2018 PHELAP Speakers

Slide Decks & Notes

Session VIII - Breakout Sessions: "Tables Turned: Alumni Association & Government Relations"

Session VI - Discussion Session: "Making the CASE for Higher Education"

Session IX - Panel: "Avoiding Interim Drop-off"


Speaker Bios

Jennifer Abrams
Development Assistant
Georgia Tech Athletic Association

Jennifer Abrams is a Development Assistant in the Alexander-Tharpe Fund for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association. A May 2017 graduate of Georgia Tech, Jen began full-time at Georgia Tech shortly after her time as a student in the fall of 2017. During Jen’s time at Tech she was heavily involved on campus in the marching band, new student orientation, Black Student Organizations, the Department of Housing and Residence Life, and the Center for Student Engagement, just to name a few. Jen served as the Student Body President during the 2015-2016 academic year providing her the opportunity to serve on numerous boards, search committees, and task forces around the Institute. Additionally, she represented the student body at the state and national level. She had the opportunity to intern for the Georgia General Assembly, the Office of the Georgia Secretary of State, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services while studying to earn a degree in Public Policy.

Following her time at Tech Jen has remained involved with Georgia Tech, outside of work, through the Alumni Association serving on the board of the Women’s Alumnae Network and being an active member of the Black Alumni Organization. Jen is a member of the inaugural Leadership Academy class through the Miller Institute Foundation, serves with the Westside Volunteer Corps through the Westside Future Fund, and is an active runner and member of the Atlanta Track Club.

Courtney Acitelli
UW Impact Program Director
University of Washington Alumni Association

Courtney leads the management of operations and strategic direction of UW Impact programs. Courtney spent a decade working in alumni relations and earned her master’s degree from the UW’s Evans School of Public Affairs before taking the helm of UW Impact in late 2010. Courtney stays busy with her son, rooting on the Seahawks and sailing around the Puget Sound with her husband.

Casey Aultman
State Relations Manager
Georgia Tech Government & Community Relations

Casey Aultman joined the Georgia Tech Office of Government and Community Relations in May 2013.  In this role she serves as the primary state government liaison for the Institute and manages legislative advocacy initiatives.  She has represented Georgia Tech under the Gold Dome for five legislative sessions.  Casey graduated from Georgia Tech in 2013 with a Bachelor’s of Science in International Affairs and Modern Languages. Among other campus involvements, Casey participated in three internships in Atlanta and two study abroad programs in South America, worked as a student assistant in Institute Events and Protocol, and received a President’s Undergraduate Research Award in the School of Modern Languages.  Currently, she is completing a master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Georgia.

Casey serves on several local and national professional organizations including the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council, the Technology Association of Georgia Government Relations Taskforce, the National Taskforce for Higher Education Government Relations, and the Inherit Georgia Board of the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.  Casey is the immediate past president of the Georgia Tech Atlanta Intown Alumni Network and is a member of the inaugural class of the Zell Miller Foundation Leadership Academy.  

Daniel Becka
Vice President of Constituent Relations
Texas Exes, University of Texas at Austin

Becka is currently the Vice President of Constituent Relations at Texas Exes, the official alumni association for The University of Texas at Austin. He is primarily focused on educating, organizing and engaging the vast network of Longhorns in the political process with the goal of advancing the University and higher education in the State of Texas.

Prior to his work with Texas Exes, Becka was the Director of Governmental Relations for Texans for Economic Development, where he was charged with the responsibility of increasing economic growth in the state and revitalizing the eroding Texas horse and greyhound racing industry. There his work provided the opportunity to guide the development of the overall public relations strategy, manage the group’s PAC, aid in the coordination of lobbying activities and implement the grassroots action plan of the organization.

Becka has also worked in the Texas political arena for Johnson and Johnson, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, and Protecting You/Protecting Me, a program sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. He holds a B.A. in Government from The University of Texas at Austin and was active in student government and multiple community service organizations while on campus.

Beth Bell
Director of Advocacy
Clemson University

Beth Bell has served as Director of Advocacy in Clemson University’s governmental affairs office in Columbia since July 2005. Bell, a native of Laurinburg, N.C., graduated from Clemson in 1994. She began her career at CBS Sports in New York. During her time at CBS, she covered such events as the NCAA men's basketball tournament Final Four, the 1998 Winter Olympic Games, the PGA tour and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.

