Q&A – 4 Pro Steps To Contacting Your Voc Rehab Head

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Voc Rehab

Benjamin KrauseOne veteran asked me recently how to find the Voc Rehab head at his VA regional office, so I thought I would take the time to explain my professional search strategy as a journalist while finding her. As an added bonus, I included a full directory I found as a result of investigating this topic.

The person they are looking for is the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Officer (VR&E Officer) of a regional office, and they can be really hard to track down because many Voc Rehab Counselors do not want you to make ethics complaints to their boss.

This article not only walks you through the process but I also included as a bonus all the phone numbers of each Vocational Rehabilitation office, the VR&E Officer, and the Assistant VR&E Officer and the address as of 2012. You are welcome 🙂

The veteran asked:

Ben. I live in North Carolina.  Can you tell me where I can find out who is in charge of the VR&E program for my regional office along with their phone number and business address?

This kind of question is tricky for a lot of disabled veterans because VA employees cower behind a cloak of mystery relating to contacting VA officials directly. Instead of being easy to reach, VA wants to route all calls through the useless call center, called IRIS, likely based on Arizona at 800-827-1000 or to eBenefits.va.gov.

After being on hold for 30 minutes with IRIS, you get to chat with someone who may or may not be friendly or knowledgeable about your benefits or VA benefits in general. With eBenefits, the website may be down or your information may not be updated. Either way, you are still unable to contact your VA official directly since customer service is not important at VA at this time despite promises to fix it.

 

FOUR EASY STEPS TO CONTACTING MOST VR&E OFFICERS

There are four easy steps to work around this mystery since the information is not noticeably easy to find. This works for practically any VA employee when looking for an email. Getting phone numbers is much harder and we will talk about that in step four.

ONE – SEARCH FOR VA REGIONAL OFFICE HOME PAGE

First, find the website of your specific regional office that manages your claim. Here, the veteran was likely looking for Winston-Salem VA Regional Office. If you do not know the right name, merely Google “Veterans Affairs North Carolina” and work through each link until you find the right one.

 TWO – SCAN REGIONAL OFFICE PAGE FOR ABOUT PAGE

Second, assuming you are looking for regional office leadership or VR&E Officer, click on the “About Us” right hand menu and select “Leadership Team.” This will reveal the name of the VR&E Officer veteran is searching for. Here, the name the veteran is seeking is VR&E Officer Carolyn Lightfoot.

THREE – USE STANDARD VA EMAIL SOP

Third, this last part is easy though it does not always work for email but it does work a lot. Usually VA email systems are merely the first and last name plus @va.gov. In Lightfoot’s example, her email should be [email protected]. When you send the email, if it does not bounce, you know you probably have the right one.

FOUR – USE QUOTATIONS FOR SEARCH

Fourth, here is some alternative information that you can use to your advantage when reaching out for the phone number of the VR&E office directly. First, do a quick search for the name of the VR&E Officer using quotations around the name. This may reveal their educational background and work history. But more importantly, it could help you find their phone number.

Here, I searched for “Carolyn Lightfoot” but found too many responses to make sense of until I included VRC. VRC is short for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. This search pulled up only one result, which was the entire call list for Vocational Rehabilitation offices across the country, direct phone numbers to VR&E Officers like Carolyn Lightfoot, etc.

Carolyn Lightfoot’s phone number used to be (336) 714-0857 but it is disconnected. In the alternative, the general office number for Winston’s Vocational Rehabilitation program is (336) 714-6099. That number is still active and gets you pretty close.

Below is the list of phone numbers for VR&E Officers and their respective mailing addresses from that call list. Some of the numbers may work while others will not. Be sure to double-check the mailing address prior to sending anything by finding the regional office online and using that address on the VA’s website.

