Quote: Bob Gates on Public Service

“Each person in public service has his or her own story and motives. But I believe, if you scratch deeply enough, you will find that those who serve – no matter how outwardly tough or jaded or egotistical – are, in their heart of hearts, romantics and idealists. And optimists. We actually believe we can make a difference, that we can make the lives of others better, that we can make a positive difference in the life of this country and the world.”


Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates

University of Washington Commencement
Seattle, Washington
Saturday, June 13, 2009

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Officially In: David Thorne to Rome

State Department Photo

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate David Thorne to be Ambassador to the Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino. The WH released the following official bio:

Mr. Thorne is a co-founder of Adviser Investments, one of the nation’s most highly regarded firms specializing in Vanguard and Fidelity mutual funds and electronically traded funds. Mr. Thorne has been an investor and entrepreneur in a wide variety of business ventures, including marketing consulting, real estate, publishing, and financial services. He recently sold his publishing business to Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Mr. Thorne is a former President and current Board member of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and led the design oversight team for its new building in Boston.

Mr. Thorne graduated from Yale University in 1966 with a BA in American History and received a Masters degree in journalism from Columbia University in 1971. Mr. Thorne served in the US Navy from 1966-1970 and is author of The New Soldier (Macmillan 1971).

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If confirmed, Mr. Thorne would replace Ronald Spogli who was appointed US Ambassador to Italy and San Marino in 2006. We have written previously about our man in Rome here.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

Officially In: Charles Ray to Harare

Photo from CIA World Factbook

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Charles A. Ray to be Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe. The WH released the following official bio:

Charles A. Ray, a career member of the Foreign Service since 1983, has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs and Director of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office since 2006. He is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for policy development and oversight of all matters relating to missing personnel. Mr. Ray served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1982, retiring with the rank of Major. During his military career, he served at a number of places in the U.S. and abroad, including two tours of duty in Southeast Asia. Since joining the Foreign Service, he has served in China and Thailand, and was Deputy Chief of Mission in Sierra Leone. In 1998, he was appointed as the first U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 2002, he was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, where he served until 2005. Mr. Ray served as Diplomat in Residence at the University of Houston for the 2005-2006 academic year.

Mr. Ray holds a Bachelors Degree from Benedictine College, a Masters from the University of Southern California, and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.

Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09

Officially In: Bruce Oreck to Helsinki

On June 25, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Bruce Oreck to be Ambassador to the Republic of Finland. The WH released the following official bio:

Bruce Oreck was a partner in the New Orleans, Louisiana law firm of Liskow & Lewis from 1981 until 1992 where his practice was centered on the representation of the oil and gas industry. He went on to found his own firm: Oreck, Crighton, Adams & Chase, where he represented primarily Fortune 100 companies in connection with state and local tax issues. Mr. Oreck also served as Vice President and General Counsel for his family business, The Oreck Corporation (the manufacturer and seller of Oreck vacuum cleaners), from 1993 until the company was sold in 2003.

Mr. Oreck is the author of a number of treatises and legal publications. Separate from his legal practice, Mr. Oreck founded and operated a real estate development company. Originally focused on historic restorations, he renovated and restored over 100,000 square feet of historic homes and apartment buildings in New Orleans, Louisiana.

He also founded The Zero Carbon Initiative, is a founding member of the Board of Trustees for The Grand Canyon Trust, and remains very active in environmental matters. Mr. Oreck served as a member of Colorado Governor Bill Ritter’s New Energy transition advisory team and as a member of the Colorado Climate Action Panel.


Related Item:
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 6-25-09