James M. Kesteloot, Chairperson, U.S. AbilityOne Commission

Private Citizen and Expert on Obstacles to Employment of Persons Who Are Blind.

James M. Keteloot

James M. Kesteloot was appointed to the U.S. AbilityOne Commission® by President Obama in September 2010, and in July 2011, was elected Vice Chairperson of the Commission. He was re-elected in July 2013.

Kesteloot is widely acknowledged as one of the leading figures in the blindness community who has been a national crusader in fighting for jobs for people who are blind or visually impaired. As former president and executive director of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, he transformed the 105+- year-old agency into a nationally respected social service organization with a global reach.

Since 1966, Jim has been a pioneer in providing opportunities in career counseling and job placement services for citizens of Illinois who are blind, visually impaired and multi-disabled.

As a Vocational Counselor for the bureau now known as the Illinois State Department of Employment Security, he formed the cornerstone of his career providing job referral services and career counseling for people with disabilities. In 1969, Jim joined The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired as a Job Placement Counselor.

Legally blind his entire life allowed him a wealth of practical experience in changing people's perceptions regarding hiring those who are blind or visually impaired. This intimate knowledge also provided him the wisdom and perseverance to advise and encourage those he counseled to pursue their vocational goals and objectives.

Throughout his more than 40-year career at The Chicago Lighthouse, Jim has served in many capacities such as director of the manufacturing program, Chicago Lighthouse Industries; and Director of Professional Services, where he guided the Job Readiness and Placement program, before being named Executive Director in 1996. In 2002, Jim was elected President as well as Executive Director by the Board of Directors. He continues to work closely with the Board after The Chicago Lighthouse celebrated its Centennial in 2006.

As a professional in his field, Jim has consulted for many organizations and has served on numerous councils, including being appointed by Governors Thompson and Edgar to the state Blind Services Planning Council. Among his many current professional commitments, Jim served on the Executive Committee of National Industries for the Blind; as past President of the Central Lions Club, the introductory club that formed the international association; and as a member of the United Way of Chicago Council. He also served on the Base Store Committee for the National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind.

Kesteloot earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Loyola University and his Masters of Science in Management of Rehabilitation Services from DePaul University, in addition to being a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.

Lisa M. Wilusz

Director of the Office of Procurement and Property Management, United States Department of Agriculture

Lisa Wilusz

Lisa M. Wilusz was appointed to the U.S. AbilityOne Commission by President Obama in 2011.

Ms. Wilusz serves as the Director of the Office of Procurement and Property Management for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In this capacity, she is responsible for providing leadership, oversight and policy in the areas of procurement, property management, environmental stewardship, and employee safety.

Ms. Wilusz has 16 years of experience in the Federal government. She began her Federal career as a Contract Specialist in 1995 with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. From 1998 to 2002, she worked as a procurement analyst with the Department of Transportation’s Research and Special Programs Administration, where she worked on issues involving procurement policy, small business programs, and the implementation of an automated procurement system. She returned to the USDA in 2002 and has managed two enterprise systems, one in procurement and one for the Office of Civil Rights.

Ms. Wilusz received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from James Madison University.

Tina Ballard, Executive Director, U.S. AbilityOne Commission

Tina Ballard

Tina Ballard is the Executive Director of the U.S. AbilityOne Commission®. The Commission is an independent Federal agency responsible for directing and managing the AbilityOne® Program through which Federal activities purchase products and services from nonprofit agencies associated with National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and SourceAmerica. AbilityOne Program procurements provide high quality products and services needed for the operation of the Federal Government, while providing employment and training opportunities for tens of thousands of people who are blind or have other significant disabilities.

Prior to serving as the Commission Staff's Executive Director, Ballard served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Policy and Procurement). She directly supported the Army Acquisition Executive and the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology), serving as the Army's principal acquisition and procurement policy authority for all Army acquisition programs. She was responsible for the management and execution of the Army's contracting function. This included the oversight of contracting operations, which encompasses the organizations, resources, policies, and procedures addressing the management and execution of Army contracting worldwide. She was the Functional Chief's Representative for the Army Contracting and Acquisition Career Program. As such, she was responsible for the recruitment, training, education, and professional development of the contracting professionals who are part of the Army's acquisition workforce. She was also assigned responsibility for the Army's industrial base policy.

During her 30 years of Federal experience, Ballard served as the Director of Combat Support Operations and the Deputy Executive Director of Contract Management Operations in the Defense Contract Management Agency. In these positions her responsibilities included agency policy to accomplish contingency contract administration services in multiple theatres of military operations, supplier risk management, quality assurance and engineering support, delivery management, pricing/ modification actions, business and financial systems, payment and financial management, contract closeout and industrial base analysis.

Ballard joined the Federal service as a Stay-in-School and continued her service as a college Cooperative (Co-op) Education student. Upon graduation, she accepted a Contract Specialist position at the Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The Air Force designated Ms. Ballard a Procuring Contracting Officer and later transferred her to the Air Force Plant Representative Office, Boeing Military Airplanes, Wichita, Kansas where she was the Principal Administrative Contracting Officer and the Director of Contract Operations. In 1994, she became the Director of Pacific/Caribbean Contract Operations in DCMA International. In this position she was responsible for more than 200 personnel located in six countries. Ballard served as a liaison to the Air Force Materiel Command for four years. In January 1999, she accepted an assignment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she led several projects for the Deputy Secretary of Defense.

Ballard received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English (1980), a Master of Science Degree in Management (1989), and a Master of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy (2001). She has completed the Industrial College of the Armed Forces Senior Acquisition Course and Leadership for a Democratic Society at the Federal Executive Institute.

Ballard has received the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, two DLA Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, Department of the Army Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service (2008), Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal (2003) and was named the Federal Executive Association Unsung Heroine.