In 1998, she returned to South Carolina to work for the Family Circle Cup tennis tournament in Hilton Head as director of corporate hospitality and sponsorship sales and fulfillment. In 2000, she joined the executive staff of South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges as Director of Scheduling.  Prior to coming to Clemson, she worked as a national corporate lobbyist and public affairs specialist for Advance America Inc. in Spartanburg.

As Director of Advocacy, Bell oversees and manages Clemson's legislative grassroots advocacy program, recruits and trains new advocates and manages a database of 4300 active Clemson alumni and student advocates who are called upon to communicate with members of the South Carolina General Assembly and the U.S. Congress about issues of importance to Clemson and higher education.

Jazmine Boucard
Legislative Assistant
Senate Appropriations Committee

Jazmine is the Legislative Assistant to Chairman Jack Hill and the Senate Appropriations Committee. She graduated Cum Laude with an Associate of Arts in Communication from Georgia Perimeter College in 2015. She then graduated Summa Cum Laude from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2017. During the 2017 Legislative Session, Jazmine was the Senate intern to the Retirement Committee and Press office.  Jazmine is from Alpharetta, Georgia.

Tricia Chastain
Executive Vice Chancellor of Administration
University System of Georgia

Tricia Chastain is Executive Vice Chancellor of Administration for the University System of Georgia (USG). The Administration Division oversees business operations of the USG and its 26 institutions in the areas of Real Estate and Facilities, Legal Affairs, Human Resources, Campus Safety and Organizational Effectiveness.

Prior to joining USG, Chastain served as President of the Georgia Student Finance Commission (GSFC) where she led the administration of Georgia's 22 scholarship, grant and loan programs including the lottery-funded HOPE Programs and the Move on When Ready program.

Tricia has also served as the Associate Vice President for Government Relations at the University of Georgia.  She began her career in government working in the office of U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson.

Tricia is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She lives in Roswell with her two children and is a member of St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church.

Andrew Dill
Government Relations
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company

Andrew currently serves as the Director of Government Relations for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Marietta, GA. He represents the company to federal, state, and local officials across the Southeast. He previously served as Director of Federal Relations for the University of Georgia based in Washington, DC. In that role, he served as the university’s liaison with Congress, federal departments and agencies, as well as higher education associations and advocacy groups. Prior to UGA, he was Manager of Operations and Policy for General Electric and a graduate of GE’s Experienced Commercial Leadership Program. He began his career with United States Senator Johnny Isakson in 2007.

Andrew was recognized as a member of the UGA 40 under 40 class of 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and USO Georgia. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Business Council of Washington, DC and is a past president of the Georgia State Society of Washington, DC.

Mr. Dill graduated with a double major from the UGA Terry College of Business and School of Public and International Affairs in 2006. He holds bachelor's degrees in risk management and insurance and in political science. He is also an Earl T. Leonard Leadership Scholar, member of the Blue Key Honor Society and a Richard B. Russell Leadership Fellow.

Lynn Durham
Associate Vice President & Chief of Staff
Georgia Institute of Technology

Lynn Durham is the associate vice president and chief of staff to the president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, G. P. “Bud” Peterson. She serves as a senior advisor to the president and as a member of the president’s cabinet. Within the Georgia Tech community, she works closely with Athletics, Development, Government and Community Relations, Institute Communications, Institute Diversity, Legal Affairs, Student Life, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research, and the Office of Administration and Finance, as well as with student leaders. Externally, she frequently serves as a liaison with community and state leaders, as well as the staff at the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG).  Special projects have included campus coordination of the visit by President Barack Obama to Georgia Tech in March 2015, chairing President Peterson’s task forces on mental health and sexual violence prevention, and a leadership role on the USG systemwide campus safety and security committee.

She has taught GT1000, a freshman seminar class at Georgia Tech, for seven years and is the advisor to one of the school’s oldest honor societies. Durham is a member of Leadership Georgia’s Class of 2013 and is a member of the board of directors of the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education (GaCORE) and the Atlanta Science Festival. At Georgia Tech, in 2015 she was awarded the Staff Woman of Distinction Award by the Women’s Leadership Conference, and the Honorary Ambassador Award by the Student Ambassadors organization.

Prior to her career in higher education, Durham was a congressional staff member in the district office of Congressman Larry J. Hopkins, former U.S. Representative from Kentucky, and a researcher and writer for the respected political newsletter, The Tennessee Journal. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Radford University and a Master of Public Administration from Kennesaw State University.

Mike Fahey
Managing Director of State and University Relations
University of Wisconsin-Madison Alumni Association

Mike Fahey is primarily responsible for managing WFAA’s alumni advocacy efforts, generating alumni support for University of Wisconsin-Madison public policy priorities in Madison and Washington DC. He also coordinates the statewide outreach efforts on behalf of the university and WFAA, and supervises the WFAA student and recent graduate team. 

