Lester Coffey, President, has drawn upon his extensive knowledge, expertise and combination of management and leadership acumen to build Coffey Consulting into a nimble, diverse and responsive company that empowers its clients to achieve sustained success. Lester managed and participated on key initiatives in operational and financial areas for two Fortune 20 firms in the energy and telecommunications sectors. During that tenure, he customized and mastered business approaches that continue to produce client-driven success while building impressive and diverse skill-sets that are value-driven and goal oriented. Lester’s high level of integrity and success is built on his commitment to a focus that is constantly updated and on resources positioned to take advantage of emerging market opportunities to better serve clients. The firm’s foundation is its staff, which is built and deployed as small and large teams to harness creativity and innovation to achieve results. Each associate understands that pulling together translates into winning together. We undertake engagements that are led, managed and executed to create wins for clients, and their key stakeholders, and for the firm. Lester earned his Master in Business Administration from The Pennsylvania State University and Bachelor of Science from the Mississippi State University.
Amy Coffey is Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President of Coffey Consulting, responsible for finance, contract administration, and human resource functions in addition to serving as the Quality Assurance Officer. In collaboration with the firm’s President, Amy oversees all contractual activities of projects, including coordination and consolidation of monthly, periodic and final reports. As financial administrative officer, she manages resources to support operations for on-going and proposed projects. With more than two decades at the helm, she is highly qualified with deep experience and expertise at all levels of the firm’s operations, she is exceptionally suited to achieve a high level of operational and project performance. Amy is honest, straightforward, client-focused, and team-oriented and is the heart beneath Coffey’s unparalleled reputation across public, government and private sectors. She earned her bachelor of arts from The Pennsylvania State University, and prior to joining Coffey Consulting in 1996, was a special education teacher. Her first assignment was in a rural Florida school teaching in a portable classroom with no air conditioning, and heat was provided by an in-room stove. Her compassion is evident in the inspiration she shares with her engaged, committed and dedicated staff known for producing exceptional, high-quality work.
Putri “Dani” Abdullah
Putri “Dani” Abdullah, Research Associate, has more than seven years of experience as a federal support contractor with expertise in grants management and workforce development. She strives to assist grantees and clients by meeting their goals and by providing technical assistance tools. She thrives in an environment with diverse projects, in particular those related to workforce development that help people find employment. She is adept at working independently and enjoys using her skills in team projects in a collaborative setting to accomplish project goals and quality deliverables. She holds a degree in International Business and Marketing from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Empowerment & Facilitative Services
Bernie Antkowiak, Senior Director, Empowerment & Facilitative Services, has more than a decade of experience in developing, delivering and coordinating technical assistance and training, and conducting evaluations of workforce programs. He has worked under contracts with the U.S. Department of Labor and individual states. Before joining Coffey Consulting, he was Assistant Secretary for Workforce Development with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation for the State of Maryland where he developed and implemented an aggressive and innovative plan for change. He obtained his initial workforce development experience doing research and evaluation work for a large urban workforce development organization. He became Manager of the Research and Evaluation Unit and held numerous progressively responsible positions in program operations. His experience spans virtually all facets of workforce development such as assessment and academic remediation, case management and support services, occupational training and transitional jobs, and business services and job placement. Bernie has worked with diverse groups including economically disadvantaged, homeless, disabled, formerly incarcerated, seniors, and welfare recipients. He holds a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola College, Baltimore.
