LBJ School Alumni Board - Member Biographies
2013 - 2014
President: Michael Reyna
President-elect: Jennifer Poulakidas
Christopher Bjornson (MPAff ’96) is an attorney practicing communications regulatory law with Steptoe & Johnson, LLP. He co-chairs the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Video Programming Distribution Committee, serves as a member of the advisory board for the Bill Archer Center of the University of Texas System, and coordinates the Texas State Society’s annual tribute to Lyndon B. Johnson, honoring the President’s birthday. He is a long-standing member of the Washington Area LBJ School Alumni Chapter (WALSAC) and its current president.
Prior to practicing law, Chris was a consultant with MAXIMUS, assisting state child support enforcement and human services programs with implementation of welfare reform. He also worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Texas Attorney General’s Office where he helped pass the child support enforcement provisions of welfare reform into law, as well as the Travis County Tax Office where he assisted with voter registration, property tax administration, and legislation, including Motor Voter. In addition to his Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School, he holds a J.D. from Catholic University, and B.J. from the University of Texas. He lives in Arlington, Va., with his wife Jo Ann and daughter Isabella.
Moses Garcia (MPAff '05) is a committed public servant with experience in strengthening and developing policies, programs, procedures and technology solutions at the federal, state and municipal levels of government. With more than 14 years of professional experience, his efforts have supported the leadership at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), Texas State Legislature, several Texas State agencies and the City of Austin. Recently, Moses worked as a management consultant to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in support of their Texas Eligibility Support Services (ESS) enterprise project. In this role, he researched ESS operational performance and developed business intelligence that helped executives conceptualize problems, identify business opportunities and scope effective solutions. His prior work with the GAO involved investigations, such as analyzing New Orleans flood pump capacity after Hurricane Katrina, reviewing U.S. Dept. of Defense contingency acquisition processes and cataloguing highway finance strategies by states across the U.S. He currently serves the Texas Department of Public Safety as their business analytics manager. In his many endeavors, Moses contributes energy and professionalism with a resilient enthusiasm that fosters relationship-building and organizational collaboration.
A proud Texas Longhorn, Moses received his B.A. in government from The University of Texas at Austin in 1998. Five years later, he returned to the 40 Acres to attend the LBJ School, where he was awarded the Ben Barnes Fellowship for Public Leadership. In retrospect, Moses considers himself quite fortunate to have befriended many wonderful people from the LBJ School class of 2005. (Viva Joe Laufer!)
Moses lives, works and plays in Austin with his lovely wife and happy daughter. You may find him somewhere in South Austin helping his daughter sell Girl Scout cookies, sitting on a City of Austin citizen advisory board, driving a route for Meals on Wheels and More, or slopping beans at a Knights of Columbus Fish Fry. Moses remains committed to the service of others, cherishes his LBJ School friends and welcomes any fellow LBJ grad to split a pitcher of beer. Cheers!
Jon Gillum (MPAff '02) As senior counsel in the Austin office of Locke Lord LLP, Jon represents clients in complex commercial litigation as well as administrative law matters. He has guided clients through a wide range of investigations, disputes, and compliance matters involving the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, the Texas Department of Transportation, the Texas Real Estate Commission, and various other governmental entities.
Jon received his B.A. in history and policy studies summa cum laude from Rice University in 1998. In 2002, he received his MPAff from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, where he was a Robert Strauss Scholar. He earned his J.D. with high honors in 2002 from the University of Texas School of Law, where he was a Townes-Rice Scholar and an associate editor of the Texas Law Review.
Jon is passionate about improving history education through the Cen-Tex, Texas, and National History Day programs, and he recently received the Clifton Caldwell History Day Service Award from the Texas State Historical Association. He currently is a member of the Board of Trustees of National History Day and the Education Committee of the Texas State Historical Association.
In his spare time, Jon enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, traveling as much as possible, and trying to keep his Central Texas garden alive.
Joshua Levine (MPAff '12) is an associate analyst at Moody’s Investors Service living in New York City and conducting credit analysis for debt issued by local governments across the country. He has also worked on higher education ratings, focusing on the effect regulatory changes have on institutions of higher education and publishing a report on accreditation.
