LBJ School Alumni Board - Member Biographies
President: Jennifer Poulakidas
Past-President: Michael M. Reyna
Christopher Bjornson (MPAff 1996) serves as Of Counsel, 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 2005) 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 cataloging highway finance strategies by states across the U.S. He currently serves the Texas Department of Transportation as operational excellence 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 2002) 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.
Todd Hendricks (MPAff 2012) Todd Hendricks works in the Energy Assurance group at SunPower Corporation, an industry leading solar firm. As Utility Power Plant Performance Manager, he manages operations and performance for the company’s fleet of solar power plants in North America, including Solar Star, the largest solar installation in the world.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Todd served two tours of duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2005, he deployed to the Persian Gulf onboard the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), working in the weapons department. In 2010, while enrolled at the LBJ School, he was recalled to active duty, for the second time, in support of the drawdown of operations in Iraq. He returned to the LBJ School to finish his MPAff in the 2011-2012 academic year.
Todd was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He earned his B.S. in Political Science, with Honors, from the University of Houston.
Joshua Levine (MPAff 2012) 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 1977) 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. Form 2000 to 2014 he served as executive director of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), the primary professional association for interventional cardiologists worldwide. He recently became executive director at the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.
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 1984) 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.
Lindsay Ochoa (MPAff 2014) Lindsay Ochoa is a Senior Research Associate at Hanover Research, a market research firm based in Washington D.C. In this role, Lindsay works with school districts and other K-12 education organizations nationwide to generate custom research projects that align with clients’ needs. Before moving to D.C., Lindsay worked at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in the State and Federal Education Policy division, where she focused primarily on the state’s T-STEM initiative. During her time at The LBJ School, Lindsay interned at Texas Appleseed and worked as an Academic Mentor for the University of Texas’ Athletic Department, and also served as GPAC’s Student Life Director and Follies Co-Chair.
Lindsay was raised in Keller, Texas and received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and English Literature from Texas A&M University before attending The LBJ School and completing her Master of Public Affairs. Since moving to Washington D.C. in 2014, Lindsay has been active in both the UT and A&M alumni associations and recently joined the Texas State Society of Washington D.C. She also volunteers as a tutor for D.C. youth through a nonprofit called For Love of Children (FLOC). In her free time, Lindsay enjoys traveling, playing soccer, and watching college football.
Lauren Oertel (MGPS 2013) 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, making Austin a permanent home. Her hobbies include: dancing, traveling, reading, event planning, working on her house, and jewelry making.
Jennifer Poulakidas (MPAff 1991) 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 220 member universities to promote public higher education’s positions in Washington, DC on science and research, student affordability and access, innovation and competitiveness, and internationalization, among other issues of importance to major public universities.
Before APLU, Jennifer was legislative director for science at the University of California’s DC office where she enjoyed active engagement with the federal science and research advocacy community. She continues her close work with various coalitions, such as the Task Force for American Innovation, The Science Coalition, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research, and United for Medical Research. A San Francisco native, Jennifer began her career in Washington serving as a legislative aide to Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Immediately after the LBJ School, she worked for Shipley & Associates on Texas State Senate races in Houston and San Angelo.
Prior to attending the LBJ School of Public Affairs, Jennifer received a bachelor of arts in sociology from UCLA. She enjoys staying involved with her alma maters; she served on the UCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors and participates with the Washington area alumni networks for UCLA and the LBJ School. Jennifer is grateful for her grad school experience and the amazing people she’s been fortunate to meet through the LBJ School. She’s always happy to visit with prospective, current and former LBJ School students – give a holler when in DC!
Michael M. Reyna (MPAff 1982) most recently served as the project executive-director of the Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal), a major multi-year Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project to modernize the state’s financial management systems (accounting, budgeting and procurement). He previously served as the chief executive officer of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), a professional association representing plaintiff attorneys statewide. In his role, Mr. Reyna was responsible for supervising and directing the association’s efforts. And prior to that role he was chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) Board of Directors. With a staff of 300, FCA is the independent federal agency responsible for regulating and examining both the Farm Credit System (FCS) and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac). As the primary safety and soundness regulator of these two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE’s), Mr. Reyna was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate on October 22, 1998 to the three-member FCA Board of Directors. Mr. Reyna also concurrently served as a member of the board of directors of the Farm Credit System Insurance Corporation (FCSIC), which insures FCS debt obligations, and was its chairman during 1999.
As chairman and CEO, Mr. Reyna routinely provided testimony before congressional committees and was often quoted in print and interviewed on radio and television. Reyna personally led the board’s effort to develop its five-year strategic plan, convened the agency’s first public hearings in over a decade and strengthened the agency’s policy development process by making it more transparent. During his tenure he pursued a far- reaching agenda to reduce regulatory burden, encourage alliances and partnerships between System and non-System lenders, broaden investment authorities, strengthen capital levels, improve disclosure and enhance board governance and accountability, and adopt and implement the agency’s first-ever performance-based mission-oriented regulation. Mr. Reyna also achieved significant organizational and cultural change within the agency by successfully instituting a value-based management system, implementing a variety of work-life initiatives designed to “build a better workplace,” overhauling its performance management system and awards program, and using innovative partnerships to diversify its workforce at all levels.
