Balch & Bingham has added Brian Rell to the firm’s Washington, D.C., office heading up the federal public policy and government relations practice, effective Nov. 1. Rell joins the firm after serving 11 years on the Hill as Rep. Robert Aderholt’s, R-Ala., chief of staff.

Bob Ross is retiring from USDA after a 39-year career with the department. He currently serves as the senior financial economist at USDA, while working as a detailee to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. Ross handled rural development issues for the subcommittee.

Global food retailer Ahold Delhaize has hired Natalie Knight as executive vice president of finance, effective March 1. Knight will be nominated by the supervisory board to be appointed as chief financial officer and a member of the management board at the annual general meeting of shareholders in April 2020. She will succeed Jeff Carr, who will leave Ahold Delhaize when his current term expires in April.

Aaron Locker now serves as the vice president of sales at HELM AGRO US, Inc. He previously served as the vice president of new market development for Vivid Life Sciences and before that was the director of marketing for FMC Corporation.

Vestaron Corporation added Scott Jackson as the new director of regulatory affairs. Jackson most recently served as a group leader of regulatory affairs for Knoell USA, and has previous regulatory, stewardship and sustainability experience with Valent USA and BASF Corporation. He will handle both government affairs and public policy in this new role.

Stater Bros. Holdings Inc. has elected Pete Van Helden to serve on its board of directors. Van Helden currently serves and will continue to serve as chief executive officer of Stater Bros. Markets. Van Helden joined Stater Bros. Markets as president and chief operating officer in 2013, and in 2016 he was appointed to the position of CEO.

The Meat Institute has elected officers to lead the organization in 2020 at its Fall Forum in Washington, D.C. last week. Warren Panico, president and CEO of Sigma, will serve as chairman; Brad McDowell, president of Agri-Foods, will serve as vice chairman; Steve Van Lannen, president and COO, American Foods Group, LLC, will serve as treasurer; and Eric Gustafson, CEO of Coast Packing Company, has been selected to serve as secretary. Joe Maas, co-owner & vice president of manufacturing and production at JTM Food Group, will serve as immediate past chairman.

Scott Starkweather has been promoted to vice president of farmer manager at U.S. Bank. He previously served as the team lead of the agriculture division.

Rob Damschen has left the Hill to start a new job as head of strategic communications for the National Association of Manufacturers. He previously served as the communications director for Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Robyn Bryan now serves as the press secretary for Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. She previously served as the communications director for Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich.

Mahyar Sorour has left the office of Rep. IIhan Omar, D-Minn. Sorour covered the agriculture, animal welfare, appropriations, energy, environmental protection, public lands, and natural resources portfolio. Omar’s office has not yet hired a replacement, but Yonathan Teclu has temporarily taken over the energy and environment portfolio and Jasleen Vig has taken the agriculture and animal welfare portfolio.

Andrew Earl has left the office of Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, where he served as a legislative assistant covering the agriculture, food, transportation, animal welfare, environmental protection, public lands, and natural resources portfolio. Crapo’s office has not yet hired a replacement, but in the meantime Scott Riplinger has taken over Earl’s portfolio.

Kyle Sharp has left the office of Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., where he served as a legislative correspondent covering the animal welfare, energy, environmental protection, public lands and natural resources portfolio. Horsford’s office has not yet hired a replacement. The legislative director, Josie Villanueva, has taken over his portfolio in the meantime.

Tim Charters now serves as the executive director to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., on the Congressional Western Caucus. He previously served as the vice president of government and political affairs of the National Ocean Industries Association.

Jourdan Lewis is the new senior policy adviser for Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill. She handles the portfolio for energy, environmental protection, public lands, and natural resources. She previously served as a policy analyst for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Melissa Guerrero now serves as a legislative aide handling the agriculture, food, and energy portfolio for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. She previously served as a legislative correspondent.

Erin McMenamin has been promoted to senior legislative assistant in Rep. Susan Brooks’, R-Ind., office. She handles the foreign trade and immigration portfolio.

Roy Loewenstein is now press secretary for Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. He previously was the communications director at the Montana Democratic Party.

JR Kane has moved over to the personal office of Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., to serve as a legislative assistant covering the telecommunications, science and technology, economy, and commerce portfolio. He previously served as a legislative assistant to Barrasso on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee covering the highway infrastructure and general portfolio.

Rebecca Avitia is the chief of staff for Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. She previously served as Heinrich’s state director.

Allison Jarus is the legislative director for Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. She previously served as the senior policy adviser and covers the portfolio for trade, labor, small business, and telecommunications.

Katie Milner now serves as the press secretary for Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo. She previously served as a staff assistant for Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga. 

Tyler Haymore has been promoted to chief of staff for Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C. He previously served as legislative director covering the foreign trade, telecommunications, and transportation and public works portfolio. He replaces Andrew Bell, who has served as chief of staff for the past two years. Bell is moving back to North Carolina to be a part of his family's business.

Conor McGrath has been promoted to senior policy adviser for Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. McGrath covers the telecommunications, science, and technology portfolio. He previously served as a legislative assistant.

Bryan Doyle left the office of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., where he served as communications director. Subhan Cheema has taken over as communications director for Jayapal. He previously served as the deputy communications director for Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

Caren Street departed the personal office of Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., where she served as the chief of staff. She has moved to the Congressional Black Caucus to serve as the executive director for Bass. Darryn Harris has taken over as chief of staff for Bass in the personal office.

Kay Hagan, former U.S. Senator from North Carolina, died at the age of 66 due to a rare virus. Hagan started her career working for NationsBank, which later became Bank of America. She served as vice president in the estates and trust division. She later won a seat as a Democrat in the North Carolina state Senate in 1998 and 10 years later sought and won the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Elizabeth Dole.

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