experts

Selected Staff Expert Profiles

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Nikki Guilford

Chief of Staff & Director of NGA Consulting

Nikki Guilford leads the National Governors Association. She is the interim Chief of Staff and Executive Director. She also serves as the director of NGA Consulting, acting as a management consultant to governors and their senior staff providing guidance and best practices concerning the leadership and management of state government and the organization, operation and staffing of the governor’s office. Guilford is also NGA’s primary liaison to governors’ chiefs of staff.

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Martin Simon

Director, NGA Economic Opportunity

Martin Simon is the director of the Economic Opportunity Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. In this position, he is responsible for managing and providing strategic direction for the Centers’ analysis, research, information development, and technical assistance services to governors and states related to workforce development, postsecondary education, human services and economic development policy and programs.

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Alexandra Cawthorne

Program Director, NGA Economic Opportunity

Alexandra Cawthorne serves as program director for the NGA Center for Best Practices’ Economic Opportunity Division, where she supports governors’ staff and state policymakers in strengthening their human services delivery systems. Her areas of focus include two-generation state policy, child welfare reform, juvenile justice and place-based approaches to serving low-income families.

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Stephen Parker

Intergovernmental Affairs Director, NGA Advocacy

Stephen Parker directs policy and advocacy for education and workforce issues, including early childhood, K-12 and postsecondary education, workforce development and child nutrition. He leads the governors’ Education and Workforce Committee and is the liaison between governors and the federal government on education and workforce issues.

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Mandy Sorge

Policy Analyst, NGA Education

At NGA, Mandy Sorge serves as a policy analyst for the Education Division, focusing on early childhood education issues, from birth through third grade. Prior to joining NGA, Mandy worked for the National Center on the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships leading the internal evaluation of training and technical assistance, as well as writing and developing training materials and resources to support effective implementation of grants.

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Kate Johnson

Senior Policy Analyst, NGA Health

Kate Johnson, MPH, is a senior policy analyst in the Health Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. In this role, she works with governors’ offices on a variety of health care issues, including population health, data and analytics and Medicaid.

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Hemi Tewarson

Director, NGA Health

Hemi Tewarson serves as the director for the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices’ Health Division, where she oversees all the Health Division projects which include Medicaid transformation and coverage, Medicaid data systems, health care delivery and payment system reform, workforce, opioids, and behavioral health and social determinants.

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Beth Caron

Director, NGA Education

Beth Caron is the Director for NGA Education at NGA Solutions: Center for Best Practices. Dr. Caron has more than 25 years’ experience in the field of early childhood special education and early learning, with an emphasis on policy. Prior to joining NGA, Dr. Caron worked at AEM Corp., directing the Early Learning Challenge Technical Assistance contract (ELC TA).

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Lauren Block

Program Director, NGA Health

Lauren Block serves as program director for the NGA Center for Best Practices’ Health Division. Block focuses on issues related to health insurance coverage, health care workforce planning and data.

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Melinda Becker

Program Director, NGA Health

Melinda Becker serves as a program director for the NGA Center for Best Practices’ Health Division. Becker focuses on opioid abuse, Medicaid transformation and coverage, as well as other critical issues.

Garrett Eucalitto

Garrett Eucalitto

Program Director, NGA Energy, Infrastructure & Environment

Garrett Eucalitto serves as Transportation Program Director for the Energy, Infrastructure & Environment division, where he supports governors’ staff and state policymakers on issues related to transportation and infrastructure. His areas of focus include transportation funding and innovative infrastructure financing and delivery methods, the impact of new technologies such as autonomous vehicles, drones, ride-hailing and electrification, as well as infrastructure and housing resilience.

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Sally Rood

Senior Policy Analyst, NGA Economic Opportunity

Sally Rood serves as a Senior Policy Analyst in the Economic Opportunity Division where she focuses on strategies for economic development, entrepreneurship and innovation, and workforce development; place-based initiatives; and use of data for policymaking.

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Michael Garcia

Senior Policy Analyst, NGA Homeland Security & Public Safety

Michael Garcia’s areas of focus include state cybersecurity, emergency communications, and other homeland security issue areas.

