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5th Annual George V. Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge Winners

Craig Maher

Congratulations to the 5th Annual George V. Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge first and second place winners Dr. Craig S. Maher, from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), and Dr. Sabith Khan, from California Lutheran University. 

The challenge, sponsored by the Voinovich School at Ohio University, recognizes and celebrates public service innovation at the annual NASPAA Conference.  

“It’s exciting to see the range of innovative programs public administration departments across the country are developing to meet the needs of underserved communities,” said Kate Leeman, Director of Strategic Initiatives. 

Dr. Craig S. Maher, with senior advisor Dr. Meagan Van Gelder, presented the NextGen Leadership Program at the annual event, winning the $10,000 award. In a UNO release, Dr. Meagan Van Gelder related, "The program we pitched is key to unlocking answers to address societal needs. [...] "These challenges we face are complex, and we need diverse leaders who can bring people together to find solutions in order to make a difference for the better. The award will go 100% to UNO students for scholarships and other education resources so they can have the best opportunities to learn, lead, and flourish." 

Dr. Sabith Khan, Board Chair, Program Director & Assistant Professor, California Lutheran University, won second place for Organization for Remittances and Migration (IOREM). IOREM, which is currently seeking non-profit status, describes the vision on the official website: "At the core of the organization is communication between all interested parties in the fields of migrant and worker remittances. Through our research and collaborative efforts between academia and industry, we hope to be a link on issues related to: diasporas, international migration, seasonal migration, refugees, organized labor agreements, social & economic integration, policies and regulation as well as issues that impact senders and recipients of remittances." 

The Voinovich Public Innovation Challenge is named in honor of Sen. George V. Voinovich (July 15, 1936 – June 12, 2016) whose nearly half-century of public service was a living example of innovative leadership. He encouraged others to design and deliver practical solutions to challenging public problems and was an early proponent of public-private partnerships. 

From Dean Mark Weinberg, "Laurel McFarland and all the staff at NASPAA have provided such great support to the Voinovich Challenge. We couldn't do it without them." 


Past winners have included: