Ralph D. Crowley, chairman of the Board of the American Beverage Association (ABA), announced appointment of Susan Neely, former assistant secretary (Public Affairs) for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as president of the association. Neely succeeds William L. Ball, III, who served as the association's president from 1989 until March 2005.

"I am extremely pleased to welcome Susan Neely to the association. She was chosen following an exhaustive search that produced a number of highly qualified candidates," Crowley said. "Her expertise in health policy and communications will prove invaluable as the industry strengthens its focus on health and nutrition issues."

Before her most recent service in the Department of Homeland Security, she served as special assistant to the President for Homeland Security. In both positions, she helped create and educate the public about policy and procedures to protect the U.S. from terrorist attack.

"The ABA has a distinguished 85-year history, representing an industry known throughout the world for manufacturing non-alcoholic products enjoyed by millions," Neely said. "I look forward to working with them to increase public awareness of their many contributions to our communities and quality of life."

A native of Iowa, Neely holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and French civilization from the University of Iowa and a master's degree in public administration from Drake University. Her professional background encompasses government service in both the executive and legislative branches of federal government, as well as state government. She also has had health care association experience, including positions with the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AMC).