Meet GovLoop’s Featured Bloggers!

Last month, we put out a call for our second round of GovLoop Featured Bloggers – and you responded with amazing enthusiasm. Over 100 people (double the number who entered for our first round!) from all walks of government and industry life sent in great ideas for posts, about everything from technology challenges in city government to using Twitter to monitor food safety in your city.

It was a tough process, but we were able to whittle down the entries to the following writers. Read on to meet the new GovLoop Featured Bloggers, who will be posting once a week for the next three months. We’re excited to introduce them to you – and even more excited to read what they’ll be writing about. You can follow along with all Featured Blogger posts at this link. (And you’ll know if what you’re reading is by a featured blogger by the nifty banner at the top.)

Our featured bloggers will start their posts on September 3rd — get ready!

(Want to be a featured blogger but didn’t make it this time or didn’t apply by the deadline? Worry not – we’ll be hosting this challenge every few months. Make sure to check back in January 2015 for details on the next cycle.)

Ngiste Abebe (@ngiste)

Ngiste Abebe works for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiatives, which promotes resilient democracies in countries emerging from conflict. In addition to her day job with USAID, Ngiste is a National Security Fellow with the Truman Project and also a co-author of Bidding for Development, which examine show a cities can benefit from the Olympic bid process. As a graduate of the University of Chicago, Ngiste continues to live the life of the mind as the Communications Chair for the board of the University of Chicago Alumni Club in Washington, DC. After all theory and no practice in college, Ngist sought out the eminently practical and applied Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College for a master’s in Public Policy and Management. As an unabashed nerd, Ngiste is a fan of board games and science fiction, but tries to stay well rounded with a fondness for fine food.

Tracey Batacan

Professor Tracey M. Batacan is the Program Manager for the Tech Corps Initiative and the Private Sector Representative Program at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She also manages stakeholder relations as the liaison to Academia and Technology sectors. Moreover, she supervises the development of web and social media content for the Private Sector Division. She is married with two children and lives in Maryland.

Tim Howell (@TimHowell)

Tim worked at the City of Georgetown as a Project Manager, the City of South Padre Island as the Information Services Director and the City of Hutto as the IT Manager. During his tenure he helped transform these organizations with the use of technology and went on to receive praise, awards and recognition throughout the State of Texas for innovative and creative uses of technology.

Tim served as President of the Texas Association of Governmental IT Managers (TAGITM), on the State of Texas Information Technology Strategic Advisory Committee and various other committees both in the public and private sector.

Tim graduated from Bellevue University with a Bachelors of Science in Technical Project Management and is a Certified Government Chief Information Officer (CGCIO) graduate. Tim is a frequent writer and speaker on numerous topics including innovation and government technology.
J.T. Kerwin

J.T. Kerwin has been writing about information technology since the dawn of the personal computer—starting with ad copy for the first Chicago dealer of the IBM-PC. Later, as a communication strategist with Xerox, he was among the earliest users of the original mouse, icons, Ethernet and e-mail. He has created brand identities for IT spinoff companies, startups and programs within the federal government. J.T. is now a brand strategist for a federal agency that sells security products in a competitive environment. His blog posts reflect his background in creative communication, language and design. J.T. believes that everyone can discover their inherent creativity and develop their own brand personality—contributing more to their federal mission and accelerating their own success.

Tracy McCabe (@mytracym)

A career civil servant, Tracy has worked for the Government of Canada as well as provincial and municipal governments. When she’s not managing programs, engaging stakeholders or being a plain language whisperer, she likes to read books, watch movies and walk her dog. Not at the same time. She attributes her love of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and a certain Elton John song to the fact that in 1780, the McCabe clan moved from Philadelphia to Pictou County, Nova Scotia. She wonders if adding “sandwich” to cheesesteak is as annoying to Philadelphians as prefacing hockey with “ice” is to Canadians.

Carolyn Ninedorf

Carolyn is a purchasing agent for Dane County, Wisconsin. In the decade that she’s worked for Dane County she’s acted as liaison between the County and the business community to purchase approximately goods and services and administer contracts for all County departments. Prior to working at Dane County, she worked in the homeless shelter system in Madison. Carolyn received a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Carleton College and a master’s degree in public affairs from the LaFollette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and she currently resides in McFarland, Wisconsin with her husband.