Mike joined the Wisconsin Alumni Association in November of 2004. He previously worked as director of development for the College of Fine Arts and Communication at UW-Stevens Point. Prior to that, Mike served as press secretary for U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) in Washington DC and worked for a number of legislative leaders in the Wisconsin state senate and assembly.  

Mike is a 1989 graduate of UW-Madison with a degree in political science and a master's degree in communication studies from UW-Stevens Point.

Al Fitzpatrick
Board of Directors
Portland State University Alumni Association

Al Fitzpatrick has been connected with Portland State University for over 50 years.  He has been a student, adjunct instructor, alumni board member and volunteer advocate.  He has been a member of the PSU Advocates’ Committee for 15 years, chairing it for six years.

Al was an educator for 35 + years, serving as both a classroom teacher and as an administrator, most of that as a building principal. 

His and his wife have three children and six grandchildren.  They split their time between Portland, Oregon and Palm Springs, California.

Brian Flahaven
Senior Director for Advocacy
Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

Brian Flahaven is senior director for advocacy for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the professional association for advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications and development. He directs CASE's government relations activities and tracks federal and state legislative and regulatory issues of concern to CASE members. He also oversees CASE's public college and university foundation programs.

Prior to joining CASE, he was the manager of government relations and public policy at the Council on Foundations. He also served as the first Public Policy and Philanthropy Fellow at the Council of Michigan Foundations and worked for former Illinois Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood.

Flahaven received his bachelor's degree in political science, economics and history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his master's degree in public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

In 2016, he earned the designation of Certified Association Executive from the American Society of Association Executives. From 2011 to 2016, he served as an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner representing the southeastern Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington DC.

Jennifer Goen
Director of Government Relations
Florida Gulf Coast University

Jennifer Goen has been the Director of Government Relations at Florida Gulf Coast University since August 2005 and is a member of the President’s Executive team. Before joining FGCU, Jennifer served as Senior Legislative Assistant to Florida State Senator Mike Bennett. From 2000 to 2003 she was the first Legislative Affairs Administrator for the Florida House Finance Corporation (FHFC), where she represented the Corporation’s interests before the United States Congress, Florida Legislature, Office of the Governor, Florida Cabinet and various State agencies. While at FHFC, Jennifer was awarded the Special Friend of Affordable Housing by her colleagues for her outstanding Legislative accomplishments. Prior to her management position at FHFC, she served as a Special Assistant to Florida Speaker Tom Feeney and as Chief of Staff for Florida State Representative Greg Gay of Cape Coral.

Jennifer has a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. She was born and raised in Indiana and moved to Florida in 1990 and to Fort Myers in 1992. In addition to her employment, she served on the Florida 4-H Foundation from 2000-2010. She is a proud member of the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists (FAPL) and has earned the designation of Designated Professional Lobbyist (DPL). In addition to her association with FAPL she serves as a member of the steering committee for the national higher education advocacy organization, Public Higher Education Legislative Advocacy Professionals (PHELAP).

Tharon Johnson
Founder and Partner
Paramount Consulting Group

During his career, Tharon Johnson has served at senior levels of federal, state, and local campaigns and advised members of Congress, leaders in state government, the mayor of one of the largest cities in the nation, and a presidential campaign.  Tharon served as the National Southern Regional Director for the 2012 Obama For America campaign, leading the presidential re-election campaign efforts for 11 southern states, including two key battleground states, Florida and North Carolina.

Since 2001, Tharon has spearheaded successful campaigns for such notable officials as Congressman John Lewis, Congressman John Barrow, and Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond. He went on to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Barrow and as District Director for Congressman Lewis. Tharon’s record includes these victories, as well as numerous other elections for candidates for U.S. Congress, judge, Georgia General Assembly, county commission, city council, sheriff, and school board.

In 2012, Tharon was honored by Georgia Trend magazine as a recipient of their “40 under 40 Award,” recognizing Georgia’s Best and Brightest, and by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a recipient of their “40 under 40, Atlanta’s Rising Business and Community Leaders Award.” James Magazine named Mr. Johnson one of the top 25 most influential Georgians. Additionally, Politics Magazine named Tharon among the Top 10 Democrats in Georgia, and he was the only African-American to be named a Campaigns & Elections 2010 Rising Star. In addition to his political honors, he was awarded the Unsung Hero award by his alma mater Clark Atlanta University.