Monika Arntz, Senior Data Analyst, is passionate about data and how data analysis provides information to effect policy change. She has two decades of experience as an SAS programmer and specializes in the higher education arena with expertise in academic transcript, financial, salary, technology, and institutional characteristics data files from the U.S. Department of Education, National Student Clearinghouse, College Board, Campus Computing, and various other state higher education and K-12 databases. Along with her knowledge and certification in SAS, she is fluent in the use of DAS, PowerStats and SAP Crystal Dashboard Design. Monika received training from ED on NCES Statistical Standards and Tabular Guidelines and has edited ED documents as a subcontractor with AIR-ESSI. She is a lead data analyst for several of Coffey’s projects with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she runs Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics and creates data reports for presentations and publications to assist others in making informed policy decisions. She is confident working independently and enjoys collaboration with clients. Monika earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Policy from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Elif Bor, Senior Researcher, conducts research on policy and practice-relevant issues in the field of education. Elif applies her technical knowledge and experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods to projects that promote access to quality education and student achievement in college and beyond. She works from initial concept through the planning process implementation. She has worked on many projects including those for the U.S. Department of Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administration. She is passionate about helping stakeholders improve educational opportunities, practices, and outcomes for individuals from at-risk and underserved populations through use of data. A dynamic and dependable team member who strives to create an open, supportive, and collaborative work environment, she is creative, responsive and client-focused and brings enthusiasm, deep experience and dedication to her work. She earned a master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ege University, and is alumna of the Institute for Educational Leadership’s Education Policy Fellowship Program.
Thad “Hobie” Bowman
Thad “Hobie” Bowman, Research Assistant, specializes in projects and initiatives in the fields of education, human capital and workforce development in the public and private sectors. He has expertise in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, including data analysis and focus groups. He serves as a data coordinator for the Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success (iPASS) project, an initiative that supports the development of technologies to improve student retention and outcomes. Hobie also works on Coffey’s U.S. Department of Labor’s Industry Competency Model initiative. He holds a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y. and studied abroad at the American University in Cairo.
Roxanne Chin, Senior Director, has successfully managed multi-million dollar operations in the public and private sectors and has more than 20 years of experience in workforce development. She is a recognized leader in education, business development and accountability who knows how to maximize public-private partnerships from the grass roots level to national scale. She has held executive positions for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Job Corps Program, including Corporate Director, Business Development Director and Center Director, during her distinguished career. She is a key contributor to Coffey’s Policy Requirements Handbook (PRH) Modernization Project for the National Office of Job Corps (NOJC), U.S. Department of Labor. Her deep experience and background blend with her creativity, tenacity and positive spirit, allowing her to be a customer-focused collaborator with a strong work ethic. She strives to be a leader whose work inspires others to achieve their goals. Roxanne earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Management from Morgan State University.
Sue Clery is a Senior Study Director with more than two decades of experience in postsecondary education research. A self-professed data specialist, her work as a higher education researcher fulfills her passion for helping students through projects related to students access and persistence, performance metrics development and evaluating educational outcomes, community colleges, equity in education, the success of at-risk student populations, and student financial aid. Presently she is conducting research on student success and evaluation projects supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including Institutional Partnerships/Frontier Set, Completion by Design, and an Implementation Study of Multiple Measures in North Carolina Community Colleges. She has technical expertise, knowledge and experience across a wide range of topics, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis and evaluation. She has authored and co-authored numerous national statistical analyses and analytical reports. Adept at helping clients identify their needs and designing and implementing customized data collection, analysis, and evaluation plans, she produces highly thoughtful work products. Her creativity, combined with a philosophy to maximize client and team contributions, results in engaged collaboration, vigorous dialogue and successful projects. Sue earned a bachelor’s in Economics from Virginia Tech and an MBA from University of Maryland University College.
Ben Coffey, Researcher/Technical Support, has eight years of experience working with Coffey’s U.S. Department of Labor’s Reentry Employment Opportunities grants program. He facilitates technical support for client webinars, maintains grantee databases, and provides on-site and logistical support for conferences and client events. He is a diligent researcher and works with REO grantees and also with the National Center for Education Statistics Summer Forums and Data Conferences. Collaborating with clients and colleagues provides opportunity to share research, valued input and generate solutions to benefit clients. Ben is attending Montgomery College for Business and Economics and has completed certificates in Microsoft Excel and Access.
