Alumni Profiles

Joe FawcettJoe Fawcett

Assistant County Administrator
Wood County, Ohio

The Assistant County Administrator is employed by the Board of County Commissioners who is the general administrative governing body of the county.  It is the County government's taxing, budgeting, appropriating and purchasing authority and holds title to County property.  The Board is also responsible for hearing and ruling on annexations, approving drainage improvements through the petition ditch process, and making improvements and providing for solid waste disposal.  The responsibilities of the Board are outlined in the Ohio Revised Code, which is the biggest difference between city government and county government.  

The primary responsibility for my position is to manage the roughly $40 million general fund budget plus outside funds the Commissioners’ are responsible to appropriate for, the budgeting process, oversee expenditures, oversee the sale of bonds, assist in capital planning/projects, and supervise the clerical and fiscal staff of the Commissioners’ Office.  I also assume the role as the County Administrator in his absence.  

Additionally, due to me being the Administrator during his absences, I am involved in personnel matters and strategic planning throughout the county.  I am typically involved in everything the Commissioners and the Administrator is doing for this reason.  I also am prepared to take on additional responsibilities as needed.  Currently, I am the Acting Director of the Wood County Solid Waste Management District (SWMD), the Wood County Landfill, and supervise the associated staff within each department.  The SWMD is essentially responsible for the county’s recycling program and management of refuse both created here and deposited in the Landfill.

I utilize much of the knowledge gained during my time as a graduate student in the MPA program on a regular basis.  While the subject matter gave me a good background understanding of government and government operations, probably the biggest asset was my gained ability to research, write, and critically think.  Being able to personalize your course load was an amazing benefit due to having the freedom of learning what you want when you want with your specific career goal in mind.  I truly enjoyed my time there.

Nick DerksenNick Derksen (Class of 2012)

As a fellow graduate of both the Political Science Undergraduate program (’10), and the Masters in Public Administration (MPA) program (’12) at BGSU, I have worked diligently to maintain a professional and personal career in politics after graduating. During my time in the MPA program, I served internships with Congressmen Robert Latta in Bowling Green, and Steve Austria in Washington, D.C. These internships helped develop my beginnings in politics, in addition to providing real-life examples of public administration to my courses. Upon completion of the MPA degree, I was accepted into the Legislative Service Commission Fellowship program in Columbus. This program has taught me the core fundamentals that embody the many facets of public administration. In reflection, the BGSU MPA program serves me well in my career, and the courses and experiences I encountered reflect in the work I do. This is a fantastic graduate program that merits high consideration for anyone looking for a quality Masters degree. The undergraduate and graduate degrees I received from Bowling Green State University are a constant reminder to the great faculty and educational environment the institution values. I cannot thank the Political Science department enough for the opportunities they presented to me during my time at BGSU.

Hashim PondezaHashim Pondeza

Mr. Hashim Pondeza is a Child Protection Specialist working with Save the Children International, based in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Save the Children is a global organization working to deliver change for children in 120 countries around the world. Mr. Pondeza serves as a child labor technical advisor to the Child Labor Unit of the Zanzibar’s Ministry of Labor as well as to other key Ministries of Education and the Ministry Social Welfare, Youth, Women and Children Development. His roles include coordinating project activities done by four national NGOs and three Zanzibar government ministries that, altogether, working harder to end child labor activities in Zanzibar by taking all working children back to school. Additionally, he is now also work as part-time assistant lecturer at the Zanzibar University.
Pondeza received his Masters degree of Public Administration (MPA) from Bowling Green State University (BGSU).  Mr. Pondeza he currently lives in Zanzibar, Tanzania. He can be contacted at

Laura WinebargerLaura Winebarger

Laura Winebarger is a 2012 graduate of the BGSU Master of Public Administration program with a specialization in Environment Management. She also received a Bachelor of the Arts in Environmental Policy and Analysis from BGSU.  Laura is currently a Research Associate at Public Research and Evaluation Services, Inc. in Southfield, Michigan.  This company provides evaluation services to state and federally funded projects in a variety of fields.  Courses such as Research Methods, and Program Evaluation provided an essential foundation for her career in research and evaluation.

Program Evaluation and Environmental Management gave her an opportunity to work with clients on actual program evaluations.  She uses the knowledge, skills, and experience she gained in these classes on a daily basis.  The professional development opportunities such as the MPA Professional Development Conference, brown bag lunch seminars, resume workshops, and coaching from her professors were also invaluable to her success in finding a job upon graduation.

Melissa GreeneMelissa Greene

Melissa Greene was born and raised in the Cleveland, Ohio area before she left for her undergraduate studies and attended Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. Melissa graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Policy & Analysis in 2010, and then decided to pursue a Master’s of Public Administration Degree at the same institution.

Melissa Greene now serves at the Sustainability Conservationist at The Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District. She is also the acting chair of The Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission. The experience she gained from the MPA program allowed Melissa to gain professional experience to carry into her career. She completed service learning projects such as grant writing, a program evaluation for a local non-profit, and she also helped create an employee handbook. The hands on experience offered by the MPA program allowed her to utilize and refine necessary skills that have been used daily in her sustainability work. The diversity of knowledge, experiences, and perspectives Melissa gained from her time in the MPA program successfully prepared her for her career. 

Updated: 03/21/2022 12:14PM