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Meet the Trainers


Ronnie Charles

Principal Consultant, Fox Lawson & Associates

Prior to joining Fox Lawson & Associates, Ronnie Charles served as chief human resources officer for the City of Baltimore, Maryland. He has also served as director of the Department of Human Resources and Information Technology for the City of Suffolk, Virginia; chief administrative operating officer and director of HR and Labor Relations for the District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency; and director of the Office of Human Resources and Organizational Development for the Virginia Department of HR Management. Charles is a master’s candidate at the University of Phoenix and holds several professional certifications including SPHR, GPHR and IPMA-CP. He is the current chair of IPMA-HR’s Professional Development Committee and board chairman of the HR Certification Institute.


Mila Cosgrove

Deputy City Manager for the City and Borough of Juneau, Alaska

Mila Cosgrove worked in the human resources field for 30 years, prior to transitioning to municipal management. She has worked at the Executive level for State and local governments in both union and non-union environments.  She holds both IPMA-SCP and SPHR certifications and is a graduate of the Pacific Program for Catalytic Leadership.  


Momoh A. Conteh

Human Resources Director, Maryland Department of Agriculture

Since 2009, Momoh A. Conteh has served as human resources director at the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), where his responsibilities include recruitment and examination, benefits, classification and compensation, staff development and training, employer/employee and labor relations, and performance management. Conteh also serves as a professional mediator with the Maryland Shared Neutrals Mediation Program. Prior to joining the MDA, Conteh served as deputy labor commissioner for the City of Baltimore, Maryland, representing the city in negotiations regarding collective bargaining agreements that covered 15,000 uniformed and civilian employees. He also formerly served as an adjunct professor with the Baltimore City Community College. Conteh holds a master’s degree in human resources/behavioral management from Johns Hopkins University and has earned the prestigious designation of IPMA-HR Certified Professional (IPMA-CP). His professional memberships include IPMA-HR and the Society for Human Resource Management.


Dennis Doverspike

Professor of Psychology, University of Akron

Dennis Doverspike is a full professor of psychology at the University of Akron in Ohio. He also serves as a senior fellow with the Institute for Life-Span Development and Gerontology, and as director of the Center for Organizational Research. Doverspike is certified as a specialist in industrial-organizational psychology and in organizational and business consulting psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), and is a licensed psychologist in the State of Ohio. He also has his own firm, Doverspike Consulting LLC. Doverspike has over 30 years of experience working with consulting firms and public and private sector organizations, including 15 years as executive vice president of Barrett & Associates. He holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Akron and a Master of Science degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.


Richard Heil

Founder and President, The Curtis Group

Prior to founding The Curtis Group, Richard (“Dick”) Heil served the State of Pennsylvania as the first director of personnel for the Department of Aging, director of employee relations and development, and director of personnel for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare — one of the largest public organizations in the country with over 23,000 full-time and 2,400 part-time employees. Heil has conducted the Developing Competencies for HR Success course on behalf of IPMA-HR for a number of international entities, including the Asian Development Bank and Iraqi Ministries of Interior and Defense, as well as the Peoples’ Republic of China and the Government of Thailand. He is also the co-writer and developer of IPMA-HR's Public Sector HR Essentials Certificate program. In recognition of his “outstanding contributions to the Association and to the Public Human Resources Profession,” Heil was awarded an Honorary Lifetime Membership from IPMA-HR. He holds a Master of Governmental Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the prestigious designation of IPMA-HR Certified Professional (IPMA-SCP).


Robert Lavigna

Director, Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement, CPS HR Consulting

Bob Lavigna is an award-winning public sector leader and innovator with more than 30 years of experience leading human resources organizations and programs in the public sector.  He is currently the Director of the Institute for Public Sector Employee Engagement, a division of CPS HR Services, an independent government agency.  The Institute is dedicated to helping public sector and nonprofit organizations measure and improve employee engagement as a key to improving service delivery.  Bob's book, Engaging Government Employees: Motivate and Inspire Your People to Achieve Superior Performance, published by the American Management Association and now in its second printing, is the first book to focus exclusively on employee engagement in the public sector.

Before joining CPS, Bob was Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of HR for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  In this position, he directred HR policies and programs for a university ranked amoung the world's top 25 research institutions.

He recently joined CPS HR Consulting, an independent government agency, to lead a new unit dedicated to helping public sector and nonprofit organizations measure and improve employee engagement.

Bob's other previous positions include Vice President-Research for the Partnership for Public Service and director of the state of Wisconsin civil service system.  He began his career with the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Bob is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Adminsitration.   His individual awards and honors also include selection as a "Public Official of the Year" by Governing magazine, as well as the highest individual achievement awards from both IPMA-HR and the National Association of State Personnel Executives (NASPE).

In addition, the organizations Bob has led have received innovation awards from the Ford Foundation, IPMA-HR, NASPE, Council of State Governments, Urban League, Society of Human Resouce Management and others.

Bob is a past national president of IPMA-HR and past national chair of the American Society for Public Administration Section on Personnel and Labor Relations.  In addition to his book, Bob writes frequently for professional publications and is the auther of three book chapters on HR.  He has spoken at conferences throughout the U.S. and in Canada, Europe, Asia, South America, the Carribean, Africa, and the Middle East. Bob has a B.A. in Public Affairs from George Washington University, and an M.S. in HR from Cornell University.