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Sue Gander

Director, NGA Energy, Infrastructure & Environment

Sue Gander serves as Director for NGA Solutions: Center for Best Practices Energy, Infrastructure & Environment division. Gander directs research, policy analysis and technical assistance to provide governors and their staff with data and guidance on best practices affecting the energy sector, environmental protection, natural resource management, transportation and other infrastructure.

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Timothy Blute

Director, NGA Future

Timothy Blute serves as director for the NGA Future office, where he will assist and advise governors and state officials on how emerging technologies will impact government and state economies, including identifying the opportunities and challenges associated with ongoing technological innovation.

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Jeffrey Locke

Program Director, NGA Homeland Security and Public Safety

Jeffrey Locke serves as a program director for the NGA Center for Best Practices Homeland Security and Public Safety Division, where he focuses on issues that include criminal justice reform, public safety, juvenile justice, heroin and prescription drug abuse. Prior to joining NGA, Locke served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa, and has worked in various capacities at the local and federal government levels.

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Daniel Lauf

Program Director, NGA Energy, Infrastructure & Environment

At NGA, Dan advises governors offices on electricity policy, utility regulation, energy assurance, energy efficiency and technology innovation. His work also includes coordination of the Federal Facilities Task Force, a group of state officials tasked with overseeing the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

NGA Winter Meetings 2018

Abigail Hunter

International and Strategy Advisor, NGA Global

Abigail Hunter serves as the international and strategy advisor for NGA Global where she works on international projects, partnership opportunities and major events. Across the U.S., governors are focused on creating mutually beneficial international partnerships to strengthen their economies and ensure their states are internationally competitive. NGA Global creates opportunities for governors to convene and collaborate with counterparts across the globe.

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Mike Bartlett

Senior Policy Analyst, NGA Economic Opportunity

Mike Bartlett serves as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Economic Opportunity Division, where he serves as an advisor to senior state officials for postsecondary education, focusing on talent development strategies, and aligning education and workforce development. Mike has published numerous articles and reports on these topics, and regularly presents to state officials and national organizations.

National Governors Association Summer Meetings 2015

Jeffrey S. McLeod

Director, NGA Homeland Security & Public Safety

The division, under McLeod, is working on a number of key issues relevant to governors’ efforts to develop and support implementation of policy, including cybersecurity, prescription drug abuse, public safety broadband, sentencing and corrections, homeland security, justice information-sharing and public health preparedness.

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Amanda Winters

Program Director, NGA Economic Opportunity

Amanda Winters serves as a program director in National Governors Association Solutions, where she serves as an adviser to state leaders on post-secondary and workforce policies.

Most recently, Amanda’s work has focused on state post-secondary financing with an emphasis on equity and measurable outcomes. She is also working on projects examining state longitudinal data systems, short term credentials, work-based learning, occupational licensure, state higher ed oversight and connecting education and work. She is working with colleagues and collaborative partners to expand the post-secondary portfolio in NGA Solutions in response to the needs of states.

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Meghan Wills

Program Director, NGA Economic Opportunity

Meghan Wills’ areas of focus include work-based learning, apprenticeship, occupational licensing, efficient and effective government, workforce and human services supports to youth and young adults, employment of people with disabilities and reducing childhood hunger.

Sandra Wilkniss

Sandra Wilkniss

Program Director, NGA Health

At NGA, Sandra serves as program director for the Health Division, focusing on issues related to behavioral health and social determinants of health and the innovative integration of these into health system transformation efforts.

Seth Gerson

Seth Gerson

Program Director, K12, NGA Education

Seth serves as program director in the Education Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, where he works on early childhood and K-12 education issues. Prior to joining NGA, Seth was director of government relations for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, advising policymakers on how federal and state policy can support and strengthen the teaching profession.

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Rachael Stephens

Program Director, NGA Economic Opportunity

Rachael Stephens serves as a senior policy analyst in the Economic Opportunity Division of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. At NGA, Rachael provides technical assistance to governors’ staff and state policymakers on workforce and economic development issues including work-based learning, occupational licensing reform, and effective workforce system governance..

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Lauren Dedon

Senior Policy Analyst, NGA Homeland Security & Public Safety

Lauren Dedon focuses on issues that include criminal justice reform, public safety, corrections policy, juvenile justice, traffic safety, and the heroin and opioid epidemic.

experts

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