The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has appointed Mark Blythe as its Director of Field Service, effective May 24, 2021. He replaces Daniel J. Fadden, who was named the RRB’s Director of Administration in January 2021.
As the Director of Field Service, Mr. Blythe oversees the RRB’s nationwide network of 53 field offices. Staffed by about 200 employees, these offices provide direct customer service to railroad employees and their family members eligible for benefits administered by the agency. He will also serve as a member of the agency’s Executive Committee, comprised of senior agency management officials responsible for day-to-day operations of the agency and for making policy recommendations to the three-member Board.
Mr. Blythe is a lifelong civil servant, having spent more than 20 years working for the Social Security Administration (SSA) in both field offices and headquarters components. At the time of his appointment, he was an Area Director in the Denver Region, overseeing about 425 employees at 25 SSA facilities in Colorado and Wyoming. During his tenure, these offices consistently met or exceeded national performance goals while improving in-person and telephone service to SSA customers.
As a participant in SSA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, he served at SSA headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland as Acting Deputy Associate Commissioner in the offices of Income Security Policy, Retirement and Disability Policy, and Information Technology Enterprise Business Solutions. His last assignment in the development program was as Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Processing Center Operations at the Mid-America Program Service Center in Kansas City, Missouri. At the conclusion of the program in June 2019, Mr. Blythe returned as Area Director in the Denver Region. In addition, he completed a 4-month assignment earlier this year as Acting Deputy Assistant Regional Commissioner for Management and Operations Support in the Denver Regional Office. The appointment as RRB Director of Field Service is his initial appointment to the Senior Executive Service in the Federal government.
Before joining the Denver office, Mr. Blythe served as District Manager in Nashville, Tennessee, and Assistant District Manager in St. Louis, Missouri. Between 2000 and 2008, Mr. Blythe also served in various positions of increasing responsibility in SSA offices in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. A native of Burlington, Iowa, Mr. Blythe’s first employment with SSA was as a student trainee in the office in Davenport, Iowa, where he then worked as a claims representative upon graduating from college.
Mr. Blythe earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, in 2002 and a Master of Business Administration degree from Tennessee State University in Nashville in 2013.
As part of his executive training, he has also completed courses and seminars at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Center for Leadership Development, and the American Management Association.
Mr. Blythe currently resides near Conifer, Colorado, in the Rocky Mountain foothills west of Denver but will be relocating to the Chicago, Illinois area, where the RRB is headquartered.
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An independent Federal agency headquartered in Chicago, the RRB administers about $13.3 billion a year in benefits under the
Federal Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts covering the nation’s railroad workers and their families.