Steering Committee

Partners now and in the future

Distinguished LBJ School alumni in the DC area— leaders in government, nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, advocacy firms, and the private sector — put their expertise and professional relationships to work on behalf of the DC Concentration graduate students.

The LBJ Washington Center Steering Committee is a professional advisory board composed of LBJ School alumni in the Washington area. Members are active advocates for the required six-month Policy Apprenticeships on behalf of DC Fellows. The Steering Committee also co-administers, with the LBJ Washington Center, a formal DC Mentoring program matching DC Fellows with LBJ School alumni in the Washington area for career and professional networking guidance and assistance.

DC Steering Committee

Kate Adams (LBJ DC Concentration '16)
Kate Azevedo (LBJ ’04)

Counsel and Director of Strategic Partnerships​, National Student Legal Defense Network

Kate Azevedo serves as counsel and director of strategic partnerships at the National Student Legal Defense Network. Prior to this position, Azevedo was the associate director of chapters at the American Constitution Society. Azevedo started her career as a policy analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, conducting congressionally requested policy analysis. Later, she held a compliance and research role at a financial firm focusing on policy matters.

Azevedo graduated from The University of Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and government. She earned a master's degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs and received a law degree from Washington College of Law at American University. While attending law and graduate schools, she was a member of the American University International Law Journal and the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy.

Christopher Bjornson (LBJ '96)

Of Counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Chris Bjornson represents companies who provide satellite, Internet, wireless telecommunications, and video programming services, before the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and other foreign and domestic government agencies. Bjornson has extensive experience in major telecommunications transactions, complex licensing matters, regulatory rulemakings, and compliance matters.


J.D., Catholic University of America, magna cum laude; Associate Editor, Catholic University Law Review

M.P.Aff., University of Texas, LBJ School of Public Affairs

B.J., University of Texas

Paul Brown (LBJ ’91)

Executive Director, The Intersector Initiative at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy

Paul Brown is the inaugural executive director of an initiative to promote research, practice, and leadership education in collaborative governance across the government, private, and nonprofit sectors. Previously, he was managing director at Prime Policy Group, one of Washington’s premier public affairs consulting firms, where he managed client teams focused on public policy challenges primarily in the technology, hospitality, and local government sectors. Prior to that, Brown served former Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) in a number of political and policy positions including Senate floor assistant, domestic policy adviser to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, and campaign research director. While in graduate school, Brown worked in Austin for Texas Gov. Ann Richards and in Washington for Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer in the Maryland Office of Federal Relations. He began his career as a research assistant at Congressional Quarterly magazine. Brown earned a Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School and a Bachelor of Arts in political science, cum laude, from Kenyon College.

Matthew Tate Cornelius (LBJ ’13)

Senior Technology and Cybersecurity Advisor, Office of Management and Budget

Matthew T. Cornelius serves as a senior technology and cybersecurity advisor in the Office of the Federal Chief Information Officer (OFCIO) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He oversees strategic initiatives and policy focused on modernizing the federal security architecture, enhancing the acquisition and deployment of new technologies across government, and external affairs for the Federal CIO. He also led efforts to establish the Technology Modernization Fund, a new and innovative model for prioritizing and executing critical Federal technology projects. Prior to OMB, Cornelius served as a senior adviser to the administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), where he led the agency's efforts in improving cybersecurity acquisition, developing government-wide IT and security shared services, and managing GSA's agency-wide cefforts during the 2016 presidential transition. He began his federal career at the Treasury Department after graduating from the LBJ School in 2013. He completed his undergraduate studies in 2003 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with bachelor's degrees in English literature and dramatic arts.

Reid Cramer (LBJ Ph.D. '99)

Director, Millenials Initiative, New America

Reid Cramer is director of the Millennials Initiative at New America. Previously, he served as director of the Asset Building program, which promoted policies and ideas that significantly broaden access to economic resources through increased savings and asset ownership, especially among lower-income families. The program championed innovative public policies designed to enable families in the United States and around the world to accumulate savings, access wealth-building financial services, develop financial capability, and build and protect productive assets across the life course. Previously, he served as the program’s research director as well as a co-director of New America's Next Social Contract initiative and a co-founder of the Family-Centered Social Policy initiative, cross-cutting policy development efforts to examine the delivery of social policy for the 21st century. Cramer's work has provided analytical support for the development of a range of policy proposals, including the ASPIRE Act, a bipartisan proposal to create a savings account for every newborn child in America; AutoSave, a unique model that automatically diverts payroll into flexible savings accounts; and the Saver’s Bonus/Financial Security Credit, which provides a targeted incentive to contribute to savings products at tax time. His recent work includes "The Assets Perspective: The Rise of Asset Building and its Impact on Social Policy" (Palgrave MacMillan) and "Millennials Rising: Next Generation Policies in the Wake of the Great Recession" (New America).

