Meet GovLoop’s Featured Bloggers!

Last month, we put out a call for our third round of GovLoop Featured Bloggers – and you responded with amazing enthusiasm. Over 100 people 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 the week of January 5th — 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 March 2015 for details on the next cycle.)

IMG_daveDavid Barton
As a curriculum designer for the National Park Service Distance Learning Team, Dave assists training and program managers identify effective training solutions to performance problems. Key projects include internal consulting, technology selection and support, train the trainer instruction, and eLearning development–all with the goal of providing point of need training to employees in the field. Prior to entering service with NPS, Dave worked for the Department of the Army as an instructional designer and facilitator for staff and faculty courses. Dave studied history at the College of William & Mary and earned graduate degrees in business and instructional technology at WCU & ECU, respectively.

BridgesHeadShotJune Bridges Cox
June Bridges Cox is a speaker, facilitator and instructor of topics related to professional/career development, effective habits, computer training and women issues. She believes in social change through education and dialogue. She is a blogger. Blogging her thoughts is a therapeutic approach to her daily stress as a federal employee. She has always liked writing. She doesn’t think she is a great writer (although many have said she is) but she sometimes have a lot to say. June has a Masters Degree in Education with a concentration in curriculum, instruction and technology. She is a Veteran and a Training Instructor for the second largest federal agency.


Crystal Francis (@Crissifrancis)
Crystal Francis first began her career with the federal government in 2004, working as an intern for the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, in the Office of Counterterrorism in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice Pre-Law, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recruited Crystal to work in the Office of Central Operations in Baltimore. Seven years later Crystal has worked as a Social Insurance Specialist, Administrative Specialist, and Assistant Manager. Crystal currently serves as the President of the Black Affairs Advisory council. In this capacity, she leads a committee that advises the Commissioner of Social Security on issues and concerns important to African American employees and the broader community serviced by the SSA

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 12.15.03 PMEva Fulton (@Peoplegarden1)
Eva Fulton is a Portfolio Management Specialist at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at the Fort Worth Field Office. She started her federal career as a Contract Specialist with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then to General Services Administration on the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS). Then she came to HUD as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) Class of 2010. Her focus of work at HUD encompasses overall management of Housing Authorities within the Fort Worth Field Office with particular focus on At-Risk housing authorities. While serving at HUD, she has also spearheaded a “Hearts for Vets” boot and coat drive for homeless veterans in 2013 and most recently a backpack and toiletry drive for Fort Worth homeless Veterans at the Tarrant County Stand Down in November 2014. She graduated from Dallas Baptist University with her BA and MBA in Project Management.  Eva is 12 year Army Disabled Veteran where she served in war during Desert Shield/Storm as a Paralegal Specialist in the JAG Corps. 

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.44.26 PMDavid Grinberg (@dbgrinberg)
David is a senior communications advisor and program analyst for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office of Federal Operations, in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he was a long-time EEOC spokesman and media relations manager for agency headquarters and 53 field offices nationwide. His federal government career spans over 20 years, including prior work as a political appointee in the Administration of President Bill Clinton at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). David’s first government job was in the U.S. Congress, Office of the House Majority Leader. David has also worked for a leading global political consulting firm on Capitol Hill and as a daily beat reporter for BNA publications (now “Bloomberg BNA”). His blog primarily focuses on issues of EEO, workforce diversity, workplace flexibility and social media.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 1.11.46 PMPaul Grugin (papagolf_68)
Paul Grugin is the Deputy Director of Government Relations at the International Headquarters of the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA). Mr. Grugin joined the AFSA staff in 2012 after retiring from the United States Air Force as a First Sergeant with 22 years of active duty service. Aside from his extensive knowledge of personnel programs as well as their actual impact on people, he has considerable experience in generating airpower, deployments, Command & Control, and Operational Security. Paul has regularly contributed to AFSA Magazine and weekly newsletters. His focus centers on translating government-speak into usable information for the layman on such topics as budget impacts on personnel programs and the legislative process in general but he has also written Association testimony for Congress. Paul has been a guest lecturer at the US Air Force’s Senior NCO Academy, the USAF First Sergeant Academy, multiple Airman Leadership Schools, and also via teleconferences. In addition to graduating Summa Cum Laude from California University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Management (Health/Fitness), Paul holds A.A.S. degrees in Human Resource Management and Aircraft Maintenance Technologies, both from the Community College of the Air Force. Also a 5th Degree black belt in two martial arts, Paul has two grown kids, two large dogs but only one wife (of 25 years) he loves to take on motorcycle rides.

