US President Joseph R. Biden has appointed Vinai Thummalapally as the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Originally from the Jubilee Hills of Hyderabad, Thummarapally is the son of T. Dharma Reddy, a retired scientist who worked for the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Sciences Laboratory, and T. Padmaja. Thummalapally came to the United States in 1974 at the age of 19 and attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he first met Obama in 1980.

They spent the summer as roommates, debating foreign policy and watching Los Angeles Lakers basketball games. Thummalapally made Indian food for "Barry" -the name Obama went by at that time - teaching him how to make daal.

Thummalapally assumes the role of USTDA's Acting Director until a Director is confirmed by the Senate. Prior to this appointment, Thummalapally served as U.S. Ambassador to Belize and as the Executive Director of SelectUSA, a U.S. Department of Commerce initiative that facilitates job-creating business investment into the United States.

"The U.S. Trade and Development Agency has a global reputation for excellence, results, and setting the standard for American economic engagement overseas," said Thummalapally.

"It is an honor to lead this Agency and its exceptional team of professionals. I share their commitment to USTDA's mission of creating U.S. jobs through exports, supporting the economic growth of the United States, and facilitating the development of sustainable infrastructure overseas using the best of what U.S. industry has to offer."

Thummalapally served as the Executive Director of SelectUSA from 2013 to 2017 and as the U.S. Ambassador to Belize from 2009 to 2013 when he became the first Indian American ambassador in United States history.

Thummalapally has more than 30 years of experience in the private sector, including most recently as the Executive Chairman of Red Fort Strategies, a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs and government relations firm, and as the President of MAM-A Inc., a U.S. manufacturer and distributor of archival recordable optical discs.

His civic leadership experience includes serving as a board member of the Indian American Impact Project, a non-profit promoting Indian Americans to run for public office, and as an advisor to the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Victory Fund. He has also served as a board member for Cyient, a global digital engineering and technology company.

Thummalapally earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from California State University, Northridge.

With inputs from USTAD press release

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