While attending the LBJ School, Joshua served as communications and social media coordinator at the Center for Politics and Governance, helping create and market events geared towards providing access to key leaders in the national, state, and local communities. He also served in several leadership roles throughout the student body, including the chairmanship of the LBJ Student Tuition and Budget Advisory Committee. Finally, Joshua interned with the office of State Representative Ruth Jones McClendon during the 2011 Texas Legislative Session.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Joshua received a B.A. in political science from Vanderbilt University with minor degrees in economics and philosophy. He also has a strong interest in the study of sports performance and ethics, working with Professor Jim Coleman at Duke Law School to publish a book chapter on the burdens of proof used in sports doping cases.
Norm Linsky (MPAff '77) has spent his entire career in Washington, D.C., in a series of health-related positions. After summer internships with the Government Accountability Office, he spent twenty years with three Federal contractors, managing projects for the NIH, CDC, Healthcare Financing Administration, National Science Foundation, Department of State and other agencies. These projects involved research planning and administration, professional medical education and public education. Since 2000 he has been executive director of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), the primary professional association for interventional cardiologists worldwide.
Norm is eternally grateful to the LBJ School (and Dave Warner!), and urges every alum to give something back -- in whatever way they can -- to the School for making our careers possible!
Isabel M. Nart (MPAff '84) is manager of institutional giving at Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), a nonprofit theatre company in Houston, Texas. She has served in this capacity for eight years, and is responsible for fund development from foundations and government funders. Before TUTS, she worked in the government relations field for more than 20 years, including positions at Houston Lighting & Power and its corporate parent Houston Industries Inc., Houston Community College System, Houston Housing Authority, and for a City of Houston City Councilman. She is proudest of her work during several sessions of the Texas Legislature on utility deregulation, state and local tax reform, economic development, public school finance and other important issues. Isabel was the first director of government affairs for the Houston Community College System, and was responsible for establishing and implementing the legislative agenda and issues management process, college district trustee elections management and redistricting. She also worked in the municipal utility district industry and was one of the early employees of the Harris County Appraisal District.
In addition to her MPAff, Isabel holds a B.S. in psychology from Lamar University. She is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is past president of the LBJ School Alumni Association – Houston Chapter, which was a forerunner of the Association’s current local chapter system. She has also served on the boards of directors of The Alley Theatre, Houston Area Women’s Center, Initiatives for Children, and Girls Incorporated of Greater Houston. She is currently serving on the Houston Area Steering Committee for Annie’s List.
Jennifer Poulakidas (MPAff ’91) joined the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (A۰P۰L۰U) in 2006, as vice president for congressional and governmental affairs. At A۰P۰L۰U, Jennifer works closely with the leadership of the Association’s 215 member institutions, including the presidents and the government relations officials of those universities, to promote public higher education’s positions to Congress and the Executive Branch on matters of science and research, student affordability and access, innovation and competitiveness, and internationalization, among other issues of importance to major public universities.
Prior to joining A۰P۰L۰U, Jennifer was legislative director for science and research issues of the University of California’s Federal Governmental Relations Washington, D.C., office. During her 11 years at UC, Jennifer enjoyed active engagement with the federal science and research advocacy community. In her role at A۰P۰L۰U, she continues her close work with various coalition efforts, such as the Task Force for American Innovation, The Science Coalition, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research Funding, and the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (CAMR, the stem cell coalition). She is on the CAMR Board and served as CAMR’s Vice President for Legislative Affairs 2004-2011. Jennifer also currently serves on the steering committee for United for Medical Research, a coalition in support of funding for the National Institutes of Health.
A native of San Francisco, Jennifer’s career in Washington, D.C., began on Capitol Hill when she served California’s 8th Congressional district and her hometown as a legislative aide to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Prior to attending the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, Jennifer received a bachelor of arts in sociology from UCLA.
Jennifer’s extracurricular activities include involvement with her alma maters: she serves on the UCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors and is engaged with the Washington area alumni networks for UCLA and the LBJ School. She volunteers with Metropolitan Washington Ear, a reading service for blind and print-handicapped persons. In addition, she is a founding member of the Greek-American Progressive Network (GAPNet) and has been active in Democratic campaign efforts since 1988. Other involvement includes serving on the California State Society Executive Committee, volunteering for Martha’s Table, and serving on her condominium board as well as the sport and fitness committee for the DC Jewish Community Center.