Mason Erwin, Education Policy Researcher and Analyst, works on qualitative and quantitative research projects focusing on student outcomes and higher education faculty and staff. He is data coordinator on the Frontier Set initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A responsive and collaborative colleague, he works closely with institutions to improve student outcomes using data-driven, outcomes-based methodologies. With more than five years of experience, he is a dedicated and driven team player who strives to harness data to generate insights that improve policies and benefit students, workers, and society with tenacity and a strong focus on client success. He holds a bachelor of Business Administration degree from Cleveland State University and a master’s in Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Sandra McKinney Holcomb, Research Associate/Accountant, has more than 25 years of full-charge and cost accounting experience. Sandra’s attention to detail, flexibility, and responsiveness provide solid support to project managers assuring quality work products. She works on Coffey’s U.S. Department of Labor’s Reentry Employment Opportunities grants program providing support to the Project Manager. She seeks out opportunities to add to her skill-set by pursuing education, which she translates into implementing new skills to support project accounting and assistance with project analysis on behalf of her colleagues. Sandra earned an undergraduate degree in Accounting and an MBA in Accounting from Strayer University.
Melissa Howard, Research Assistant, has served as a key contributor providing quantitative support on the North Carolina Multiple Measures and Campus Computing projects. She also serves as a Data Coordinator for the Institutional Partnerships Initiative. She is an experienced teacher and tutor at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels, and has been an advocate for teacher candidates in New York State. Dependable, thorough and collaborative, she enjoys contributing her expertise where it is needed. She is passionate about using data to better understand important policy issues and likes working on a wide variety of projects on behalf of clients. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Adolescence Education: Social Studies from SUNY Cortland and her masters in in Political Science from George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government.
Carol R. Johnson
Carol Johnson, Meeting Planner/Coordinator, has more than 25 years of experience in administrative coordination and meeting planning/management. During her 15 years with Coffey Consulting, she has become an accomplished expert using Cvent to plan and organize meetings and events, specializing in online registration websites. Carol has received multiple accolades from the federal government and private sector personnel for her designs, implementation and management of meeting registration websites. She is passionate about working on meetings of any magnitude, making the best arrangements to ensure a smooth flow of internal and/or external events while paying close attention to details. In her free time, she coordinates fundraising events for scholarships for college-bound students who may not qualify for traditional scholarships and is currently president of the organization. She is a native of Washington, D.C., and holds an associate’s degree in Business from Strayer University.
Courtney Ledet, Senior Researcher, is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 16 years of project management experience across several industries, including health care, information technology, and post-secondary education. Courtney serves as the project lead on post-secondary education and career pathway projects for the National Office of Job Corps (NOJC) at the U.S. Department of Labor. He manages complex projects in dynamic environments where his clients value his work ethic and commitment to achieving their business goals and objectives. Among his accomplishments, he founded and managed one of the largest minority mental health agencies in southwest Louisiana while he was attending the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He earned his bachelor of science degree in Psychology and went on to earn his Master of Business Administration degree.
Josiah Leighton, Job Corps Academic Manager, has devoted the last 10 years to education as a classroom instructor, a department manager, a curriculum designer, and an educational consultant with Coffey Consulting’s contract with the National Office of Job Corps at the U.S. Department of Labor. His passion is to help improve educational access, quality and outcomes for underserved populations and he appreciates the collegial environment and the Coffey team. His experience and skills allow him to provide solutions at the planning, analysis and implementation stages of projects. Before joining Coffey, he worked concurrently in the fields of finance, for Bloomberg L.P., and publishing, and as a freelance illustrator. A graduate of Yale University, Josiah was recently honored for his impact on students’ lives with the 2016 Yale Educator Award.
