Chairman & President
SGM Paul Schultz
Mari K. Eder
Doug Coffey | Chairman & President
Doug Coffey is president of the Army Public Affairs Association. He served 26 years in the active Army with multiple assignments including deployments and overseas assignments. He led media relations, community relations and command information for various commands including Korea and Kuwait.
Early in his career he was an instructor at the Defense Information School. He served as public affairs advisor to the Army Chief of Staff. Mr. Coffey was recognized for his leadership and expertise organizing and managing the Committee for the 1997 Presidential Inauguration, establishing digital operating procedures and overseeing a cross-functional and joint service group.
After his military service, he had a civilian career as a Vice President of Communications for a defense company focused on community engagement and outreach. He has been sought by multiple organizations to share lessons learned and best practices he gathered over his various experiences in military and civilian positions.
During his military service, he received a PRSA Silver Anvil for his work on the Committee for the 1997 Presidential Inauguration and was selected as an Army Keith L. Ware journalism award winner.
Mr. Coffey is the President of the Army Public Affairs Association, serving as a charter member and founder of the group and has been supporting the association and board since 2008.
Kathleen Rhem | Vice-President
Kathleen Rhem served as a public affairs specialist in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 2002, rising to the rank of sergeant first class. Her final assignment brought her to American Forces Press Service in August 1999. After departing the Army in October 2002, she spent six years as a Defense Department civilian employee with AFPS, leaving the Pentagon in September 2008 as managing editor of American Forces Press Service. She then served six years as Chief of News and Web Operations for the Defense Logistics Agency’s Office of Public Affairs, at Fort Belvoir, Va. She currently manages strategic communications for Defense Logistics Agency Human Resources, ensuring 26,000 military and civilian employees are informed on topics including benefits, training and education opportunities, leave policies, retirement planning, HR automated systems, labor relations, telework policies and procedures, career progression, and performance management.
Ms. Rhem’s military career saw her deployed to Skopje, Macedonia, and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She spent two years with the 3rd Infantry Division, as well as tours in tactical signal and air-defense-artillery units. Other assignments included the Army War College and Military District of Washington. She worked extensively in writing, editing base newspapers, media analysis and media relations at various assignments, and has won several Army and Defense Department awards for writing and editing.
During her time in AFPS, she covered the events of Sept. 11, 2001, from the Pentagon, and traveled to more than 40 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan several times each covering the activities of the defense secretary, deputy defense secretary, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and unified commanders.
Kathleen is originally from Northern Illinois, is married to a retired Army chief warrant officer and has three daughters, all of whom are die-hard Cubs fans like their mom.
Amee Roberson is the Director of Internal Communications for NextEra Energy, Inc., overseeing employee and stakeholder communications for human resources, IT, finance, nuclear, power generation, security and safety programs.
She brings nearly 30 years of communications, change management and strategic planning experience delivering innovative solutions for an array of corporate and federal organizations such as NextEra Energy, Defense Department, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Army, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and Internal Revenue Service.
Prior to NextEra Energy, Ms. Roberson worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, managing a $60 million strategic communications and strategy portfolio with the Defense Department. Previously, Ms. Roberson was a federal executive at VA, served as a North Carolina Bureau Chief with Gannett’s Army Times, and worked as an editor and reporter with European-Pacific Stars and Stripes. She retired as a master sergeant from the National Guard in 2004 after serving a combination of active duty Army and Army National Guard tours for nearly 20 years. She is DoD Thomas Jefferson and Army Keith L. Ware journalism award winner.
She is also a life member of Disabled American Veterans and serves several boards and councils including NextEra’s VetsNext Board and Diversity & Inclusion Council, Veterans in Energy, and Institute for Nuclear Power Operations Communications Council and the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Executive Steering Committee of the Communications Advisory Council.
Ms. Roberson is the Secretary of the Army Public Affairs Association, previously serving chairman and president and is a life member.
Bill Costlow served as a public affairs specialist in the U.S. Army from 1986 to 2006. He retired out of the Army Public Affairs Center and went to Iraq as the public affairs advisor to the Interior Ministry, working for MPRI. Active duty Army assignments include: Ordnance Center and School, 19th Support Command, 11th Public Affairs Detachment, OCPA Newspaper Chief, OCPA New York, SHAPE and the U.S. Mission to NATO.
Bill has deployed to Somalia, Suriname and Guantanamo Bay. He also deployed for international media escort missions to Sarajevo and Kosovo while assigned to NATO as a military PA liaison.
Following his time in Iraq, Bill served as the PAO at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in 2007. One year later, he transferred to the public affairs office at U.S. Army Installation Management Command Headquarters, in San Antonio, Texas. There, he was able to leverage his proponent time, document resourcing costs and build common levels of support – the model for public affairs services provided by garrisons at Army installations.
Still serving at IMCOM PAO today, Bill leads a team of three people and manages a $30 million communications budget to support 63 garrison/installation public affairs offices.
Bill is also a passionate cook and food photographer.
John Harlow is the chief of public affairs for the U.S. Army Garrison Natick and the Natick Soldier Systems Center, leading the communications team for the only active duty Army installation in the six New England States. He brings more than 35 years of communications in broadcast, print and social media in both commercial and military organizations. The Natick Public Affairs team has earned numerous military and government awards to include the 2013 and 2015 1st Place Department of the Army Keith L. Ware Award for Digital Publication, 2013 1st Department of Defense Thomas Jefferson Award for Digital Publication and 2016 and 2017 1st Place National Association of Government Communicators Blue Pencil/Gold Screen Award for external newsletter.