Tharon is frequently quoted in Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution Political Insider, Politico, Roll Call, The Hill, and other publications. He regularly appears as a key contributor on several news channels and television shows, including CNN, Fox 5 Georgia Gang, WSB-TV 2, and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s "Political Rewind" and Lawmakers," to provide insights and analysis of political developments at the national, state and local levels.

Stephanie Kindregan
Director of Public Affairs
Kinder Morgan, Inc.

Stephanie Kindregan serves as Director of Public Affairs for Kinder Morgan, Inc., one of the largest energy infrastructure companies in North America.  In this capacity, she organizes and oversees public campaigns for major energy infrastructure projects in the Southeast and is responsible for community engagement and political outreach.

Prior to joining Kinder Morgan, Stephanie served as the Director of Government Affairs for Delta Air Lines, where she lobbied on behalf of the company in Georgia and other southeastern states.  She previously held senior policy and government affairs roles with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority and the Georgia Department of Transportation.  Stephanie began her career as a contract lobbyist for Troutman Sanders in Atlanta, GA, where she was a Manager of State Affairs. 

Stephanie completed her undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech and has an MPA from the University of Georgia.  She is a graduate of Leadership Georgia 2014, a member of the Capitol Jackets Alumni Group, and serves on the UGA School of Public and International Affairs Alumni Board.  She and her husband, Steve, and daughters, Pip and Lark, reside in Atlanta, GA.  They attend Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, where Stephanie serves in the Flower Guild.

Fatimot Ladipo
Regional Director of External Affairs
AT&T Georgia

Fatimot Ladipo has over 15 years of experience in government and community affairs, including several years focused on education policy related issues.  Currently Ms. Ladipo is Regional Director for External Affairs for AT&T where she is responsible for advancing AT&T’s legislative and regulatory agenda at the local and state level.  She also serves as a liaison to the AT&T Foundation, administering local grant programs.

Prior to joining AT&T, Ms. Ladipo was Executive Director of Government Relations for Kennesaw State University (KSU), and has also served as Assistant Director of Federal Relations at Georgia Tech where she promoted the strategic vision and goals of the Institute as they pertained to federal research and education programs and policies. Ms. Ladipo graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in African-American Studies and earned a Master of Science in Public Policy from Georgia Tech.

Patrick Love
Budget & Policy Analyst
House Higher Education Appropriations

Patrick Love currently works as a Fiscal and Policy Analyst for the Georgia House of Representatives and provides analysis on the state’s higher education budget. In addition to his budget responsibilities, he staffs the House’s committees on Science and Technology as well as Defense and Veterans Affairs. Prior to working for the state of Georgia, he worked for both the Texas Senate and House of Representatives. He was a Legislative Aide to State Representative Dan Huberty who currently chairs the Texas House’s Committee on Public Education. In addition to public education, he provided analysis on the state’s pension systems for the representative. He has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Mike Miller
Advocacy Coordinator
University of Minnesota Office of Government & Community Relations

Mike Miller is the Legislative Advocacy Coordinator at the University of Minnesota. He works with students, faculty, staff, and any supporters to introduce them to political advocacy, helping them learn that a deep knowledge of legislative issues is not necessary to achieve results. Simply telling lawmakers why a person feels a connection to the University of Minnesota is often enough. Mike is married to Nikki and has two children, Owen, 12, and Abby, 9.

Brad Mock
Manager of Political Affairs
Georgia Association of Realtors

Brad Mock currently serves at the manager for political affairs for the Georgia Association of Realtors.  In this role he serves as a state government lobbyist for the association and manages political affairs activities for the largest association in the state.  Brad engages regularly with the local chapters of realtor associations on political recruitment and legislative advocacy.  Previously, Brad served as a political field representative with the association, managing political advocacy at the local level, and was also a staff member of the Georgia Secretary of Senate’s Office.  Brad has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Government, and a master’s degree in Public Administration, both from the University of West Georgia.  Brad is a native Georgian, and he and his wife live in Dunwoody, GA.

Dr. G. P. “Bud” Peterson
Georgia Institute of Technology

G. P. “Bud” Peterson was appointed as the 11th president of Georgia Tech on April 1, 2009. Under his leadership Georgia Tech has developed and begun the implementation of a 25-year strategic plan, exceeded the $1.5 billion goal for Campaign Georgia Tech by 20 percent, grown innovative collaborations and strategic partnerships, expanded the campus infrastructure, and increased national and global visibility. Notably in that time, applications have more than tripled, and enrollment has increased by 45 percent.

