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Air Force Research Lab in Rome names new protocol chief

By Traci DeLore (


Veronica Cothard
Veronica Cothard is the new protocol chief at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Rome. (Photo credit: AFRL)

ROME, N.Y. — The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Information Directorate has announced the recent appointment of Veronica Cothard as its new protocol chief.

Cothard will receive visits from dignitaries ranging from high-ranking military officers to representatives of foreign countries. She will advise on the finer points of Air Force etiquette at ceremonies and lead the coordinating and planning of base events. In addition, Cothard will work with local community leaders and organizations to maintain the AFRL’s open-door policy.

Cothard has several years of experience arranging distinguished VIP visits and providing direct hospitality management to mid- to large-sized organizations. She has been the culinary lead for SHBM Catering Services in Pullman, Washington; event operations manager at Marriott Hotels and Convention Center in Schaumburg, Illinois; and VIP coordinator at Gozzer Ranch Golf & Lake Club in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“Miss Cothard is a vibrant and welcome addition to the Information Directorate family,” ARFL Information Directorate Commander Fred Garcia, II, said in a news release. “Her experiences in the hospitality sector have proven their mettle during recent VIP visits and events held since she took the reins of the protocol office. She is certainly the right individual to help us put our best foot forward.”

A native of Hinsdale, Illinois, Cothard received a bachelor’s degree in hospitality business management from Washington State University. Before advancing to this new role, she worked as a lab branch administrator.

The previous chief of protocol at the AFRL Information Directorate in Rome was James Ray, who retired on July 1. Ray’s career with the Air Force spanned 30 years of both active duty and civilian service.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. It has a workforce of more than 11,500 people across nine technology areas and 40 other operations around the world.


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