Developing Qualified Workers: Pathways to Employability for High School Students and Graduates - August 10, 2015

Speaker Biographies

Stuart Andreason is the senior community and economic development adviser, specializing in human capital and workforce development, at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. His major fields of study are workforce and human capital development policy and economic development policy, with a specialization in labor market and socioeconomic conditions in metropolitan areas. Prior to joining the Atlanta Fed, Andreason was a research associate at the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he helped develop a set of indicators of livable and sustainable communities for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funded by the Ford Foundation. He was a predoctoral fellow of the Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences at Penn and a Lincoln Institute of Land Policy C. Lowell Harriss dissertation fellow. Previously, he led two nonprofit organizations focused on economic revitalization in small towns in central Virginia and worked as a research associate for the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in urban and environmental planning from the University of Virginia and a PhD in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ronald F. Ferguson's teaching, consulting, and research for more than three decades have focused on reducing economic and educational disparities. He is the faculty cochair and director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University and has also served as the faculty codirector of the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Outside of Harvard, Ferguson participates in a variety of research and policy advisory roles. These have included serving on committees at the National Research Council, the U.S. Department of Education, and national civic and philanthropic institutions, and he has advised many states and localities. He is the creator of the Tripod Project for School Improvement and, most recently, cofounder of Tripod Education Partners Inc. After 31 years on the full-time faculty at Harvard, he transitioned into an adjunct role beginning in the fall of 2014, while remaining a fellow at the Kennedy School's Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy. Ferguson earned an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and PhD from MIT, both in economics.

Steve Hollis is the co-owner and chairman of PPI, a family of manufacturing companies that include two Georgia factories: Power Partners and Gap Partners along with StampSource, based in North Carolina. Hollis is an expert on lean manufacturing and work culture. His focus is on creating a collaborative culture that brings together people, process, and technology to sustain a high level of innovation. He has many years of sales, marketing, and manufacturing experience at Georgia-Pacific and other companies. Under his leadership, PPI has won awards for its sustainable product designs, worker friendliness, community involvement, and contributions to the environment and economy. Hollis has served as campaign fundraising chair for United Way. He currently serves on the board of directors for Athens Technical Institute and the Jeannette Rankin Women's Fund. He also serves on the advisory board for Next Generation Manufacturing.

Dennis Lockhart took office March 1, 2007, as the 14th president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In this role, Lockhart is responsible for all the Bank's activities, including monetary policy, bank supervision and regulation, and payment services. In addition, he serves on the Federal Reserve's chief monetary policy body, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). From 2003 to 2007, Lockhart served on the faculty of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. He also was an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies. From 2002 to 2007, he served as chairman of the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds, a sponsor and operator of emerging markets venture capital and private equity funds. From 2001 to 2003, Lockhart was managing partner at the private equity firm Zephyr Management LP, based in New York. Prior to joining Zephyr, Lockhart worked for 13 years at Heller Financial, where he served as president of Heller International Group. In 2000, he served as chairman of the advisory committee of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. From 1971 to 1988, Lockhart held various positions, both international and domestic, with Citicorp/Citibank (now Citigroup). Lockhart serves as a director of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and the Commerce Club and is past chair of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, the Midtown Alliance, and the Carter Center's Board of Councilors. He is a trustee of Agnes Scott College, the Atlanta International School, and the Georgia Research Alliance and serves on the advisory board of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. He earned a bachelor of arts in political science and economics from Stanford University in 1968 and a master's in international economics and American foreign policy from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1971. He also attended the Senior Executive Program at MIT, Sloan School of Management, in 1994. In 2012, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by Georgia State University. He served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve from 1968 to 1974.

Janice McKenzie-Crayton serves as the president and chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA), one of the largest and oldest mentoring programs in the region. She has held this position since January 1992 and provides leadership to a diverse and multicultural staff of 35 professionals. In her more than 20 years as the chief administrator of this youth-serving organization, she has led BBBSMA through strategic growth and has expanded the reach of BBBSMA to 12 metro Atlanta counties currently serving about 2,500 children. Prior to joining Big Brothers Big Sisters, McKenzie-Clayton was the vice president for development at Spelman College after moving to Atlanta in 1988. Prior to her notable work at Spelman, McKenzie-Clayton held positions with Howard University, Hampton University, and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Howard University.

Leigh Newman is the executive director of campus operations of West Georgia Technical College, which is the third largest of the state's 23 technical colleges, and she recently received the 2014 Business Member of the Year award from the Meriwether Chamber of Commerce. Newman's occupational background includes manufacturing, health care organization management, and 16 years in economic and workforce development at Oconee Fall Line Technical College. Newman has a bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in human resources from the Terry School of Business at the University of Georgia. She also has a master's degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Benedictine University.

Melinda Pitts is the director of the Center for Human Capital Studies in the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Her major fields of study are health and labor economics. She also contributes to the Atlanta Fed's macroblog, which provides commentary on economic topics, including monetary policy, macroeconomic developments, and the Southeast economy. Prior to joining the Bank in 2002, Pitts was an assistant professor of economics at Georgia State University, in Atlanta. She also worked as an assistant professor of economics at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Maryland. Pitts has published in several journals, including Industrial Relations, the American Economic Review, Archives of Internal Medicine, and Research in Labor Economics. She is a member of the American Economic Association, International Health Economics Association, American Society of Health Economists, and the Society of Labor Economics. She received her doctorate in economics in 1997 and her master's degree in economics in 1993, both from North Carolina State University. She received her bachelor of arts degree in economics in 1987 from Clemson University.