Before his appointment to the FCA board, Mr. Reyna served as the director of USDA Rural Development (formerly known as Farmers Home Administration) in California from November 1993 to October 1998, overseeing a staff of 260 employees working in 28 offices throughout the state. In this capacity, Mr. Reyna was responsible for growing and managing a diversified portfolio of housing, business, and infrastructure loans totaling more than $2.6 billion. His programs led the nation in virtually every category annually. Furthermore, Mr. Reyna successfully led a major downsizing and reorganization effort at the agency while implementing a number of significant presidential initiatives in California, including the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative, the Rural Empowerment Zone-Enterprise Community program, the AmeriCorps program, and several Reinventing Government initiatives.
Prior to his federal service, Mr. Reyna served at the state level for 11 years as a principal advisor to the California State Legislature, working on financial service industry regulation and a wide range of issues, including housing, economic development, local government finance, and political reform. Locally, he was an appointed member of the Sacramento City-County Charter Commission, chairman of the Sacramento City Planning Commission, and a founding board member of Meadowview Community Action, a local nonprofit agency. While attending graduate school in Texas during the early 1980s, Mr. Reyna served as a private consultant to Governor Clements’ long-range strategic planning effort known as the Texas 2000 Project. In this capacity, he developed and implemented a computer-based simulation model that estimated employment and population trends in Texas through the year 2000.
In 2004, Mr. Reyna was recognized by the Federal Women’s Program (FWP) and Blacks in Government (BIG) for his significant contributions and commitment to achieving a more diverse workplace while serving as FCA chairman and CEO. He is the recipient of the LBJ School Alumni Association’s Distinguished Public Service Award for 2003. In 1998 and 1999, he received awards from the California Rural Builders’ Council, the Rural California Housing Corporation, the California Coalition for Rural Housing, and the Valley Small Business Corporation, in recognition of his leadership and commitment to rural America. In 1996, Mr. Reyna was a co-recipient of Vice President Al Gore’s Hammer Award for helping to reinvent the USDA Rural Development Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program. The California State Senate and Assembly also acknowledged him for his many contributions while on staff.
Mr. Reyna, a native of Texas, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public policy from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. He and his wife of 35 years, Karen, have two sons (who also are graduates of the LBJ School of Public Affairs) and three granddaughters (Sydney, Charlotte and Mae).
Alexandra Ritchie (MPAff 2005) is a program analyst with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)’s Office of Policy, Regulation and Analysis within the U.S. Department of Interior and currently manages BOEM’s internal control program. Since January 2013, Alexandra has been responsible for implementing DOI and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) policy regarding management’s responsibility for internal control by conducting annual risk analyses and program evaluations of BOEM functions and programs. In addition to her formal duties, Alexandra collaborates with employees and managers to improve diversity and inclusion in all aspects of BOEM’s mission through the Diversity Change Agent program at DOI. Alexandra previously served as a Management and Program Analyst in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s Division of Evaluation and Management Services in Washington, DC from 2008 to 2013, conducting internal controls management and organizational analyses. Prior to obtaining a permanent position with the BLM, Alexandra was a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) with BLM’s Division of Public Affairs from 2006 to 2008, completing rotational assignments in DC and Arizona, including one external rotation at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Alexandra holds two degrees from The University of Texas at Austin-a Bachelor of Journalism from the College of Communication (2002) and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School of Public Affairs (2005). In addition to these degrees, Alexandra completed a Concentration in US Latino and Latin American Media Studies and the Senior Fellows of Communication Program (2002) and a Graduate Portfolio Program in Dispute Resolution (2005) while at UT-Austin.
To complement her experience at a natural resource agency and prior education, Alexandra also completed environmental collaboration coursework and received the Udall Certificate in Environmental Collaboration from the Udall Foundation in 2013.
Alexandra continues to enhance her knowledge and skills in risk management and evaluation by pursuing a Master of Evaluation Certificate from George Washington University and Enterprise Risk Management (ISO 31000) from Certified Information Security.
Outside of work, Alexandra is an active volunteer with the Arlington Young Democrats (AYD) and DC Texas Exes. Alexandra is currently serving as the DC Texas Exes Membership Chair and organizes alumni outings to cultural activities in the DC metro area. She has previously mentored Archer Fellows, led community service events, and engaged with other alumni clubs in intramural sports and fundraising social events. These activities help connect her to her fellow alumni and also root her in her current community of Arlington, Virginia where she has lived since August 2005.
Mark Troppe (MPAff 1984) 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.
Angela Evans, LBJ School Dean
Dave Warner, Faculty Representative
Racheal Kane (MPAff 2013) Austin Chapter
Heather Correia (MPAff 2013) Dallas Chapter
Sarah Williams Savoy (MGPS 2010) Washington, D.C. Chapter
Cameron Lagrone (MPAff 2016) President, Graduate Public Affairs Council
Gabriela M.L. Ríos LBJ School Alumni Coordinator