U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) along with friends, family, and colleagues gathered on June 17 to attend and participate in the formal change of command ceremony to swear in LaFonda Sutton-Burke as Director, Field Operations (DFO), Chicago Field Office. DFO Sutton-Burke replaces outgoing DFO Robert E. White. After 34 years of service with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and a total of 38 years of service to the Federal Government, Director White retired on March 1.
Director Sutton-Burke accepted the change-of-command designation from William Ferrara, Executive Assistant Commissioner (EAC), Office of Field Operations. Director Sutton-Burke is now responsible for CBP operations throughout most of the Midwest, including the 12 states of Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. It is the largest geographic field office in the United States.
“I would like to congratulate Ms. LaFonda Sutton-Burke on being selected as the new Director, Field Operations (DFO) for the Chicago Field Office. It is a great accomplishment and certainly one to be proud of,” said the recently retired and former DFO Robert E. White. “Our Federal, State, private sector partners, and the very deserving men and women of the Chicago Field Office will benefit from Ms. Sutton-Burke’s vast experience. Customs and Border Protection, the Office of Field Operations, and the Chicago Field Office are fortunate to have such an exceptional leader.”
Significant operations in the field office include the largest airport operation in the Midwest at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, a large foreign mail unit in Chicago, cargo vessel operations in Cleveland, three large express consignment facilities, and substantial inbound truck and rail movements throughout the field office.
“To serve alongside the men and women of the Chicago Field Office is both humbling and an honor,” said LaFonda Sutton Burke. “I am excited to have this opportunity during such a transformational period and under the visionary leadership of OFO EAC Ferrara and Deputy EAC Sabatino.”
Prior to becoming Director, Ms. Sutton-Burke served as the Area Port Director for the Los Angeles Field Office overseeing all operational and administrative aspects of port security, passenger, tactical, and trade enforcement and facilitation at four international terminals, five user fee airports, 66 warehouses, five express courier consignment facilities, one international mail facility, and a deferred inspection office. Prior to serving as the Area Port Director, Los Angeles, Ms. Sutton-Burke held the position of Director, Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII); Cargo and Conveyance Security; at OFO Headquarters; where she oversaw a $4.6 billion portfolio of NII technology lifecycle functions, consisting of X-ray and imaging equipment that provided critical interdiction and detection capabilities at Ports of Entry.
Ms. Sutton-Burke began her Federal career at the Department of Defense in 1983, before joining the U.S. Customs Service in El Paso, Texas, in 1993. During her 28 year with CBP, she has held various leadership positions, including NII Deputy Division Director at CBP Headquarters and Chief CBP Officers, Nassau Preclearance
Ms. Sutton Burke is a 2016 graduate of the CBP Leadership Institute, Robert H. Smith School of Business; and holds a Bachelor of Science in General Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. Ms. Sutton-Burke served honorably in the U.S. Army Reserves.