Voinovich Fellows

Professional Fellows

Andrew Alexander

Andrew Alexander

Former Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander is an award-winning journalist and news industry leader who has been a reporter, editor and Washington bureau chief during a career that spans more than four decades. As a strong open government advocate, he has written and spoken extensively about the public’s right to know and the dangers of excessive government secrecy.

In 1997, he was named Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers, overseeing a staff in the nation’s capital and foreign bureaus in London, Jerusalem, Beijing, Moscow, Mexico City, Baghdad and the Caribbean, as well as bureaus in New York and on the West Coast. During his time as chief, the Cox Washington bureau shared in the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting.

Alexander serves on numerous boards related to journalism. He is a Senior Advisor to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, helping foreign journalists who have been subjected to attacks, arrests and harassment by repressive regimes. 

He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication. In 2011 he was inducted into its Hall of Fame and also was named Ohio University’s Alumnus of the Year. In 2013, he received an honorary doctorate of communication from Ohio University and was its undergraduate commencement speaker.

In addition to his work with the Voinovich School, he is a Visiting Professional at the Scripps College of Communication


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R. Gregory Browning

Greg Browning is the president of Capital Partners, a Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm specializing in public policy and management strategy. From 1991 to 1998, Browning was Director of the Ohio Office of Budget and Management during the two terms of then-Ohio Gov. George Voinovich, for whom the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is named. In this cabinet position, Browning was Ohio’s chief financial officer.

During this period, he provided advice on health care, education, tax and fiscal policy and major systems reforms.

Browning has served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Governor's Commission on Student Success, the Ohio Commission to Reform Medicaid, and the State Medical Board of Ohio. In conjunction with his Professional Fellow position with the Voinovich School, Browning has been a member of its Strategic Partners Group. He is a past member and chairman of the Ohio University Board of Trustees.

Browning is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the National Governors Association, the Timothy I. Murphy Excellence in Government Award from the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association and the Outstanding Alumni Award from the Ohio University Department of Political Science.

Browning holds a bachelor's degree from Ohio University, where he studied history and philosophy, and a doctorate in education from The Ohio State University.


Benjamin Cross

Benjamin Cross

Dr. Benjamin Cross is the founder of NuSynergy Energy, LLC, a company focused on the synergistic integration of energy systems and energy collaborations. Previously, Cross worked with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site and Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) for 25 years. His last assignment at SRNL was as a senior advisor for the Clean Energy Directorate. In that role, he provided strategic and technical support to renewable, alternative, and nuclear energy programs and projects.

In his work as a Professional Fellow with the Voinovich School, he provides support to its efforts to repurpose the Department of Energy’s Portsmouth Site in Piketon, Ohio. Additionally, Cross has provided strategic and technical support to the Federal Southeast Regional Group for Energy Security/Sustainability (SERGES), a collaboration of regional federal executives with a view to better implement federal energy requirements and energy-related matters in the southeastern United States.

From 2010 to 2011, Cross was a senior advisor to DOE-Headquarters Asset Revitalization Initiative and a member of its core team. This special assignment included defining the “Energy Park” concept for revitalizing DOE sites and developing the framework for its implementation.

Cross holds a Bachelor Science of Mechanical Engineering (BSME), a Master Business Administration (MBA) and a Doctorate of International Business Administration (DIBA).



Jeff Finkle

Jeff Finkle serves as the Voinovich School's Appalachian New Economy Partnership Fellow. A recognized leader and international authority on economic development, Finkle is President and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the world's largest economic development membership organization. He contributes his expertise on community revitalization, business development and job creation to projects nationwide. 

As head of IEDC, Finkle oversees an organization with more than 5,000 members across he United States, as well as Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and other nations. Finkle has established multilateral partnerships with regional and national economic development organizations around the world.

A former Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Finkle also has been a longtime leader in community service and philanthropy. In 2005, he organized 250 economic development volunteers to work in Gulf Coast communities endeavoring to recover from Hurricane Katrina. And in 1989 he founded the Bollinger Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to children who have lost a parent who worked in the field of economic development.

Finkle received a Bachelor of Science degree in communications in 1976 from Ohio University and pursued graduate studies in business administration at The Ohio State University.



Merry Foresta

Merry A. Foresta is a consultant to universities, museums and other institutions advising on collections and ways to foster innovation. Her clients include the University of Virginia, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, and the Smithsonian Archives of American Art. From 2000-2010 she served as the founding Director of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative, a program dedicated to greater public access and use of the Smithsonian's vast collections of photographic media, and the Smithsonian's first virtual platform of interactive programs devoted to photography.

