Michael Reyna addresses students at a brown bag talk in January 2003.
Best of the Best
Michael Reyna (LBJ Class of 1982), the winner of the LBJ Alumni Associations 2003 Distinguished Public Service Award, represents all the best qualities of an LBJ School graduate. Currently serving as the chairman and chief executive officer of the federal Farm Credit Administration (FCA) Board, Reyna has implemented successful policies and programs at all levels of government and has achieved national prominence. But perhaps one of the things he is best known for at the LBJ School is his unswerving commitment to help develop the next generation of public servants.
Described as one of the Schools gems in one of the nominations submitted in his favor for the Distinguished Public Service Award, Reyna is called a sincere and supportive mentor and friend by students who have worked for him. And there have been many. Since 1998, when he became a member of the FCA Board, he has hired four LBJ School graduates and 16 summer interns at his agency, more than any other LBJ School graduate. He has also visited the LBJ School at least once a year every year, meeting with students, giving lectures, and attending special events.
LBJ School interns and graduates who nominated Reyna, universally saluted him for providing opportunities tailored to their skills and thanked him for the professional and personal mentoring that he provided.
LBJ has fostered a number of leaders in public service over the past 30 years, one 2003 LBJ School graduate wrote. But what a blessing to both the LBJ community and the U.S. if these leaders help generate a larger number of future leaders by offering hands-on experience and learning opportunities.
A former FCA intern wrote, As some of my peers in other agencies faced difficulties communicating with their superiors and developing their professional skills in an internship setting, Mr. Reyna placed me directly into a program management position. He spent time sharing information about the program, the communities, and the people I would be encountering. He conveyed his vision for success and afforded me innumerable opportunities to increase my skills by implementing that vision independently. This vision was rooted in the belief that it was our job to make a positive difference in the lives of underserved people.
But LBJ School students and recent graduates are not Reynas only supporters. Others include LBJ School faculty members and professional colleagues, who provided strong endorsements for his Distinguished Public Service Award candidacy. In their nominations they described Reynas efforts as good examples of the best in government service and praised his leadership qualities, commitment to diversity, and community service.
One nonprofit agency director said that Californias rural communities are stronger and more vibrant as a result of Reynas leadership and that compassion informs all of his work. Another, the head of an economic development association, wrote, I have worked with a lot of Federal Agency Regional Directors over the last 40 years, and Mike was by far the best of the best. He . . . was committed to listening, learning, and getting something done!
Reyna began his public affairs career in 1981 as a private consultant to a project initiated by the Texas Governors Office, where he developed and implemented a computer-based simulation model of the Texas economy that was used to estimate employment and population trends in the state through the year 2000. He moved to California in 1982 and worked as principal adviser to the California State Legislature for 11 years, working on financial service industry regulation and a range of other policy issues.
In 1993, he was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as Director of USDA Rural Development (formerly known as Farmers Home Administration). In that capacity he was responsible for growing and managing a diversified portfolio of housing, business, and infrastructure loans totaling more than $2.6 billion. Five years later, President Clinton appointed Reyna to the three-member Farm Credit Administration Board, designating him as chairman and chief executive officer of the board in January 2000. His term as head of the federal regulatory agency that oversees the Farm Credit System expires in May 2004.
The LBJ School Alumni Association established the Distinguished Public Service Award in 1989 to recognize outstanding performance by LBJ School alumni. The award is presented each year to an LBJ School graduate who is considered by fellow alumni as the person whose career and public service record best represent the values on which the School was founded.
August 22, 2003
©2003 Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
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