Offices & officials
FCA's employees work together to ensure that the Farm Credit System remains a dependable source of credit for agriculture and rural America. The agency has two primary responsibilities:
- Issuing regulations and other guidance for FCS institutions to follow
- Examining FCS banks and associations to ensure their safety, soundness, and compliance with laws and regulations
The Office of Regulatory Policy performs the first responsibility, and the Office of Examination, with its five field offices, performs the second. The other offices support the agency in meeting its mission. FCA has approximately 300 full- and part-time employees.
See detailed descriptions below. We also provide a chart showing the organization of the agency.
The FCA board manages, administers, and establishes policies for FCA. The board approves the policies, regulations, charters, and examination and enforcement activities that ensure a strong FCS. The board also provides for the examination and supervision of the FCS, including Farmer Mac, and oversees the activities of the FCS Building Association, which acquires, manages, and maintains FCA headquarters and field office facilities. Dallas P. Tonsager is the board chairman.
The chairman of the FCA board serves as the chief executive officer (CEO). The CEO enforces the rules, regulations, and orders of the FCA board. He or she directs the implementation of policies and regulations adopted by the FCA board. The Office of the Chief Executive Officer plans, organizes, directs, coordinates, and controls FCA's day-to-day operations and leads the agency’s efforts to achieve and manage a diverse workforce. Dallas P. Tonsager is the CEO.
The chief operating officer (COO) has broad responsibility for planning, directing, and controlling the operations of the Offices of Agency Services, Examination, Regulatory Policy, Information Technology, Chief Financial Officer, and General Counsel in accordance with the operating philosophy and policies of the FCA board. He or she supervises and provides policy direction to the executive staff responsible for managing these offices. The COO oversees and coordinates the development and implementation of the agency-wide strategic, operating, and budget plans and activities. The COO also coordinates the resolution of internal policy, personnel, and program issues with agency executive leadership and the FCA board.
William J. Hoffman is chief operating officer. During Mr. Hoffman’s tenure as FCA’s COO (from 2008 to the present), the agency has issued several significant final rules, including a rule that updates and modernizes the agency’s capital regulations and a rule requiring System institutions to include strategies in their business and marketing plans that emphasize diversity and inclusion. As COO, Mr. Hoffman has also supported diversity and inclusion programs and events at FCA. Before taking this position, Mr. Hoffman was executive assistant to Chairman and CEO Nancy C. Pellett. Prior to this, he served as the associate director for Examination and Supervision in the Office of Secondary Market Oversight, which oversees the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation. He began his career as a credit representative in the Louisville Farm Credit District. In 1986 he joined the St. Louis Farm Credit Bank as vice president of risk assets. He later was the CEO of PennWest Farm Credit, ACA. Before joining FCA in 2004, he was involved in agricultural finance in the private sector and several international projects.
The Office of Agency Services, which was created in April 2016, manages human capital and administrative services for the agency. This includes providing the following services to the agency: staffing and placement, job evaluation, compensation and benefits, payroll administration, performance management and awards, employee relations, employee training and development, contracting, acquisitions, records and property management, supply services, agency purchase cards, design, publication, and mail service.
Vonda Bell is FCA’s chief human capital officer and the director of the Office of Agency Services. Vonda joined FCA in May 2017 as FCA’s deputy chief human capital officer and deputy director of the Office of Agency Services. Before joining FCA, Vonda served as the human resources director for the U.S. Census Bureau, where she was responsible for successfully leading an end-to-end optimization of the human resources program. Before this, she served as the director of human capital management for the Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General and the director of business services at the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. Vonda is an alumna of the University of Alabama-Huntsville. She also holds a master’s degree in human resources from Troy University. She is a senior certified professional in the Society of Human Resource Management, as well as a certified project management professional.
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer, which was created in April 2016, manages and delivers timely, accurate, and reliable financial services to the agency. The office establishes financial policies and procedures and oversees the formulation and execution of the agency's budget. The office reports periodically on the status of the agency's financial position, results of operations, and budgetary resources. It also oversees the agency's travel management, internal controls, and personnel security programs.
Stephen G. Smith is chief financial officer and director of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. Previously, from 2005 to 2016, he served as the agency’s director of the Office of Management Services. From 2001 to 2005, he served as the agency's inspector general. He joined FCA in 1981 as a technical specialist. He is a commissioned FCA examiner and served in several leadership roles, including associate regional director for the Albany, New York field office; senior staff director for the chief examiner; and director of the Technical and Operations Division. In 1993, he assumed responsibilities as director of the Information Resources Division. He was named chief information officer in 1996, directing all technology and information operations for FCA. Before joining the agency, he worked at the North Central Jersey Farm Credit Association.
The Office of Congressional and Public Affairs serves as the agency’s principal point of contact for Congress, the media, other government agencies, FCS institutions, employees, System borrowers, and the public. The office develops and monitors legislation pertinent to FCA and the FCS, serves as the agency’s congressional liaison, facilitates intergovernmental relations, and prepares testimony for the chairman and other board members. It also provides information to external audiences through news releases, fact sheets, reports, and other publications. The office cultivates relationships with media representatives who report on matters related to agriculture and rural credit, and it manages the content of the FCA website. It also organizes special meetings, briefings for international visitors, and field hearings.
Michael Stokke is director of the Office of Congressional and Public Affairs. Before joining FCA, Mr. Stokke was founder and president of Prairie Strategies, a consulting firm based in Illinois, where he advised corporations and nonprofit organizations. He served as deputy chief of staff to former speaker of the House Dennis Hastert from February 1998 to October 2007. Prior to this, Mr. Stokke served as chief of staff for the Office of the Speaker in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998. He served as chief of staff for Representative Thomas W. Ewing of Illinois from 1991 through 1994. From 1987 to 1991, he was assistant director of personnel for the Office of the Governor of Illinois. He also served as assistant to the secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation from 1985 to 1987.
The Office of Examination is responsible for examining and supervising each FCS institution in accordance with the Farm Credit Act and applicable regulations. The office develops oversight plans; conducts examinations; monitors the System’s condition and current and emerging risks to the System; and develops supervisory strategies to ensure that the FCS operates in a safe and sound manner, complies with the law and regulations, and fulfills its public policy purpose. For more information about the role of the Office of Examination, read Examination Philosophy (Word) (Board Policy Statement FCA-PS-53).
S. Robert Coleman is director of the Office of Examination. Before being named to this position in October 2010, he was director of the agency’s Office of Secondary Market Oversight for five years. Mr. Coleman joined FCA in 1986 as an examiner in the Office of Examination. He held various positions in that office, providing technical and analytical support to FCA field offices and in the Policy Development and Planning Division. During this period, Mr. Coleman completed the commissioning program and became a commissioned examiner in 1990. In 1994, he transferred to the Office of Policy Analysis, where he served as a policy analyst specializing in regulation development, and then as a senior policy analyst. Mr. Coleman was named director of the Regulation and Policy Division in June 2003. He holds the chartered financial analyst designation, which the CFA Institute awarded him in 2000.
The Office of General Counsel provides the FCA board and staff with legal counsel as well as guidance on the Farm Credit Act and general corporate, personnel, ethics, and administrative matters. The office supports the agency’s development and promulgation of regulations, enforcement of applicable laws and regulations, and implementation of conservatorships and receiverships. It represents and advises the agency on civil litigation. It also serves as the liaison to the Federal Register, administers the agency’s ethics program, and handles Freedom of Information Act requests.
Charles R. Rawls is the FCA general counsel. Before joining FCA in March 2003, he was general counsel and vice president for legal, tax, and accounting at the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. During the consideration of the 2002 farm bill, he served as the general counsel of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. From 1998 to 2001, he was general counsel for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and from 1993 to 1998 he was chief of staff to the deputy secretary of agriculture. From 1988 to 1993, he was legislative director and then administrative assistant to Congressman Martin Lancaster. From 1985 to 1988, he was associate general counsel of the House Committee on Agriculture. He was counsel to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forests, Family Farms, and Energy from 1983 to 1985.
The Office of Information Technology, which was created in June 2015, manages and delivers the agency's information technology, data analysis infrastructure, and the security supporting agency technology resources. The office is responsible for the planning and control of information technology investments and leading change to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of agency operations. It is responsible for continuing to leverage FCA's investment in technology by collaborating across agency offices to identify and re-engineer business processes. The office provides strategies to collaborate across offices on business intelligence tools to develop analysis models to meet the strategic needs of the agency.
Jerald Golley is chief information officer (CIO) and director of the Office of Information Technology. Before joining FCA in November 2015, Mr. Golley had 25 years of IT management experience. Most recently, he was the deputy CIO for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for six years. In 1996, he founded AMI Technical Consultants, Inc., a software development, internet hosting, and technical consulting company based in Denver; he served as chief executive officer there until 2009. He began his career as a programmer and geographic information system specialist at American Management Systems in Rosslyn, Virginia, where he worked from 1990 to 1994. Mr. Golley served in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army based out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, from 1982 to 1984. He holds a bachelor's degree in geography, with a minor in computer science from the State University of New York at Oneonta, as well as a Master of Arts in geography and geographic information systems from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
The Office of Inspector General provides independent and objective oversight of agency programs and operations through audits, inspections, evaluations, investigations, and the review of proposed legislation and regulations. The office promotes economy and efficiency within FCA and seeks to prevent and detect fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in the agency’s programs and operations.