[Download VRE Officer Directory Here]

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION AND EMPLOYMENT OFFICES

Station Name Updated: 02/21/2012VREOAVREO/CICRO Address
Chicago, ILMr. Evan Lewis 312-980-4441Kelly Rodriguez 312-980-44422122 W. Taylor Street
Chicago, IL 60612
Des Moines, IAMr. Beyer, Randal 515-323-7557N/A210 Walnut Street
515-323-7550Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Fargo, NDMs. Shannon Farha 701-451-4652 (Office)N/A2101 Elm Street
701-451-4653 (Direct)Fargo, ND 58102
605-333-6845
Houston, TXMs. Kelly Shupak 713-383-1982 (Direct)Ms. Seketha Wilson-Cook 713-383-1979 (Direct) 713-383-1985 (Office)6900 Almeda Rd.
713-383-1985 (Office)Houston, TX 77030
Lincoln, NEMr. Rodney HackneyN/A3800 Village Drive
402-420-4134 (Direct)Lincoln Nebraska 68501
402-420-4342 (Office)
Little Rock, ARMr. Grant Swanson 501-370-3779 (Direct)N/A2200 Fort Roots Drive, Bldg 65
501-370-3780 (Office)North Little Rock, Arkansas 72114
Milwaukee, WIMs. Nicole Navigato 414-902-5120 (Office)N/A5400 West National Avenue
414-902-5116 (Direct)Milwaukee, WI 53214
Muskogee, OKMs. Kathy Wentzel 918-781-7548 (Office)Mr. Herbert Morris 918-781-7534 (Direct)125 South Main Street
918-781-7540 (Direct)Muskogee, OK 74401
New Orleans, LAMs. Carolyn Seymour-Pannell 504-619-4361 (Direct)N/A1250 Poydras Street, Suite 200
504-619-4360 (Office)New Orleans, Louisiana 70113
Sioux Falls, SDMs. Shannon Farha (contact at Fargo) 701-451-4652N/A2501 West 22nd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
St. Louis, MOMs. Corliss StrathearnN/A400 S. 18th Street
314-552-9353 (Direct)St. Louis, MO 63103
314-552-9881 (Office)
St. Paul, MNMr. Douglas Smith 612-970-5440N/AVA Regional Office
1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling
St. Paul, MN 55111-4050
Waco, TXVACANTVACANT701 Clay Avenue
254-299-9800 (Office)254-299-9800 (Office)Waco, Texas 76799
254-299-9816 (Direct)254-299-9801 (Direct)
Wichita, KSMs. Linda SteffensmeierN/A5500 E. KELLOGG
316-688-6842WICHITA, KS 67218
Baltimore, MDMs. Gina Klaus 410-230-4551 (Direct)N/A31 Hopkins Plaza
Baltimore, MD 21201
Boston, MAMs. Jennifer Hersey 617-303-5533 (Direct)N/AJFK Federal Building 15 New Sudbury Street
Boston, MA 02203
Buffalo, NYMs. Susan FitzgibbonsN/A130 South Elmwood Avenue
716-857-3370 (Direct)Buffalo, NY 14202
716-857-3405 (Office)
Cleveland, OHMr. Jim Jacobs (216) 522-3535 – x3850Mr. John McCarthy (216) 522-3535 – x3849 216-522-3535 (Office)1240 East 9th Street Cleveland, OH 44199
216-522-3535 (Office)
Detroit, MIMr. Dave Van Allen 313-471-3812 (Direct)Ms. Cheryl Formell 313-471-3805 (Direct)Patrick V. McNamara Federal Bldg 477 Michigan Ave Detroit, MI 48226
313-471-3800 (Office)313-471-3800 (Office)
Hartford, CTMr. Mel Wilson 860-666-7387 (Direct)N/A555 Willard Avenue, Building 2E
860-666-7379 (Office)Newington, CT 06111
Indianapolis, INVACANT 317-916-3740 (Office)Mr. Michael BuescherNew Temporary: 7525 East 39th Street
317-916-3750 (Direct)317-916-3740 (Office) 317-916-3485 (Direct)Indianapolis, Indiana 46226 Old: 575 N Pennsylvania St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Manchester, NHMs. Ruth Comeau 603-222-5751 (Office)N/ANorris Cotton Federal Building
603-222-5752 (Direct)275 Chestnut Street
Manchester, NH 03101
New York, NYMr. Steven Sribnick 212-807-3030 (Office)N/A245 W. Houston Street
212-807-3135 (Direct)New York, NY 10014
Newark, NJMr. Daniel Umlauf 973-297-3201 (Direct)N/A20 Washington Place
Newark, New Jersey 07102-3174
Philadelphia, PAMs. Kristine KuehnleMs. Geralyn Mushinski5000 Wissahickon Avenue
215-842-2000 x4107215-842-2000 x4117Philadelphia, PA 19144
215-381-3028 (Office)215-381-3028 (Office)
Pittsburgh, PAMr. Ben Butler 412-395-6070 (Office)N/A1000 Liberty Avenue
412-395-6067 (Direct)Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Providence, RIMr. Kim WennermarkN/A380 Westminster Street
401-223-3611 (Direct)Providence, RI 02903
401-223-3607 (Office)
Togus, MEMr. Jeff JonesN/A1 VA Center Augusta, ME 04330
207-626-4788 ext. 4871
White River Junction, VTMs. Ruth Comeau 603-222-5751N/A215 North Main Street
