McDonnell Announces Three Cabinet Appointments
Appoints Sean Connaughton as Secretary of Transportation; Lisa Hicks-Thomas as Secretary of Administration; Todd Haymore as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry
RICHMOND- Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell held a midday press conference at the State Capitol to announce three new cabinet appointments in his incoming Administration.
McDonnell appointed Sean Connaughton, former Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors and later Administrator of the Maritime Administration in the United States Department of Transportation, as Secretary of Transportation. He named Lisa Hicks-Thomas, Deputy Attorney General for the Technology, Real Estate, Environment and Transportation Division in the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, as his Secretary of Administration. Finally, McDonnell announced that Todd Haymore, who currently serves as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will assume the post of Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry in the Administration.
Speaking about Sean Connaughton, his selection for Secretary of Transportation, McDonnell remarked, “Improving transportation was a major focus of my campaign because it is a core responsibility of our state government, and a serious challenge that must be addressed. Sean shares my commitment to solving our transportation challenges, and his background has prepared him very well for this position. His experience as Administrator of the U.S. Maritime Administration, and service as Vice President of the American Bureau of Shipping, gives him a depth of experience and knowledge about what needs to be done at and around the Port of Virginia in the years ahead to ensure that we fully maximize the potential of this great asset. As Chairman of the Board in Prince William County, Sean established a Department of Transportation which built $300 million worth of roads in the county and gained solid understanding of the transportation challenges facing our suburban and exurban localities in the faster-growing parts of our state. He agrees with me we must be much faster and more efficient in transportation planning and decision making. And his overall background in transportation law and policy give him a broad perspective on this multi-faceted issue, the kind of perspective that is invaluable in a diverse state such as Virginia. Sean has been a longtime public servant, from his days at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to his leadership role as Maritime Administrator. Now, he will continue his public service as Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation. The building and maintaining of a 21st Century transportation system that facilitates job creation and improves our citizens quality of life is imperative to the future prospects of our Commonwealth. I can think of no one better than Sean to lead in this endeavor.”
McDonnell announced Lisa Hicks-Thomas as his Secretary of Administration and noted, “I have worked with Lisa over the past four years in the Office of the Attorney General. As Deputy Attorney General for Technology, Real Estate, Environment and Transportation, Lisa was responsible for representing a number of state agencies, including the Department of General Services, which she will now oversee in her new position. She managed a staff of 50, including the Computer Crime Section of the office which enforces Virginia’s Computer Crimes Act. Lisa also led our successful Youth Internet Safety Task Force. She is a professional manager and a great motivator. I look forward to continuing to work with Lisa as she serves as Secretary of Administration for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She will bring a strong record of performance and leadership to the job.”
The Governor-elect will elevate current Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Todd Haymore, a Pittsylvania County native, to the position of Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth. Announcing the appointment, McDonnell stated, “Agriculture and Forestry are Virginia’s biggest industry. They account for 10% of our jobs, and contribute $79 billion a year to the economy of our state. Todd understands not only the economic importance of this industry, but also the special place farming and forestry occupy in our culture, history and way of life. A Southside native, Todd has public sector experience from his start, working for former Congressman L.F. Payne to his current position as Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. And he has extensive private sector experience as well, having held a number of senior management positions with Universal Leaf Tobacco Company, a great Virginia employer. Todd will be a great promoter of Virginia agriculture and forestry worldwide. I know his leadership as Secretary will lead to new jobs for Virginians and new markets for our products.”
Below are full biographies of today’s appointees.
Further announcements regarding additional appointments in the McDonnell Administration will continue to be made in the weeks ahead.
Sean T. Connaughton
Sean T. Connaughton is Corporate Vice President, Government Affairs for the American Bureau of Shipping. The American Bureau of Shipping is one of the world’s leading ship and marine classification societies.
Prior to joining ABS, Sean served as U.S. Maritime Administrator under President George W. Bush (2006 – 2009). As Maritime Administrator, he was head of the Maritime Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, and responsible for the daily management of that agency and its promotional programs for the marine transportation industry. This included advising and assisting the Secretary of Transportation on commercial maritime matters, operation of over 50 ships in the Ready Reserve Force, supervision of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, oversight of the six State Maritime Academies, and administration of various shipyard and cargo programs. Connaughton was appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Connaughton is a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. He has served the U.S. Coast Guard as both a commissioned officer and as a civil servant in the Office of Marine Safety, Security, and Environmental Protection. After gaining a Master’s degree from Georgetown University, he joined the American Petroleum Institute, representing companies involved in the energy and marine transportation industries, during which time he also gained a law degree from George Mason University.
As a lawyer in private practice he specialized in maritime and international law. He has appeared before the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the Virginia Bar Association and the District of Columbia Bar Association. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1986 until retiring in 2006. He is a graduate (with honors) of the U.S. Naval War College.
