NATIONAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION
Kay Chopard Cohen Executive Director
Kay Chopard Cohen was selected by the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association in March 2014 to become the Executive Director of the organization. Having started her legal career as a local prosecutor, she is keenly familiar with the duties, responsibilities, and obligations of prosecutors, the many challenges they face, and the leadership role that they play in many justice issues. Prior to her appointment to lead NDAA, Ms. Chopard Cohen spent the previous 15 years as a nationally recognized association executive running two national membership organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and providing executive leadership in close working relationships with senior Executive Branch officials and with leaders on Capitol Hill.
Immediately preceding her selection to lead NDAA, she served as the Executive Director for the Identity Ecosystem Steering Group where she was responsible for partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce and leaders in industry to launch a national nonprofit association whose mission was to implement the White House initiative on “Trusted Identities in Cyberspace.” Her leadership on this national priority included developing and implementing strategic plans, establishing goals, objectives, and association policies, and building infrastructure and internal governance. Ms. Chopard Cohen established funding mechanisms that combined federal grant dollars with private sector contributions developing a multi-million dollar budget and allowing the organization to become self-sustaining in less than a year of incorporation. Her leadership provided vision, inspiration, and energy in a meaningful public-private partnership approach to establish a new model of Internet commerce for the nation.
Ms. Chopard Cohen also has a long track record of consistently increasing the budgets at the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) where she served for more than a decade as the Deputy Executive Director. She created several new training and technical assistance programs that brought millions of dollars in grant funding to the NCJA membership. Prior to her work at NCJA, she was responsible for expanding the budget for state and local prosecution programs at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation from less than $100,000/year to more than $7 million/year. It was in this role where she developed first of-its-kind training curricula and delivered important trial advocacy training programs to thousands of state and local prosecutors across the United States.
Kay Chopard Cohen is a recognized leader on criminal justice issues among national criminal justice leaders and national justice organizations. She has dedicated her 30-year legal career to working on criminal justice topics at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels.
Ms. Chopard Cohen graduated cum laude from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and received her J.D. from the University Of Iowa College Of Law. She served as an Assistant County Attorney in Johnson County, Iowa, and served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Iowa Attorney General’s Office.
Henry Garza President
NDAA President 2013–2014
Henry Garza, a native Texan, became the 62nd president of the National District Attorneys Association in July 2013. He is currently in his 30th year as a prosecutor and is the district attorney of Bell County, Texas, a community of over 300,000 in population located in central Texas. Bell County is home to Ft. Hood and with the capacity of 50,000 troops, it is the largest military installation in the free world.
Henry was elected to the honor of serving as district attorney for Bell County, Texas, taking office in January 2001 and is currently serving his fourth term. He is a graduate of Texas Tech University School of Law and received his undergraduate degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
Henry is the proud son of Retired Command Sergeant Major Louis and Bertha Garza. As a military dependent, he traveled to Germany, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and in 1968 came to Ft. Hood, Texas. He remained in Bell County while his father served two tours in Vietnam. During this time he graduated from Killeen High School and went on to complete his college education. He returned to Bell County in 1983 and began working as an assistant county attorney. In 1986 he was hired as an assistant district attorney by Arthur “Cappy” Eads, a former president of NDAA. Henry worked in this capacity until Cappy retired. Henry then ran for ddistrict attorney and was elected in 2001.
Henry is currently serving as district attorney at large on the Board of Directors for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association (TDCAA). Over the last 20 plus years he has served as a trainer and speaker and has generally done whatever he could to assist his Texas colleagues.
In 2001, Henry was named by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association as the winner of the C. Chris Marshall Award. This award is given to distinguished faculty members in recognition for the training and speaking provided to Texas prosecutors.
In 2008, the Bell County Bar Association awarded Henry the honor of being chosen as the Public Sector Lawyer of the year for his efforts and service as district attorney.
In 2012, Henry received the Killeen Independent School District Distinguished Alumni Award.
Henry has been married to his wife Cheryl for 34 years. They have two children and three granddaughters. Henry enjoys long distance running, and has completed multiple marathons. In 2012 he succeeded in a one-day double crossing of the Grand Canyon (45.1 miles).
Rick Hanes Chief of Staff
Richard T. (Rick) Hanes joined NDAA as executive office administrator on February 23, 2009.
A native Hoosier, he was born in Evansville, Indiana, in 1954. Hanes received his B.A. in psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1976 and a paralegal certificate from The George Washington University in 1977. He worked as a paralegal for firms in Washington, DC, Silver Spring, MD, and Phoenix, Arizona, for three years.
Hanes worked as a legal administrator for private law firms in Vienna, Virginia, Phoenix and Washington, DC for 20 years. He was responsible for managing budgets, accounting, human resources, information technology, facilities, and the law libraries.
In 2000, he started working as an administrative executive for non-profit organizations funded by government grants and contracts. He has seven years experience supervising grant portfolios ranging in size from $2-$45 million per year and has experience in reviewing and bringing organizations into compliance with grant regulations.
Hanes is a former president of the Arizona Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators and has served 14 years as a Scout leader and volunteer in the Boy Scouts of America. Hanes has been married for 32 years to Catherine Elizabeth Hanes, who is a legislative aide to Catherine Hudgins, county supervisor for the Hunter Mill District of Fairfax County, Virginia. The Hanes have two sons and one daughter.