White River Junction, VT 05009
Wilimington, DEMs. Kristine KuehnleMs. Geralyn Mushinski1601 Kirkwood Highway
215-842-2000 x4107215-842-2000 x4117Wilmington, DE 19805
Atlanta, GAMs. Amy Thompson 404-929-3176 (Direct)Ms. Ladina Upshaw 404-929-5512 (Direct)1700 Clairmont Road
404-929-3152 (Office)404-929-3152 (Office)Decatur , GA 30033 or PO Box 100024
Decatur, GA 30031-7024
Columbia, SCMr. Stan Oliver 803-647-2399 (Direct)Mr. Paul Knight 803-647-2398 (Direct)6437 Garners Ferry Road
803-647-2400 (Office)803-647-2400 (Office)Columbia, SC 29209
Huntington, WVVACANTN/A640 4TH Avenue
304-399-9300 (Office)Huntington, WV 25701
304-399-9376 (Direct)
Jackson, MSMr. Don TaylorN/A1600 E. Woodrow Wilson Ave.
601-364-7165 (Office)Jackson, MS 39216
601-364-7164 (Direct)
Louisville, KYMs. Jan LeClerc 502-566-4453 (Office)Ms. Tameel Benders321 West Main Street, Suite 390
502-566-4444 (Direct)502-566-4453 (Office)Louisville, KY 40202 – 6200
502-566-4451(Direct)
Montgomery, ALMr. Tom Ruzicka 334-396-1986 (Office) Ext – 11 (Direct)Ms. Charma Haskins 334-396-1986 (Office) Ext – 12 (Direct)345 Perry Hill Rd
Montgomery, AL 36109
Nashville, TNMs. Bettye PorccedduMs. Trena Hyde 615-695-6372 (Office) 615-695-6156 (Direct)110 9th Avenue South
615-695-6372 (Office) 615-695-6150 (Direct)Nashville, TN 37075
Roanoke, VAMs. Karen DeSeguirantMs. Trina Brown 757-441-6760210 Franklin Road, S.W.
540-597-1670 (Direct)Roanoke, VA 24011
San Juan, PRMr. Lathe Bragg 787-772-7344 (Direct) 787-772-7341 (Office)N/A150 Carlos Chardon Ave Ste 232
San Juan, PR 00918-1703
St. Petersburg, FLMs. Maria RodriquezMs. Kim Lloyd9500 Bay Pines Blvd
727-319-7934 (Direct)727-319-7935 (Direct)St Petersburg, FL 33708
727-319-7902 (Office)727-319-7902 (Office)
Washington, DC – AMCJamie BozemanMs. Chantile Stovall1722 I Street, NW
202-530-9121 (Office)Washington, DC 20421
202-530-9153 (Direct)
Winston-Salem, NCMs. Carolyn LightfootMr. Don Barnett 336-714-0803251 N. Main Street
336-714-0857 336-714-6099Winston-Salem, NC 27155
Albuquerque, NMMs. Kathryn Nelsen 505-346-4860 (Direct)N/A500 Gold Ave. SW
505-346-3780 (Office)Albuquerque, NM 87102
Anchorage, AKTerry Jackson 907-257-4770 (Direct) 907-257-4764 (Office)N/A1201 N Muldoon Road
Anchorage, AK 99504
Boise, IDMs. Linda Parker 801-326-2424 (Direct)N/A444 W. Fort Street
208-429-2228 (Office)Boise, Idaho 83702-4531
Denver, COMr. Jim ZiruoloMs. Ann Cederle 303-914-5542 (Direct)155 Van Gordon Street
303-914-5540 (Direct)303-914-5550 (Office)Lakewood, CO 80228
303-914-5550 (Office)
Ft. Harrison, MTMr. Aaron Pugh 406-495-2010 (Direct)N/A3633 Veterans Drive
406-495-2011 (Office)Fort Harrison, MT 59636
Honolulu, HIVACANTN/A459 Patterson Road, E-Wing
808-433-0560 or 808-433-0561Honolulu, HI 96819-1522
Los Angeles, CAMr. Tim Johnston 310-235-6122 (Direct)Mr. Garry Monji 310-235-6117 (Direct)Federal Building
11000 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Manila, PIN/AMs. Phebe Pendon (CIC) 011-632-301-2650PSC 501, DPO AP 96515
OR
US Embassy – Seafront Compound
1501Roxas Boulevard Pasay City, Philippines
Oakland, CAMr. Joe Warner 510-637-6215 (Direct)Mr. Norm Corson 916-364-6718 (Direct)1301 Clay Street
510-637-6128 (Office)Oakland, CA 94612
Phoenix, AZMr. Walter Strong 602-627-2800 (Office)Ms. Tammy Tanner3333 N Central Ave
602-627-2777 (Direct)602-627-2800 (Office)Phoenix, AZ 85012
602-627-2778 (Direct)
Portland, ORMr. Chris Olson 503-412-4577 (Direct)Mr. Frederick Coelyn100 SW Main Street, Floor 2
503-412-4563 (Office)503-412-4559 (Direct)Portland, Oregon 97204-2998
Reno, NVMs. Jean Chadwick 775-321-4821 (Office)N/A5460 Reno Corporate Drive
702-258-0877 x643Reno, NV 89511
Salt Lake City, UTMs. Linda Parker 801-326-2424 (Direct)550 Foothill Drive
801-326-2431 (Office)Salt Lake City, Utah 84113
San Diego, CAMs. Linda RaffignoneMs. Cecilia Lomas 619-400-5480 (Direct)8810 Rio San Diego Drive
619-400-5479 (Direct)619-400-5381 (Office)San Diego, CA 92108
619-400-5381 (Office)
Seattle, WAMr. David Boyd 206-220-6128 x3461Ms. Karolyn Barnes915 Second Ave
206-220-6128 x3460Seattle WA 98174

