Co-sponsored by ASPA and the National Academy of Public Administration, the National Public Service Awards honor individuals who make outstanding contributions and whose accomplishments are models of exemplary public service for those dedicated to the public good—now and in the future.
Thomas Becker Thomas Becker is the academic director for The Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) School, assuming those duties in August 2009. He oversees JAG School curriculum and faculty development, and engages with JAG Corps leadership to ensure the curriculum meets the Corps’s needs. Becker was commissioned in 1974 as a distinguished graduate of Air Force ROTC and designated a judge advocate in 1977. He served 22 years in the Air Force where his assignments included appellate military judge, associate deputy general counsel for the Department of Defense and staff judge advocate at two installations. Becker retired in the grade of colonel in 1999 to accept then-Governor Tom Vilsack’s appointment as state public defender of Iowa. After Vilsack left office, Becker served as an administrative law judge for the State of Iowa until accepting his current position. Becker has a J.D. from Washburn University and an L.L.M. in constitutional and criminal law from The George Washington University. He is a member of the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Iowa Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Senator Barbara A. Favola represents Virginia’s 31st district, including parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties and a portion of Loudoun County. Prior to her election as a state senator, she served on the Arlington County Board for 14 years (1997-2011) and chaired that body three times. During her service with the county, she was the board’s leading advocate for children, youth and families; her contributions to the community included establishing mental health services in the public schools.
Throughout her public life, Favola has been a vigorous supporter of universal human rights. In the Virginia Senate, she is focusing her legislative efforts on women’s reproductive rights, health care access, K-12 education funding, workforce training, safety net programs, helping foster children, preventing domestic violence and sensible environmental policies. She also believes a living wage is essential for families and communities to thrive. She acknowledges that job creation and economic security are the cornerstones of a vibrant Commonwealth and a secure future.
Prior to Favola’s elected life, she served as a presidential management intern and senior policy advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She also served on the House Budget Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is the founder and managing director of Pathways to 21st Century Communities, a consulting group specializing in government relations and community outreach. In addition to her Senate duties, she serves on numerous Boards and Commissions, including the Advisory Committee for the Arlington YMCA and the Fairfax CASA Board.
Jessica Ross has been director of Washington County Public Library in Chatom, Alabama for 14 years. She recently received her PhD in communication and information sciences from the University of Alabama. In addition to professional service work, she volunteers as a leader in civic engagement, leadership initiatives and small business development through several community service organizations and is a mentor to many schoolaged students across the county.
Tony Williams, the former mayor of Washington, DC (1999-2007), is chief executive officer of the Federal City Council, an organization focusing the creative and administrative talents of Washington’s business and professional leaders on major problems and opportunities facing the District. Williams is widely credited with leading Washington’s comeback during his two terms as mayor, restoring our nation’s capital’s finances and improving the performance of government agencies, all while lowering taxes and investing in infrastructure and human services.
In addition to his duties with the Federal City Council, Williams is a senior advisor to King and Spaulding, LLP and serves on several company boards, as well as the boards of Urban Institute and the National Geographic Society. Prior to Federal City Council, he led the global government practice at the Corporate Executive Board in Arlington, Virginia. He also taught public finance and urban leadership as the William H. Bloomberg lecturer in public management at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, while coordinating programs for the Municipal Innovation Program at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
Williams holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale, a master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, as well as a number of awards and honorary degrees, including Governing Magazine Public Official of the Year in 1997. He is a National Academy of Public Administration fellow and former president of the National League of Cities.