IMG_5559Amber Hammond (@ambervhammond)
Amber V. Hammond is a Digital Communications Associate at the American Institutes for Research. For the past eight years, she has worked in both the private sector and in nonprofit organizations, helping institutions of higher education and federal agencies improve their digital communication and social media marketing strategies. Amber currently serves as the content manager for a .gov website, necessitating subscriptions to a multitude of federal agency email newsletters, updates, and announcements. Combining this unique opportunity to analyze what works and doesn’t work across the gamut of agencies with her passion for all aspects of email communications — from designing and coding to copywriting and even testing — drives her mission to help agencies elevate their email tactics to better engage with today’s busy and always-connected constituent.

mjh Lollav2Michael Hannigan (@mjhann1960)
Michael Hannigan has had a passion for flight since he was old enough to drive a car, earning a commercial pilot’s license before he turned 20 years old. His aviation career with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began in 1982 at Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center where he worked for 17 years as a journeyman air traffic controller. During 32 years with the FAA he has worked as a specialist, an air traffic manager, and program manager. As a program manager he oversaw the O’Hare International Airport Modernization for the Air Traffic Organization. He then managed a program which created the foundational plans for redesigning routing in high altitude airspace using GPS technologies and has also assisted in bringing next generation technologies to the National Airspace System. He has been awarded for his efforts with the Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Meritorious (Silver) Medal. His teams have also won the DOT and FAA Team Awards for their work in opening the first new runway at O’Hare in over 40 years. A graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Political Science, he used his experience and education to help organize the National Air Traffic Controller Association (NATCA) in the 1980s and was elected as a local bargaining unit representative several times.

angela_hookerAngela Hooker (@AccessForAll)
Angela Hooker is a senior accessibility specialist and editor who manages accessibility programs. She’s brought her digital media management, accessibility, user experience, editorial, and content management expertise to the government and private sector for over 18 years. In addition to accessibility, Angela is an advocate of plain language and web standards. She contributes articles on accessibility to government websites and speaks on accessibility, user experience, plain language, and content management. When she’s not pursuing better living for all through accessibility and inclusive design, Angela’s an avid concertgoer, experimental cook, theology student, and frenemy of guitars.

For Websites And Blogs And EmailRuss Irving (@russirving)
Russell A Irving has been dubbed a Renaissance Man due to an incredibly diverse and accomplished background. He has been a state employee for 24 years, serving as a ‘workforce guru’, performance measure expert, creator of 2 case management & reporting software programs, business-continuity-plan developer, co-creator of software used by FEMA, a Federal resource for other states’ staff, trainer, and loaned to city/non-profit/military programs. Along the way, Russ spent years in non-profits working with teens, substance abusers, the developmentally disabled, and families. He ventured into restaurant management, owned a retail computer store, and even worked with the U.S. Census Bureau. Russ is most ‘alive’ when conducting any of the many workshops that he created covering such diverse areas as: Relationships; Time Management; and Entrepreneurship or when he is training staff or when he is giving a speech.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 1.31.20 PMLou Kerestesy (@gov_innovators)
Lou Kerestesy has been in and around government for 30 years. He has worked as a government official at both the local and federal level, has consulted to federal, state and local government agencies, and worked in the private sector. As a local government official, Lou provided residential care services to severely mentally disabled adults, and launched the agency’s strategic planning and program evaluation programs. As a federal official, he facilitated communication between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state and local officials about environmental policy problems and solutions, and launched a ground-breaking formal dialogue between federal and local government officials. As Founder and Chief Innovator of GovInnovators , Lou simplifies innovation so government agencies can do more of it, innovating from the inside out. Drawing on lessons learned and best practices from a dozen disciplines, Lou also helps government contractors innovate to stay competitive. 

