My research program focuses on the sustainability challenges confronting the actors and institutions of metropolitan regions, drawing from literatures which include federalism, common-pool resource management, organizational theory and psychology. My work approaches governance and management from a systems perspective in order to illuminate the linkages between the environment and institutions, as well as their influence on organizational behavior and individual decision-making. I have studied the intergovernmental performance issues surrounding the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program funded by Congress in 2009, the reform of growth management regulations in Florida, citizen perceptions of local government environmental and social programs, and the loss aversion of public managers tasked with implementing climate-mitigation and social equity policies. Recently, my work has begun applying both the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) and the Robustness of Coupled Infrastructure Systems (CIS) frameworks to examine sustainable urban service-delivery challenges.
I began thinking about public management from a systems perspective as a Graduate Research Fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) in 2014, where I was a co-PI on a Graduate Pursuit focused on cities and sustainable water management. This work involved compiling urban-scale data on the institutions, hydroclimatic conditions, and media salience of water management issues. Along with my inter-disciplinary collaborators, we used this pilot study to help secure a National Science Foundation grant (2019-2024) through the Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems (CNH2) program to expand this work. I was also awarded an NSF CAREER grant in 2020 to study the integration of local government sustainability planning, capacity-building and performance management in Indiana communities. My research has appeared in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Public Administration Review, Urban Studies, Policy Studies Journal, Global Environmental Change and other outlets. In 2018, I was awarded the Clarence Stone Scholar Award by the Local and Urban Politics section of the American Political Science Association. I have also watched state and local policy processes from different professional vantage points. Prior to changing careers, I worked as a government reporter for 15 years. During that time, I covered city councils, school boards, state legislatures and state and national political campaigns in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Florida for news organizations including The Kansas City Star, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Gannett News Service and the Orlando Sentinel.