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ARS Administrators

Simon Liu
ARS Administrator

Dr. Liu served as Acting Administrator since June 2022, and prior to that served as Associate Administrator for Research Management and Operations since February 2015.

He previously served as Director of the National Agricultural Library (NAL), which serves as the central library for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is one of the four National Libraries of the United States. NAL is world's largest and most accessible research library specializing in agriculture.

Before joining NAL, Simon Liu served as Associate Director of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Director of the NLM Computer and Communications System. Prior to his service at NLM, he held leadership positions with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Treasury, following work in the private sector where he led information system development and space mission studies to support NASA mission and operations.

He attended university in his native Taiwan and pursued graduate studies in the United States, where he earned master's degrees in Computer Science, Business Administration, and Government from Indiana University, the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University. He has earned two doctoral degrees: an Ed.D in Higher Education Administration and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from George Washington University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member with graduate school appointments at several of these institutions.

Simon Liu is active in professional societies and associations and have served as the Editor-in-Chief of an information technology magazine and editor of four journals in the past 20 years. Simon has published a book and more than 80 book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers.


Steven M. Kappes
Associate Administrator, National Programs

Steven Kappes became the ARS Associate Administrator for National Programs in August 2016. Until his appointment, Dr. Kappes served as the Deputy Administrator for Animal Production and Protection (APP) in the Office of National Programs since 2005. The APP program includes animal production, animal health, entomology, aquaculture and animal well-being research in cattle, pigs, sheep, horses, trout, catfish and salmon. The APP staff also includes the ARS Biosafety Officer.

Currently, Steven is leading the ARS Big Data initiative.  He recently served as a senior advisor for animal protection and production in the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist. He had worked with USDA agencies on issues related to animal health and production, herbicide resistance, and biosafety and biocontainment in high and maximum biocontainment laboratories. 

Previously, he has co-chaired a U.S. Government interagency biosafety taskforce and is a co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Foreign Animal Disease Threats. He also is a member of the USDA One Health Joint Working Group and he is working with USDA agencies and Food and Drug Administration to address issues on antimicrobial resistance.  

Steven's previous positions within ARS were a research scientist at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, Nebraska, an ARS National Program Leader for the Food Animal Production national program and Director of the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

Steven Kappes is a native of South Dakota.  He obtained a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science from South Dakota State University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Joon Park
Associate Administrator, Research Operations and Management

Mr. Joon Park was appointed as ARS Associate Administrator for Research Operations & Management in June 2023. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Park served as the Research, Education and Economics (REE) Mission Area Chief Operating Officer (COO) and the ARS Deputy Administrator for Administrative & Financial Management (AFM) since 2012.

Mr. Park has held other positions with the USDA Agricultural Research Service to include serving as the ARS Human Resources Director in Beltsville, MD from 2010 –2012 and as the ARS South Atlantic Area Deputy Area Director for Business Management in Athens, GA from 2007 – 2010. Mr. Park began his Federal career with the Naval Air Systems Command in Patuxent River, MD through the Acquisition Intern Program in 1996 and served in various Logistics Management positions through 2007.

Mr. Park received a Presidential Rank Award as Meritorious Executive in 2022. He graduated from Liberty University in 1996 with a B.S. degree in Government and received his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from The Johns Hopkins University in 2002. In addition, Mr. Park is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, VA, the National Security Studies Program at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C, the Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program at the American University in Washington D.C, and the USDA Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program (SESCDP).