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 10.30.48 AMSamantha McCormick (@Samanthamcck)
Samantha McCormick is a Federal Investigator, currently working for the FDA in Northern Virginia. She has an educational background in Biology and Biochemistry, but has extensive experience in public health and public safety investigations, compliance and policy. In addition to working as a Federal Investigator, she is also an Adjunct Professor at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, where she enjoys teaching undergraduate biology laboratory classes. Samantha worked for several years at the FDA field office in Jamaica, NY specializing in investigations of imported and domestic food, drugs, dietary supplements and medical devices. Over a year ago she started a new position at the FDA Division of Food Defense Targeting, where she does counter-terrorism reviews and investigations. While her background is in the sciences and investigations, she is passionate about training, citizen and employee engagement, workplace morale, inter-agency cooperation, customer service and her dog, Meatball. She can be contacted at [email protected]

messinaToni Messina
My personal mission is to help others convert information into knowledge, and I’ve practiced my craft in local government; all three branches of state government; in the not-for-profit world; and the private sector. In my current position, I advise City of Columbia, MO leaders on legislation, policy, strategic planning, communications and official public history. With an undergraduate degree in journalism, I could have followed a well-defined career path. Instead, I found my way to government and my natural tribe. This immersion in governance must have fueled my interest in organizations: joining, creating, building, advising and facilitating. All my grandparents were immigrants to the United States, and I identify strongly with the hopes of people who came through Ellis Island. My folks settled in St. Louis so I’m used to questions about where I went to high school (St. L insider threshold data) and think heaven must look like the inside of Busch Stadium, on a mild night, with the Arch winking in the twilight. My husband grew up in a Missouri farm community, bringing some welcome balance to my perspective. We enjoy Mizzou Tiger sports, cultural stuff, history and discovery. And this year we FINALLY went to Italy, to which I can only say, “Bellissimo!”

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 10.32.42 AMTerra Milles (@terra_byte)
A lot of what I do is translating geek… to plain speak. Umm, plain language actually but I wanted it to rhyme. I manage IT communications for a large county government which means internal communication, participating on subcommittees, and creating and implementing communication plans internally and externally for our broad-reaching technology initiatives and large IT projects. I also do loads of presentations (visual + public speaking), graphic design (web + paper stuff), marketing, writing, and other facilitating – along with governance, public records, and public disclosures. I started working in government in my twenties, totally by accident, and have found it to be an interesting opportunity to embrace public service. When I’m not in the office I’m mom to 3 wonderful little girls, and wife to a local artist/musician. My philosophy on life is to do your best, keep loving and learning, and never forget your sense of humor.

headshotRena Priest
Rena Priest is a Grants Writer for the Lummi Indian Business Council in Washington State. In addition to being a tribal government employee she is also an enrolled member of the Lummi Nation. She is deeply invested in the work she does and is devoted to doing whatever she can to contribute in a positive way to her community. Rena has a B.A. in English from Western Washington University and an M.F.A. in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College where she had the wonderful opportunity to study with many talented writers both on the Sarah Lawrence faculty and in her cohort. In her professional life she has served as Adjunct Faculty at Western Washington University, Fairhaven College, and Northwest Indian College where she taught various topics in the Humanities and American Cultural Studies including Contemporary American Indian Issues, Comparitive Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Introduction to Native American Women’s Studies.

dijon rolleDijon Rolle (@Dijon_Rolle)
Dijon Rolle is a native of Greensboro, N.C. and currently works as a civilian public affairs specialist at Fort Meade, Md. Prior to arriving in Maryland, Dijon worked as a public affairs specialist for United States Army Garrison Baden-Württemberg in Heidelberg, Germany and USAG Rheinland-Pfalz in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Dijon served as a military broadcast Journalist from 2003-2009 while on active-duty in the U.S. Army. Her previous military assignments include the 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, 17th Public Affairs Detachment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii and American Forces Network Headquarters, Mannheim, Germany. Dijon holds a Bachelors of Arts in Broadcast Communications from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, N.C. and is currently applying to graduate schools in the Washington D.C. area. In her free time, Dijon enjoys volunteering in the community, exploring Washington, D.C, reading and binge watching episodes of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” She’s passionate about people, learning new things, health and wellness and all things media. 

