Daniels announces Ohio Agriculture Department senior staff

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REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Agriculture Director David Daniels on April 11 announced several new appointments to the department’s senior management team.

Howard Wise was named assistant director; Michael Bailey and Janelle Mead, deputy directors; Denise Franz King, executive director of the Office of Farmland Preservation; Traci Orahood, human resources chief; Erica Pitchford, communications director; and Erin Honnold and George McNab, legislative liaisons.

“We have assembled a great executive team of professionals who have wide array of experience in agriculture, public administration and public policy,” Daniels said. “I look forward to working with everyone to continue our daily work of assisting farmers and protecting consumers in the State of Ohio.”

Wise will oversee the department’s day-to-day regulatory operations and laboratories, in addition to the department’s policies and procedures. Prior to his this recent appointment, Wise served as the department’s assistant director from 2004 through 2006.

From July 1999 to June 2004, he served as the executive director of the department’s Office of Farmland Preservation. Wise has served in several leadership capacities at the Ohio Department of Development. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in political science and public administration.

Bailey will oversee the department’s Plant Health, Weights and Measures and Livestock Environmental Permitting divisions, and will shape department policy. Since joining the department in 2004, Bailey has served as executive director of the Office of Farmland Preservation and executive director of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

A combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, he currently serves as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Army Reserve. Bailey is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in agricultural economics.

Mead’s responsibilities will include overseeing the department’s legislative, communication and marketing efforts, and shaping department policy. She will also continue to work on promoting agribusiness opportunities in the state.

Mead, who joined the department in 2011 and most recently served as chief of the Markets division, has also worked for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. She has also previously worked in communications for the Ohio State Alumni Association and Mycogen Seeds. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she earned a degree in agricultural communications.

King will be responsible for overseeing and promoting the department’s farmland preservation program. She brings more than 20 years of experience with natural resources management and conservation policy to the department. King, who most recently served as a deputy superintendent with the Ohio Department of Commerce, has previously worked as a government relations program director for The Nature Conservancy, as chief of the division of Recycling and Litter Prevention and as chief of policy for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

She is currently a Washington Township trustee and has previously served on Dubin City Council and as vice-mayor of Dublin.

Orahood will be responsible for the department’s human resources management and will oversee employee and labor relations. She most recently served as a fiscal and human resources manager with the Office of the Governor, and has previously worked for the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services. Orahood is a graduate of Franklin University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration.

As communications director, Pitchford will serve as chief spokesperson for the department and will be responsible for coordinating communication plans for the agency. Joining the department in 2011, she served as a public information officer prior to this appointment. Pitchford also spent four years working as an aide in the Ohio Senate. She is a cum laude graduate of Ashland University and was a scholar with The John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs.

As legislative liaisons, Honnold and McNab will act as advocates on behalf of the department to the Ohio General Assembly and U.S. Congress, and will work with consumer groups and industry representatives to assist in the research and development of legislative changes. Honnold most recently worked as the deputy director of communications and community education at the Office of the Ohio Treasury and previously served as an aide in the Ohio House of Representatives. Prior to his appointment, McNab worked as an aide in the Ohio Senate.

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