Last month, we put out a call for our fourth 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 this week — 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 June 2015 for details on the next cycle.)
Matthew Albucher is a Human Resources Program Analyst for the GSA. He works with an HR analytics team to apply the latest techniques in data analytics research to enhance the federal workforce, focusing on quantitative studies and applied mathematics. His work involves using statistical software to transform and analyze large databases, evaluate employee survey results, test statistical hypotheses, and build predictive models to forecast future human capital trends. Matt applies the power of analytics to identify the most pertinent truths embedded in extensive databases. His work aims to enable agency leaders to maintain and enhance an engaged, diverse, and mission-ready federal workforce. Matthew is interested in using workforce analytics to develop business solutions that can simultaneously enhance both agency success and employee satisfaction. Matthew has analyzed HR data for several federal agencies in a variety of HR and EEO/AA compliance roles since 2010. Matthew will complete his Master’s Degree in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University this spring, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism with a minor in Spanish, also from Northwestern, earned in 2010.
Meredith Benton has built a reputation on making public organizations more effective at furthering their missions. Her career highlights include serving as Assistant Commissioner in the State of Tennessee where she oversaw a $17 million state agency with 400+ employees & volunteers, organizing a public health campaign that reduced mortality by 39%, serving on the staff of Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Governor Phil Bredesen (D-TN), organizing election observation missions to Africa for The Carter Center, and teaching Nonprofit Management at Pepperdine University. She is the recipient of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce's inaugural Nashville Emerging Leader Award in government, Pepperdine University’s Waves of Service Award, and the Nashville Business Journal’s Top 40 Under 40. Currently, she is the Chief of Staff for the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation. She also conducts nonprofit workshops & consulting through the Center for Nonprofit Management.
Susan is a Senior Advisor Engagement at New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). DIA supports the Government’s Chief Information Officer (GCIO) as functional leader for government ICT; the GCIO is responsible for ICT-enabled transformation across government agencies to deliver better services to citizens. Susan has extensive experience in communications, design and policy, and is a certified project manager. She is responsible for strategic engagement for the all-of-government online programme: leveraging relationships, promoting and marketing the projects across the public sector, proactively identifying opportunities that will ensure successful delivery, and contributing to meeting the intent of the ICT Strategy and Action Plan and Better Public Services initiative as mandated by Cabinet. [Note: Cabinet is the policy and decision-making body of the executive branch within the New Zealand government. Susan also manages a blog on the New Zealand government’s Web Toolkit website, which focuses on sharing ICT information across the public sector to increase capability. The Web Toolkit includes guidance on current Web Standards; guidelines on managing information, privacy, data and security for the public sector to protect the integrity of the govt.nz domain; and, advice on best practice for managing government’s digital space.
Andre J. Castillo has been with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) since June 2010. He began as a PMF for the Assistant Secretary for HR&A, then transitioned to his current position of Program Manager at the VA Learning University. He leads [email protected], the world's best career development program, which helps prepare you for more than 700 VA jobs (check it out at www.mycareeratva.va.gov). Andre’s parents are both Veterans who met while stationed in Spain, where he was born. VA is very important to him: his parents bought their first California home through VA's mortgage program; his father is buried at the VA cemetery in Riverside, California; and his mother is currently employed as a Physician's Assistant at the VA Medical Center in Loma Linda, California.
Dennis Crow grew up in Kansas and Texas, and evolved into an Enterprise Information Architect. After leaving the warmth of Austin and San Antonio, he's resided longest in Washington DC. This path evolved by way of public policy implementation for rural housing, homeless populations, and urban as well as rural economic development. Having the opportunity to apply these to policy areas, has led to expertise in geospatial research and analytics. In recent years, Dennis has taught geospatial analysis and management at several universities, including American University in DC and Park University near Kansas City. He studied a combination of public administration, urban planning, and social science research methods set the stage for their application both as a university professor and as a federal civil servant for the past 30 years.
Tom Downing is a regular at the various checkpoints of John F Kennedy International Airport as he is a Master Security Training Instructor with the Transportation Security Administration, a branch of Homeland Security. Tom says, "we train officers in a classroom setting, conduct on-line, scenario and lab learning, and finally follow up with live on-the-job training at the checkpoints. Whether it's a new hire or seasoned officers receiving new technology training, its very satisfying to work closely with JFK's super work forces and see them develop and master the skills needed at airport checkpoints today". Tom's been with the training department for almost a year and before that was a checkpoint Transportation Security Officer for three years at JFK, one the country's busiest airports. Prior to the TSA, Tom had a career in marketing at various book publishing companies and advertising agencies in New York City. He enjoyed developing marketing campaigns and selecting the media channels for some the world's top brands and worked directly with their clients. Like us all Tom has seen media transition to more the online environment with vehicles like blogging which he looks forward to contributing too in coming weeks. Tom lives on Long Island, is married with two children, and enjoys travel, biking, tennis, following the Yankees, taking in the cultural of New York and Long Island and working in his perennial garden.
Craig Lincoln’s first choice of careers included making government officials uncomfortable. After nearly two decades of newspaper reporting (focusing on investigative and data journalism), he’s helping develop and communicate environmental programs for a wastewater treatment plant. Lincoln started his reporting career at his hometown newspaper in Idaho and moved to Duluth, Minn., when a good opportunity arose. He and his wife decided to make Duluth their home. While at the Duluth News Tribune, he started a data journalism beat and shared a national reporting award for an investigation into the use of siderails in nursing homes. After leaving the newspaper industry, he taught journalism as an adjunct at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He now works as an environmental programs coordinator at the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District. His primary responsibility is supporting the district’s biosolids program, and he also helps with pollution prevention, recycling and other communications programs. He has degrees in business management from the College of Idaho and a master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri Columbia, where he worked at the international reporting organization Investigative Reporters and Editors.
