USDA, DOE announce appointments to senior posts

By Erin Voegele | January 21, 2021

The USDA and U.S. Department of Energy on Jan. 21 announced appointments to several senior posts, including USDA undersecretary for Rural Development and chief of staff for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at DOE.

USDA announced Justin Maxson has been named deputy under secretary for Rural Development. USDA Rural Development administers a range of programs of interest to those in the bioenergy and biofuel sectors, including the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program and the Rural Energy for American Program.

Maxson most recently served as the CEO of the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, an organization that works toward poverty alleviation and economic justice in southern states. Before that, he spent 13 years as the president of the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development. Maxson holds a master’s degree in anthropology and development from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Kentucky.

The DOE named Shara Mohtadi as chief of staff for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which houses the Bioenergy Technologies Office.

According to DOE, Mohtadi has focused her career advising policymakers and international organizations on mitigating climate change and advancing clean energy policies. She most recently led the America’s Pledge initiative and managed grants focused on the coal to clean energy transition in Asia and Australia at Bloomberg Philanthropies. During the Obama Administration, Mohtadi served as an advisor for the energy and environment portfolio at the White House, in the Office of Management and Budget. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia University.

Additional information is available on the USDA and DOE websites.