Eric B. Schnurer
Eric B. Schnurer, president of Public Works, has been helping governors and other high-level government decision-makers to make government work more efficiently and effectively since 1993, when he served as chief-of-staff to the Acting Governor of Pennsylvania. He has since helped make Public Works one of the leading firms in the country offering structured performance reviews of government agencies. As chief-of-staff, Mr. Schnurer personally oversaw design of the Acting Governor’s budget proposal, including detailed savings across state government to pay for a large business tax cut.
He also served, by appointment of governors of both political parties, as a Commissioner of both the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and the Delaware River Port Authority – a bi- state commission charged with the economic development of the ports of Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ, as well as oversight of four interstate bridges and an interstate high-speed transit line; he was profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer for his work in that role in fighting giveaways of taxpayer money in the guise of “economic development” projects.
He founded Public Works in 1995 and since 2003 has overseen Public Works’ provision of consulting services to government agencies across the country, including Governors, Mayors, agency heads, and legislators in over half of the states in the United States.
Mr. Schnurer has written and lectured extensively on government efficiency and reorganization, including for Demos, Governing Magazine, the Council of State Governments, and the Aspen Institute. He also is now a regular contributor to both The Atlantic, for which he is writing an on-going series on government efficiency and effectiveness, and StratFor, an international strategic consulting publication based out of Texas. He has written on government reform, and the changing global economy, for publications ranging from US News & World Report to CNN online and The New York Times, and taught at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago, the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Temple University, and, most recently the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Taubman Center on Public Policy at Brown University – where he taught a course in the 2019-20 academic year on “Poverty, Redistribution, and the Future of Work.”
A former civil rights attorney, Schnurer has worked with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and oversaw the Supreme Court filings for the national ACLU; for both of these organizations, he worked on legal theories promoting government responsibility for reducing poverty. As deputy General Counsel of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, he crafted the executive order creating the state’s affirmative action and MBE/WBE program, and as a private civil rights lawyer represented the Philadelphia Latino community in the city’s councilmanic redistricting process. He served on the boards of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia, and the Homeless Advocacy Project of the Philadelphia Bar Association, as well as the Public Interest Law Foundation of his alma mater, Columbia Law School. Schnurer also served as president of the Drum Major Institute, a think tank founded by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mr. Schnurer received his bachelor’s degree with honors in political science from Brown University, and holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he founded and edited the school’s student policy journal, as well as a juris doctor from Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the law review and a James Kent Scholar, the school’s highest annual honor.
Dr. Linda Rhodes
Rhodes is a former Secretary of Aging for Pennsylvania overseeing nearly 3 billion dollars in long-term care services during her seven year tenure; directs the Hirtzel Institute on Health, Education and Aging at Mercyhurst University and is Senior Vice-president of Policy and Practice for Public Works. Rhodes has consulted a wide range of strategic planning projects and authored numerous public policy reports for government and non-profit organizations throughout the country.
Her client list includes the State of Delaware Long Term Care Commission facilitating the study and policy analysis of nursing staff ratio legislation for skilled nursing facilities, New Mexico’s State Department of Education’s strategic plan, California State University System workforce development initiative, Georgia Department of Corrections legislative healthcare policy report on correctional health, and Louisiana’s first-ever statewide report on grandparents raising grandchildren.
She recently authored, “Front & Center: the Role, Trends, and Future of Practical Nursing in Pennsylvania,” a landmark report for the PA Association of Practical Nursing Administrators. She has spearheaded numerous Pennsylvania policy initiatives as a cabinet secretary and as a consultant, one of which successfully preserved the state health centers throughout the Commonwealth. She has guided Mercyhurst University’s strategic direction among nursing and allied health programs focusing on adult learners and has overseen their student evaluation process.
Dr. Rhodes has just completed a year-long project on the "Impact of Technology on Health Care Jobs" forecasting the impact of AI, Machine Learning, Systems of Intelligence, Robotics, Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning, Big Data, Digitalization, and the Internet of Things on 12 health care occupations represented by 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds. She facilitated Thought Leader Work Sessions, and oversaw the research and Key Informant Interviews along with designing and analyzing 1,300 surveys from front-line health care workers culminating into a 170-page report identifying the tech savvy training needs and opportunities workers face in a high-tech world.