Prior to joining New America, Cramer served as a policy and budget analyst at the Office of Management and Budget, where he helped coordinate policies on housing, savings, economic development, and program performance evaluation. He has worked for a range of nonprofit housing and community development organizations, the National Research Council, and the Urban Institute. He has a doctorate in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs, as well as a master's degree in city and regional planning from the Pratt Institute and a bachelor of arts degree from Wesleyan University.

Steven W. Eichenauer (LBJ ’95)

Principal, Public Strategies Washington

Steven W. Eichenauer is a principal at Public Strategies Washington (PSW), where he manages the firm’s government relations practice and directs the development of lobbying strategy on behalf of PSW’s clients, with a particular focus on international trade, financial services, appropriations, energy and health care. From 1999 to 2005, he served as legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), managing the senator's Appropriations Committee responsibilities and advising the senator in the areas of energy, environment, agriculture, homeland security and commercial fisheries. Prior to joining Reed’s staff, Eichenauer served as senior policy analyst at PSW for nearly four years, working closely with the Economic Ministry of Mexico and other corporate and governmental clients. From 1989 to 1993, he was a program officer at the Texas International Education Consortium, where he directed academic and professional training programs for business people and educators from Latin America and Asia. Eichenauer received a B.A. in history from The University of Texas at Austin in 1988 and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs in 1995. He is fluent in Spanish.

Gustavo O. Fernandez (LBJ, ’13)

Senior Policy Analyst, Government Accountability Office

Gustavo O. Fernandez is a senior policy analyst in the Education, Workforce and Income Security division of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), where he focuses on retirement security issues. Prior to joining the GAO, Fernandez worked as a grant maker for a family foundation, and as a university administrator in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also managed a statewide English-language education program for the Okinawa Board of Education in Japan. Fernandez has a B.A. from the University of Florida in European history and literature, an M.A. in Asia Pacific studies from the University of San Francisco, and a master’s in global policy studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Rachel Hoff (LBJ ’14)

Policy Director, Ronald Reagan Institute​

Rachel Hoff received a master’s degree in global policy studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. She currently serves as policy director at the Ronald Reagan Institute, the Washington DC office of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. She previously worked as communications director and policy advisor at the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas, and at several conservative think tanks. Hoff has worked and volunteered for numerous Republican campaigns and organizations. She has twice represented Washington DC, as a delegate to the Republican National Convention and served on the 2016 Platform Committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Tufts University.

Randall Kempner (LBJ ’98)

Executive Director, Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs

Randall Kempner is executive director of the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), a global network of organizations that propel entrepreneurship in emerging markets. The network's members provide critical financing and business support services to small and growing businesses (SGBs) that create positive economic, environmental and social impacts in developing countries. ANDE’s 290+ members have operations in more than 150 emerging-market countries. As inaugural executive director of ANDE, a program of the Aspen Institute, Kempner oversees the implementation of ANDE’s extensive program and education agenda, including training programs for investing in emerging-market entrepreneurs, promoting investment opportunities in emerging-market SGBs, and developing standardized financial, social and environmental metrics for impact investment.

Kempner graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with an MBA and a Master of Public Affairs. He earned a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard College.

Chris Knopes (LBJ ’87)

Director, Planning Measures and Oversight, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Chris Knopes directs planning for the EPA’s civil enforcement program and leads national oversight of state environmental enforcement. In his prior position at the EPA, Knopes led efforts to work with environmental nonprofits, universities, industry and states to design, test and implement innovative approaches to environmental protection. He has also worked in consulting and on Capitol Hill. Knopes graduated from the LBJ School in 1987 and the College of William & Mary in 1984.

Preston V. Lee, Jr. (LBJ ’81)

Senior Director, Industry Relations, Single Family Affordable Lending and Access to Credit, Freddie Mac

Preston V. Lee, Jr. is the senior director of industry relations for the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), where he has served in this and other capacities since January 2001. Prior to joining Freddie Mac, Lee served as the senior adviser and counselor to the assistant secretary for community planning and development (CPD) at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), functioning as the principal policy adviser and assisting the assistant secretary for CPD in managing the division’s day-to-day operations.

Before assuming that role, Lee served the Clinton administration in several capacities including positions as policy adviser to Vice President Al Gore’s National Partnership for Reinventing Government, senior adviser and counselor to the deputy secretary of HUD and deputy assistant secretary for legislation at HUD.

Before joining the Clinton administration, Lee served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. H. John Heinz III (R-Pa.). After Heinz’s untimely death, Preston joined the staff of Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), serving as his legislative counsel. He later joined the American Bankers Association as senior federal legislative counsel.