Peterson came to Georgia Tech from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he served as chancellor. Prior to that, he served as provost at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, and on the faculty and in leadership positions at Texas A&M University for 19 years. He has worked for NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

A distinguished scientist, he was appointed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, and again in 2014 by President Barack Obama, to serve as a member of the National Science Board, which oversees the NSF and advises the president and Congress on national policy related to science and engineering research and education. In 2010 he was named by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke as a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. President Obama appointed him to the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) steering committee in 2011, and to the AMP 2.0 steering committee in 2013. He is a member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education. In August 2016, he became chair of the NCAA Board of Governors, the highest governing body of the NCAA.

Peterson earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, a second bachelor's degree in mathematics, and a master's degree in engineering, all from Kansas State University. He earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He and his wife, Val, have four adult children, two of whom are Georgia Tech alumni.

Tony Roberts
President & CEO
Georgia Charter Schools Association

Tony has significant experience in the areas of associational and nonprofit management, resource development, advocacy, and government relations. His first experience in the field of charter schools came while serving as Vice President of Development for Texans CAN! Academies based in Dallas, Texas. At Texans CAN!, he was responsible for raising awareness and support for ten charter high schools, serving 7,000 at-risk youth annually in five major Texas cities.

He previously served as the Executive Director of Camp Fire USA, a children and youth development agency located in Dallas, TX. He has also served as Vice President of Development for Evergreen Foundation, where he was in charge of all fund-raising, board development, marketing and public relations. Prior to this, he served as CEO for Sertoma Center, Inc., an agency serving persons with disabilities in Knoxville, Tennessee. Additionally, he served as the CEO of a local affiliate of the National Home Builders Association in the Greater Knoxville, Tennessee area.

Tony has been a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) since 1986. He was a founding and charter member of the Smoky Mountain Chapter of AFP in Tennessee. He is also a member of the American Society of Association Executives. A native Tennessean, Tony earned the M.Div., Th.M., and Ph.D. degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He received his B.A. degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. Tony and his wife Cindy live in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Olivia Watkins
Director of Operations
Georgia Tech Government & Community Relations

Olivia Watkins currently serves as the Director of Operations in the Office of the Vice President for Government and Community Relations at Georgia Tech. She earned a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs and Spanish from Georgia Tech in 2009 and a master’s degree in Business Administration from Georgia State in 2017. Olivia is the current president of the Event Coordinators’ Network here on campus and the president-elect of the Georgia Tech Young Alumni Council. She also volunteers as a GT 1000 freshmen seminar instructor and the coach of the Georgia Tech Women’s Club Basketball team.

Chris Young
Senior Manager
Public Service Consulting at Accenture

A native of Fitzgerald, Georgia, Chris Young currently serves as a Senior Manager in Public Service Consulting at Accenture.  Chris recently transitioned from his previous role as the deputy chief of staff for the United States Department of Agriculture where he led the externally facing operations of the secretary’s office, including partnerships and public engagement, congressional relations and intergovernmental affairs, communications, and security.

Young graduated with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he earned his B.S. in History, Technology, and Society in 2000. He went on to receive a J.D. degree in 2006 from the University of Georgia School of Law. Prior to his position in Washington, Young led the International Training Center for Local Actors (CIFAL)Atlanta, a local government training arm of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. He also spent seven years as the elected president of Protocol & Diplomacy International – Protocol Officers Association (PDI-POA), a worldwide professional organization.

Young is a globally recognized subject-matter expert in leadership and organizational dynamics, international protocol, cross-cultural literacy, and negotiations. His work has taken him to more than 100 countries. Over the past decade, Young has organized visits for over 200 presidents, vice presidents, ministers, and ambassadors, as well as planned and executed more than 50 full-scale international business development trips.

Adam Yust
Alumni Advocacy Director
University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Since joining the University of Minnesota Alumni Association in December of 2015, Adam Yust has helped alumni advocate for the University of Minnesota through expanded grassroots organizing and formalized grasstops relationships.

Adam previously lived in Washington, D.C. where he worked in the United States Senate for a former comedian. After returning to the land of 10,000 lakes, Adam worked as a consultant for the Pew Charitable Trusts and various Minnesota foundations. Adam has also worked on statewide clean energy and transportation infrastructure campaigns.

A native of Minnesota, Adam earned a B.A. degree from the Morris campus of the U of M. Adam currently resides in Saint Paul with his four urban chickens, and can see the Minnesota State Capitol from his house.