Christine McMahon works at the U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) in the office responsible for management of the Federal Digital System (FDsys.gov). She has a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Maryland with a specialization in e-Government and serves on the Local Federal Coordinating Committee for the Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area. Christine is passionate about information, collaboration, and giving back to her community.
Michelle is passionate about the public sector, and inspired by the potential of digital to renew public sectors globally. And, she is very keen to stimulate thinking about the future. An active contributor to government and corporate sector service delivery reform initiatives, Michelle has appeared as an expert witness before Australian parliamentary and legislative inquiries into public sector transparency and accountability, corporate governance, ethics and probity. She has worked with professional and industry bodies and academic thinktanks (AICD, CPA Australia, ICAA, Business Council of Australia and ANZSOG Institute for Governance) on policy and position statements on governance, ethics and executive remuneration. She believes public sector reform is both healthy and inevitable for trusted, efficient governance in Australia and globally. Integrated, digital solutions will be key. Hailing from Canberra, Australia's national capital, Michelle belongs to a strong ecosystem of public, private and not for profit sector practitioners committed to accelerating Digital Government. Sharing the journey with other countries is a key part of this. Prior to joining Fuji Xerox in 2015, Michelle was a senior executive with the Australian Government’s science and sports portfolios, Partner with PwC, Deloitte, and Senior Principal with Accenture.
Kristen King is a digital native with a passion for authentic communication. As virtual learning manager for Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., Kristen shapes the design and delivery of engaging, interactive, and exciting training and technical assistance for federal and state government clients. When she’s not facilitating webinars, building elearning course, or developing comprehensive virtual training/TA plans from her home office near Tampa, Florida, Kristen runs half-marathons and obstacle races, teaches fitness classes, runs virtual weight loss challenges, and blogs somewhat erratically at Inkthinker and Amateur Parenting. She has a thing for productivity hacks and may or may not have read The Four-Hour Work Week about a dozen times. Kristen is known for her high energy, unbridled enthusiasm in work and play, and what colleagues have described as “persuasive optimism.” (She is also known for her short hair.) She describes herself as a recovering perfectionist who’s learning to embrace chaos—and she has lots of opportunities to practice that skill as a full-time work-at-home mom of 3-year-old twins.
Jerry Newfarmer, President and CEO, founded Management Partners in 1994 after many years of public management leadership in California and Ohio. Jerry served as city manager in Fresno and San Jose, California; and Cincinnati, Ohio. He was assistant city manager of Oakland, California, which was the chief operating officer role. He also served as President and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. He has been a leader in the International City/County Management Association, has received the ICMA designation as a Credentialed Manager, and was team leader of the State-Local Relations Team of the National Performance Review.
Tary Paris discovers daily ways to serve in her newly created position of Person-centered Care (PCC) Coordinator at the Lincoln Regional Center (LRC), a State of Nebraska psychiatric hospital, within the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. PCC is LRC’s cultural program initiative that practices the WE CARE Behaviors of Worth, Empowerment, Communication, Accountability, Relationships, and Education. LRC is situated in a serene arboretum setting in the home state of Arbor Day. Tary Paris holds a BA in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and recently graduated from Doane College with a Master of Arts in Management. She is also a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Assessment Provider. Her passion for inspirational leadership and motivation grew while owning a retail bridal apparel store for more than a decade where she watched brides strive to create beauty and happiness. She realized the power of positive creativity and the strength of the passion people feel to create important experiences in their lives. Tary is a regular contributor to both her facility’s newsletter, the LRC Reality Check, as well as the DHHS newsletter, Connections.
Rick Parrish is a senior analyst at Forrester Research where he serves government Customer Experience Professionals. Rick's research helps governments overcome the unique challenges they face in developing successful and innovative customer experiences for the people they serve. Rick has over 12 years of experience in government analysis. He was previously an analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he helped pioneer high-profile improvements in the CIA's customer focus. He also earned awards for his rigorous, influential analysis and engagement with a range of senior officials. Prior to his government service, Rick was a professor of political science at Loyola University New Orleans and West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) and director of the political science graduate program at WTAMU. Rick holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he focused on international relations and political theory.
Jessica Stapf is the Digital Storyteller for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She spends her days working to tell disaster response and recovery stories in interesting and captivating ways. She's a former FEMA Corps member with a background in French and International Politics. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exploring the latest and greatest social media platforms, and watching 80s television.
Laura has over 8 years of experience as a program and project manager at the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (EPC). In her position with the EPC she is involved in Strategic Planning, Staff and Organizational Development, Program Management, database management, GIS, and website design. The programs she manages include the Artificial Reefs, Grant Administration, and GIS. She holds a BS from the University of South Florida. As a Sterling Examiner since 2012, she has participated on several assessment teams to help organizations improve their bottom line, performance, customer satisfaction and their workforce by implementing the Sterling organizational performance excellence system and related improvement processes. She is now Six Sigma Green Belt Certified and is also an Advanced Toastmaster who enjoys public speaking; she has given many presentations at conferences and workshops and presented posters on research and GIS projects. Laura’s diverse range of experience, from technical to professional, helps her to manage from a grass roots perspective and not only to see the big picture but all the moving parts behind it as well.
Deborah lives in the wonderful state of Texas and was born and raised in New London, Connecticut. It was drastic change of scenery and weather but she survived the trauma. She knows now that no matter where she lives, she will always be a Yankee with a southern twang. Deborah has always enjoyed writing and started off at a young age writing poems then went into journaling then into tweeting. She believes that each and every day you can find something to write about if you slow down long enough to smell the roses. Writing has always been a large part of her life and she will keep doing it as long as she can.