Veterans Canteen Service (VCS)
Office of the Director
James G. Leahy
Veterans Canteen Service
James G. Leahy was appointed Executive Director, Veterans Canteen Service (VCS), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in June 2021. He is responsible for delivering the VCS benefit to 9 million Veterans enrolled in VA Healthcare. He leads the strategic direction and financial self-sustainability of this Veteran benefit, now in its ninth decade since its founding in 1946. Mr. Leahy leads a Veteran-facing organization with 3,000 fellow Canteen Associates who deliver its Service Mission of “providing reasonably priced goods and services essential to their comfort and well-being” in a personalized experience across the VA Healthcare system, which includes 200 Patriot Store, Cafe and Brew locations in VA Medical Centers and Community Based Outpatient Clinics.
His Strategic Vision is clear: deliver the VCS benefit to America’s Veterans; ensure financial self-sustainability of the Service; be a model for Whole Health and become an Employer of Choice. In 2022, Mr. Leahy led major improvements in VA’s All Employee Survey (AES) earning an Organizational Health Award for one of the most improved program offices within VHA, recording a 93% response rate and a 76% employee satisfaction rate. Mr. Leahy also earned the VA Secretary’s Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award for cultivating an inclusive work environment.
Mr. Leahy joined VCS in 2007 after 22 years in private industry with MAY Department Stores, Inc., and Macy*s Inc. He held various divisional management, buying, merchandising, product development and senior administrative positions in Menswear and Home with MAY Merchandising Company in St. Louis, MO and Foley’s in Houston, TX. He started his retailing business career with Macy*s Inc., New York, NY.
Prior to his current VCS assignment, Mr. Leahy served as the Chief Operating Officer from 2015 to 2021. He also served as Associate Director, Field Operations and Chief Merchandising Officer, Director of Retail Operations. He is a 2016 graduate of the Federal Executive Institute and 2008 graduate of Leadership VA.
2021- Present Executive Director, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2015- 2021 Chief Operating Officer, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2011- 2015 Associate Director, Field Operations, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2007- 2011 Chief Merchandising Officer, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
1988- 2006 MAY Department Stores, Inc., St. Louis, MO
1985- 1988 Macy*s Inc., New York, NY
2016 Federal Executive Institute, Leadership for a Democratic Society
2016 Strategic Leadership, University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School
2008 Leadership VA
1985 Bachelor of Business - Marketing, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL
Chief Operating Officer
Veterans Canteen Service
In February 2022, Renee Claypool was appointed to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO), Veterans Canteen Service (VCS), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). As the COO, Ms. Claypool is responsible for leading and executing day-to-day customer service operations across the VCS enterprise to include 200 Patriot Stores, Cafe and Brew locations in VA Medical Centers and Community Outpatient Clinics. Ms. Claypool leads over 3,000 associates charged with providing the highest level of quality, value and service to our nations Veterans, their families, caregivers, volunteers and visitors to VA hospitals.
Prior to her assignment as COO, Ms. Claypool served as the Associate Director of Operations (ADO), Director of Food Operations. Ms. Claypool joined the Veterans Canteen Service in 1998 as a Food Supervisor. In 2000, she was promoted to Assistant Canteen Chief, and in 2004 promoted to Canteen Chief, Columbia, MO.
Ms. Claypool earned her Professional Certification in “Leadership for a Democratic Society” from the Federal Executive Institute in 2017.
2022- Present Chief Operating Officer, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2017- 2022 Associate Director of Operations, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2010- 2017 Director, Food Operations, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2004- 2010 Canteen Chief, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2000- 2004 Assistant Canteen Chief, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
1998-2000 Food Supervisor, Veterans Canteen Service, VHA
2017 Federal Executive Institute, Leadership for a Democratic Society