January 2010 Mid-Winter Conference

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About the Speakers

Christine Bailey, CCP, GRP

Christine Bailey currently works with a unique team housed in the State Auditor’s Office that is responsible for maintaining the State’s Compensation and Classification System and providing information on employee compensation issues to the Legislature. In addition to compensation management, she has the opportunity to provide advice and guidance to state agencies, conduct research and analysis of statewide workforce and human resource issues, and prepare reports on those topics for the Texas Legislature.

Before joining the Classification team, she worked for the City of Austin. In that position, she was responsible for compensation, classification and organizational design for the City’s Water and Wastewater Utility. Before working for the city, she spent 12 years in retail management for two national clothing chains. Her primary focus in those positions was employee training and recruiting.

Bailey is a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and a Global Remuneration Professional (GRP). She earned her bachelor’s degree in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin and completed graduate work in organizational communication. She has served on the board of directors for the Central Texas Compensation and Benefits Association and as advisory board member for WorldatWork.

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Andrew Blifford

Andrew Blifford attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in history. From 1996-2002, he served in the Governmental Relations Divisions of the Texas Department of Economic Development, Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Public Utility Commission. In 2002, he joined the office of State Representative Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) as Chief of Staff. During 2006, he served as Director of the House Appropriations Committee under Chairman Pitts.

In February 2009, Blifford joined the office of Speaker Joe Straus where he currently serves as Senior Budget Advisor to the Speaker.

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Dr. Boyd Bush

Growing up among the oil fields and ranches of West Texas and the Panhandle, Dr. Boyd Bush learned at an early age the importance of hard work, education and family. Beginning with his first job mowing lawns and shoveling snow to serving today as the Professional and Organizational Development Manager for the Texas Legislative Council, Dr. Bush brings a wealth of leadership experience to each of his presentations.

With a doctorate in administration from Texas Tech University and 20 years experience as a college administrator, principal, teacher and researcher, Dr. Bush has developed a unique way of presenting material that is valuable, practical and humorous. Dr. Bush has co-authored an historical fiction novel, authored several research articles and presented at a variety of local, state and national events.

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Don Green

Don Green has served as a Senior Advisor to Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst since January of 2009 working mainly on economic development and appropriations related issues. He also serves as the Lieutenant Governor’s representative on the Bond Review Board and the Council on Competitive Government.

His 30 years in state government include 15 at the Legislative Budget Board as a Budget Analyst and Special Assistant to the Director. He has also held the Chief Financial Officer slot at the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and at the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). From 2003–09, Green was the Director of Budget and Policy for the Speaker of the House Tom Craddick and was responsible for advising members of the House on all budget and tax issues.

He was elected by state employees as a trustee on the Employees Retirement System (ERS) Board from 2001–09 and was responsible for managing the investments of a $25 billion trust fund as well as managing the state employee health care plan. He served as Chairman, Vice- Chairman and Chair of the Audit Subcommittee during his tenure on the ERS Board. Green holds a Bachelor of Science in economics and accounting, and earned his Master of Business Administration and Master of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Sarah Hicks

Sarah Hicks is the Committee Director for the Senate Finance Committee, a position she has held since September 2004. She began working for Senator Steve Ogden in 2002 as a budget analyst and then moved to her present job when he was appointed Chair of the Finance Committee. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a double degree in accounting and finance and then received her master’s degree from the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Hicks and her husband Matt live with their newest family member Wesley in Cedar Park.

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Bart Loeser

Bart Loeser is an award-winning educator and business leader, with extensive experience in a wide range of fields and industries including investment banking, health care, event management, and community-based and government organizations offering a wide range of personal and professional coaching and training skills.

As an expert in professional development, he has more than 25 years experience working with business leaders, employees and volunteer staff with various non-profit and for-profit organizations. He has worked with groups and corporations across the continental United States as well as in Australia and New Zealand, representing several major seminar training companies such as SkillPath Seminars and Solutions Training Group. Loeser continues to be one of his clients’ most highly ranked speakers, who is often characterized as engaging, optimistic, creative, effective and fun. His insightful presentation style is filled with perspective, wit and contagious enthusiasm.

Originally from Houston, he is a long-time Austin resident and an authority on management excellence and maximizing personal and professional potential. His educational background is the field of organizational psychology with a bachelor’s degree from University of Texas at Austin and post-graduate work at University of Houston-Clear Lake. Loeser honed his presentation style as a health care educator/staff manager in Houston and Austin from 1986 to 2004. Since 2004, he has worked as a consultant/trainer/executive coach in supervisory skills, leadership development, team-building, customer service and resource/priority management. In this capacity, he has coached and trained thousands of business professionals, developed curricula, facilitated workshops and coordinated speakers. He continues to be active in numerous local and national professional organizations and often offers his services pro bono to local non-profit organizations.