David Marshall, Jr. (LBJ ’00)

Director of Membership Development, NASPAA

David Marshall, Jr. is the director of membership development at NASPAA – The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration. NASPAA is the main membership organization and accrediting body of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration and public and nonprofit management. Its nearly 300 members — located across the U.S. and in 14 countries around the globe — award MPA, MPP, MPAff and similar degrees. Marshall is charged with building productive relationships with deans, directors and faculty members, and matching them to NASPAA's projects and volunteer responsibilities. He also manages the operations of Pi Alpha Alpha, the global honor society for public affairs and administration. Marshall also serves on the Board of Directors of the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA). PPIA is a fellowship program designed to increase the participation and inclusion of historically underrepresented groups in public policy and international affairs graduate programs and advance the pursuit of public service careers.

Prior to joining NASPAA, Marshall was a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and ICF International. He worked at 3M for nearly seven years where he managed the 3M Political Action Committee. He completed his undergraduate studies at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. At The University of Texas at Austin, Marshall completed a joint master’s degree with the LBJ School and the Stan Richards School of Advertising & Public Relations.

Timothy J. Michalak (LBJ DC Concentration '19)

Policy Fellow, Office of the Majority Whip James E. Clyburn

Timothy J. Michalak is a Hill staffer focused on domestic policy, including education, technology, and government reform and oversight. He graduated from the LBJ School's DC Concentration in 2019 with a Master of Public Affairs degree, completing his Policy Apprenticeship at the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization striving to improve government effectiveness. While at the LBJ School, Michalak was the Editor-in-Chief of the Baines Report, the LBJ School's policy journal.

From 2014 to 2018, Michalak worked as a high school history teacher in Fitchburg, Massachusetts while concurrently serving on the Board of Trustees as a Teacher Representative, where he helped guide the school toward greater success. While a teacher, Michalak spent his summers as the Internship Coordinator and Residential Supervisor for the Upward Bound program, a federal TRIO program that supports first-generation high school students in preparing for college. He graduated from Fitchburg State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Secondary Education.

Aaron Milner (LBJ DC Concentration '16)

Research Associate, Project on Prosperity and Development and Project on U.S. Leadership in Development, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) 

Aaron Milner is a research associate with the Project on Prosperity and Development and the Project on U.S. Leadership in Development at CSIS. His current research deals with U.S. development policy, private-sector engagement, technological innovation, and urbanization around the globe. He began at CSIS as a Policy Apprentice in the summer of 2016, and then became a program coordinator, overseeing events and writing several commentaries and white papers. He graduated with a master’s in global policy studies from the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He earned his bachelor’s in international relations from the University of Texas at Austin, with minors in business, French, and European studies. While in graduate school, Milner researched and analyzed aid data with the organization Innovations for Peace and Development. Prior to graduate school, he was a financial management consultant for KPMG in Texas.

Eric Panketh (LBJ ’06)

Chief of Staff to the Chief Information Security Officer, Sony Corporation

Eric Panketh is the chief of staff to the chief information security officer at Sony Corporation and is the senior director of finance and operations for the company’s Global Information Security and Privacy organization. Panketh joined Sony after working for 10 years in the U.S. government in various national security positions. Most recently, he was the chief of operations and emergency management at the Federal Communications Commission, working on various national security initiatives. Before that, he spent almost six years in the Executive Office of the President, first with the Office of Management and Budget in the Bush administration and then subsequently in the Obama administration as a director on the National Security Council. During this time, Panketh handled diverse homeland and national security issues from a policy and budgetary standpoint, including cybersecurity, national security communications, infrastructure protection, national preparedness and biometrics.

Before attending the LBJ School, Panketh earned a B.B.A. in finance from The University of Texas at Austin and worked in the semiconductor industry as a financial analyst. He is a native Austinite.

Jed Perry (LBJ '02)

Head of US Public Policy, UCB

Jed Perry is head of US public policy for UCB, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing treatments for patients with neurological and immunological diseases. He leads a team that engages with federal agencies on public policy affecting patients and drug manufacturers, as well as develop public policy strategy for the company. Perry has served in several leadership roles in the biopharmaceutical industry before joining UCB. He served as head of U.S. public affairs for Shire, a biopharmaceutical company, where he led all activities related to engagement with federal and state policymakers in the United States. Previously, he served in a similar role as head of US patient and innovation policy for Baxalta, which merged with Shire in July 2016. Before that, Jed served as director of federal affairs for Baxter for more than 6 years, responsible for lobbying the US Congress for the company’s BioScience franchises.

