What is your role and primary responsibilities at the Academy?
As Senior Project Director, I have the privilege of leading study teams working on funded projects. Since leading my first project in late 2012, I have led 40 projects that span about 30 different clients at state and federal levels. No two days are ever the same as I normally lead three or four projects at any one time. My responsibilities include managing close working relationships with my study team colleagues, the client agency, a Panel of NAPA Fellows overseeing the work, and the NAPA senior team.
What do you like best about working at the Academy?
I can’t choose just one answer; I have several things I like best. First, my staff teammates are amazing. We have a diverse set of men and women who love research, engage well with one another, and work hard to deliver high-quality reports. I learn from them. Second, the intellectual challenge of this work gets me up every morning with anticipation of learning something new that expands my scope of thought. For example, what other job might allow me a chance to engage - during any 10-hour period - on topics as diverse as missile defense (Department of Defense), cultural competence (US Coast Guard Academy), and management of cultural resources (NPS)? Third, the work can have profound impact for the client and those it serves. I find personal fulfillment in knowing that NAPA reports are eagerly anticipated and earnestly appreciated. Finally, I have amazing opportunities with my teammates to meet incredible people, as well as the chance to work closely with NAPA Fellows – all of whom are both leaders in their fields and a joy to work with.
Which of the 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration resonates the most with you?
Enhance the Nation’s Long-Term Fiscal Health. I have a financial background, having worked for more than 20 years in banking before serving at the Department of the Treasury for seven years in Domestic Finance. The work NAPA is doing to promote wise stewardship of the nation’s financial resources contributes to an important dialog. Almost every project we work on has issues connected with staffing and resource needs. While all 12 Grand Challenges merit careful attention, it’s hard to carry out programs and policies if the funds aren’t there. I am concerned about how the volume and cost of financing the federal debt continues to rise.
Why is public service important to you?
I was profoundly emotional when the Oath of Office was administered to me at the Department of the Treasury in 2001. Fast forward to 2023, and I still think it an incredible honor (and challenge) to work on issues at NAPA to advance public service. There is no greater privilege than to work on issues that make circumstances better for our clients, fellow citizens, and even those beyond our borders.
What is your favorite hobby or interest outside of the office?
I love reading, playing word games (Boggle, Scabble, Wordle), fishing, and swimming.
What is your favorite travel destination, either past or future?
My Czech family heritage shapes this response. I started visiting relatives in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1974 and visited there frequently during the 1980s when working for a New York-based bank covering the Soviet Bloc. After the fall of communism, our family moved to Prague in 1991 and I worked in the banking sector there for eight years. I remain a frequent visitor to Prague and commend the city and country to all as a destination not to miss. Let me know if you plan a trip there!