WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec 6, 2017) -- The Secretary of the Army appointed new Civilian Aides to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) during a Nov. 28 investiture ceremony at the Pentagon.

The Honorable (Dr.) Mark T. Esper appointed Brian Concannon, Francis P. Gonzales, Laurie Ludovici, and Michael Popowski. Concannon will represent the state of Massachusetts; Gonzales, the state of Nevada; Ludovici, the state of Rhode Island; and Popowski, the state of Vermont.

"It is my distinct privilege to invest Brian, Francis, Laurie, and Michael into the CASA program," Esper said. "CASAs are a vital connection to communities across the country and help the Army convey the hard work being done to ensure America's Army remains the most dominant land force in the world. I have full confidence each will positively impact their respective states and the CASA Program."

CASAs are a vital part of the Army, promoting good relations between the Army and the public and advising the Secretary about regional issues.

Each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories have one or more CASAs appointed to provide a vital link between the Army and the communities for which they serve. CASAs are usually business or civic leaders who possess a keen interest in the welfare of the Army and their communities.

CASAs serve a two-year term without compensation. Terms may be extended to a total of 10 years. The secretary may recognize a civilian aide as a CASA Emeritus after 10 years of service with distinguished service.

Healthcare veteran
Concannon served as president, chief executive officer, and as a member of the board of directors of Haemonetics Corporation from April 2009 until October 2015. He has served in leadership roles within the healthcare industry for more than 30 years.

"I am humbled and honored to be a part of this great team of Civilian Aides serving the Secretary and our Army," Concannon said. "I am excited to accept this appointment and look forward to working with community leaders to address the challenges we face in making a difference for our Army in the future."

He is a member of the board of directors of CONMED Corporation since July 2013 where he serves as chair of the nominating and governance committee and a member of the Strategy Committee. He is a member of the board of directors of South Shore Health System since January 2014 and was elected vice-chair in January 2017. He is chairman of the board of My Brother's Keeper, a charity serving the south shore and south coast of Massachusetts. Concannon is also on the advisory board of the Patriot Resilient Leader Institute which runs Camp Resilience, a camp focused on providing sustained, comprehensive programs to help wounded warriors recover their physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Soldier service
Gonzales served as the Assistant Adjutant General - Army, Nevada National Guard prior to military retirement. He also served as the commander, Nevada Army National Guard. In his position, Gonzales was responsible for the training and readiness activities for all units assigned to the Nevada Army Guard. He retired in September 2013 as a brigadier general after a 36-year military career.

"It is an extreme privilege to serve our nation in this capacity," Gonzales said. "It is with great pleasure that I accept this appointment to continue my service by assisting the Army throughout the state."

Gonzales serves as a commissioner of the Nevada Homeland Security Commission reporting to the governor of the State of Nevada. Additionally, he is the director of the selective service system for the State of Nevada. He recently retired as the vice president of Electric Delivery overseeing electric distribution and transmission in the NVEnergy service territory for the entire State of Nevada. Gonzales and his wife, Kathryn, have three children. His daughter is a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot and a combat veteran who has served in Afghanistan. She continues to serve the nation today.

Accomplished flyer
"It is an honor to be selected to this appointment and look forward to continuing my service to the United States Army and the State of Rhode Island," Ludovici said. "This is an opportunity for me to expand my ability to engage and support our military and civilian communities in the state of Rhode Island."

Ludovici has devoted her entire career to public service. She was the first female candidate from the Rhode Island Army National Guard to attend and graduate from the U. S. Army's flight training program. She served many roles in her career in the National Guard.

She presently serves as the officer-in-charge of the planning, research and accreditation unit with the Rhode Island State Police. She also serves as the division accreditation manager where she coordinates the preparation, revision and editing of all policies, procedures, directives, and practices to satisfy National and State law enforcement accreditation standards. Laurie is also a tireless advocate for child and occupant motor vehicle safety.

A native Rhode Islander, Ludovici is a graduate of Roger Williams University and the 269th session of the FBI National Academy. She currently resides in Washington County where she enjoys time with her family.

Family tradition
Popowski grew up in an Army family. His father was a highly decorated combat commander in World War II and Korea. Michael Popowski, himself, went on active duty in 1968 and served at Fort Benning, Ga.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Panama; and the Republic of Vietnam. After serving in executive positions with the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C., and Boston, he returned to his native Vermont in 1980. He has lived in Northfield ever since.

"I am honored to serve as a Civilian Aide to the Secretary," Popowski said. "I look forward to advocating for our Army in any manner deemed appropriate and necessary in order to make a difference."

Popowski holds an AB in Government and (minor in Philosophy) from Georgetown University and a JD from Boston University. He has practiced law in Northfield for over 37 years, and presently serves as counsel to Norwich University, the birthplace of ROTC and the concept of the citizen soldier.