MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy - 2007
Doug shares how his Wagner experience allowed him to merge his interest in local politics with his desire to provide opportunities for underserved populations.
What do you do in your current role?
I am the Manager for Government Affairs at Cricket Communications, Inc. Within the 7th largest wireless provider in the country, my primary responsibilities include overseeing the corporation’s 50-state legislation and regulation program. I work directly with state legislators, regulators, coalitions, associations and various other stakeholders to support company positions and increase awareness for Cricket's universe of interests. Highlights of the interdepartmental teams I have led include Cricket’s participation in the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. Through a government grant, Cricket provides free modems and mobile broadband service to 1000 low-income individuals, helping them bridge the digital divide. As an ally, I helped establish and organize the company’s first Employee Resource Group (ERG) for LGBT employees & Allies within Cricket’s Diversity and Inclusion business unit. ERGs foster professional growth while providing a forum for all employees to network, share ideas and support business initiatives by increasing organizational cross-cultural awareness.
How did you decide to attend Wagner?
When I applied to Wagner, I was a year into a management development program at a privately-held business in New Jersey. While the experience afforded me innumerable opportunities to manage processes and projects, I quickly realized there was a larger humanistic and policy element I yearned for and decided to re-tool and pursue an MPA. NYU Wagner was an excellent nearby institution and had a flexible class schedule. Even though I worked full-time through most of my degree, the challenge was not insurmountable as I was able to develop a supportive and dynamic network of colleagues, advisors and professors.
How did you end up where you are?
Whether the commitment has been local, state or federal I’ve been involved in progressive politics for the entirety of my career. Starting out in the California Governor’s Office with the Gray Davis administration, I quickly cut my political teeth in Washington, DC. Additional political and policy work – for the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, the Obama presidential campaign and Presidential Inaugural Commission, California State Assembly and City of San Diego Council campaigns – only furthered my resolve to become more intimately involved with the political process. My support for energy sustainability, environmentalism, human rights, and reproductive choice have consistently guided my career and as a result, I actively pursue positive change in these arenas.
What are the connections between your Wagner experience and your current work?
I can say without hesitation that each of the positions I’ve held after graduating from Wagner were directly related to my successful completion of the MPA program. The education I received and the experiences I’ve built on top of that solid foundation of knowledge will no doubt carry me forward into future roles. My MPA continues to be helpful as I play an ever more active role in state and national political campaigns.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Like many others right now, it seems as though we are being asked to accomplish more with very limited resources. To that end, I find much satisfaction in the diversity of challenges I face in my day-to-day activities, be they legislative or regulatory, external or internal; when my analysis is received in the boardroom; and working for a young corporation that is helping bridge the digital divide and offers services to a segment of our economy that is typically underserved.
Previously, as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, I managed the Energy Savings Improvement Program legislation passage. Between 2009 and 2020, it is estimated that this legislation will generate $960 million in private investment and subsequently result in nearly $240 million in annual energy savings in the state of New Jersey. It also would reduce the State’s consumption of energy by 140,000 megawatt hours and emissions of greenhouse gases by 80,000 tons. That’s the equivalent of taking 16,000 cars off the road for one year.
Were there any skills you gained at Wagner that have been particularly useful / relevant?
Wagner provided a very collegial atmosphere where working in teams was paramount. Through deliberation and collaboration, I hope that I was able to help my classmates as much as I was able to learn from them.
What are your future career goals?
I would like to put action into practice and honor the name of our public service school and re-enter government service as an elected representative at the local level in the next few years. I view this form of service as the best way I can contribute to the development of my community.
Do you have any thoughts to share with Wagner alumni / students?
There have been two notions that I carry with me for inspiration. First, I have a personal ethos of practicing “uniting, not dividing” – simply put, it is a way of viewing the world where we each seek to find common ground and leave it at least a little better than how we found it. Second, I fervently believe in Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” They are living, indelible and of course, quite true.
View other Public Service Spotlights here! Wagner graduates who are making outstanding strides in public service work share their story with us.