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St. Paul Regional Office

Meet Our Leadership Team

 

 

Kim Graves

Director: Kim Graves

Kim Graves was appointed Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration's (VBA) St. Paul Regional Office (RO) effective October 19, 2014. The St. Paul Regional Office delivers more than five billion dollars annually in compensation and pension benefits, in addition to administering Loan Guaranty and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits to Veterans, their families, and survivors. In her current position, Ms. Graves is responsible for establishing policies and procedures consistent with VA guidelines, providing executive leadership and direction to approximately 900 employees, managing available financial and human capital resources, directing programs for quality control in regional operations, as well as actively participating in outreach efforts in Veteran communities.

Prior to this appointment, Ms. Graves served as the Director of VBA's Eastern Area for nearly five years, where she provided direction and oversight in administering the full suite of VBA benefits to a Veteran population in excess of 8 million across 14 states. She was selected as a Veterans Claims Examiner at the Lincoln Regional Office in 1991. Since coming to VA, Ms. Graves has served in a number of diverse roles in various VBA organizations, including implementing VBA’s Office of Business Process Integration. While serving in these positions, Ms. Graves participated in the design and implementation of numerous national initiatives, including the National Automated Response System (NARS), VBA's Balanced Scorecard, Operations Center, the Inventory Management System (IMS), VETSNET Operations Reports (VOR), the VETSNET suite of software applications, and VBA’s paperless benefits delivery initiative.

Ms. Graves began her career in public service in 1985 by enlisting in the United States Army. As the result of an early in-service injury, Ms. Graves entered VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program to continue her education and gain experience in federal service, working in the VA Regional Office in Lincoln, NE.

CAREER CHRONOLOGY:

2014 – Present Director, St. Paul Regional Office

2010 – 2014 Director, Eastern Area

2008 – 2010 Director, Office of Business Process Integration

2007 – 2008 Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Benefits

2005 – 2007 Director, St. Louis Regional Office

2003 – 2005 Director, Providence Regional Office

EDUCATION:

MPA Masters in Public Administration (MPA), University of Nebraska

BA Psychology & Sociology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE

 


Assistant Director: Ron Sackett

Ron Sackett was selected as Assistant Director of the Veterans Benefits Administration's (VBA) St. Paul Regional Office (RO) in October 2019. The St. Paul Regional Office delivers more than five billion dollars annually in compensation and pension benefits, in addition to administering Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits to Veterans, their families, and survivors. The St. Paul Regional Office also oversees one of three Pension Management Centers, a national non-rating claims processing team, and serves as the primary Restricted Access Claims Center (RACC). The RACC processes claims from VBA employees, Veterans Service Officers, high-level government officials and other sensitive claimants.

In his current position, Mr. Sackett is responsible for assisting the Director in establishing policies and procedures consistent with VA guidelines, providing executive leadership and direction to approximately 900 employees, managing available financial and human capital resources, directing programs for quality control in operations, as well as actively participating in outreach efforts in Veteran communities.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Sackett served as the Chief of Support Services for the St. Paul Regional Office since 2012. In this role he provided direction and oversight in administering the second largest Support Services Division in VBA which provides payroll and administrative support to the employees of the St. Paul, Sioux Falls and Fargo Regional Offices as well as a variety of financial services in support of Veterans and Beneficiaries. He also served on the VBA’s National Support Services Council whose purpose is to facilitate innovation and refine policy within the Administration. 

Prior to joining VA in 2012, Mr. Sackett worked for General Dynamics where he served as the Commander’s Operations and Training Advisor for the 1/34th Armor Brigade Combat Team. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating and executing training for the Brigade and its seven subordinate battalion staffs and developing pre-deployment training plans for the Brigade’s 5,000 soldiers in preparation for several deployments.

Mr. Sackett began his career in public service in 1979 by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, serving four years and attaining the rank of Sergeant. In 1986, Mr. Sackett was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and continued to serve in various assignments with the U.S. Army and on active duty with the Minnesota Army National Guard until his retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2005. Assignments included, Deputy Chief, Office of Defense Cooperation, U.S. Embassy Croatia; Commander, 1/194 Armor Battalion; Deputy Chief, Military Liaison Team-Croatia; and Assistant Professor of Military Science, St. John’s University. Amongst Mr. Sackett’s awards and decorations are the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Order of St. George.

EDUCATION:

BA      English, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

 

Jessica Gillette

Veterans Service Center Manager: Jessica Gillette

Jessica Gillette is the Veterans Service Center Manager in the St. Paul Regional Office. She was assigned to this position in June 2013. In this position, she leads approximately 400 employees, including 74 employees in the Restricted Access Claims Center. Prior to being selected as the Veterans Service Center Manager she was the Assistant Pension Management Center Manager in St. Paul.

Ms. Gillette started her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in December of 2002. She served in the capacity of a Rating Veterans Service Representative, Assistant Coach, and Coach in the St. Paul Veterans Service Center (VSC). While working with the VSC, Jessica participated in Compensation and Pension site visits. Prior to working for VA, Ms. Gillette worked as a registered nurse at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota.

 

Joanna Yanez

Pension Management Center Manager: Joanna Yanez

Ms. Yanez was selected as the Pension Management Center (PMC) Manager in August 2018. She leads a division of approximately 350 employees. Prior to being selected in this position, Ms. Yanez served as an Assistant PMC Manager in St. Paul.

Ms. Yanez began her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2001, as a student intern in Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment at the St. Paul Regional Office. She was then selected as a Veterans Service Representative in the St. Paul PMC in 2001. Since that time, she served in multiple roles to include Veterans Claims Examiner, Assistant Coach and Coach.

 

Linda Steffensmeier

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Officer: Linda Steffensmeier

Linda Steffensmeier is the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Officer (VREO). Ms. Steffensmeier has been serving in this capacity since May of 2016; previously she served in the same capacity from December of 2009 to May of 2012 in the Wichita Regional Office and from May 2012 to October 2014 in the Montgomery Regional Office. Ms. Steffensmeier started her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in November of 2002. She served in the capacity of a Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Counselor in the St. Paul, St. Petersburg and Houston Regional Offices. Prior to joining VA, Ms. Steffensmeier was self-employed in the private rehabilitation sector as a Qualified Rehabilitation Counselor. She also holds the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) licensure.

Ms. Steffensmeier obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and her Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN.

 

Kimberly Girard

Loan Guaranty Officer: Kimberly Girard

Kimberly Girard was appointed Loan Guaranty Officer at the St. Paul VA Regional Loan Center in July 2014.  In this position, she leads 81 employees in providing oversight of Loan Guaranty benefits for the St. Paul VA Regional Office.  Ms. Girard began her career with the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2003.  Since that time, she has served in a variety of leadership positions at the St. Paul VA Regional Office including Servicing Officer, Assistant Valuation Officer, and Acting Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Officer.  Prior to her appointment as the Loan Guaranty Officer, Ms. Girard served as the Loan Administration Officer assisting service members and Veterans in avoiding foreclosure.

Ms. Girard is an alumna of 2012 Leadership VA (LVA).  She also received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business, and Minors in Communication and Office Administration, from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota.