Associate Director, Gerald R. Ford Institute
for Leadership in Public Policy and Service
B.A., 2004, Albion College
M.Ed., 2006, Chestnut Hill College
Appointed Associate Director of the Ford Institute in 2011.
Office: 201A Robinson Hall
Ford Institute courses taught:
- Introduction to Public Policy (PBSV 101)
- Senior Colloquium (PBSV 397)
Eddie Visco, '04, graduated from Albion College majoring in political science and speech/communication. He also graduated with a concentration in the Ford Institute. Upon graduation, Eddie joined Teach for America and taught seventh-grade English and American history in Philadelphia. During this time he earned his Masters of Education from Chestnut Hill College. After his commitment ended he returned to Michigan and worked on the campaign of Mark Schauer for Congress, serving as his traveling assistant. Following the election victory, Eddie worked in Congressman Schauer's district office in Jackson as his Constituent Services Representative.
Employer: U.S. Social Security Administration
Graduation Year: 1996
Current Position: District Manager
Biography: Beth Williams is the district manager of the Pospect Heights, IL, office of the Social Security Administration (SSA). She has worked there since 1997, when she was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow and hired by the Chicago Region office. Throughout her tenure with SSA, she has worked at the national and regional offices as a supervisor, a staff specialist, and an executive assistant to the regional commissioner. She has served as the district manager for the past 14 years, overseeing facility operations, personnel and staffing, workload processes, and the general administration of social security within the Pospect Heights area.
Beth received her B.A. in Political Science from Albion College. She did her Ford internship with the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources in Washington, D.C. She also ran cross country and track and was involved with the Residence Hall Association, Student Volunteer Bureau, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Alpha Phi Omega, and Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating from Albion, she went on to earn a Masters of Public Administration (1997) from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.
She says that being involved in different types of activities at Albion helped lay a solid foundation for her future profession. She has embraced the service aspect of her career and encourages students to consider jobs in government administration. "Public service has so many opportunities that will help you learn and grow as a professional."
Beth and her husband, Andy, have two children and live in Chicago, IL.
"The interdisciplinary nature of my experience at Albion has had a direct relationship to my ability to do the interdisciplinary nature of my position."
Employer: Washington Times
Graduation Year: 1993
Current Position: Editorial Page Editor
Biography: Brett Decker serves as the manager, writer, and editor for the Washington Times, a paper that publishes 4,000 articles per year. He makes regular radio appearances and is the author if Global Filipino and the forthcoming Bowing to Beijing, which will be published in the fall of 2011.
Brett graduated from Albion with a dual major in Political Science and American Studies. He did his Ford internship with a law firm in Washington, D.C., and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. While at Albion, he was very active in the campus community and was a member of Sigma Chi. After graduation, he went on to earn a Master's degree in Government from Johns Hopkins in 1999, and a Master's in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College in 2007.
Prior to his position with the Washington Times, Brett was an editorial page writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, a senior vice president of the Export-Import Bank, a senior vice-president of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, a speechwriter for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, and a reporter and television producer for Robert Novak.
Brett attributes his successful career to the strong liberal arts education he received at Albion. He credits the small class sizes, working directly with professors, and writing numerous papers for helping him to learn how to communicate more effectively, which he noted is important in any field a person chooses to pursue.
"Work hard, never stop learning, and you can compete with anyone out there in any profession at any level."
Employer: U.S. Senate, Office of Senator Debbie Stabenow
Graduation Year: 1998
Current Position: Senior Communications Advisor
Biography: In addition to his advisory role, Bill Sweeny is the chief speechwriter for Senator Debbie Stabenow and manages all communications operations for her. He also works with the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committee and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, which is chaired by Stabenow.
Bill received his B.A. in Political Science from Albion in 1998. He did his Ford internship with the Albion Volunteer Service Organization (AVSO) where he helped write a successful $2 million grant proposal to the Kellogg Foundation to support capacity-building. He was also active in various campus organizations, serving as a member of the Student Senate, a director of the Student Volunteer Bureau, and participating in service learning activities with Michigan Campus Compact.
Prior to working in Senator Stabenow's office, Bill worked as a political fundraiser for her, as well as several other candidates which include former Michigan Gubernatorial candidate Doug Ross and U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin, District 2).
Bill is grateful for an Albion College education because he developed friendships and a support network that has remained with him throughout his personal and professional life. It also afforded him the freedom to explore different subjects and styles of learning.
"Albion truly broadened my horizon and encouraged me to learn for the sake of learning."