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2018 Standing on the Shoulders of Giants Award Recipient

Superintendent for the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail and The Virginia State Bar's (VSB) Disciplinary Board Member 

Appointed to the VSB Disciplinary Board by the Supreme Court of Virginia. 

Tony H Pham

In 1975, Tony H. Pham and his family immigrated to the United States after the fall of Saigon. In 1985, after 10 years in America, he became a United States citizen.

Tony graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1995 and from the University of Richmond School of Law in 1999. He served as a judicial clerk in the Circuit Court of Henrico County before becoming a prosecutor in the Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. While there, Tony quickly progressed to prosecuting complex homicide cases and narcotics and firearm cases. He served for one year as a Special Assistant United States Attorney handling narcotics trafficking and illegal weapons matters. In 2006, he was asked to create and train the city’s first ever gang unit.

In 2008, after 8 successful years as a prosecutor, Tony transitioned his litigation skills to the Richmond City Attorney’s Office as the Public Safety attorney where he handled all civil rights litigation on behalf of the city and its police officers. In 2010, Tony was selected by the Honorable C.T. Woody, Jr. to serve as in-house counsel for the sheriff of the City of Richmond. His work entailed providing legal and operational guidance to an organization of 600 full time employees with an average population of 1100 to 1200 jail inmates. Tony was the first attorney to ever be appointed to this position for the City of Richmond representing an elected official and was the only serving counsel in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In 2009, Tony was recognized as one of Richmond’s “Top 40 Under 40” individuals who are up and coming leaders in the area. Thereafter, in 2010, he was selected as one of Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly’s “Leaders in the Law” for his leadership in criminal law and the Asian American community. He has further been recognized in 2011 and 2012 as one Virginia Business Magazine’s Legal Elite in Criminal Law.

Following this award, Tony was selected by the Virginia Supreme Court to serve on the Virginia State Bar’s Disciplinary Board where he adjudicates matters involving attorney misconduct. He was the first ever Asian American attorney appointed to this position of immense public trust. Tony further served as a distinguished faculty of the Justice Carrico Professionalism Course on behalf of the Virginia State Bar. Tony was
recognized for his leadership in the Asian American community when Governor Kaine appointed him to serve on the Virginia Asian Advisory Board in 2010 and was recently reappointed by out-going Governor Robert F. McDonnell.

Currently, Tony serves as the Superintendent for the Virginia Peninsula Regional jail, managing a $13 million budget and 136 full-time employees. AS the first ever Asian American Superintendent, Tony continues to blaze trails for the next generation of upcoming leaders.

On a personal note, Tony is happily married for 16 years and a proud father of 2 wonderful children. In 1999, Tony was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.


2017 Standing on the Shoulders of Giants Award Recipient

CSB Chairperson and Member, Vanessa Allen Sutherland, JD, MBA

Appointed and confirmed by President Barack Obama and the United States Senate

In 2017, Vanessa Allen Sutherland, JD/MBA, was the recipient of the Standing on the Shoulders of Giants Award. Through her role as Chemical Safety Board (CSB) chairperson, Vanessa embodies the tenants of leadership, professional excellence, and scholarly achievement. This award is bestowed to leaders across the nation who we believe are present day giants, and are excellent examples of servant leadership.

The agency's board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure, and inadequacies in safety management systems. Vanessa is an experienced lawyer and executive, who achieves risk-calibrated, sustainable results, often in tumultuous environments in telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation and chemical sectors. Vanessa has significant experience managing lawyers and staff when developing or implementing programs or processes. She maintains expertise in Fortune 100 corporations, start-ups, and federal government (domestic & international) workplaces, specifically handling compliance, regulatory, IP/Privacy, commercial, strategic planning, and personnel matters. Vanessa was the recipient of three U.S. Secretary of Transportation Awards (2012 & 2014), a Virginia Lawyers Weekly "Leaders in the Law" Award (2010) and a Fellowship in Maryland State Bar (2005) and Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (2011).

Ms. Sutherland received this honor on Mar. 22, 2017, in front of the Richmond and Oliver Hill Scholars, distinguished faculty, staff, and guests.

After Ms. Sutherland's confirmation in Aug. 2015, she was quoted by CBS 6 explaining her duties as chairperson: "I am honored to begin my five-year term as Chemical Safety Board Chairperson and Member. I look forward to a highly productive and collaborative experience with my fellow board members and the CSB's staff. I have spent the last four years as Chief Counsel for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation, allowing me a strong background and understanding of the functioning of government, and perhaps more importantly the value of safety. I also have worked at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Inspector General’s office and for regulated companies, which I hope will allow me to communicate with our varied stakeholders to articulate our mission, work and expertise.

As I said at my confirmation hearing, I believe that safety is a shared responsibility. That responsibility extends far beyond the corridors of K Street as well as a facility’s fence lines. Safety extends into the homes and communities that are most affected by the devastating accidents that that CSB is responsible for investigating – accidents that forever affect families and communities. I am excited to lead the CSB in executing its important mission – together, we can and will achieve meaningful safety change that works towards the elimination of and mitigation of serious chemical accidents, and protects workers, the public and the environment."