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William S. “Shack” Nail

William S. “Shack” Nail is Director of Governmental Relations for Employees Retirement System (ERS). He is responsible for establishing and maintaining the lines of communication between the agency and the Legislature, state officials and employee organizations and associations. His duties include setting the strategic and operational goals and objectives of the Government Relations Division, which includes a legislative liaison and research and media relations staff. He also directs efforts as agency ombudsman on governmental matters and reports directly to the Executive Director.

Nail began his career in state government in 1972 in the Office of the Governor’s Criminal Justice Division. A year later, he was named an associate director for the Texas Center for the Judiciary, where he worked with the State Bar and was responsible for the center’s legislative program. Following that, he was appointed Executive Director of the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners. His duties included the oversight of licensing procedures and the development and the implementation of agency rules. He joined ERS in 1989 and served as General Counsel until he was promoted to Deputy Executive Director in 1997 to assist the Executive Director in all functions of the agency. He served as Acting Executive Director during the transition to the current administration in 2004 and assumed his current responsibilities as Director of the newly formed Governmental Relations Division in July 2005. Prior to his service to the state of Texas, Nail was a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baylor University.

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John O’Brien

John O’Brien is Director of the Texas Legislative Budget Board (LBB). He is responsible for day-to-day management of the agency and is involved in oversight of many of the agency’s functions, including preparation of budget and policy recommendations, analysis of fiscal impact of proposed legislation and production of agency publications. He has been with the LBB since January 1989. He has worked on public education funding and school finance, and has served as liaison to the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Prior to 1989, O’Brien spent seven years with the City of Austin in various positions related to housing, community development, program analysis, planning, finance and budget. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Kalamazoo College in Michigan and is a 1981 graduate of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Ross Ramsey

Ross Ramsey is managing editor of the Texas Tribune and continues as editor of Texas Weekly, the premier newsletter on government and politics in the Lone Star State, a role he has had since September 1998. Texas Weekly was a print-only journal when he took the reins in 1998; he switched it to a subscription-based, Internet-only journal by the end of 2004 without a significant loss in subscribers. As Texas Weekly’s primary writer for nearly 11 years, he turned out roughly two million words in more than 500 editions, added a blog, a regular digest of the best in Texas political blogs, an online library of resources and documents as well as other items of interest to insiders, and a daily news clipping service that links to stories from papers across Texas.

Before joining Texas Weekly in September 1998, Ramsey was Associate Deputy Comptroller for Policy with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, also working as the agency’s Director of Communications. Prior to that 28-month stint in government, Ramsey spent 17 years in journalism, reporting for the Houston Chronicle from its Austin bureau and for the Dallas Times Herald, first on the business desk in Dallas and later as the paper’s Austin Bureau Chief. Prior to that, he wrote for regional and national magazines and newspapers as a Dallas-based freelance business writer. Ramsey got his start in journalism in broadcasting, working for almost seven years covering news for radio stations in Denton and Dallas.

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Laura Taylor-Woods

Laura Taylor-Woods is a Professional Development Specialist at the State Auditor’s Office. She was born and raised in Austin and attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Taylor- Woods is serving her 21st year in state government. Her roles at the State Auditor’s Office have varied from being the Records Manager Officer and member of Austin Human Resource Management Association, as well as a board member on the Texas Records Management Interagency Coordinating Council. Her training ranges from training trainers on skills development and techniques to communicate under pressure, new employee orientation and developing and teaching a conflict resolution class.

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J.P. Wardle

J.P. Wardle has been working in state government for 27 years and has been with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts since 1992. Wardle is the Area Manager in the Innovation and Technology Division over the HR/Payroll and Accounting systems, which include the Uniform Statewide Accounting System, Uniform Statewide Payroll/Personnel System, Human Resource Information System, Standardized Payroll/Personnel Reporting System, Texas Identification Number System, State Property Accounting and Integrated Statewide Administrative System. He is currently the Technical Project Manager on the Enterprise Resource Planning Project.

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Sandra Woodruff

Sandra Woodruff has served as the Director of Special Projects in the Fiscal Management Division since March 1, 2006. The Fiscal Management Division serves as the state’s chief accountant, a primary duty of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. The division also disburses funds and pays claims that process through the state’s accounting and payroll/ personnel systems.

Over the past 23 years, Woodruff has spent a majority of her career working on the statewide financial systems in various capacities. She participated in the implementation of the Human Resource Information System (HRIS) and subsequently in the redesign, development, implementation and conversion of HRIS for institutions of higher education. She also led a team of state and contract staff in the planning, development and implementation of the Standardized Payroll/Personnel Reporting System (SPRS). She then oversaw the conversion of agencies to SPRS. She directs staff in the planning and implementation of desktop, Web and mainframe systems in support of the Fiscal Management Division. Woodruff is currently leading the Fiscal Management team in the day-to-day activities of the Enterprise Resource Planning Project. She is also involved in the interpretation and implementation of payroll and personnel policies. Woodruff and her husband Jody enjoy traveling and fishing together.

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