M. Drennan Lindsay
M. Drennan Lindsay, Senior Meeting Manager, holds Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) and Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designations and more than 25 years of experience managing and providing logistical support to conferences, meetings, workshops, and tradeshows ranging in size from 10 to more than 30,000 participants. She has worked with numerous government agencies and has provided management, direction and logistical support planning grant reviews, international meetings, internal government agency trainings, national conferences, exhibitions, and poster presentations. Drennan has worked on numerous large conferences for the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Positive under pressure and gracious to all, she is detail-oriented and efficient, a skilled trouble-shooter, and prepared for the unexpected challenges of event management. Her eight years at Coffey Consulting elevated her professional growth opportunities and expanded her skill set to include coordinating security for high-level presenters and behind the scenes finesse to ensure outstanding and successful events on behalf of clients. Drennan earned her bachelor of arts degree in Psychology and English (writing concentration) from Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington).
Yolanda Logan, Policy and Research Analyst, has over 15 years of experience in the areas of policy development, grants management, academic programming, and career development training stemming from a federal career with the National Office of Job Corps and the Office of National Response at the U.S. Department of Labor. Yolanda provides technical support on one of Coffey’s contracts to the Office of Job Corps, a federally operated, youth education and training program office. As a policy consultant, she contributes to the crafting and development of guidelines and policies that are clear, enforceable and propel the office’s mission. She takes initiative and is known as a systemic thinker and innovator. Yolanda has a bachelor of arts in Liberal Arts/Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin and a master of arts in Education from The Johns Hopkins University.
Abby Miller, Senior Associate, has more than 15 years of experience directing and conducting research projects pertaining to education and the workforce, with particular focus on underserved and disadvantaged populations, their access to and success in college, and their transition to the workforce. Previously, Abby worked as the Director of Applied Research for the Institute for Higher Education Policy, Research/Project Manager for The Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, and as Research Associate for JBL Associates. She has authored and presented reports including Bridging the Gaps to Success: Promising Practices for Promoting Transfer among Low-Income and First-Generation Students and Raising the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students. She co-authored two books on preparing college graduates for success in life; Quarterlife Crisis was a New York Times bestseller. She has appeared in numerous national media outlets including Oprah, Today, MSNBC, and CNN. Abby leads the research on several projects including the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and the Department of Labor Chief Evaluation Office. She takes a collaborative approach towards project management, working in tandem with clients, staff, and partners towards shared goals of quality and efficiency. Abby obtained a BA in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master’s degree in Education Policy and Leadership with a concentration in higher education from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Samantha Richardson, Research Assistant, is the data coordinator for the Integrated Planning & Advising for Student Success (iPASS) project, an initiative that examines the impact of technology-mediated advising reform. She is a key contributor to this project as she works with 15 partner institutions of higher education involved in the iPASS project. Samantha is known for supporting clients through the challenges of collecting and submitting student-unit-record data. Her interests include supporting effective bridges between K-12 and postsecondary education and improving college readiness and college access for low-income, first-generation students, particularly in Appalachian communities. Samantha enjoys tackling important research questions. Before joining Coffey, she worked at the Center for Research on Higher Education Outcomes at the New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University.
Jennifer “Jen” Rismiller
Jennifer “Jen” Rismiller, Research Associate, has more than 15 years of experience as a versatile administrative professional including research, report/correspondence writing, logistics/project/team coordination, meeting planning, conference support, documentation, and file management. During her 12 years with the firm, she has contributed to a variety of support-related projects, specifically the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics’ annual Summer Forum and STATS-DC Data Conference. She is a key contributor to this project by managing registrations and communications, developing the agenda program and materials, organizing and reviewing presentations, preparing the evaluation report, and supporting the event of approximately 900 attendees and more than 100 concurrent sessions. Jen earned her bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland University College.
Devinder “Dave” Singhla
Devinder (Dave) Singhla, Business Consultant, brings more than 20 years of professional experience providing technical support on proposal development and contract execution as well as performing financial analysis, planning and reporting. His expertise and love for numbers provides strategic and strategic and tactical recommendations to the company and clients, particularly in contract administration of budgeting for proposals. Dave likes challenging projects that take advantage of his background and skill sets. He earned his bachelor of science degree in Chemical Engineering from India’s Punjab University and a certificate in Accounting from the University of Virginia.
