Dennis Milligan, the new state treasurer, announced his office staff today, in addition to previously announced top staffers.
There are many familiar faces from Republican electoral politics, including the Huckabee gubernatorial administration, and one former legislator, Ed Garner, who will help manage the state’s billion-dollar investments. His hiring was expected. As a result, several readers asked if he still had state tax liens. DF&A says there are none.
Also, though not on the office list, an office spokesman confirms that Benny Speaks of Mountain Home, a former Republican representative, is working as “extra help” during the legislative session.
Here’s the office release:
January 15, 2015, Little Rock- Today, State Treasurer Dennis Milligan named the remainder of his executive team. Joining Chief of Staff Jim Harris, Milligan named Jason Brady as his Deputy Chief of Staff, Gary Underwood as his Deputy Chief Information Officer and Grant Wallace as his Assistant Chief of Staff.
Milligan stated, “I am pleased to bring the talents and depth of leadership and experience to the Treasurer’s office. Jim, Jason, Gary and Grant will be instrumental in restoring honor and integrity to this office as well as implement the promises we made during our campaign- making the office more transparent, utilize the latest technology available and restoring the public trust through our no gifts pledge.”
Jason Brady will serve as Milligan’s Deputy Chief of Staff and aid in overseeing the daily functions of the office. He will focus primarily on government relations and communications for the office. Brady is a 1988 graduate of Jonesboro High School and 1994 graduate of Arkansas State University- Jonesboro with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Journalism.
Brady most recently worked at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network as the Director of Government Relations first in Missouri and then in Arkansas. Prior to that, Brady served during Mike Huckabee’s 10 years in office as governor in several roles including: Deputy Chief of Staff, Director of Boards and Commissions, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and Director of the governor’s office in Washington, DC. Brady also served as Huckabee’s campaign manager in 2002 during his reelection bid against former state Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher and served the Arkansas Republican Party as executive director for the party’s Victory 2000 committee. Brady served as campaign manager for Milligan’s successful bid for state Treasurer.
Gary Underwood will serve as Milligan’s Deputy Chief Information Officer and focus on implementing technological improvements and transparency into the operations of the office. Underwood is graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a Bachelor’s of Music in 1976. He is also a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources.
Underwood served during Mike Huckabee’s term as governor as his Director of Media Operations. He was appointed by Governor Huckabee to serve as Deputy Director of the Office of Information Technology and then Deputy Director of the Department of Information Systems. Underwood is the Owner of Pinnacle Communications of Arkansas and was the Executive Vice President of Beech Street Communications. He previously was the Director of Business Development for ABC Financial Services.
Grant Wallace will serve as Milligan’s Assistant Chief of Staff. As Assistant Chief of Staff, he will serve as the Communications Director and office spokesperson as well as advise on policy. Wallace is a 1999 graduate of Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock and 2010 graduate of Texas Tech University with a Bachelor’s of General Studies degree, Summa Cum Laude.
Wallace most recently worked for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network as the Grassroots Manager for Arkansas. Prior to that, Wallace served as campaign manager for Beth Anne Rankin’s 2012 bid for U.S. Congress. Wallace worked for the American Cancer Society as the West Texas Regional Director of Health Initiatives and Field Government Relations Director. Wallace also served during Mike Huckabee’s term as governor in several roles including: Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs and Finance, Communications Assistant and Assistant Director of the governor’s Washington, DC office. Wallace also managed the Scott Flippo for State Senate District 17 primary and run-off campaign and the run-off campaign for Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs.
Additionally, Milligan announced Beth Anne Rankin and former State Representative Ed Garner would be joining his staff. Rankin will serve as the Director of the 529 College Savings Program. Garner will serve as Deputy Chief Investment Officer.
Milligan said, “I am excited to have the experience and talents of Beth Anne and Ed joining our team. I cannot think of anyone better to travel the state, visit with our students and families and promote the wonderful benefits of the 529 College Savings Plan than Beth Anne. Ed brings a vast experience in state government, knowledge of the finances of the state and an extensive background in investments including fixed income, market analysis, mortgage-backed securities and arbitrage.”
Rankin is a 1989 Honor Graduate of Magnolia High School and a 1994 graduate of Ouachita Baptist University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Music and History. In 2013 she obtained her Master’s in Public Administration from Southern Arkansas University.
Rankin served during Governor Mike Huckabee’s term as Policy Advisor for State and Federal Affairs as well as liaison to the National Governors’ Association, Southern Growth Policies Board, Southern Governors Association and Council of State Governments. She joined the private sector as an entrepreneur and small businesswoman as Owner and President of Beth Anne Productions, Inc. and Vice-President of Rankin Land and Timber, Inc. Rankin served on the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as well as a member of the Magnolia Economic Development Corporation, the Golden Triangle Economic Development Corporation and the National Federation of Independent Businesses. Rankin also ran for United States Congress-Fourth District in 2010 and 2012.
Rankin will oversee and direct the promotion and development of the State’s AR Gift 529 College Investment Plans Initiative.
Garner is a 1980 graduate of Hendrix College with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Biology and Chemistry.
Garner served as an Institutional Investment broker for 14 years for various firms including T.J. Raney & Sons, Lasater & Co and Stephens, Inc. He also is a small business owner for the past 25 years. He served as a State Representative for Maumelle/North Little Rock for three terms, 2007-2013. While Garner was State Representative he served on the Joint Performance Review, Revenue and Tax, Joint Budget, State Agencies and Government Affairs and other various committees.
Garner will assist in overseeing the State’s nearly $3 billion investment portfolio.
The remainder of the staff includes: Autumn Sanson, Chief Investment Officer; Melissa Corrigan, Chief Financial Officer; Kathie Insalaco, Warrant Manager; Shawn Smith Receiving Manager; Celeste Gladden, Collateral Manager; Sam Swayze, Investment Manager Assistant; Holly Beaver, Executive Assistant to the Treasurer; Kristina Duke, Director of Human Resources; Rachel Graves, Local Government Services Manager; David Singer, Assistant for Government Relations and Communications; Shannon Smith, Collateral Manager Assistant; Lana Davis, Deputy Warrant Manager; Allison Johnson, Assistant to the Chief of Staff; Jennifer Jones, Interim Cash Administration Manager; Emma Willis, College Savings Plan Manager Assistant; Maude Rogers, Warrant Manager Assistant; Emily Cook, Receiving Manager Assistant; Jill Ryder, Head Teller; Ann Schaufele, Assistant for Receiving; Tonya Griffith, Assistant for Receiving; James Hawkins, Teller; Tony Wittenburg, Assistant for Receiving; Shyreen Hightower, Teller; Dustin Evans, Assistant for Human Resources and Information Technology; and Dustin Matayo, Office Assistant.
Milligan stated, “We have assembled a great team to restore the integrity and public’s trust in the Treasurer’s office. It is my desire and goal to make this the best managed Treasurer’s office in the country. We will serve the people of Arkansas with honor and respect. I appreciate the trust the people have placed in me and will work daily to earn that trust.”