As communications director, Rachel promotes the work of the American Consumer Institute to an engaged, growing audience. Previously, she was director of digital media at TechFreedom, a think tank offering legal and policy analysis of tech-related issues. Beforehand, Rachel was the Executive Director of the Wave Center for Policy and Enterprise, a think tank focusing on economic and civil liberties issues in Louisiana. She also managed the five-state Deep South region of Students for Liberty. Prior to this, Rachel held external relations and communications-oriented positions at the Institute for Justice, the U.S. Senate, and the Cato Institute. Rachel graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in political economy and a B.S.M. in marketing in International Studies and Business. She lives in Washington, DC.
George David Banks is an expert on energy and environmental policy issues, managing director of Vanguard Political, and senior fellow at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Banks was a deputy staff director of the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee. Prior to the Senate, he was a partner at Boyden Gray & Associates. Banks was also the senior adviser on international affairs and climate change at the White House Council on Environmental Quality and one of the chief architects of the Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change. In 2008, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to be assistant administration of international activities at the EPA, and he later earned the EPA Climate Protection Award for Diplomacy from the Obama Administration. From 2004 to 2006, Banks served as the State Department’s point person on climate change and energy diplomacy at the U.S. Mission to the EU in Brussels, Belgium, where he received a Superior Honor Award for promoting U.S. diplomatic objectives. He was also a decorated CIA economic analyst and served as legislative fellow to Congressman Howard Berman. Banks holds a JD from George Mason University and a MA in economics and baccalaureate degrees in history, economics, and political science from the University of Missouri at St. Louis.
Dr. Blackstone has taught economics for over forty years. Prior to coming to Temple in 1976, Dr. Blackstone taught at Dartmouth College and Cornell University. His research areas and publications include the Economics of Industrial Organization, Health Economics, and Privatization. He has published on a variety of antitrust topics including mergers, dominance, reciprocal buying, collusion and damages. His publications include over forty articles in major economics and public policy journals, chapters in books, an edited book, a monograph on private policing, and a book on the electronic security industry.
Dr. Blackstone has taught courses from the introductory to the Ph.D. level. He was given in 1976 the Clark Award for distinguished teaching at Cornell and at Temple, the Andrisani-Frank Award for Excellence in teaching in 2001, and the Musser Excellence in Leadership Award for teaching in 2006. Professor Blackstone holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.
Dr. Born is Associate Professor in the Department of Risk Management/Insurance, Real Estate and Business Law at Florida State University. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University and her B.A. from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining FSU in 2008, she held appointments at California State University-Northridge, Shanghai Normal University, the University of Connecticut, NOVA Southeastern University and DePaul University. She also worked in the Center for Health Care Policy and Research at the American Medical Association. She is Director of the FSU Center for Insurance Research, and an Associated Member of the Munich Risk and Insurance Center. Dr. Born has taught courses in risk management, insurance, and economics at all academic levels. Her research interests include insurance regulation, medical malpractice markets, health care finance, risk retention groups, and catastrophe modeling. She has published numerous articles and is Co-Editor of the Journal of Insurance Issues. She has served as an expert witness and provided consulting services on a wide range of cases relating to insurance and liability issues. Dr. Born has served several industry and academic organizations including the Risk and Insurance Management Society, the American Risk and Insurance Association, the Asia-Pacific Risk and Insurance Association, and the State of Florida Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.
As a research fellow for the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, Zack writes on technology and regulatory issues. In addition, he is currently the COO of a media, data and analytics company that helps publishers connect with their audiences. Previously, Zack served as the vice president of a media strategy firm, where he worked with publishers and media companies on their digital products and strategies. Prior to that, Zack was a writer and producer working for several media companies, including WGN and CBS Radio, among others. He lives in Washington, DC.
With over 20 years of experience in the communications industry, Alan has collaborated on policy development with elected officials, think tank experts, and government professionals. He launched successful businesses in mobile communications devices, and in software for financial and economic analysis. He wrote several books on software and technology. Alan, who is retired and lives in Florida, is a research fellow for the American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, where he currently writes on economic policy, regulation and finance from a consumer perspective, including such topics as healthcare, insurance, taxation, energy and technology.
As President of Strategic Opinion Research, Professor Danehy brings more than 15 years of experience in designing, conducting and analyzing public opinion research both nationally and internationally for use in developing and evaluating public policy programs and public relations. She has conducted research involving various demographic segments, including teenagers, low-income residents, mentally ill patients and non-English speaking populations. Over the years, her research has covered medical, public health and safety issues. On the political front, she has conducted numerous political polls for candidates. She is also actively involved in community education issues.
