Authors and Editors
Jerry Ashworth, Thompson Grants
Jerry Ashworth is the editor at Thompson Grants. Mr. Ashworth has served as the editor of these publications for more than 17 years. He has more than 30 years of journalism experience, including the last 25 years in the newsletter industry covering a range of topics from federal grants and single audits to electronic commerce and environmental issues. Mr. Ashworth has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree from the University of Georgia and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He can be connected with via LinkedIn.
Jesse Buggs, City of Bowie, Md.
Jesse Buggs is the director of the Office of Grants Development and Administration for the City of Bowie, and is a frequent speaker and trainer for the National Grants Management Association and the Grants Professional Association, and is a member of the Thompson Grants Editorial Advisory Board.
Cornelia Chebinou, NASACT
Cornelia Chebinou has been the director of the Washington office of the National Association of Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) since August 1999. She serves as the primary liaison with Congress, the administration, federal agencies and other associations on national issues of intergovernmental finance while representing state governmental positions; providing information to the membership; and assisting in the development of policy. She has served as the point person for state finance officials on implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is a past co-chair of the National Grants Partnership.
Dan Durst, Capital Edge Consulting
Dan Durst is the co-leader of the Federal Grants Compliance Practice at Capital Edge Consulting and has 12 years of experience in various accounting and compliance issues related to federal government contracts, grants and cooperative agreements. Dan’s areas of expertise include cost accounting standards (CAS), uniform administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements for federal awards to nonfederal entities (Uniform Guidance), Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and Defense Grant and Agreement Regulatory System (DGARS). Dan is also well-versed in various levels of audit support including business system reviews, single audit and Inspector General audits.
Darla Fera, Thompson Grants
Darla Fera is the long-standing editor of the Guide to Managing Federal Grants for Colleges and Universities and its corresponding Federal Agency Weekly e-newsletter, which tracks federal grants policy issuances, rulemaking, guidance development and OIG reports and publications, as well as the editor for the two editions of A Practical Guide to Federal Grants Management - From Solicitation Through Audit. She is a member of the team presenting training and compliance webinars on federal grants management topics offered by Federal Fund Management Advisor. Given her editing experience, Ms. Fera recently took over editorial duties for Thompson's Guide to U.S. Food Labeling Law and Investment Management Compliance Guide subscriptions.
Wendi Gephart, ETR
Wendi Gephart develops organization-specific grants management tools, training, and policies and procedures to create and maintain internal control systems and compliance with ever-changing funder regulations. She has worked as a grant writer and grants manager, grounded in over 25 years of practical experience, as both a grantor and grantee. Throughout her career, she has based her practice on funder regulations, rules, and policies, most recently as the Grants and Contracts Manager for Education, Training and Research Associates (ETR) a nonprofit organization that works to improve health and increase opportunities for youth, families, and communities. Additionally, Ms. Gephart works on projects focusing on capacity-building through external funding. Ms. Gephart has a 95% grant writing success rate, with over $115 million total in funding, from numerous federal, state, and private sources, including grants from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. She has managed several state and regional large grantor programs. Ms. Gephart has served on committees for the Grant Professional Association and currently serves on committees for the National Grants Management Association and on Thompson Grants’ Editorial Advisory Board.
Elizabeth Gombash, Seminole State College of Florida
Elizabeth Gombash is the CEO/Managing Member of G Team Communication, LLC, an education consulting company that provides grant lifecycle support services to higher education clients. Liz is a nationally recognized authority in grant writing and grants management, rooted in over 30 years of practical experience. She has spent most of her grants career working in higher education, most recently retiring as Associate Vice President of Strategic Grants Planning and Development at Seminole State College of Florida, but also having worked as a federal grants management specialist. In addition to grant writing and strategic concept development, Liz specializes in developing institutional grants management capacity to keep pace with evolving funder regulations and interpretations relating to internal control systems and compliance. She has delivered numerous training workshops and conference presentations around the country, and written many articles for professional publications. Liz has served as a director on the national boards for the National Grants Management Association and the Council for Resource Development, and currently serves on Thompson Grants’ Editorial Advisory Board.
Lori Guerrero, King County Department of Transportation
Lori has more than 20 years of federal and state grants management experience and is currently a Grant Administrator for King County Department of Transportation in Seattle, Washington. She began her grants management career administering public assistance funds. From there, she worked for the state’s Emergency Management Division, where she administered and monitored millions of dollars in disaster relief grants from the Department of Homeland Security. Lori was also the Budget and Grants Coordinator for Washington State’s Election Division, where she was responsible for managing nearly $80 million in Help American Vote Act funds. She is the current Vice President of the National Grants Management Association (NGMA) and has been on the NGMA Board since 2012.
Jason Guilbeault, Augusta University
Jason Guilbeault is the Director of Post Award Services at Augusta University (formerly Georgia Regents University) where he oversees all aspects of the University’s post award operations, including the Single Audit. Mr. Guilbeault has 10 years of experience in financial accounting, cost accounting, and grant management and compliance at various organizations, including MAXIMUS Consulting and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His expertise includes post award grants management, Single Audit, indirect cost rates, internal controls, and process improvement. He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board at Thompson Information Services and on the Society of Research Administrator’s Educational Programming Subcommittee. Mr. Guilbeault has given dozens of presentations at various conferences/ webinars and has published several articles for the SRA Catalyst Magazine.
