Denis McDonough has had a long and accomplished career as a political aide and policy advisor, but on January 25 he got promoted to a pretty nice new gig: White House chief of staff. McDonough grew up in Stillwater and attended college at St. John's University, where he played safety for the college's football team. In the mid- to late '90s, McDonough worked as an aide to the House International Relations Committee. After that, he served as a senior foreign policy adviser to Sen. Tom Daschle and later as legislative director for Sen. Ken Salazar. McDonough has long been a big Barack Obama supporter. He started working for the president on the 2008 campaign as a senior foreign policy adviser and was promoted to the National Security Council's head of strategic communications after the election. He's continued to climb the ranks of the administration since and has a reputation for rhetorically decimating senior Democrats who publicly criticize his boss. Before accepting his current post, McDonough was deputy national security adviser for Obama, and he is featured in that famous picture of Obama and other top White House officials watching the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound. Not bad for a kid born so close to Wisconsin.