Wendy Laguarda is inspector general. From May 2015 to July 2017, Ms. Laguarda served as executive assistant to the FCA board chairman and chief executive officer. She joined FCA's Office of General Counsel in 1990, eventually becoming assistant general counsel and the designated agency ethics official. She served as legal counsel for personnel issues and undertook assignments on rulemaking and policymaking. Before coming to FCA, Ms. Laguarda was an attorney adviser at the Office of Thrift Supervision and its predecessor agency, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. In 1995 and again in 2004, she was detailed to the White House Counsel’s Office for brief periods to work on ethics issues. A graduate of Tufts University and George Washington University National Law Center, she is a member of the Maryland and District of Columbia Bars and is a mediator certified by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
The Office of Regulatory Policy manages policy and regulation development activities that ensure the safety and soundness of the FCS and support the System's mission. Policy and regulation development activities include the analysis of policy and strategic risks to the System on the basis of economic trends and other risk factors. The office also evaluates all regulatory and statutory prior approvals for System institutions on behalf of the FCA board, including chartering and other corporate approvals as well as funding approvals.
Gary K. Van Meter is director of the Office of Regulatory Policy. He was named to this position in June 2011 after having served as acting director for seven months and deputy director for five years. Prior to this, he served in the Office of General Counsel for 17 years. In the Office of General Counsel, he served first as a senior attorney and later as senior counsel before joining the Office of Regulatory Policy. Mr. Van Meter holds a Juris Doctor from West Virginia University College of Law and a Master of Law degree in taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. He is also a certified public accountant. From 1972 to 1974, Mr. Van Meter was an enlisted member of the U.S. Marine Corps, and he was an officer in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps from 1981 to 1986.
The Office of Secondary Market Oversight provides for the examination, regulation, and supervision of the activities of Farmer Mac to ensure its safety and soundness and the accomplishment of its public policy purpose as authorized by Congress. It also ensures that Farmer Mac complies with applicable laws and regulations, and it manages FCA’s enforcement activities with respect to Farmer Mac.
Laurie A. Rea is director of the Office of Secondary Market Oversight. She was named to this position in January 2011. Ms. Rea joined FCA in 1986 after graduating from San Diego State University. She has held several positions with the agency, beginning with the Office of Examination where she became a commissioned FCA examiner in 1989. In 1992, she joined the Office of Policy and Analysis (now the Office of Regulatory Policy), where she gained experience in policy and regulation development. From 2005 until 2011, Ms. Rea served as associate director and finance and capital markets team leader in the Office of Regulatory Policy, where she managed the approval of Systemwide debt securities and led the agency's regulatory capital and investment policy development. Ms. Rea is a chartered financial analyst from the CFA Institute and a certified risk professional.
The secretary to the board serves as the parliamentarian for the board and keeps permanent and complete records of the acts and proceedings of the board. He or she ensures that the board complies with statutory, regulatory, and internal operation reporting requirements. The secretary to the board also serves as secretary to the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation board. In addition, he or she serves as the Sunshine Act official for the FCA board.
Dale L. Aultman became secretary to the FCA Board in January 2011. He began working at FCA in 1988. For the first 10 years, he worked in the Office of Examination, where he became a commissioned examiner. Then for 12 years, he was in the Office of Regulatory Policy, where he became a senior policy analyst. Mr. Aultman is a member of the National Association of Parliamentarians. In 2010, he became Virginia's eighth electronic notary. In 2007, he completed FCA's Supervisory Development Program. Mr. Aultman graduated with distinction from Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at the Southern Methodist University and holds a finance degree from the University of Oklahoma.
The Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Inclusion manages and directs the agencywide diversity, inclusion, and equal employment opportunity (EEO) program for FCA and FCSIC. The office serves as the chief liaison with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Personnel Management on all EEO, diversity, and inclusion issues. The office provides counsel and leadership to agency management to carry out its continuing policy and program of nondiscrimination, affirmative action, and diversity.
Thais Burlew is director of the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Inclusion. Before joining FCA in September 2011, she served as executive manager in the Office of EEO and Inclusiveness at the U.S. Postal Service. From 2001 to 2008, Ms. Burlew held several positions at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, including attorney advisor to Chair Naomi Churchill-Earp and acting chief for the Intake and Compliance Branch. Prior to this, she served as advocate for the Housing and Consumer Law Clinic and for the Juvenile Special Education Clinic. Ms. Burlew earned a Juris Doctor magna cum laude from David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia, where she served as managing and associate editor of the school’s law review. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Middle Tennessee State University.
The Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO) is designated by the FCA chairman to administer the provisions of title I of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, as amended, to coordinate and manage FCA's ethics program and to provide liaison to the Office of Government Ethics with regard to all aspects of FCA's ethics program.
Philip J. Shebest is the designated agency ethics official. As DAEO, Mr. Shebest administers the ethics program for FCA and the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation. In addition to serving as DAEO, Mr. Shebest is an assistant general counsel in the Office of General Counsel and the agency contracts officer. While at FCA, he has held the position of alternate DAEO, as well as acting general counsel, chief administrative officer, and chief human capital officer. Before joining FCA in 1990, Mr. Shebest was a senior attorney with the Drug Enforcement Administration and a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General's Corps. A graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania and Temple School of Law, he is a member of the Pennsylvania bar, as well as a certified mediator.