Edwin Stroman, Jr.
Edwin Stroman, Jr., Senior Research Associate, has focused his work on improving the lives of adolescents/young adults, beginning with a position in the Job Corps Program. While working at Woodland Job Corps as the Career Development Manager, Edwin helped Woodland become the top center in the nation, leading to a position as Career Services Director at the Potomac Job Corps Center. Within a year, his efforts helped Potomac into the top 25 percent of all centers. His expertise and experience led him to Coffey Consulting in July 2016, where he has worked on streamlining a policy review process for Job Corps that has produced immediate benefits for the firm’s clients. He continues to pursue his love for track and field, a pursuit at which he excelled during his college years where he competed and was a multi-time Northeastern Conference Champion. He earned his bachelor of science degree from Mount St. Mary’s University.
Richard “Dick” Sullivan
Richard Sullivan, Project Manager, has 30 years of experience in the following areas: he has served as a supervisor of career counselors, a program manager in labor market research, Employment Service Director, Deputy Director for Operations, and as Associate Commissioner for Revenue and Research in the Massachusetts Department of Employment and Training. Over the last 12 years, he has taught organizational leadership and career management at Questrom School of Business at Boston University. He was Project Manager for Coffey’s U.S. Department of Labor project to determine how each state operates key components of its unemployment insurance benefits program. He enjoys studying successful organizations to see how they achieve their missions to build organizational cultures that support both values alignment and excellence in employee engagement. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of the Holy Cross and a master’s in counseling psychology from Boston College, as well as a master’s in public administration from Northeastern University.
Amelia “Amy” Topper, Ph.D., Senior Researcher, has over 16 years of experience as a researcher and educator. Amy contributes her quantitative and qualitative program evaluation expertise to a variety of education and workforce development projects for federal, state, and non-governmental agencies and postsecondary institutions. Recent projects include assisting with the evaluation of Southwest Virginia Community College’s TAACCCT grant for the U.S. Department of Labor and researching graduate students’ understanding of financial aid award packages for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. She is engaged in producing research that improves the educational and employment capabilities of all individuals, particularly historically marginalized and at-risk populations. She feels that communication is the cornerstone of effective and efficient management, and she works with her clients to produce research that is useful, relevant, and rigorous. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Evaluation with a specialization in Higher Education from Arizona State University, a master’s of education degree in Leadership in Teaching from the University of Notre Dame of Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Classical Languages from St. John’s College.
Roger Therrien specializes in the labor market sector and in workforce information in the state and federal government. He served 18 years as the Director of the Connecticut Labor Department’s division responsible for responding to workforce development system needs for economic, workforce and career information in Connecticut. At Coffey, he contributes to the advancement of the Industry Competency Model Initiative and the support of the Workforce Information Advisory Council. He is leading the development of CMC website enhancements and tools (use of knowledge of ONET), and heading work on the WIAC members’ foundational knowledge of the WLMI system. In collaboration with his colleagues and clients, he focuses on initiatives that are critical to the efficient operation of the labor markets. Roger holds a master’s degree with emphasis on research methods, evaluations and performance measurement for program and management analysis, and a bachelor of arts degree in sociology.
Daniel Weissbein, Project Manager, has more than 15 years of experience leading and directing research, evaluation, training, and technical assistance projects for government organizations and private companies. He has extensive experience studying workforce programs and initiatives at the federal, state, and local level. He specializes in assessment, training design and evaluation, program evaluation, process analysis, and organizational assessments conducted through methodologies including surveys, site visits, interviews, focus groups, and process mapping. He has worked extensively within federal, state, and local organizations, including the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Transportation. He is currently the Project Manager of a formative evaluation studying a new initiative at USDOL’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, leading a team to examine the initiative as it develops and provide feedback to make it more effective. He is driven to help clients achieve the greater good for the public. He earned his Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Michigan State University.