She joined the Smithsonian Institution in 1977 and was named the museum's first Curator of Photography in 1983. She later became the Senior Curator of Photography for the Smithsonian's International Art Museums Division. At the Smithsonian, Foresta built one of the world's premier collections of American photography. She is the author of numerous catalog essays and articles. Foresta authored “At First Sight: Photography and the Smithsonian” (2002) which featured a broad sampling of photographs from Smithsonian collections. Another book, "Photography Changes Everything," co-edited with Marvin Heiferman, was published by Aperture in June 2012. More recently, she authored “Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty,” an acclaimed book on the work of one of the 20th Century’s most celebrated photographers.



Beverly Jones

Beverly Jones of Washington, D.C., consults on leadership matters and coaches executives and professionals to address strategic challenges, navigate transitions, and create more productive work lives. Her broad client base includes the Federal Reserve Board, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Academies of Sciences Institute of Medicine, as well as trade associations, universities, attorneys, media executives, wealth managers and other professionals.

Jones is an attorney who for 13 years led external affairs and policy matters for Consolidated Natural Gas Company, a Fortune 300 energy and utility company. In addition to her law degree and leadership coaching certificate from Georgetown University, Jones holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism and a master's degree in Business Administration from Ohio University, as well as a certificate on senior management in government from Harvard's Kennedy School. Jones began her legal career at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Before law school, she established the first Affirmative Action program at Ohio University.

Jones is the author of the 2015 Career Press best-seller, “Think Like an Entrepreneur, Act Like a CEO: 50 Indispensable Tips to Help You Stay Afloat, Bounce Back, and Get Ahead at Work.” She is also host of the “Jazzed About Work” podcast, nationally distributed by NPR.


Donald May

Donald May

Don May is the Executive Vice President of Payment and Health Care Delivery Policy for AdvaMed. The Advanced Medical Technology Association, a trade association headquartered in Washington, DC, advocates on a global basis for the highest ethical standards, timely patient access to safe and effective products, and economic policies that reward value creation. With nearly 300 members, AdvaMed has a presence in countries around the globe.

The Association acts as the common voice for companies producing medical devices, diagnostic products and health information systems. Prior to this position, May served as managing director of the Farragut Square Group, which provides policy analysis and strategic guidance on federal and state healthcare legislative and regulatory matters. Before that, he spent 12 years with the American Hospital Association as its Vice President for Policy.

May received his B.A. in political science and government from Ohio University and holds an MPA in public administration and health policy from The Ohio State University. May was the 2017 recipient of the Voinovich School’s annual Federal Government Alumni Award. 


Rob Painter

Rob Painter

As a managing director at Razor’s Edge Ventures, Rob Painter advises and invests in early-stage, venture-backed companies. His focus is on investments in big data, sensors, space, as well as visualization, situational awareness and geospatial mission tools. Prior to his work at Reston, Va.-based Razor’s Edge, he was a business product manager for Google, where he specialized in supporting and providing technology for global humanitarian assistance and disaster response activities. 

Painter also was Chief Technologist and Senior Manager for Google Federal, focused on promoting and implementing Google Enterprise solutions for a host of users across the intelligence and defense communities. Before Google, he was Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel, the strategic private equity firm of the U.S. intelligence community. In addition, Painter’s entrepreneurial experience includes launching Encompass Technologies, Inc., a K-through-12 desktop mapping company created to infuse geography into the classroom.

Painter earned a bachelor’s degree in geography and computer science from Ohio University.


Wilhelm, David

David Wilhelm

David Wilhelm’s career has spanned the worlds of energy, finance, politics, academia, and public policy. In addition to helping form and guide a variety of energy and venture capital firms, he has been involved in politics from the local to the national levels, including serving as the youngest ever Chair of the Democratic National Committee. Currently, he is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer with Hecate Energy, a leading developer, owner and operator of solar, natural gas, wind, and energy-storage projects. 

He has been a Founder and President of Woodland Venture Management, a company with the goal of raising and investing private equity in parts of the country underserved by the nation's financial industry. In that capacity, Wilhelm founded Adena Ventures, a venture capital fund targeting central Appalachia, and Hopewell Ventures, a second fund focused on entrepreneurial investing in a seven-state region stretching from Ohio to Nebraska. 

Wilhelm also was the founding Partner of Empower, a Columbus, Ohio-based energy services company designed to help communities capture the economic benefit of their spending on electricity through local generation projects and the deployment of energy efficiency strategies. | 


Michael J. Zimmer

Michael J. Zimmer works with the Voinovich School and Russ College of Engineering on a wide range of energy and water issues, as well as project management and public-private partnership development issues in the Appalachian region. A longtime attorney based in Washington, D.C., he is a national expert on energy policy, corporate sustainability, clean tech transactions and finance. 

Zimmer has been at the forefront of public policy changes since serving as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel of the American Gas Association to the National Energy Plan and advanced natural gas technologies and liquefied natural gas in the late 1970s. He led the American Bar Association's (ABA) Renewables and Distributed Energy Committee from 2008 to 2010, and led the ABA Energy and Environmental Markets and Finance Committee from 2010 to 2012.