Bruce Lawson

Managing Director, Fox Lawson & Associates LLC

Bruce Lawson has been directing classification and compensation studies for more than 25 years. As managing director of Fox Lawson & Associates, he is responsible for all consulting activities in the areas of job evaluation and compensation, organization analysis, personnel systems and policy development. Prior to forming the firm, Lawson spent 15 years with Ernst & Young LLP as national director of the public sector compensation consulting practice. He also served as a public sector administration for a number of years, including city manager of Los Altos Hills, California; city manager of Belvedere, California; county administrative officer of Multnomah County, Oregon; and assistant city manager and personnel director of Corvallis, Oregon. Lawson is co-author of a monthly column for HR News titled “CompDoctor,” and is an active member of several professional human resource associations, including IPMA-HR, CUPA-HR, ICMA, and WorldatWork. He holds a Master of Public Administration from California State University-Fullerton, is a Certified Compensation Professional (CCP), and has earned the prestigious designation of Certified Professional from IPMA-HR.


Kimla Millburn

Kimla Milburn, J.D., IPMA-CP, is a Past-President of IPMA-HR who currently serves as the Human Resources Director for The Center for Leadership Innovation (TCLI), a non-profit organization providing leadership training to community volunteers and professionals across the U.S.A. Prior to her career in human resources management, Kimla practiced civil and employment law in Maryland. Her background in public service includes extensive experience at the federal and local levels of government. She served as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Annapolis, Maryland from 1998 to 2011, where she led the transition of the City’s Personnel Office to a Human Resources Department serving as a true business partner with city government operations. Kimla has also taught college students in Law and Human Resources Management at Prince George’s Community College and Wilmington University.

Kimla’s service to her community and the human resources profession has been recognized through her selection as a recipient of the 2005 Maryland’s Top 100 Women, a recipient of the 2009 YWCA Honoree for Excellence in Public Service, and as the 2014 recipient of the Charles H. Cushman Award, presented by the Eastern Region, IPMA-HR.

Kimla received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics, as well as her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland. She is admitted to practice law for both federal and state courts in Maryland. She has published several articles on Human Resources issues in the IPMA-HR monthly magazine and in the IPMA-HR/Oracle book collaboration Leadership Secrets of Local Government Human Resources Officials.

For the past sixteen years, Kimla has remained active with IPMA-HR by supporting and attending annual international conferences, serving on numerous committees and task forces, representing IPMA-HR at the Great Britain and South African HR Conferences, and serving on the Executive Council as a Member-at-Large as well as the 2012 IPMA-HR President.

Kimla resides in Maryland with her husband of 26 years Michael. They have three children, Michael Jr., age 24, Benjamin, age 22, and Kristina, age 12.


David Ritter

Partner, Barnes & Thornburg LLP

David Ritter has nearly 30 years of experience representing public and private companies in all aspects of labor and employment law and litigation. As a partner at Barnes & Thornburg, he represents clients before governmental agencies, including the National Labor Relations Board, Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and defends employers faced with claims under Sarbanes-Oxley. Ritter is AV-rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, its highest rating; he has been recognized as a labor and employment leader in the 2008-2012 editions of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business; and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg in 2012, he was a partner at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP where he chaired the labor and employment practice group. Ritter holds a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University Law School.


Betsy Sawyers

Human Resources Consultant & Founder, Strategic Visions

Betsy Sawyers started her long-standing career in the private sector, joining the public sector ranks in the State of Washington as a personnel officer. During her career with the state, Sawyers served as employment services director of the Department of Social and Health Services — the largest department in the state with over 17,000 employees. Sawyers also served as personnel services manager of King County, Washington before being promoted to human resources director of Pierce County, Washington in 2001. After 11 years, Sawyers retired from the county and started her own consulting business, Strategic Visions HR Consulting. She has been actively involved with IPMA-HR for over 12 years as a trainer, committee member, chapter president and member of the executive council. Sawyers holds a Master of Arts in public administration and has earned the prestigious designation of Certified Professional from IPMA-HR.


Sandra Spellman

Senior Consultant, Fox Lawson & Associates LLC

Sandra Spellman is responsible for conducting classification, job evaluation, and human resource process consultations. She has been conducting studies for Fox Lawson & Associates for eight years, specializing in the areas of classification, communications, human resource strategy and process, and employee and management focus group meetings. In her capacity as senior consultant, Spellman works with states, cities, counties, colleges and universities, and the federal government. Prior to joining the firm, she spent worked as a consultant with Ernst & Young for 18 years, overseeing client and internal change management, communications, and training strategies. Spellman has also held state executive and legislative positions addressing a wide range of human resource and related issues. She holds a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in organizational development from Arizona State University and has earned IPMA-HR’s prestigious designation of Certified Professional (IPMA-CP).


Fagan Stackhouse

Human Resources Director, Charleston County, South Carolina

Fagan Stackhouse has worked in the field of public human resources for over 40 years. He’s held local government positions in North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, and South Carolina. As a member of IPMA-HR, Stackhouse served in the capacity of president, president of the IPMA Certification Council, and represented the Association internationally in Canada, China, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Stackhouse has received numerous awards for his service, including the Virginia IPMA-HR Chapter Award for Outstanding Service, IPMA-HR Honorary Lifetime Member award, Edwin L. Swain Award for Distinguished Human Resources Career, and the Warner W. Stockberger Achievement Award for outstanding contributions toward improvements for public human resources. Stackhouse holds a Master of Public Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill.



Sam Wilkins

 

Human Resources Consultant, and Adjunct lecturer, Columbia College, South Carolina

Sam Wilkins is a graduate of Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina, and the University of South Carolina School of Law.  He practiced law for four years with a private law firm before working with the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General for eight years.  He also worked at the South Carolina State Human Resources Divison, serving as Director for thirteen and half years before retiring in 2015. Since then, he has been an Adjunct Instructor at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina, teaching a course about the impact of human resources in the Disaster and Emergency Management Program; an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Carolina teaching a course in the Master of Human Resources program; and an independent consultant concerning human resources issues.