Executive Leadership Team


Mary M. Kolar, Secretary

Mary M. Kolar is the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. She serves as the chief advocate for the more than 350,000 veterans of Wisconsin and their families. As Secretary, she is responsible for the leadership and management of the WDVA, including strategic and long-range planning initiatives that align with the department’s vision.

​​​Secretary Bio


James Bond, Deputy Secretary​

James Bond serves serves as the Deputy Secretary for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.  He is responsible for day-to-day operations, as well as directing and coordinating the Department's strategic planning and program development.  The Department provides a full range of programs, services and benefits to Wisconsin veterans, to include: Veterans Homes, Veterans Cemeteries, Military Funeral Honors, veterans resource centers and claims services, as well as grant and other programs. 

​​​Deputy Secretary Bio


Kathy Still, Asst Deputy Secretary

The Assistant Deputy Secretary serves the Secretary and is the primary contact for inter-governmental agency functions. The Assistant Deputy Secretary also serves as the agency legislative liaison.​

​Assistant Deputy Secretary Bio


Chad Koplien is the chief legal counsel for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. Koplien manages the Office of Legal Counsel and works closely with executive leadership in managing the Department, its Museum and Veterans Homes/Cemeteries. He previously served as the administrator/top prosecutor at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services and prior to that worked in the private sector focusing on business litigation.

Koplien is a Veteran with over 16 years of military experience. He currently serves as the command judge advocate for the 64th Troop Command, Wisconsin National Guard.  He previously served as the command judge advocate for the 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, and as judge advocate for both the 32nd Infantry Brigade and the 64th Troop Command.  He served as an active duty Airman in the U.S. Air Force, 820th RED HORSE Squadron.

Koplien is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin with bachelors' degrees in political science and public administration (Oshkosh campus), and Nursing Home Administration (Madison campus). He earned his law degree from Marquette University and graduated from the U.S. Army Judge Advocate's Legal Center and School with distinction. He has specialized advanced training in a variety of military and government legal functions. He brings more than 20 years of legal experience in both the private and public sectors.

He is a member of the Wisconsin National Guard Association and the Wisconsin State Bar Association, and resides in Waunakee with his wife and two daughters.
Vigue.jpgCarla Vigue serves as the Communications Director for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs. She manages the Office of Public Affairs and oversees communications and public relations efforts to enhance the visibility of the Department’s programs, services and benefits. She also manages media relations for the agency.

Prior to joining the Department of Veterans Affairs, Carla was Communications Director for the Wisconsin Department of Administration where she was responsible for developing and implementing communications strategies for proactive outreach and crisis communications, as well as responding to day-to-day media inquiries. Carla has also served as the Communications Director and Spokeswoman for Governor Doyle and worked in the Secretary’s Office on communications and public relations at the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Prior to her work in Wisconsin, she worked in Washington, D.C. in the areas of federal relations and media and public relations.

She holds a Master of Arts from Loyola University in Chicago.

A native of Oneida, Wisconsin, Carla lives in Madison with her husband Brian.​
James A. Parker serves as the Administrator of the Division of Enterprise Services. The Division provides administrative support to the department. It  consists of four Bureaus; the Bureau of Fiscal Services, the Bureau of Budget and Facilities, the Bureau of Information Technology and the Bureau of Human Resources. Its responsibilities include, but are not limited to; development, monitoring and managing of the department’s annual, biennial and capital budgets, fiscal services, internal control, internal/external audit services, risk management, purchasing, policy and strategic planning, bonding and statistical analysis, information technology and support, human resources, fleet management and  the Continuity of Operations and Continuation of Government Plans.

Prior to employment with the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, James was an Executive Manager in the private sector and later became an entrepreneur.  He has 21 years of state service with several state agencies (DWD, former DHFS, DOR and DSPS) and the University of Wisconsin.  His positions were responsible for budget, finance, human resources, policy and information technology. He has performed in multiple Division Administrator roles and Director of Finance and Budget roles.

James received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  

Donald Placidi Jr. serves as Division Administrator of the Division of Veterans Benefits where he oversees the Bureau of Veterans Benefits and the Bureau of Cemeteries and Memorial Services. Donald is responsible for the administration of grants, benefits, programs and services to all eligible veterans living in Wisconsin and their families. 

Prior to coming to the WDVA, Donald spent 13 years in the private sector, primarily working in financial institutions. He served as a relationship manager for PNC Bank out of Milwaukee, where he managed a group of employees and worked with customers and the community to build relationships and implement policy. He also served as Chair of the Veteran Employee Business and Resource Group, leading PNC’s efforts to recruit, retain, and provide mentorship to veteran employees.

Donald was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2008 after serving for almost 10 years. He served in the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-04) and received many awards and decorations for his service, including the Presidential Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Citation and the Army Commendation Medal. 

Donald holds his Bachelors of Science degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix. He lives in Greenfield, WI with his wife and four kids (two sets of twins).
Diane Lynch serves as Administrator of the Division of Homes. As Administrator, she is responsible for long-term care policy for the Department and overseeing the Wisconsin Veterans Homes at Chippewa Falls, King, and Union Grove.

Diane has 19+ years of experience as a leader in the senior care industry in a variety of Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Skilled Nursing Facility, and Long Term Care​ settings as well as in startup construction projects in Long Term Care and Assisted and Memory care living. She is committed to providing seniors with high quality, person-centered care and exceptional customer service and employees with a workplace culture that is n​ot only dynamic, but offers a positive, supportive environment.

Diane holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management from Metro State University in St. Paul, an LNHA from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, and is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator in 3 states.

Diane and Serge love the great outdoors, two adult daughter’s and 3 grandpups. 
Ken Grant serves as Division Administrator of the Division of Veterans Services. He oversees the Division's services which include the Milwaukee Claims Office, State Approving Agency, Outreach Section and the Veterans Homeless Program.

Ken previously served as the Division Administrator for the WDVA Division of Administration.

Previous state service for Ken included three years employed with the Department of Workforce Development as the Program Director for the Veterans Employment Program also known as the DVOP/LVER Program and eight years with WDVA as a Bureau Director in the program areas of Veterans Cemeteries, Military Funeral Honors and Veterans Homeless.

Ken is a retired Army veteran who enlisted as a private and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel with 25 years of military service. His service includes serving as a helicopter crew chief on Huey Helicopters, various infantry, ordinance, recruiting and personnel leadership assignments in Europe and while serving with the Wisconsin Army National Guard. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and numerous other military management and leadership schools.

Ken received his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Mount Senario College, Ladysmith and his Masters Degree in Business Administration from Touro University. He has one grown daughter and resides in Waunakee with his wife Mitzi.