Michael Reyna (MPAff '82) Following a 30-year career in both the public and private sector which took him from Texas to California and Washington, D. C., and back, Michael M. Reyna retired and relocated to the Austin area in late 2011.
Currently a freelance photographer in the Austin area, Mr. Reyna also serves on the board of The Austin Project, which is a nonprofit organization started by the late Walt and Elspeth Rostow. Previously, Mr. Reyna was the Project Executive of the FI$Cal Project, a multi-year effort currently underway by the State of California to integrate its disparate financial management systems; and he served as the CEO of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), a statewide professional association representing 3,000 trial lawyers statewide. Among a number of other prior positions, he also served as the Chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) following his nomination by President Clinton and confirmation by the United States Senate.
Mr. Reyna is a graduate of the University of Texas McCombs School of Business and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He has received numerous commendations and awards, including the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Distinguished Public Service Award. He and his wife, Karen, have been married for 32 years and have two married sons (also graduates of the LBJ School) and a granddaughter.
Mark Troppe (MPAff '84) is the manager of strategic partnerships at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program. In this role, he leads a team that is responsible for developing and nurturing MEP's relationships with other Federal agencies, Governors and state agencies, industry trade associations, and other partners. He plays an important role in MEP’s collaborations with other federal, state, and private programs to provide leverage for transforming small manufacturers and aligning with state strategies.
Mark has held a variety of positions in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. In 2009-2010, Mark was assigned to the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers. From 2000-2007, Mark worked at the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE) as director of economic and workforce development where he wrote about, developed courses, and delivered training on the nature of and opportunities for effective relationships between workforce and economic development organizations. Prior jobs included director of training for US Web’s internet hosting division and director of a nonprofit program (Kids and the Power of Work, or KAPOW) that promoted career awareness with elementary school youth. He started his career working a decade with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.
Mark holds graduate degrees in public affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs of The University of Texas at Austin, and in development economics from Essex University in England. His undergraduate studies were in Psychology at the University of Virginia.
David Worzala (MPAff '91) is a founder of Worzala Partners LLC, a consulting company providing public policy analysis in Madison, Wisconsin. His primary focus is public finances and taxation. David has held elected office for the past 10 years. Most recently he served as Dane County Treasurer responsible for safeguarding the financial resources of the County and overseeing the collection of property taxes. Prior to being Treasurer, he was elected three times to the Dane County Board of Supervisors where he was Vice Chair of the Board and chaired of the Health and Human Needs Committee. David also worked for the State of Wisconsin Department of Administration and for the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. For almost 10 years after graduating from the LBJ School, he worked in Washington D. C. for the Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Department of Transportation in a variety of budget positions. David was a 1991 Presidential Management Intern.
In addition to serving his community as an elected official, he is the Treasurer of the August Foundation which funds nonprofit organizations that provide health care and educational services in the Dane County Area. David also serves as a Board member of Fresh Start, which helps disconnected youth get education and job skills to become productive members of our community. He is a member of Rotary and serves on the Scholarship Committee that provides 20 four year scholarships to local high school students to attend university. In 2012, David funded a two year LBJ School Scholarship.
David grew up in Madison, Wisconsin and earned a B.A. in history and in political science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He is married to Julie and has two sons in middle school.
Lauren Oertel (MGPS '12) President
Lauren completed a master of global policy studies from the LBJ School in 2012 where she focused on sustainable development and Latin America. In September 2011 she started working at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), in the Border Affairs division and has continued working for the state of Texas full time in the Water Quality Planning Division of the TCEQ while settling down in Austin. Her hobbies include: dancing, sports, beer/wine tasting and making jewelry for local artist markets.
Will Payne (MPAff '14) President, Graduate Public Affairs Council
Will is a master of public affairs student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs with a concentration on urban policy and city management.
Will currently serves as the president of the Graduate Public Affairs Council (GPAC). As a member of the Outreach and Professional Development Committee in the past year, he organized a workshop on salary negotiation strategies for students and served as the GPAC organizer for prospective student outreach and spring open houses.
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Will left the Midwest to attend the University of South Carolina (USC), where he received a B.A. in political science. While at USC, Will was actively engaged in the life of the university, serving in student government with a focus on student service and affordability issues.
Michelle Potter-Bacon LBJ School Alumni Coordinator