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9 Comments

  1. Good info but of course any head of something in the VA always has someone screening their emails and phone calls for what they deem as important.

  2. Thank you so much Ben for this information. I am a disabled veteran who has been unemployed for four years in that time I returned to school and received a MA in counseling, became certified as a substance abuse counselor, and turned to the VR when I was still unable to find employment also during thatmy VR I became deeply depressed and my PTSD had worsen some but wanted to work. My VR worker had not really done anything and has send my case to a outside contractor to assist in my job search but they are helping either i have rewritten my resume and have asked continually for help in editing and profreading and nothing I and feed up with that lack of help and the fact that everything I speak to me counselor Micheal Miller he repeatly bring my depression I have search for Ms. Lightfoot contact number with no luck

  3. I also want to say thanks for this much needed information. I to have been given the run around when it comes to assistance in getting a job here in Columbia, SC. I’ve been given the run around constantly and I have never complain to higher authority in my lifetime, but I’m so frustrated. I too have PTSD and have been retired since 2011. Ive also talked to other veterans who feel the same as I. My counselor Natasha Wilson and her boss Donna Glazer are the rudest two people I have encountered at the VA. They are suppose to be there to help but that has not been my experience.

  4. Hello Ben,
    Adam Powell here,
    out of Los Angeles Regional Office area. I am having problems getting my compensation for my books and supplies for class. I was told Melissa Campos was my contact person for getting compensation. I am trying to reach her on the phone but I don’t have a phone number to call. Do you have her number?

  5. Thank you for the great information, I have been having problems with my Voc Rehab counselor giving me my monthly allowance for 3 months now. All I keep hearing is, we have a new system, but it does not take 3 months to enter that information into the system. I emailed the supervisor this evening, if I do not hear from him tomorrow, I will be sending letters certified to the VA. This is so frustrating dealing with them, and i have gotten sick, and ended up in the hospital because of the stress, of not being able to provide for my family, because I rely on those allowances for rent and food.

  6. I just contacted the direct number to my local va. She is a head supervisor and seemed displeased to hear her number was published and requested where I found it from. As I am sure it is considered unlisted. So, I am certain you will likely hear from her soon. However, I do appreciate this list as I actually could get ahold of someone regarding my VR&E case. Thank you!

Comments are closed.