When Maureen Carter was 5 years old, she presented her parents with a crayon drawing of an amaryllis, a blushing, six-pointed flower with a jutting stamen.
“It’s still hanging in my parents’ foyer,” says the digital-design professional.
Last month, Carter was named creative director of Deloitte Digital, a division of the financial-consulting firm dedicated to integrating “digital solutions into the everyday operations of government, including interactions with constituents,” according to a Deloitte press release. Carter said that the position involves designing apps, website wireframes, and other digital products.
Carter, who declined to give her age, was most recently vice president, digital-brand creative, for the children’s network Nickelodeon.
She was raised in Trenton, N.J., and has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Hampton University in Virginia and a master’s degree in communications design from New York City’s Pratt Institute.
Before Nickelodeon, she worked at Time Warner and Comcast, where she rolled out a mobile app and tablet interface for the Xfinity brand. Carter has also taught theories on design and conceptual development at Pratt, the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Christopher Snow Hopkins
When Brett Decker was in college, he dashed off a series of “punky, adolescent, fraternity-boy” letters to William F. Buckley Jr., the godfather of the modern conservative movement. Some of them were frivolous — “Can a conservative date a liberal?” Decker inquired — and some of them concerned recondite policy matters. To Decker’s astonishment, Buckley wrote back.
A short time later, with Buckley’s help, Decker insinuated himself into the Washington-based conservative intelligentsia. Through Stan Evans, head of the Herndon, Va.-based National Journalism Center and a classmate of Buckley’s at Yale University, Decker got a job with the gruff columnist Robert Novak.
“So much of Novak’s persona was this stereotype of the growling ideologue,” says Decker, who announced last month he was joining the White House Writers Group as consulting director. “But his column was heavily reported. Novak’s view was that every one of them should be based on shoe-leather reporting. One of the things he imparted to the people who worked for him: “˜Anybody can have an opinion, but what does it matter if you don’t have any new information?’ “
Decker, 42, was most recently the editor in chief of Rare.us, a 5-month-old conservative website owned by the Cox Media Group. Asked if his departure spells the demise of the fledgling organization, Decker responds, “They have to figure out what they want to be. It’s a very tough market for online publications”¦. If you want to make money, you have to come up with something original.”
Born in Sandusky, Ohio, Decker followed his father, a Ford Motor employee, to London at the age of 1 before moving back to the Midwest for the balance of his childhood. “Having a parent in an auto company is almost like being a military brat,” he explains. “You get plucked up and moved all over the place.”
After graduating from Albion College in Michigan, Decker politicked by day and built Lincolns by night. “Political campaigns didn’t pay much, but building cars did — at least back then.”
After a stint under Novak, he joined the communications shop of then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, whose profile had “skyrocketed” after he helped bring about the Clinton impeachment. “I jumped over to the other side of the fence — against Novak’s advice,” Decker says. “He didn’t look kindly on elected officials.”
In the years that followed, Decker served as senior vice president of communications for the Export-Import Bank and as a writer and editor for The Wall Street Journal, which assigned him to its Hong Kong bureau. Late last year, he resigned as editorial-page editor of The Washington Times, followed a month later by Anneke Green, the deputy editor of op-eds, who alluded in her resignation letter to what she called the newspaper’s “unethical practices.” (Green is now a senior director at the White House Writers Group.)
Apart from being “an unredeemable car nut,” Decker is an incurable Detroit Tigers fan. Last week, he hopped on a plane to attend a game at Comerica Park.
Clambering up a rocky slope in Afghanistan, dodging enemy gunfire, working 17 hours a day — this kind of professional experience is hard to translate for civilian employers.
“We try to help military personnel put their service in terms the general populace can understand,” says Eric Eversole, the new executive director of Hiring Our Heroes, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation that assists former service members as they reenter the workforce.
One of the program’s tools is a computer program that translates militaryspeak (“I demonstrated leadership and a sense of duty”) into workaday patter (“I managed day-to-day operations”).
“It’s kind of like TurboTax,” Eversole says. “And it’s needed — military members don’t necessarily think about their service in a business context.”
So far, Hiring Our Heroes has organized about 580 job fairs and helped more than 20,200 veterans and military spouses find employment with 1,200 companies. Spouses may not be steeped in the argot of soldiering, but they are “constantly on the go, moving from one duty station to the next,” Eversole says. “They end up with gaps in their résumé, and they need help explaining that to employers.”
Eversole, who was born in Bluffton, Ind., south of Fort Wayne, studied history at Wabash College and received a law degree from the University of Indiana (Bloomington). “I’m a Hoosier through and through,” he says.
In 1998, he was commissioned in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and assigned to Washington, which he describes as a “small town, in many ways.” He has lived in the Capitol Hill neighborhood ever since.
For the past six years, Eversole served as an attorney adviser at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, where he specialized in the sale of electric power. The 41-year-old has thrown in his lot with the hometown team — “I have “˜Natitude,’ I guess, although I didn’t like that term at first.”
Kevin Richards was staying in Falmouth, Mass., a seaside town across the water from Martha’s Vineyard, when the first family invaded the resort island last month.
“There was a lot of grumbling from the local folks about the Secret Service and the precautions they had to take,” says the 43-year-old, who has joined SAP, a software developer, as head of its congressional-affairs shop.
For Richards, the brouhaha was reminiscent of another presidential visit, when Jimmy Carter came to Clinton, Mass. — Richards’s hometown — on a 1977 whistle-stop tour. In preparation, the town repainted its park benches and generally spruced up the former textile manufacturing hub. Richards’s father had won a lottery to participate in a town-hall meeting with the president but gave the ticket to his 7-year-old son.
“There’s really a lot of pride “¦ that comes with the president coming to your hometown,” Richards says. Whistle-stop tours may be an outmoded practice, but “it really used to be an effective use of the president’s time to hear directly from “¦ ordinary citizens.”
As SAP’s main representative on Capitol Hill, Richards will track the tax debate. “Everybody’s on the edge of their seat [following] the announcement from the Department of Treasury about the debt ceiling being reached in October,” he says. “I think any type of tax reform that happens this year will be [tied] to a “˜grand bargain.’ “
Born into a family of Irish-Catholic Democrats, Richards venerates the Kennedys. His mother is active in the local Democratic Party and an analyst with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
After graduating from Catholic University, Richards was prohibited by his mother from coming home. “She told me, “˜You’re not coming back here — I don’t want you on my sofa.’ “ Instead, he interned for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., sitting directly outside his office. “He was a down-to-earth guy,” Richards says. “I called him “˜Paul.’ “
When his internship ended, Richards went door-to-door, hawking his résumé to members of the Democratic caucus. After six months sorting mail for Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama (before Shelby switched to the Republican Party in 1994), he was hired as a staff assistant by the de facto patriarch of the political dynasty he revered. Richards served under the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., for 14 years, eventually becoming his economic-policy adviser.
From 2005 to 2010, Richards was senior manager of federal relations at Symantec. During the 2008 presidential campaign, he was then-Sen. Barack Obama’s liaison to Silicon Valley. Richards was most recently senior vice president for federal government affairs at TechAmerica.
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