Meiko Patton (@careersavvyfed)

Meiko S. Patton is a writer/editor for the federal government.She blogs about career and entrepreneurial topics at She is also a contributing writer for and In her down time, she loves to read, travel and is currently learning Portuguese.

Dustin Renwick

Dustin Renwick is a contractor and the communication lead for the Innovation Team in the Office of Research and Development at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He graduated from St. Ambrose University and earned his master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He’s a triathlete, but running still holds a special place in his heart (and legs).

Kevin Richman

Kevin Richman is the Communications Lead of GSA’s Office of Integrated Technology Services, the largest fee-for-service IT procurement and services operation in the U.S. government. He leads a communication team that is responsible for representing more than 7,000 contracts providing IT and telecommunications products, services and solutions critical to defense and civilian agencies’ success. Richman’s responsibilities include executive messaging, talking points, and communication for the largest IT acquisition organization in the federal government responsible for almost 30% of federal IT spend in areas such as small business, Cloud, shared services, efficiency, and cybersecurity.
Steve (Spike) Spiker (@spjika)

Steve (Spike) Spiker is the Director of Research & Technology with Urban Strategies Council, a social impact nonprofit based in Oakland as well as the Executive Director and cofounder of OpenOakland, a civic innovation and open government nonprofit. He also runs Stealing Beauty Photography. Spike speaks nationally on data driven decision making in public policy, community development and applied social research. He served on the executive committee of the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and has successfully advocated for open data policies in Oakland and Alameda County. He manages the development of open source technology, spatial analysis projects, community engagement and mapping systems. He became a US citizen in 2012 and was part of the Next American City’s Vanguard class of 2012 and has been recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change in 2013.
Daniel Stowell (@stowelldaniel)

Dan is a Presidential Management Fellow + cofounder of cdc’s open idea lab. He is passionate about the power of empathy & creativity in public health – and the people who make it happen. His belief in creating ideas that matter for people – not as “patients” or “research subjects,” but as human beings, helps build solutions that drive public health and tell compelling stories.

Since joining CDC in 2013, Dan has been unceasingly drinking from the CDC information fire hose. Dan has contributed to diverse projects during that time, including the HHS Secretary’s startup innovation program, cofounding cdc’s open idea lab, protecting the agency from itself through policy work, and producing a series of video shorts to free up the flow of internal communications.

Brett Tarnutzer (@btindc)

Brett’s current title is Assistant Chief in the Federal Communication Commission’s Wireless Bureau and the Program Manager for the FCC’s incentive auction program, but his real job involves collaborating with lawyers, engineers, economists and computer scientists to develop cutting-edge policy and then covering all phases of implementing them, from procurement to management to development to deployment. He’s one of the principle designers and managers of the first-ever two-sided auction of spectrum licenses seeking to repurpose broadcast television spectrum licenses for wireless broadband licenses to fill the growing demand for mobile data. Despite his deceptively young appearance, he’s worked for or alongside the federal government since 1993 when he got his Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Science Management and Policy from Northwestern University. He took a break from the public sector to work in tech and telecom consulting, eventually forming his own company, but returned to the government fold four years ago to tackle the incentive auction for the FCC. In addition to his spectrum auction work he has also developed skills as a translator and currently speaks several languages: bureaucrat, contract officer, budget examiner, policy wonk, engineer, lawyer, economist, operations researcher, interface designer, graphic artist, game theorist, tech wizard, entrepreneur and visionary.

Nicole Willingham (@trinizz)

Nicole Willingham has 11 years of federal service and is currently a Financial Analyst at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She enforces compliance among multi-family property owners and performs on-site and remote reviews of “troubled” and “high risk” public housing authorities. Prior to that, Nicole was a Division Director in HUD’s Office of Public Housing for 3 years. Nicole supervised a team of Financial Analysts and Facilities Managers and monitored finance, facilities, operations, and governance at 260 public housing authorities. Nicole began her career with the General Services Administration and rotated through the Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Financial Analysis, and Operations Divisions of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer as a Student Trainee, Intern, Accountant, and Subject Matter Expert from 2003-2008. Nicole earned an MBA with an Accounting concentration from the University of Texas at Arlington and a BBA in Accounting and a BS in Nutrition from Texas Christian University

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