Prior to USAG-Natick, Mr. Harlow worked at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command where he led the TRADOC effort to join the Army’s web operations efforts. He also served as the Editor of the TRADOC News Service and was the host of TRADOC In-Depth where he interviewed senior TRADOC leaders. He currently is a part-time radio announcer for WKLB in Boston and also has been on the air at WCTK Providence, WGH-FM Virginia Beach, WPTE Virginia Beach, WKTI Milwaukee and WYKS in Gainesville, Fla. He also served as the editor of The Daily Herald in Tyrone, Pa., smallest daily paper in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
He served in the Army from as a broadcast journalist and his duty assignments included SHAPE, Belgium, Fort Monmouth, N.J., Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, St. Louis and Daegu and Yongsan, South Korea.
Mr. Harlow serves on the Board of Directors for the Army Public Affairs Association and is a full member.
Jeremy M. Martin is a native of Oak Grove, Louisiana. On July 1, 2015, he completed a distinguished and highly decorated military career, retiring as a U.S. Army colonel. His previous military career included company command at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California; executive officer in the 500 Military Intelligence Brigade, Camp Zama, Japan, operations officer in the Joint Intelligence Center, U.S. Special Operations Command, Tampa, Florida; spokesperson for the Secretary of the Army, Pentagon; commandant of the Defense Information School, Fort Meade, Maryland; and Senior Military Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (3OLCs), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2OLCs), Legion of Merit (1OLC), and the Defense Superior Service Medal.
On June 10, 2016, he was inducted into the inaugural class of the National Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) Hall of Fame.
In 2015, he was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (non-career), where he served on the personal staff of Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. He served as the Chief of Staff for the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs from 2015-2017, and concurrently performed the duties of the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Community and Public Outreach. In January of 2017 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Civilian Service.
Col. Martin currently serves as the Director of Public Affairs and Outreach for Bell Helicopter Corporation in the National Capitol Region.
A 1985 Distinguished ROTC graduate of Grambling State University, earning a BA in Political Science, Martin went on to earn a Master of Arts in Human Resources Development from Webster University, and a Master of Science in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College.
His lovely wife, Ava, is a Grambling graduate, and a native of Bernice, Louisiana. They have two wonderful children, Nick and Rachel.
Karen Roberts is the Deputy Director for Communications, Military Health System and the Defense Health Agency, overseeing employee and stakeholder communications and customer service for the military’s heath care enterprise. She brings almost 20 years of communications, marketing and strategic planning experience delivering innovative solutions for an array of federal organizations such as Defense Department, Department of Interior, and Department of Army.
Prior to the Military health System and Defense Health Agency, Ms. Roberts worked for the Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness, as a strategic advisor for communications and outreach. Prior to her work with the Under Secretary, Ms. Roberts was the Director of Communications for Health Information Technology, served as Deputy Chief of External Affairs with the Bureau of Land Management at Department of Interior, served as a public affairs officer for the Army Corps of Engineers which included CONUS deployments for such emergencies as Hurricane Katrina, and held a number of other positions with Army Public Affairs.
Mr. Roberts has received numerous awards for communications during her federal career. Awards include: PR News Online (Platinum PR Award), Public Relations Society of America (Thoth Awards) , International Association of Business Communicators(Silver Inkwell Awards), Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (3 Hermes Creative Awards), W3 Web Awards, Health Improvement Institute (Aesculapius Award Government Agency), League of American Communications Professionals (Spotlight Awards Ranked in the Top 100 Communications Materials), Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals (3MarCom Awards), Health Information Resource Center (World Wide Web Health Awards).
Ms. Roberts is a Director of the Army Public Affairs Association, and a lifetime member.
José A. Velazquez Jr. was the Sergeant Major of Army Public Affairs from July 2015 until January 2018. As the senior enlisted public affairs Soldier, he advised the Chief of Public Affairs on all enlisted matters in the career field.
Velazquez, a native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was born to Puerto Rican parents. Upon joining the Army in 1991, he attended basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, followed by advanced individual training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.
During his 27-year career, he has served in every enlisted leadership position from squad leader to Sergeant Major of Army Public Affairs; he is currently the Inspector General Sergeant Major for Military District Washington. Other notable assignments include: Public Affairs Officer to the Sergeant Major of the Army, Washington D.C.; Public Affairs Sergeant Major for Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Virginia; Public Affairs Sergeant Major for Eighth Army, Republic of Korea; the Army Senior Enlisted Adviser for Joint Forces Command; and the Public Affairs Sergeant Major, Joint Public Affairs Support Element, Norfolk, Virginia.
Velazquez holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Averett University, a Bachelor of Science double major degree in Communications and Spanish from Excelsior College, an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies from Central Texas College and a Certificate in Broadcast Journalism from the Northeast Broadcasting School.
He has a Silver Telly award for cable news excellence, was recognized as the Army’s Senior Broadcast Journalist of the Year, and has won numerous Thomas Jefferson and Keith L. Ware awards for broadcast excellence. He also received the 2016 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Excellence in Service Award.
He and his wife of 25 years have two sons – the oldest is a Soldier in the U.S. Army while the youngest is an Airman in the U.S. Air Force.
Jim Yocum is the chief of digital media for the Defense Health Agency Communications Division, overseeing the agency’s public websites, social media, email marketing, and visual information management. He leads the teams that manage content for two of the largest websites in the Department of Defense serving the 9.4 million service members, retirees, and their families eligible for the TRICARE health plan. He has nearly 30 years of communications and public affairs and strategic communications experience with the Department of Defense, Department of the Army, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Before joining the Military Health System in 2010, Jim worked for three years as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, supporting clients in the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.
He retired from active duty in 2007 as the first sergeant for the Defense Information School following a 20-year career that included assignments with American Forces Network Europe, 7th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, 4th Public Affairs Detachment, 1st Cavalry Division, 7th Signal Command, and U.S. Southern Command.
Jim is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the American Legion.