throughout the St. Petersburg DROC jurisdiction and implementing the Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 as one of three DROCs (Seattle DROC and D.C. DROC are the other locations).

Rafael is a retired Army combat Veteran. He deployed to Afghanistan, Operation Enduring Freedom VIII (2006-2008) and is a recipient of the Combat Action Badge for his actions as a Platoon Leader (2007). He enlisted in the active-duty Army as Private E-1 in 1996, before transferring to the Puerto Rico Army National Guard in 1999. He completed the officer candidate school and was commissioned as an Army Officer, in 2003. He retired as a Filed Grade Officer to the rank of Major in 2021.

Rafael has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance Management from Universidad del Sagrado Corazon (2003) and a Master's Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Global Management from the University of Phoenix (2015).

Veterans Service Center Manager: Melvin Granados

Melvin Granados is the Veteran Service Center Manager, San Juan Regional Office, with the Veterans Benefits Administration, assigned November 2022. Prior to this appointment he was was assigned as Assistant Pension Management Center Manager in the Philadelphia Regional Office, where he was responsible for oversight of benefits administration within the Pension Management Center of 178 employees. 

Melvin joined the VA in 2008 as a Veterans service representative (VSR) at the Houston Regional Office. During his time at the Houston Regional Office, he was promoted to Rating Veterans Service Representative in 2011. In 2013, he was selected to join the management team as an Assistant Coach. In 2015, he was appointed coach where he supervised development, rating, IPC, QRT, and Promulgation Teams.

He earned a Bachelor's Degree from The University of St. Thomas. His free time usually involves training for marathons and triathlons. He has completed 2 marathons, 3 ironman's, and countless of half ironman's to include the Puerto Rico Half Ironman in 2023.

Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager: Timothy Stephenson


Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager: Enid Perez


Military Sexual Trauma Operations Center:  Angela Briscoe, Veterans Service Center Manager


Military Sexual Trauma Operations Center:  Marvin B. Dinoso, Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager


Military Sexual Trauma Operations Center:  Kendria C. Lewis, Assistant Veterans Service Center Manager


Regional Call Center Manager: Juan L Del Valle

Juan L. Del Valle was selected as the San Juan National Call Center Manager on March 12, 2023, He started his career at VBA, San Juan National Call Center in 2016 as a Legal Administrative Specialist, where he also served as Quality Review Specialist and Team Supervisor. He is responsible for overseeing a staff of approximately 84 employees who are tasked with 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.

The San Juan NCC handles over 90% of Spanish speaking calls received by the Veterans Benefits Administration’s benefits toll-free number.

Juan is a combat Veteran with over 32 years of active-duty service in the US Army.

He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (2010) and a Master of Business Administration / Human Resource Management (2014) from the Columbia Southern University.

Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) Officer: Jose A. Vega, MS, CRC, CPCC

Jose was selected as Veteran Readiness and Employment Officer in San Juan on August 2021. Previously he was the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for the Integrated Disability Evaluation System IDES at the San Juan Regional Office operating from Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico.

He was later hired as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) – for the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, where he helped Servicemembers going through medical boards discover their potential and exploring vocational goals. In 2014, after completing a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Central University of Bayamon, he joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in the capacity of Veterans Service Representative, assisting Veterans with their claims for compensations.

Jose is a Navy Veteran with over 26 years of active Naval service. He retired honorably in 2010. Prior to joining VA, he held various DoD Contractor positions as a community support coordinator and DoD Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program coordinator for Puerto Rico & USVI.    

Jose completed studies and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts with concentration in Management and Administration from Excelsior College. He also completed all course work to earn a Certificate in Homeland Security from that same academic institution and holds a master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Universidad Central de Bayamon.

Jose maintains national certification from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. He also completed preparation and earned an industry gold-standard career coaching credential as a Certified Professional Career Coach, from the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches, enhancing his professional expertise and contributions to the career coaching industry. 

As a Navy Veteran, Jose is passionate about helping fellow Veterans and believes in rehabilitation and is an advocate for the management of the many benefits available from VR&E program.

Support Services Division, Margarita Castillo