Who We Are
Board of Advisors
The Bowen Center for Public Affairs Board of Advisors is responsible for providing on-going advice to the Center’s co-directors and provides evaluation of the various programs and projects of the Center. The board meets annually. The members are:
Hunter Bacot is a Professor of Political Science and Director of Graduate Programs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Bacot teaches courses in Public Administration, Public Policy, and State & Local Government. Before coming to UNC at Greensboro to direct the Master of Public Affairs program, Hunter served as director of the Institute of Government at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and as director of the Elon Poll at Elon University. Hunter is a graduate of the UNC at Chapel Hill.
Rick Bowen joined the board in the spring of 2012 as the Bowen family representative. He was the men’s basketball team head coach for more than 20 years at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Before coaching the Falcons, Mr. Bowen assisted the Wisconsin Badgers and the Ball State Cardinals basketball teams. He served as athletic director of University of Wisconsin-River Falls from 2004-2010. He is married and lives in River Falls, Wisconsin.
Gilde Breidenbach is an Administrative Appeals Judge for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Ball State University and received her law degree from the University of Virginia.
Ronald Fields, is the state action chair for the Indiana NAACP. In this capacity, he works with local chapter presidents and political action chairs. He also serves as the second vice president and regional director for the southern district of the NAACP. He is married and lives in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
Julie Griffith is Executive VP for Strategy, Partnerships and Outreach for the Indiana Innovation Institute. Prior to joining the institute she served as VP for Public Affairs for Purdue University, providing leadership and having responsibility for Marketing, Media, Strategic Communications, Trademarks and Licensing, State and Federal Governmental Relations. Julie earned her B.S. degree in Political Science from Ball State University.
Billy Linville majored in political science at Ball State University, and has served as vice president of public affairs for AT&T where he led all public affairs activities in the eastern half of the United States and Europe. He left his position with AT&T in June 2013 to form the consulting firm Murphy Linville, LLC and formerly was a strategic advisor at Baker Donelson. He now owns his own company, Lexicon Strategies. Linville lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife, Sherry.
Marissa Manlove is the former President and CEO of Indiana Philanthropy Alliance. She earned a bachelor of arts in psychology from St. Louis University and a master’s in education from Indiana University. She has been awarded several honors including Distinguished Award Recipient by the Center for Leadership Development in 1990 and again in 1992.
Jeff Papa, Ph.D. is the chief of staff and general counsel for the Indiana Senate and also served at the first mayor of the Town of Zionsville, Indiana. He previously was an attorney with Barnes & Thornburg, practicing immigration law, and served two terms as the chair of the Indiana chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association, as well as two terms on the national board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association. Jeff earned his M.A. from Ball State University. He lives in Zionsville.
Robert T. “Tad” Perry
Robert T. “Tad” Perry retired as executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents in 2009. From 1971 to 1994, he was a professor of political science at Ball State University, where he also served as the university’s liaison with state government. He has served as the chair of the State Higher Education Executive Officers as well as the treasurer of the National Association of System Heads. While at Ball State he was the co-creator, along with Dr. Raymond H. Scheele, of the Bowen Institute on Political Participation. Dr. Perry also served as state representative in the South Dakota Legislature from 2010-2012. He lives with his wife, Carolyn in Fort Pierre, South Dakota.
Bart Peterson is the senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications at Eli Lilly and Company. He is the former two-term mayor of Indianapolis and chief of staff to then Gov. Evan Bayh. He also chaired the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Arts, Culture and Recreation from 2002-2005. In addition, he served as president of the National League of Cities from 2006-2007. Prior to joining Lilly, Peterson served as a Distinguished Fellow at the Bowen Center for Public Affairs. He lives with his wife in Indianapolis.
Janet Powell is the current Chair of the Bowen Center Board of Advisors, has more than 30 years of experience in public policy at both the federal and state levels. She is President of Powell Consulting DC, which she established after a 24-year career at Baker Donelson, the law firm founded by the late legendary Senator Howard Baker. Prior to that, she was a high-ranking Congressional staffer, serving on the House Appropriations Committee staff, and she also previously served in the Indiana State House on Executive Staff for the late Governor Robert Orr. In her early career, she was a high school teacher and a newspaper reporter with The Muncie Star. Jan is a native of Anderson, Indiana, and a graduate of Ball State University. She resides in the Washington, DC, area, where she serves on the Board of Directors of the Indiana Society of Washington, a group of “expat” Hoosiers in the nation’s capital.
Greg Schenkel retired in 2014 after 8 years with Pacers Sports & Entertainment as VP of Corporate, Community & Public Relations. Prior to that he served as President & CEO of the Indy Partnership for 4 years. A native of Huntington, Indiana, Greg is a graduate of Ball State University with a B.S. degree in political science.
Mark Shublak is a partner with the law firm of Ice Miller in Indianapolis. A graduate of the political science department at Ball State University, he represents clients before government agencies and his legislative practice spans all industry sectors with a focus on heavily regulated companies. He lives in Indianapolis.
Becky Skillman is the former Lt. Governor of Indiana and spent eight years managing five state agencies. Prior to serving as the first elected female lieutenant governor in Indiana, she held elected offices in Lawrence County and was elected to the Indiana Senate where she served for twelve years. She is currently the President and CEO of Radius Indiana, an eight county economic development organization in South Central Indiana. She is also co-chair of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, which is planning the two hundred year celebration of statehood in 2016. She joined the Board of Advisors in 2013.
Matt Smith is a founding partner in the government and public relations firm Atlas Advocacy. Mr. Smith served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as well as the Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Liaison during the administration of President George W. Bush. Prior, he worked on the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign, in the office of U.S. Senator Dan Coats (R, IN), and at the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee. Mr. Smith is the recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award for actions on September 11th and the Department of Veterans Affairs Service Commendation. Mr. Smith resides in Virginia outside Washington D.C. with his wife Karen and their three children. He is a Political Science major graduate of Ball State University.
Sally Jo Vasicko
Dr. Sally Jo Vasicko is a professor of political science, Emerita. She retired from Ball State University on June 30, 2014 after 41 years of service. She served as White House Liaison for the United States Department of Labor Secretaries Elizabeth Dole and Lynn Martin during the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration. She was also nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the United States Senate as a Commissioner to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.