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James (Jim) L. Ropelewski, Deputy Chief Financial Officer for Management and Operations and Senior Procurement Executive—Biography

Jim Ropelewski is the deputy chief financial officer for management and operations, and the senior procurement executive for the U.S. Department of Education. Jim has over 20 years’ experience in law, procurement, and financial management.

Jim became the deputy chief financial officer for management and operations on April 21,, 2013. In that position he oversees the Department’s indirect cost, audit resolution, contracts and acquisition management activities, and the coordination of internal controls. Jim has also served as the Department’s senior procurement executive since May 7, 2012.  In this role, he is the senior career leader responsible for the Department’s acquisition system, including over $2 billion in annual procurement spending.

Jim previously served as the director of Contracts and Acquisitions Management (CAM) for the Department, serving as the head of the contract activity responsible for the award and administration of contracts that impacted education programs of national importance. Prior to becoming director, Jim served as the deputy director of CAM, where he also served as the Department’s acquisition career manager and competition advocate.  Jim joined the Department of Education in 2007 after serving for 16 years in the U.S. Department of Justice.

After a one-year clerkship at the Energy Board of Contract Appeals, Jim began his career with the Justice Department in the Office of General Counsel for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, where he served in the Commercial Law Branch specializing in government contracts. He left the practice of law in 1995 to serve as the Bureau’s chief of construction contracting, overseeing the construction of all new federal prisons. During that time he developed and implemented the agency’s first design-build construction program. He was later promoted to the position of deputy chief of the Procurement and Property Branch, managing the direction of six procurement sections as well as property management.  One of his primary roles involved carrying out the mandates of the D.C. Revitalization Act, which established the first federal private prisons.

In 2000, Jim returned to practice law as the Bureau of Prisons’ deputy general counsel, where he oversaw eight specialized legal practices.  During this time he led the reengineering of the agency’s legal model, creating consolidated legal centers at strategic sites throughout the country.  He also founded “OGC University,” which provided legal staff with practice-specific training. 

Jim has a bachelor’s  degree in economics and political science from Binghamton University and received his juris doctor from William and Mary Law School.  Jim and his wife, Nan, have three children.

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Last Modified: 01/07/2014