Utah native Mark Studdert was named Tuesday as the new chief of staff to Roy Bernardi, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Provo native and graduate of Brigham Young University will advise Bernardi on HUD's day-to-day operations, which include a $40 billion annual operating budget and 9,000 employees.

HUD Secretary Steve Preston said Studdert "brings a wealth of knowledge to the deputy's executive staff. He is a strong leader and has a keen understanding of the daily challenges facing the department."

Studdert has worked at HUD for six years. He has been serving most recently as HUD's chief liaison to Congress, local elected officials and industry groups. He helped lead efforts to pass the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, signed last month by President Bush, to help families keep homes amid the current foreclosure crisis.