Sean was elected Chairman At-large of the Prince William County (Va) Board of Supervisors in 1999 and overwhelmingly reelected in 2003. Sean served on numerous regional boards and commissions, including the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. In 2004, he was recognized by the National Association of Counties with its Distinguished Service Award for his efforts on workforce development.
Sean was selected to receive the 2009 Vincent T. Hirsh Maritime Award for Outstanding Leadership by the Navy League of the United States. He was named the “2007 Maritime Person of the Year” by the Propeller Club of the United States. He was awarded the “2007 Government Man of the Year” by the Maritime Port Council of Greater New York and Vicinity. In 2007, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Public Administration from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. The Journal of Commerce named him to its 2008 “JOC Leadership Roll.” In 2009, he was presented with the “Maritime Samaritan Award” from the Apostleship of the Sea of the United States.
Connaughton currently is a Trustee of the Joe Gibbs Youth for Tomorrow home, a residential program for at-risk adolescents of the Greater Washington area. He is on the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Family Services, a nonprofit providing housing, training, health and other social services. He is also Board of Directors of the Hylton Performing Arts Center.
Lisa Hicks-Thomas is Deputy Attorney General for the Technology, Real Estate, Environment and Transportation Division in the Office of the Attorney General. She was appointed Deputy Attorney General in 2007 by then Attorney General Bob McDonnell. As Deputy Attorney General, Hicks-Thomas managed a staff of 50 representing such major state agencies as the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Port Authority. She also managed the Computer Crime Section and its investigation and prosecution of state and federal offenses involving child pornography, online solicitation, identity theft and other violations of the Virginia Computer Crimes Act.
Prior to her appointment as Deputy Attorney General, she was a Senior Assistant Attorney General, and Chief of the Computer Crime Section. As a Senior Assistant Attorney General she led Attorney General McDonnell’s Youth Internet Safety Task Force in 2006 and drafted Virginia’s Anti-Phishing Statute which was passed by the General Assembly in 2005. From 2001-2004 Hicks-Thomas was an Assistant Attorney General, and Director of the Computer Crime Unit. While an Assistant Attorney General she oversaw Attorney General Jerry Kilgore’s Identity Theft Task Force in 2002 and prosecuted Computer Facilitated Child Exploitation Cases in localities across Virginia, and worked to make the possession of child pornography a felony in 2003. From 2002-2009, Hicks-Thomas also served as a Special Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting child exploitation cases.
Hicks-Thomas began her public service as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Chesapeake. She received her law degree from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law of the College of William and Mary in 1994. She gained her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. She is a native of Chesapeake and attended Great Bridge High School.
Lisa is married to Samuel Thomas, they have two children, Carson, six, and Casey, three. She has served as an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Richmond in the School of Continuing Studies, Secretary of the South Hampton Roads Bar Association and is currently serving as a member of the Board of Governors for the Virginia State Bar, Section on the Education of Lawyers. She volunteers at the Central Virginia Food Bank Community Kitchen. She has spoken at state and national conferences on the topics of Internet Safety and Identity Theft.
Todd Patterson Haymore
Todd was appointed Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) by Governor Tim Kaine in 2007. The Department is responsible for over 60 laws and more than 70 regulations relating to consumer protection and the promotion of agriculture. It is part of the Agriculture and Forestry Secretariat and organized into four units, the Commissioner’s Office, Division of Animal and Food Industry Services (AFIS), Division of Consumer Protection, and Division of Marketing. As VDACS Commissioner, Todd oversees nearly 500 employees in offices throughout Virginia and in Hong Kong.
Haymore is a native of Pittsylvania County, and began his professional career as a Legislative Assistant for former United States Representative L.F Payne (D-5). Following his time with the Congressman, Haymore briefly worked in Danville for DIMON Incorporated, a leaf tobacco company that later merged with Standard Commercial Corporation to form Alliance One International. Haymore then joined Richmond-based Universal Leaf Tobacco Company. He served in various leadership positions from 1999-2007, concluding his time with the company as Corporate Director, External Affairs and Vice President of The Universal Leaf Foundation.
Haymore was President of the Tobacco Association of United States Board of Governors from 2005-2007. A member of the Danville Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in 1998-1999. A member of the National Association of Manufacturers National Public Affairs Steering Committee from 2001-2007. And he was a member of the Leaf Tobacco Exporters Association Executive Council from 2001-2006, including serving as Treasurer in 2005-2006. He currently serves on the Richmond Forum Board of Directors and the Virginia Tech Victims (VTV) Families Outreach Foundation Board.
Todd graduated from George Washington High School in Danville. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Richmond in 1991 and his Masters of Business Administration Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is married to the former Margaret Cary Lewis and they have three children, twins Catharine Cole Haymore and Elizabeth Whichard Haymore, five, and Lillian Bryan Haymore, three.