She has authored two books: “Breast Cancer: Covered or Not? A Guidebook on Insurance” advising women how to navigate insurance and public programs to finance their treatment and a national award-winning book, “The Essential Guide to Caring for Aging Parents” (Penguin Books). Dr. Rhodes has received numerous state and national awards for her work in public policy and public service. She holds a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University and received an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Drexel University.
Dr. Johnny J. Mack
A social entrepreneur and scholar-practitioner with expertise in the subject areas of peace, conflict, and social change and movements, Dr. Mack has traveled extensively throughout the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia working in the fields of peace, development, conflict, and nonviolent social change.
He is the former director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change. He founded Communities Without Boundaries, International, a NGO that works to build peace through development, research, education, and technical assistance in under-privileged, conflict, and post-trauma-conflict communities around the globe. He has served as Managing Director of the Atlanta office of Mercury, LLC, the international high-stakes public strategy firm. He has also served as president of the Drum Major Institute, a New York based NGO founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is also a founding member of the board of directors of Realizing the Dream, Inc., with Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King, III. Dr. Mack also founded a global research and consulting firm that works across sectors – private, public, and community – focusing on strategic, advisory, development, and public affairs services to business, government, and nonprofit organizations.
In addition to holding degrees in business and theology from Oakwood University, he earned a doctorate at the School for Conflict Analysis & Resolution at George Mason University. A certified public accountant, he also holds a certificate from the National Forum of Black Public Administrators’ Executive Leadership Institute. He is the senior scholar at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University and the Henry Hart Rice Fellow at George Mason University; a senior advisor on domestic policy to Search for Common Ground, board member of YouthBuild USA.
Ms. Homer has over 35 years of experience in government finance and administration. She served as Cabinet Secretary for the Delaware Division of Administration, during which time she was responsible for all aspects of state procurement, contracting, fleet management, capital programs, state printing, strategic planning, and other state administrative responsibilities. Overseeing a budget of over $100 million, she has received numerous awards for leadership and management, including having created the first Delaware Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise.
While responsible for the state’s Division of Administration, Ms. Homer conducted several performance reviews of agency operations and services, resulting in several improvements. Most notably, she consolidated fleet management, saving the state $7 million in the first two years of operation, and restructured the Printing and Publishing Unit resulting in a positive cash flow. She also identified growing demands for services and was able to position the department to meet those demands.
Ms. Homer led our Continuous Improvement Program Project for a Port Authority of national and global significance, and was a key member of successful statewide Colorado and Iowa Performance Reviews, where she was responsible for reviewing departmental administrative functions, fleet management, and procurement review. She is also the founder of a K-12 charter school in Delaware.
Dr. Ester G. Smith
Dr. Smith is a research and evaluation specialist with more than 30 years of experience in the design, implementation and management of evaluations, needs assessments, strategic plans, survey design and implementation, data analysis, and focus group facilitation in the Education, Healthcare, and Human Services areas.
In the Education arena she has conducted organizational assessments, management and performance reviews and program evaluations for education agencies, school districts, and regional education centers in Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Illinois, Utah, Arizona, and Wisconsin. She has evaluated the planning, implementation, operations, and outcomes of programs and systems serving kindergarten, elementary, secondary and post-secondary students. Her work has included ethnically diverse populations and special populations such as at-risk students, economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners (ELLs), and students with disabilities.
Within the context of these projects, Dr. Smith has reviewed legislation, policy and operational documents; accessed secondary data; designed interview protocols and observation forms; designed and implemented paper, telephone and online surveys; and conducted classroom observations. Dr. Smith is a highly experienced and skilled facilitator and led individual and group interviews and focus groups with district and local administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, students, and community members.
In the Healthcare and Human Services areas, Dr. Smith has worked as a researcher and evaluator in Texas, Georgia and Florida as well as nationally, and internationally. In Texas, she has conducted multiple projects for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), including organizational assessments and the development of strategic plans. She worked with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS), and the Office of the Inspector General. She participated in the development of 10-year strategic plans for the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).