In the early 1980's, Zimmer led seminal efforts to establish the cogeneration and renewable energy industry nationwide. In the late 1980's, he helped form the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, promoting the use of natural gas in motor vehicles. By the early 1990's success with cogeneration merged into formation of the national independent power production ("IPP") sector, and increased recognition of district heating and waste heat recovery.

He has been educated at Providence College and University of Baltimore School of Law, and attended courses at Brown University and the Northwestern Kellogg School of Business.


Professional Fellows - Emeritus

Burke, W. Warner

W. Warner Burke

W. Warner Burke is Edward Lee Thorndike Professorship of Psychology and Education with the Teachers College at Columbia University. He also is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Burke has extensive consulting experience with a variety of organizations in business-industry, education, government, religious, and medical systems.

He has authored over 100 articles and book chapters in organizational psychology and authored, co-authored, or edited 14 books. He has received numerous awards, including in 1989 the Public Service Medal from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in 1990 the Distinguished Contribution to Human Resource Development Award, in 1993 the Organization Development Professional Practice Area Award for Excellence-The Lippitt Memorial Award-from the American Society for Training Society and Development, and in 2003 both the Distinguished Scholar-Practitioner Award from the Academy of Management and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the OD Network, devoted to leading professionals and practitioners in creating effective, healthy organizations.

Professor Burke earned his B.A. from Furman University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin. Prior to coming to Columbia’s Teachers College in 1979, he served in senior positions at Clark University, the NTL Institute for Applied Behavioral Science, and as executive director of the OD Network.


Jo Ann Davidson Website

Jo Ann Davidson

Jo Ann Davidson is the president of JAD and Associates LLC in Columbus, Ohio, a consulting firm founded in 2001 that provides strategic planning, public policy and public affairs advice to a broad client base. Davidson held a career in public service for over 30 years before serving as Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1995-2000.

During her time in the legislature, she served as Minority Leader, a member of the Executive Committee of the National Conference of State Legislators and Chairman of the Midwestern Council of State Governments. Davidson has since served as Interim Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Chairman of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2008 Republican National Convention and Chairman of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.

Davidson was named Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine, Legislator of the Year by the National Republican Legislator’s Association, received Good Housekeeping’s Award for Women in Government, and was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, as well as being recognized by the YWCA as a Woman of Achievement.

She holds honorary degrees from Ohio University, The Ohio State University, Franklin University, Capital University and the University of Findlay.


Faculty Fellows


DeLysa Burnier

DeLysa Burnier is a Professor of Political Science within Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences. She also is the George V. Voinovich Faculty Fellow at the Voinovich School. Her research interests have included gender and public administration, gender and leadership, teaching pedagogy, interpretive approaches to policy analysis, and political autobiography.  Specifically, her work has focused on the development of a care-centered public administration.

Dr. Burnier was named the first ever Presidential Teacher at Ohio University in 2001.  Her other teaching awards include the student-selected University Professor Award, the College of Arts & Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Jeanette Grasselli Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2006 she received the distinguished mentor award from the Honors College at Ohio University.

Dr. Burnier teaches classes in Public Administration and American Politics.  They include: Organization Theory, Interest Group Politics, the graduate seminar in American Politics, and the introductory course in American Politics.  She has directed many master’s and honors theses.   Her students work around Ohio and the region in government, nonprofits, universities and community colleges.  

She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Her B.A. also is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with highest distinction in political science.  


Dr. Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson

Dr. Kelly Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences within Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences. She also holds the title of American Electric Power Watershed Research and Reclamation Professor at the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Her research interests are primarily in the field of insect physiological ecology, with a particular emphasis on responses of aquatic organisms to environmental stressors related to acid mine drainage (acidity, sulfate, and elevated metals). A secondary but related interest is the digestive physiology and energy expenditure of herbivorous and detritus feeding insects.

Johnson’s research group has helped coordinate biological sampling at over 70 long-term monitoring sites in eastern Ohio, in cooperation with local watershed groups, the Voinovich School, and several state and federal agency partners. These data are valuable for tracking the success of remediation efforts for streams in the region. These and other historical statewide fish and macroinvertebrate distribution data are used to develop more predictive models of ecological recovery of these highly-impaired streams.

Johnson is author of over 25 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, a member of the Entomological Society of America, the North American Benthological Society and Sigma Xi, a science honor society. She served as an associate editor for Environmental Entomology from 2003-2007, and as a guest editor for two special issues of Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology on insect nutrition, as well as reviewer for numerous journals. She has served as ad hoc reviewer for the National Science Foundation and as a panel member for several national competitive grants programs for the USDA and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She received her Ph.D. from Michigan State University.