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San Juan Regional Benefit Office

Meet Our Leadership Team

 

Wendy Torress

Director: Bernard Johnson

Mr. Johnson was appointed as the Director, VA San Juan Regional Office on May 14, 2017. In his role as Director he administers a wide array of benefits in the areas of Compensation, and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment to nearly 152,000 Veterans and their families living in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. These benefits are administered by approximately 200 employees throughout the San Juan jurisdiction.

Prior to his appointment as Director he work in that capacity at the VBA Office of Administration and Facilities (OAF) on June 29, 2014. The Director, OAF is responsible for leasing, construction and renovation of space to support VBA employees, with an overall budgetary responsibility in the $140 million range. The Director, OAF leads the development and execution of the VBA Strategic Capital Investment Plan. He also provides leadership to support VA Integrated Objectives and VBA’s Transformation Plan through the provision of wide programmatic support to the 56 VA Regional Offices, including: Forms and Directives, Publications, Records Management, FOIA, Privacy, Mail Management, Fleet, Management, and Equipment Inventory Listing while overseeing personnel and administrative actions of his subordinate staff. In addition, the Director, OAF is responsible for the Safety, Emergency Preparedness and Watch Officer programs The VBA Emergency Preparedness Officer provides status of Continuity of Operations (COOP) Sites, and coordinates with VA, VHA, NCA and Staff Offices to assess VA’s daily operational status and readiness capability.

He served in a dual capacity as the Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Administration and Facilities. Mr. Johnson ensured quality and timely services and products to the Under Secretary of Benefits, senior executive leadership and VBA Central Office employees without compromising the VA’s mission and his organizational support to the 56 VA Regional Offices.

Mr. Bernard Johnson is a retired Army Officer. He has served in various leadership positions from Platoon Leader, Company Commander, Battalion Operations Officer, and Division and Joint Staff Level Officer in the Pentagon located in Washington, D.C.

From 1984 to 2009, Mr. Johnson has served in various assignments throughout the United States Army. He served in a variety of locations such as Germany, Republic of Seoul Korea, Georgia, Alabama and the Pentagon. He has received numerous awards, i.e. Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit, Overseas Service Medal and other awards. He participated in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He joined VA in 2009 after serving 25 years in the United States Army.

EDUCATION: Doctoral candidate, MBA in Business Administration and Bachelor of Science in Biology

PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATIONS: Graduate of the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia


Abner Concepcion

Assistant Director: Abner Concepcion

Abner Concepcion began his VA career in June 2001 as Veteran Service Representative at the Newark RO. He also served in the U.S. Navy in the early 1990s, culminating in service as part of the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, better known as the Blue Angels.


Alfredo “Al” Zabala

Veterans Service Center Manager: Alfredo “Al” Zabala

Al Zabala was appointed to this position in February 2010. He is responsible for the complete range of benefits administration, including outreach, personal contacts, and award activities for the RO. Mr. Zabala is a U.S. Army Veteran and a life member of Disabled American Veterans and American Legion.


Bonnie Thomas

Vocation Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Officer: Bonnie Thomas

Ms. Thomas was selected for the VREO San Juan in 2016. Prior to San Juan, Bonnie was the VREO in Pittsburgh, PA since 2014. In 2007, she started her career with VA as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at Detroit Regional Office.