James Huycke, Moraine Park Technical College
James D. Huycke, MSW, is the grants coordinator at Moraine Park Technical College in Wisconsin. He has 30 years of experience in pre- and post-award related work, and more than 20 years in adjunct instruction, most of that involving research methods.
Dismas Locaria, Esq., Venable, LLP
Dismas (Diz) Locaria is a partner with the law firm Venable LLP. His practice focuses on assisting government contractors in all aspects of working with the federal government. He has extensive experience assisting clients with regulatory and contract/grant term counseling, compliance (including ethics and integrity compliance), responsibility matters, such as suspension, debarment and other contracting/grant exclusions, small business matters and GSA Federal Supply Schedule contracting.
Karen Norris, kanoco
Karen Norris is nationally recognized in the grants community as a consultant and Subject Matter Expert for Kanoco Consulting (knco) — a Karen Norris Company in Gaithersburg, Md. and Lewes, Del. She has experience in grants and contracts for more than 30 years, previously as a grants administrator for educational institutions in the State of Maryland and as an author and managing editor for grants publications. She has served on the Board of Directors of professional associations and editorial advisory boards. She is an invited annual presenter at national conferences, including the Grant Professionals Association and National Grants Management Association. Ms. Norris conducts virtual and onsite grants training for federal, state, local and territorial governments and other nonfederal entities. The White House Conference on Aging published her white paper about health grants. Ms. Norris has advised and responded to information requests about the grants process from the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management and provided testimony to the Maryland General Assembly about state legislation for the de minimis indirect cost rate. Ms. Norris has served as a federal reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Heather Pullen, Langton Associates Inc.
Heather Pullen has been a grant industry professional for over 14 years. She started her career in the Florida Small Cities CDBG Program at the Florida Department of Community Affairs in 2006, and then moved to the private sector as the lead Grant Administrator for Langton Associates, Inc. in 2009. She has been an active member of the Grant Professionals Association since 2016 and the National Grants Management Association since 2018, and has provided government employee training on a variety of grant administration topics to several Florida local governments.
Kelly Rancourt, Clark Nuber
As a senior manager in the firm’s Audit and Assurance Services Group, Kelly focuses on serving clients in the not-for-profit sectors across a variety of industries. She also performs federal compliance audits.
Eric Russell, CIA, CGAP, CGMS, MPA
Eric Russell is a senior manager in Crowe’s Risk Consulting – Public Sector Services delivery unit. Eric is a regulatory compliance specialist focusing primarily on the management and audit of Federal awards and contracts on behalf of Federal agencies and various non-profit and commercial recipients and subrecipients. His efforts have included the planning and execution of audits in accordance with Government Auditing Standards, conduct and facilitation of organizational risk assessments, Uniform Guidance audit preparation activities, and the design, documentation, and implementation of internal controls over compliance and financial reporting. In addition, Eric has worked with clients to assess and enhance their internal controls, to plan for the procurement and implementation of financial management systems, and to evaluate and enhance business processes.
Eric is a Certified Internal Auditor, Certified Government Auditing Professional, and a Certified Grants Management Specialist. He holds a Master’s of Public Administration degree from The Ohio State University (OSU) and a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from Stetson University. Eric currently services on the Board of Alumni Advisors at OSU’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs and serves as Secretary of the National Grants Management Association’s Board of Directors.
Sandra Swab, Consultant
Sandra Swab is currently an independent consultant focusing on grants, data standards and performance measurement. She most recently retired from the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, where she served as its data manager and senior advisor for grants, performance and data standards. She has worked as a consultant as a subject matter expert for companies supporting government management systems initiatives and as a senior manager at KPMG and SiloSmashers after having worked at the Office of Management and Budget as a senior policy analyst in the Office of Federal Financial Management. She has more than 30 years of government experience in grants, finance and program management.
Tiffany Kesslar, Esq., Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC
Tiffany Kesslar joined Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC, in July 2006 and became a partner in 2011. Ms. Winters assists her clients with both fiscal and programmatic aspects of federal education programs, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Ms. Winters also works with clients on the requirements of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars and other administrative regulations, such as the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) and the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR). Since joining the Firm, Ms. Winters has developed and conducted trainings on federal grants management and the fiscal and programmatic requirements under ESEA and IDEA. Ms. Winters also conducts mock monitoring of State educational agencies and local educational agencies for fiscal and programmatic compliance with ESEA Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A, Title III, Part A and IDEA Part B and Part C. Ms. Winters co-authored the IDEA: New Expectations for Schools and Students, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Edition and contributes to the 504 Compliance Handbook, published by Thompson Publishing Group. Ms. Winters also actively represents several charter schools in IDEA due process litigation.
Renotta Young, Columbia University, New York City, N.Y.
Renotta L. Young is the deputy controller for Columbia University in New York City, N.Y. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University Of Illinois College Of Law at Champaign-Urbana and a Bachelor of Arts from Central State University in Ohio. She currently is responsible for and directs both domestic and international government and nongovernment regulatory audits related to research and tax. Prior to joining Columbia University, Renotta was Director of Corporate Tax at the Mayo Clinic headquarters in Rochester, Minn., where she led the corporate-wide tax department and co-directed the parent company’s economic impact initiative during her tenure.