A native of Western Pennsylvania, I was born, raised, and currently live in a working class steel mill town on the outskirts of Allegheny County. I am the beneficiary of four generations of organized labor and relish the fact that my hometown still has an operational steel rolling mill. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 and Master of Science concentrating in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Chatham University (formerly Chatham College) in 2002.
I spent 15 years of my career as a substance abuse and mental health counselor and served as a program manager and director in treatment systems in multiple Western PA counties. In 2003, I began working at the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addiction (IRETA) as their Process Improvement Manager. My work was dedicated to reducing the 10-year information gap between best-practice research and clinical integration throughout Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.
During that time, I had the privilege to train under the direction of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, where I learned supply chain logistics and lean process improvement strategies to eliminate errors, increase effectiveness, reduce waste, and improve outcomes in large systems. While at IRETA, I served as an opiate addiction consultant on the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) 25 Cities Initiative.
In 2006, I designed, successfully state-licensed, and operated the first and only orthomolecular recovery program for addiction in Pennsylvania. This program raised nearly $2 million in venture capital funding and was featured twice in Industrial Engineer Magazine for using supply chain management principles and lean systems to improve effectiveness. Not willing to succumb to common claims of over-regulation in the substance abuse treatment system by some providers, I set a goal to achieve a perfect evaluation in the clinic's annual state audit and achieved it.
In 2014 and 2016, I was the Democratic nominee for the United State Congress in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District serving Cambria, Somerset, Beaver, Westmoreland, Lawrence, and Allegheny Counties. Being on the ballot with Donald Trump and seeing first-hand the issues of rural and working-class voters ignored by my own party was an experience and a conscious awareness that I carry with me to this day.
In 2015 I began performing process improvement and policy work at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS). My work includes redesigning the organization's employee performance management system, developing a merit-based hiring process and policy, writing the employee medical marijuana policy, and identifying points of systemic-bias in the employee recruitment and retention processes. Every day I work to standardize employees' work, eliminate systemic bias, and advocate for blame-free work-place principles that protect workers, improve morale, and decrease turn-over and other forms of systemic loss.
I have thoroughly enjoyed starting and operating a small business and working to improve government systems, processes, and policies while advocating for our public-sector workers. My experience has taught me, in any large complex adaptive system, it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are if you don’t have viable systemic answers to two fundamental questions: What problem are you trying to solve and what is the root cause of this problem? The devil lies completely in the details of the policy solutions you implement. And it’s time we elect a responsible, honest-broker to oversee the Commonwealth’s Treasury who is committed to rebuilding our state’s supply chain with transparency and integrity and managing our taxpayer’s coffers with diligence and accountability.