Ryan Rosado - HeadshotRyan Rosado (@RyRosado)
Specializing in marketing communications, Ryan Rosado graduated from George Mason University in 2009 with a B.S. in Marketing. Post-graduation, Ryan acquired employment with government contractor, United Solutions and Services, LLC (US2). Contracts with US2 included task-orders with the U.S. Army providing marketing communications support for the Manpower and Reserve Affairs component of the U.S. Army. After leaving US2, Ryan gained employment with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). During his time at USPS, Ryan worked in the marketing department, more specifically in the New Products and Innovation group. Ryan was a part of a variety of projects including internal and industry communications such as a Field Communication Kit for USPS’s Priority Mail Rebrand, social media outreach for USPS’s Promotional Calendar and supporting product launch initiatives such as USPS’s latest product, Alternate Postage. Ryan onboarded with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in February 2014 as a Program Analyst in the Office of Training and Workforce Engagement (OTWE), Workforce Engagement & Development Division (WEDD). During his time in WEDD, Ryan has supported the launch of OTWE’s digital communications platform, Success U. Additionally, Ryan also writes freelance for the Washington Blade primarily focusing on Arts & Entertainment features. Ryan currently lives in Arlington, Virginia enjoys running, traveling and writing.

Profile Pic for GovLoopLori Sassoon (@lorisassoon)
Lori Sassoon is Deputy City Manager of Administrative Services with the city of Rancho Cucamonga, California, where she is responsible for operations in Human Resources, Finance, Technology, Purchasing, and Special Districts administration. Lori has served in local government for more than 20 years, and has loved every single day of it. She is a board member of the California City Management Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting professional city management, and on the board of Women Leading Government. Lori is also a founding board member and volunteer with Redeeming Love, a faith-based organization working to open a recovery home for women who are victims of domestic sex trafficking. When not having a blast at City Hall or hoping to change the world, Lori loves to travel to tropical locations and hang out with her husband, 13 year old daughter, and Elsa the loveable but crazy shelter puppy. She has a BA in Political Science from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and an MPA from California State University, San Bernardino.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 12.33.29 PMLesley Thomson (@lelil)
Lesley has been a UK civil servant for almost 20 years – working in a wide range of roles, in several parts of government. Everything from assessing benefit claims to knowledge management via IT support, web development, learning and development and librarianship. She is now combining all that she has learned, in her current role as one half of the Scottish Government’s (small but perfectly formed) Creativity Team. The team is responsible for developing the creativity capacity of the Scottish Government. It does this in two main ways: by testing and implementing new ways of working; and by fostering a belief that we are all creative and that this has a real part to play in our work.

CBWalker headshotCarolee Walker (@amcit_traveler)
Carolee Walker works at the Department of State in the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Office of Overseas Citizens Services. Prior to joining the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Carolee wrote and edited stories about U.S. life and culture for the Department’s Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. She is an avid theatergoer and serves on the board of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. Carolee received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Cynthia V White - Photo


Cynthia White
Cynthia was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi and moved to the Washington Metropolitan area in 1990 to further her career and advance her education. Cynthia’s Federal career expands more than 26 years and includes mid-level financial management experience with seven Federal agencies. Her greatest accomplishments to date have been to develop financial management guidance, policies, and procedures and to implement and enhance financial systems. Currently, Cynthia is employed as a Budget Team Lead with the federal government. As a second career endeavor, Cynthia is a licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and has more than five years of mental health counseling experience. During that time, Cynthia created a dynamic and efficient path for change and problem resolution for children, adolescents and adults. Her long-term professional goal is to go into to private practice. Cynthia holds a B.A. degree from Grambling State University in Psychology and two M.S. degrees from Johns Hopkins University in Developmental Psychology and Clinical Community Counseling. Currently, Cynthia and her husband reside in Waldorf, Maryland. In her spare time, Cynthia enjoys traveling, fishing, and classic American film noire.

mwileyMackenzie Wiley (@wileymb)
Mackenzie Wiley is a mid-twenty something young professional working for the Internal Revenue Service as a Social Scientist in our nation’s capitol. She conducts various types of research from demographic data analysis to surveys to focus groups, all in an effort to improve customer service for the taxpaying public and help the IRS better perform in a difficult budgetary environment. Prior to her time at the IRS, Mackenzie obtained her B.A. in Communication Studies from James Madison University (Go Dukes!), with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Writing. Mackenzie is a pop culture enthusiast, an entertainment news hound, her office’s resident celebrity gossip authority, and a spontaneous quoter of TV and movies. Her favorite season is Awards season. She is also an avid reader and a bit of a wordsmith. Her biggest disappointment in life so far is making it to the final audition for Wheel of Fortune and not being asked to actually go on the show. However, she acknowledges (ahem, tells herself every morning) that not being on The Wheel is not the end of the world, so all in all, she feels pretty good about things.

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David B. Grinberg

Catherine, thanks for all you do to make the Featured Blogger’s Program so successful — not to mention everything else on your overflowing plate!