Mary Kay Rutan serves as the Communication Manager for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Integrated Services Network 8 (VISN 8). In this role, she is responsible for the execution of a comprehensive public affairs program for one of the largest Veterans Integrated Services Networks (VISN) in the country. Additionally, she serves as a consultant to medical center leadership and public affairs officers within the VISN and assists in public affairs strategic program management as well as crisis communication plan execution. She has provided public affairs strategy planning at the VHA and VA level, especially in the areas of emergency/crisis communication. Prior to joining the VISN 8 team in May 2010, she served as the public affairs officer for the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System for five years.
Prior to her career with VA, she was employed by the Columbia County (FL) Board of County Commissioners as Community Services Director for six years. In that capacity, she coordinated special events, developed policy, managed revenue and expense budgets for large projects, served as public information officer, and managed various citizen assistance programs. She was placed on special assignment as co-chair of the “Save the Lake City VAMC Grassroots Campaign” in 2003, successfully engaging community partners and VA in retaining inpatient services at the facility. She was named the Interim Columbia County Emergency Management Director (and Incident Commander) during Hurricane Season 2004. With a county population of over 70,000, she and her ICS team successfully managed county emergency operations through Tropical Storm Bonnie and Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne.