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Major General (Retired) Myles Deering
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Major General (Retired) Myles L. Deering was appointed as the Oklahoma Secretary of Veterans Affairs and as the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs on Feb. 2, 2015.
General Deering came to the Oklahoma Department of Veterans affairs after serving for six years as The Adjutant General for the Oklahoma National Guard and as the Secretary of the Military on the cabinets of Gov. Brad Henry and Gov. Mary Fallin. His military service spanned a period from Oct. 5, 1971, through Jan. 31, 2015, culminating in over 43 years of military service.
BG Doug Elliott currently serves as the Executive Director for the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. He was selected by MG Myles Deering and began this new role on July 1, 2015. General Elliott is responsible for the operation of seven veterans homes and five separate claims offices consisting of approximately 2,200 employees with a yearly budget of approximately 140 million dollars.
Joel Kintsel currently serves as the ODVA Deputy Director. A Veteran of the Oklahoma Army National Guard (2000-2009), Major Kintsel serves as an Assistant Staff Judge Advocate, 137 SOW, in the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Prior to coming to the ODVA Joel served as the Parliamentarian for Oklahoma House of Representatives.
During Joel’s service with Oklahoma National Guard he was appointed Deputy Command Judge Advocate for the Joint Area Support Group– Central, Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was also one of the thousands of Oklahoma Guard members who were deployed to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Public Information Officer
Duties performed by Shane as the Public Information Officer include: coordinating media requests, social media updates, website maintenance, public speaking, photography, and he is the main contact for anyone that would like more information on ODVA. Shane says this is the most fulfilling job he's ever had because "I am at the service of Oklahoma's Heroes. What can be more gratifying than that?"
Colonel (Retired) Warren Griffis comes to our agency with the experience of creating a successful military and veterans employment coordination program for the Oklahoma National Guard. He has a track record of assisting veterans find exceptional employment and creating long-lasting employer partnerships.
Construction Programs Administrator
Dorita has served as the Construction Programs Administrator since October 2010 and began her career with the State of Oklahoma on September 21, 2009 as a Programs Representative with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. She is passionate about fully understanding all facets of the project needs and delivering solutions that are within the budgetary limitations while improving the built environment and quality of life for our resident veterans.
Chief Financial Officer
Shantha Varahan currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. She has the unique blend of extensive budgeting, auditing and accounting experience. Shantha is a member of the Oklahoma Society of CPAs.
Quality Assurance/Safety Programs Administrator
Lisa has served as ODVA’s Quality Assurance and Internal Review Programs Administrator since March 2011. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Business Administration degree with a specialization in International Management from Nova Southeastern University. Lisa is passionate about identifying inefficiencies in processes to improve operating efficiencies.
State Claims and Benefits Manager
Jackie G. Whitten Jr. joined the ODVA in 2013 as a Veterans Field Service Officer and was appointed the State Claims and Benefits Manager July 1st, 2015. Prior to his career with the ODVA, Jackie served in the U.S. Air Force from 1989 to 2010. He served as a Medic, Paramedic and Independent Duty Medic. He deployed in the first Gulf War and then again multiple times in the recent Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. He retired as a Master Sergeant.
Tina Williams, RN, BSN, CLNC, LNHA
Clinical Compliance Director
Tina serves as the Clinical Compliance Director for the seven State Veterans Homes. She has over 30 years of health care experience ranging from acute care to the long-term care setting. She has successfully assisted facilities with the completion of CMS-directed Quality Improvement plans, achieving substantial regulatory compliance after threats of losing licensure, achieving Medicare Certifications, and removal from special focus lists.
Veterans Mental Health Programs Administrator
John L. Wilson was appointed as the ODVA Veterans Mental Health Programs Administrator in October 2015 and is officed at the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. He is working to ensure the 340,000 veterans who reside in Oklahoma are informed about and make greater use of the mental health services that are available to them.
Veterans Education and Employment Services
Bradley Ward brings the experience of both an Army combat veteran and academic leader who served in both student and staff leadership roles having an impact on military-connected students in higher education. He is a graduate of UCO holding a Master of Pubic Administration and is focused on helping veterans transition into both the academic environment and civilian workforce leading the education and employment mission.