Before joining Baxter/Baxalta, Perry served in policy-related positions in both the public and private sectors. In government, he has served two members of the U.S. Congress, both members of the influential House Committee on Energy & Commerce, and he worked for the Texas Department of Insurance. In the private sector, Jed lobbied on behalf of Johnson & Johnson’s diabetes franchises. He also consulted for The Lewin Group, a health policy consulting firm.

Perry received a B.A. in political science from American University and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Jennifer Poulakidas (LBJ ’91)

Vice President of Congressional & Governmental Affairs, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities

Jennifer Poulakidas joined the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) in 2006 as vice president for congressional and governmental affairs. She works closely with the leadership of APLU’s more than 200 member universities to promote public higher education’s positions in Washington DC on science and research, student access and success, innovation and competitiveness, and internationalization, among others.

Before joining APLU, Poulakidas was legislative director for science at the University of California’s DC office. A San Francisco native, she began her career in Washington serving as a legislative aide to Rep. Nancy Pelosi. She worked on Texas State Senate races in Houston and San Angelo after graduate school. Between her two years at LBJ, she interned at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece with the Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service.

Poulakidas received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She serves on the national LBJ School Alumni Board (including as president, 2015-17) and the LBJ Washington Center Steering Committee (including as chair, 2014-17).

Sarah Williams Savoy (LBJ ’10)

Director of Development, The Stimson Center

Sarah Williams Savoy graduated from the LBJ School with a Master of Global Policy Studies degree in 2010. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park, and is the director of development at The Stimson Center, a foreign policy think tank. Until recently, she was the president of the Washington-area LBJ School alumni chapter. Previously, she worked in consulting, government relations and as a research analyst. 

Daniel Alejandro Sepulveda (LBJ ’96)

Ambassador and Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. State Department

Former Ambassador Daniel A. Sepulveda served as deputy assistant secretary of state and U.S. coordinator for international communications and information policy from March 2012 to January 2017. He has served as a vice chair to the 2016 OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy and as the lead U.S. negotiator for the 2015 World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) +10 Review, a United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting. In 2014, Sepulveda led the U.S. delegation to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Busan Plenipotentiary Conference, as well as the 2013 World Telecommunications Policy Forum at the ITU, and he has served as the lead coordinator for multiple bilateral dialogues with international counterparts.

Prior to joining the State Department in 2012, Sepulveda served as a senior adviser and member of Sen. John Kerry’s senior management team, where his portfolio included managing issues related to commerce, trade and business, including Kerry’s work as chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet.

Before joining Kerry’s office in 2009, Sepulveda served as an assistant U.S. trade representative, leading a team that managed congressional affairs for U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk during the presidential transition.

From 2004 to 2008 Sepulveda managed trade, immigration, interstate commerce, labor, ethics and lobbying reform issues for then-Sen. Barack Obama and also advised his presidential campaign. Before joining Obama's Senate office, Sepulveda worked for Sen. Barbara Boxer, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, advising her on trade, technology, telecommunications, media regulation, consumer affairs, immigration and labor issues.

Additional prior work experience includes service during the Clinton administration at the U.S. Department of Labor and at the National Council of La Raza.

Sepulveda received a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs as a Woodrow Wilson fellow in public policy and international affairs, and he holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in political science and history from Emory University.

Ashley Shew (LBJ DC Concentration '16)
James B. Smith, Jr. (LBJ ’86)

President, Potomac Policy

As president of Potomac Policy, Jim Smith has more than 20 years of health care policy experience, in addition to a wealth of strategy and management experience in federal politics. Before starting Potomac Policy in 2015, Smith managed the health care policy practice of a large Washington lobby firm and coordinated all aspects of advocacy for the American Health Care Association. He served as AdvaMed’s vice president of federal government relations, and as the senior lobbyist for the American Medical Association.

Smith also served for four years as the chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch (D-Fla.) when Deutsch was the chair of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. His political experience includes several statewide campaigns in his home state of Texas, including the 1984 Lloyd Doggett campaign and Gov. Mark White’s re-election campaign in 1986. Smith earned a B.A. in economics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1983 and a master’s degree from the LBJ School in 1986.

Mark Troppe (LBJ ’84)

Senior Vice President, Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness

Mark Troppe joined CREC in May 2017 as senior vice president after years of working on economic and workforce development issues, including 15 years at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program. Most recently, he was division chief for partnerships and program development, leading external affairs with states, associations and other federal agencies and overseeing the division’s work collaborating with MEP centers for product development on technology deployment, engagement with manufacturing institutes, and cybersecurity. For the past year, he was on a temporary assignment as ASME fellow in the office of Sen. Chris Coons (2016-17), working on manufacturing, technology and innovation issues. Before that, he worked at the National Center on Education and the Economy (2000-07) as director of economic and workforce development, working on collaboration between workforce and economic development organizations. He started his career and worked from 1984 to 1994 with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.