In Georgia she worked with the Georgia Department of Community Health on redesigning solutions for the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance (CHIP) programs to ensure access to quality care and address objectives specified under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Dr. Smith led the data collection/outreach component of the project moderating 25 focus groups representing seven stakeholder groups throughout the state. The groups included consumers and consumer advocates, physicians, hospital administrators, behavioral health professionals, administrators of long-term care facilities, home and community-based services administrators, home health administrators, dentists, pharmacists and DME suppliers. The focus groups addressed issues relating to the operations, effectiveness and efficiency of current Medicaid and CHIP programs, ideas for change and improvement, challenges in implementing changes, and challenges associated specifically with persons receiving long term care services and people who are aged, blind or have disabilities.
In Florida, she participated in a comprehensive community health and human services needs and assets assessment for the Broward County Human Services Department. The needs assessment evaluated the current community capacity and delivery system, documented human services needs in the county, and included a system strategic analysis addressing access to services, coordination of funders and providers, assessed impact of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid reform, evaluated efficiency and revenue associated with direct services, and made recommendations regarding Human Services Department reorganization.
Dr. Smith has worked on healthcare policy issues with state agencies and state medical associations and with federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (U.S. Public Health Service), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Institute of Medicine, and the U.S. Federation of State Medical Boards. She has a wealth of experience working with healthcare policy makers, administrators, providers, consumers and consumer advocates.
She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communications Research, University of Illinois, a M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Management, Boston University, a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois and a B.A. in Political Science/Literature from Bar-Ilan University, Israel.
Brennan L. Bratton, MPH, DrPH(c)
Brennan Bratton, a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, has over a decade of experience in public health, including community-based participatory research, health policy analysis, and applied experiences in intervention design, implementation, and evaluation.
Ms. Bratton worked as a case manager and outreach organizer for UNITY of New Orleans, where she helped to employ innovative strategies leading to an unprecedented humanitarian effort after Hurricane Katrina, rehousing over 300 individuals in 30 days. Her experience in New Orleans forever shaped her understanding of public health and spurred a desire to gain a more rigorous theoretical understanding of health disparities and effective interventions to reverse them and was interviewed by CNN for her efforts in New Orleans.
As a result, she went on to attend Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She worked as a data analyst for the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons’ Center for Family and Community Medicine and a graduate research assistant on the Black LIFE study (Linking Inequality, Feelings and the Environment), undertaking data collection through field work, data entry, coding and organization, and key informant interviews. She also conducted a rigorous public health “intervention mapping model” for Pathways to Housing, Inc., a national leader in combating homelessness, including a needs/assets assessment, two focus groups, and a literature review.
After completing her Master of Public Health degree, Brennan was offered the Assistant Community Program Manager position of the community-based participatory study, Project HEED (Help Educate to Eliminate Diabetes), an NIH-funded study in East Harlem. Brennan recruited study participants, administered surveys in English and Spanish, collected biological data, managed a caseload of over 120 participants, conducted community outreach, and organized recruitment events and peer-led workshops.
Brennan continued her efforts in community-based participatory research and outreach as the Community Outreach and Research Translation Program Coordinator at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, where she developed a holistic educational campaign based on mixed methods research methodologies including surveys, key informant interviews, and focus groups, which has been featured at four national conferences. During her doctoral traineeship in the Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity, at Columbia, she worked as a research assistant on several different research projects and spearheaded a community-based participatory research project that required extensive field notes, conducting key informant interviews, in-depth interviews and focus groups. Brennan presented the project at the American Public Health Association Annual meeting.
Brennan is a member of a working group in the Mailman School’s Epidemiology department, and a consultant for Public Works. She is currently conducting a mixed methods investigation of the role of food practices and dispositions play in cardiometabolic health in a neighborhood undergoing gentrification. This work requires a systemic synthesis and critique of the literature to understand the current landscape and possible gaps for innovation, key informant interviews with an array of stakeholders and experts, in-depth interviews with participants, focus groups with young adults, ethnographic interviews, and comprehensive longitudinal data analyses.
Betsy has more than twenty-five years of experience in public policy development and analysis, project management, communications and government affairs. Ms. Mullins has worked as an independent consultant specializing in public affairs campaigns. Mullins was President and CEO of Women’s Campaign Fund and its sister non-profit, "She Should Run," the nation’s oldest, and largest nonpartisan group dedicated to electing more women to public office.
For six years, she served as the lead on federal policy issues for TechNet, a national policy network of the nation’s leading technology CEOs. Mullins also served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and as the Executive Director of Secretary Richardson’s External Advisory Board. Mullins formerly worked as a media consultant and helped launch a national non-profit dedicated to voter participation. She started her career as a business reporter in Miami. Mullins earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.
Daniela has over fifteen years of experience in government, management, strategic planning, communications strategy, and change management. Daniela’s diverse background includes policy development, communications, system improvement and the intersection of all four. Daniela has helped organizations perform more efficiently by analyzing and providing recommendations to improve organizational structure, management, policies and procedures, and executive positioning.
As a Senior Consultant at APCO Worldwide, Daniela successfully developed and executed communications and executive positioning strategy to expand Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company’s prominence locally, regionally and internationally. While living in Abu Dhabi Daniela managed the strategy around a variety of messes and themes to showcase Masdar’s impact on the global energy industry, developed and pitched storylines to key global markets, wrote press releases, opinion pieces, and leveraged high-level stakeholders to build long term strategic partnerships and relationships with thought leaders and decision makers from around the globe.
Prior to joining the consulting world, Daniela served as the Deputy Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Economic Development. As the Deputy Cabinet Secretary her responsibilities included strategic development of policies to recruit and attract business and jobs to the state of New Mexico. Prior to this position, Daniela served as Director of Cabinet Affairs and Deputy Director of Political, Policy and Legislative Affairs for Governor Bill Richardson. Daniela managed 33 executive agencies, 21 cabinet secretaries and 12 executive directors to ensure that priority policy initiatives were realized throughout state government. In this role, Daniela helped agencies institute change management principles throughout state agencies including managing personnel and hiring processes.
Daniela graduated with honors from Georgetown University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Government. She attended the program in Driving Government Performance at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in 2005.
Emma is a Research Associate with Brain Storm, where she advised and provided support to political campaigns across the country regarding public policy. Emma has conducted research on and developed materials for internal use and publication on policy areas ranging from healthcare to economic development.
In addition to this role, she was part of the new business development team with a special focus on performance reviews for municipal and state governments. Emma also has experience in government relations and legislative research from her time in the non-profit sector. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English and French from the University of Texas at Austin with a Business Certificate from the McCombs School of Business.
Lacy joined Public Works in June 2017 after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Brown University with an A.B. in Public Policy. Lacy has conducted research and formed recommendations on human capital investment, and conducted a data collection and research project pertaining to rising teacher pension plan expenditures for a national education non-profit, developing a methodology and analyzing in-depth the Comprehensive Annual Financial Reviews (CAFR) of each state.
Lacy also consulted for a subsidiary of one of Hong Kong's largest corporations, the Sun Hung Kai company, on engaging in corporate social responsibility.
Dr. Danielle Gold
Danielle has nearly 30 years of experience designing, directing and coordinating education, health, and business projects in developing countries. She holds a doctorate in Behavioral Health, and two master’s degrees; one in Counseling & Psychology, and another in Poetics. She began her international career as a literature teacher at ‘Atenisi University in Tonga, and has taught at World College West in California, and at The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.
Her international career includes ten years as Ghana Country Director for ORT International, Executive Director of UK Jewish Aid in Development, and consultant on projects in Zimbabwe, Ghana, Liberia, and Argentina, as well as serving on the executive board of Tzedek for Development, a London-based NGO. In 2014 Danielle founded Fearless Planet, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women through economic advancement. In addition to her work in international humanitarian aid, Danielle is also a practicing psychotherapist and is on the faculty of Goddard College where she teaches a course on counseling refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants.
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