Public Service Academy Faculty
Senator Dick Barrett
Montana State Senate
Dick Barrett is a member of the Montana State Senate. He has served on the House and Senate Taxation Committees since 2009, when he was first elected to the Legislature. He retired in 2007 from the University of Montana after 37 years on the faculty in the Department of Economics, where he is now a professor emeritus.
Representative David Bedey
House District 86
David Bedey was born and raised in Hamilton. He studied civil engineering and economics at Montana State University before accepting a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army.
During a 30-year military career, Dave served in combat units—including deployment during the Persian Gulf War—and as a professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. While on active duty, he was able to continue his formal education, earning two master’s degrees in national security studies and a doctorate in physics.
Upon retiring from the Army as a colonel, Dave returned home, where he currently works as the chief financial officer of a small engineering firm. Before being elected to the Montana House of Representatives in 2018, he served on the Hamilton School Board for nine years (chairing the board for seven of those years).
During the 2019 legislative session, Dave served on the House Appropriations Committee and on the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee for Education. Presently, he is chairing the Legislative Finance Committee’s education subcommittee, which is examining special education funding, community college funding, metrics for expressing the value of career and technical education, and funding of the state library.
Whitney was born and raised in Missoula, and graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2009. She spent nearly a decade working as a reporter in various newsrooms, including covering sports at the News-Register in McMinnville, Oregon, local government at the Ravalli Republic in Hamilton and, most recently, crime and courts for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. In November 2018, Whitney transitioned to communications work as Gallatin County’s first-ever communications coordinator. In that role, she handles both internal and external communications, community outreach, media relations and more.
Chief Administrative Officer, City of Missoula
Dale Bickell is Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Missoula, where he has served since May of 2014 directly under supervision of the mayor. Before joining the City, he worked as Chief Administrative Officer for Missoula County from 2008 to 2014 and as Missoula County’s Chief Financial Officer from 2000 to 2008. He worked previously in accounting in the private sector. Dale earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of Montana, as well as a Master of Accountancy. He became a Certified Public Accountant in Montana in 1994.
Dale is known for his management skills and his expertise in improving efficiency and productivity in his direction of highly skilled management teams.
Chief Operating Officer & Operations Services Branch Manager
Department of Public Health and Human Services
Erica Johnston serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Operations Services Branch Manager for the Department of Public Health and Human Services. She is an experienced operational leader with a demonstrated history of organizational management, including extensive budget plan development, executive planning, policy development, leadership and business optimization. In her role as Chief Operating Officer, she provides direct oversight over the agency’s budget process and serves as a primary liaison to the legislature on all financial and budget-related issues. As a member of the senior management team, Erica assists the Director by designing business plans and strategies to evaluate agency programs and activities.
Erica is passionate about public service and mentoring women to grow into leadership roles. Her work at DPHHS allows her to use her skills and talent at running operations to make a real difference in people’s lives. Erica earned an MBA with a focus in Health Administration from the Western Governors’ University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Montana State University-Billings.
Superintendent Denise Juneau
Seattle Public Schools
Superintendent Denise Juneau has championed equitable access to education throughout her career. An enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa tribes, she grew up on the Blackfeet Indian reservation. She has worked in classrooms, state agencies, and in law; and in 2008, she became the first American Indian woman to be elected to a statewide office, when she became the superintendent of public instruction in the state of Montana.
Upon her arrival as the leader of Washington’s largest K-12 school district, she set out on a comprehensive Listen and Learn tour to build a longer table and invite new perspectives into the conversation. From the feedback gathered, the district has adopted a bold five-year strategic plan focused on supporting students furthest from educational justice. Under her leadership, the district has passed two significant levies, successfully bargained a 3-year contract with the Seattle Education Association and launched the Department of African American Male Achievement. She also established the district’s first Student Advisory Board, to ensure student voice is represented in district decision-making.
Superintendent Juneau is deeply committed to ensuring each Seattle Public Schools student graduates ready for college, career, and community.
Legislative Environmental Analyst
Montana Legislative Services Division
Joe Kolman has worked with elected officials the last 15 years as a nonpartisan staffer with the Montana Legislature, including the last 8 years as director of the Environmental Policy Office. A native of Harlowton, Joe interviewed public officials for 15 years as a journalist in Montana, Nebraska, and Idaho. His first byline as a reporter was from a Harlowton City Council meeting in a story that quoted an elected official: his dad.
Montana Department of Administration
John Lewis is a member of Governor Steve Bullock’s Cabinet as the Director of the Department of Administration. Prior to this, John served for 12 years as a top advisor and Montana Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Max Baucus.
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
George Mathieus was raised in a rural community west of Missoula. He attended both MSU & U of M. George has worked for State government for the past 27 years, starting his career as a hydrologist for State Lands. Currently, he serves as the Deputy Director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. One of his goals is to continue building relationships with new and old partners while seeking common sense solutions to environmental regulation. In his spare time, George enjoys hanging out with his wife, mountain biking, woodworking, welding, hunting, fishing, and working on old cars.
Montana Budget & Policy Center
Heather O'Loughlin is the co-director for the Montana Budget & Policy Center (MBPC), a non-partisan, non-profit organization providing in-depth research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues, focusing on policies’ impacts on the lives of low- and moderate-income families. As co-director, Heather leads MBPC’s research and policy analysis. Prior to coming on board with MBPC, Heather served as the legislative director and counsel for Senator Max Baucus, managing the Senator’s legislative team. Previously, she served as legislative assistant to Senator Baucus, handling a broad policy portfolio including education, judiciary, banking and economic issues. Heather received her juris doctorate from the University of Montana School of Law and bachelor’s degrees in business-finance and economics from the University of Montana.
Commissioner Josh Slotnick
Josh Slotnick began serving as a Missoula County Commissioner in January 2019. He was a lecturer in the Environmental Studies program from 1997 to December of 2018. He co-founded the organization Garden City Harvest, and the PEAS farm and academic program at the UM.
Associate Vice President of Public Lands
National Wildlife Federation
Tracy Stone-Manning is the Associate Vice President of Public Lands at the National Wildlife Federation, managing a program dispersed across the country from her home in Missoula. Prior to joining NWF, she was Governor Bullock’s chief of staff, through two legislative sessions and his re-election. She started her time in the Bullock administration as the director of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. She served as a natural resource aide and senior advisor to Senator Jon Tester in his first term.
Before her time in public service, she was the executive director of the Clark Fork Coalition, where she conceived and led the successful campaign to remove the Milltown Dam at the confluence of the Blackfoot and Clark Fork rivers. She holds a Masters of Science in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana.
Bryce & Maggie Ward
Bryce Ward is the founder of ABMJ Consulting and a research associate at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana. He has a PhD in economics from Harvard University and BAs in economics and history from the University of Oregon. He has expertise in urban and regional economics, labor economics, health economics, public finance, social economics, real estate economics, environmental and natural resource economics, and statistics/econometrics.
He has taught classes at Harvard University, Lewis and Clark College, the University of Oregon, Portland State University, and the University of Montana. He has published dozens of scholarly articles and economic reports, and he has provided expert testimony in dozens of court cases and legislative proceedings. His research has been featured in places like the New York Times, the Associated Press, PBS NewsHour, NPR, and ProPublica. He is a regular contributor on “Incentives & Instincts” a monthly feature of the podcast A New Angle.
Maggie Ward obtained her J.D. from the University of Oregon Law School, and her B.A. in Political Science from Princeton University. Maggie has spent 15 years working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in a variety of roles including policy analyst, interdisciplinary team lead, facilitator, and more recently manager. She is also a workplace mediator and a sports conflict practitioner.