Ms. Danehy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Smith College and a Master of Arts degree in Public Opinion Research from the University of Connecticut. Ms. Danehy is a lecturer at Boston University’s College of Communication. Prior to her current assignment, she served as Vice President at Bannon Research and Director of Research at the Rendon Group, Inc., where she was involved in survey and focus group research.
As a policy analyst for the American Consumer Institute, Tirzah writes on technology and regulatory issues. Prior to coming to ACI Tirzah worked for the premier policy think tank in Pennsylvania where she focused on economic and fiscal policy. Additionally, she has experience working with think tanks around the globe and has been fortunate to witness firsthand the positive impacts policy can have in individuals’ lives.
Tirzah brings an interdisciplinary approach to policy having received her B.A. in Anthropology from Eastern Oregon University, her M.A. in International Studies from the University of San Francisco and having professional experience in economic research departments across various think tanks.
Dr. Fuhr is a senior fellow at the Institute and is a retired professor of economics from Widener University. Dr. Fuhr received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Temple University and his B.A. from LaSalle University. His primary research areas are antitrust, health economics, pharmacoeconomics, telecommunications, and sports economics.
He has published over sixty journal articles. In the field of telecommunications, he has written on investment and innovation, rural telephony, terminal equipment and universal service. In health care, he has written on hospital mergers, exclusive arrangements, health insurance, bundling and doctor’s fees. In pharmacoeconomics, he has written on cost benefit analysis and predictive modeling. In sports economics, Dr. Fuhr has written on the economics of baseball and football.
Professor Fuhr has been an expert witness on antitrust matters related to health economics and has worked on various consulting projects. He is an economic consultant for the Department of Health Policy and Outcomes Research at Thomas Jefferson University and Econsult.
Dr. Larry Kaufmann is the President of Kaufmann Consulting, a Senior Advisor to Pacific Economics Group and Navigant Consulting, and a Fellow with the Canadian Energy Research Institute in Calgary. The main focus of his consulting practice has been advising firms and regulatory commissions on a variety of energy and regulatory issues. Much of this work has involved the application of sophisticated empirical techniques to economic issues, as well as the need to communicate the results of these analyses to non-technical audiences.
Over the last 22 years, Dr. Kaufmann has participated in more than 200 consulting projects in 14 countries around the world. He has provided expert witness testimony on this work more than 40 times. Dr. Kaufmann has also written opinion and other articles on economic issues for a number of publications. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin.
Originally from the United Kingdom, Edward Longe is a Policy Manager at the American Consumer Institute. He is currently studying for a Ph.D. in History at Marquette University and graduated with a Master’s degree in History from the College of Charleston in 2017.
Edward has a broad array of policy research interests but is particularly interested in exploring how decisions and proposals made in Washington will affect people in their everyday lives.
Professor Marlett is Chair of the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance at Appalachian State University. He has also served as Director of the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center. His responsibilities include administration, teaching, research, and developing strong industry relations. David has earned the CPCU designation and holds the IIANC Distinguished Professorship. He is a Senior Fellow at the American Consumer Institute, and he also served as an affiliated Senior Scholar with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
David was appointed by the Speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly as a member of the Joint Select Study Committee on Potential Impact of Major Hurricane on the Insurance Industry in North Carolina. In addition, David served as Editor for the CPCU eJournal for eight years and currently serves on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Insurance Regulation. He has published over twenty articles in peer-reviewed journals.
David earned his Ph.D. at Florida State, where his major area of study was risk management and insurance, with a support area in finance. His doctoral dissertation was on residual markets and catastrophe financing programs.
Oliver McPherson-Smith writes about economic policy for the American Consumer Institute. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge, before working as a television journalist in the Middle East and Africa. Oliver received his Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and is currently completing a DPhil in Politics at the University of Oxford.
Dr. Merewitz is president of LAMA Consulting, an economic consulting firm specializing in postal matters, transportation, regulation and public policies. He has testified on cost analysis of public utilities before state commissions and the U.S. Postal Rate Commission.
His forty years of experience includes seven years as a special assistant for the U.S. Postal Rate Commission, seven more years as General Manager and Member Postal Career Executive Service for the United States Postal Service. Dr. Merewitz was a senior economist for the National Transportation Economic Counsel, Director of Transportation Studies for J.W. Wilson and Associates, and Senior Economist for the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association. He was an Assistant Professor at Schools of Business Administration at UC Berkeley, and provided consulting services for Institute for Defense Analyses and the RAND Corporation. His book, The Budget’s New Clothes (Rand McNally) has had eight printings. Dr. Merewitz earned a B.A. (magna cum laude) from Harvard and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley.
Dr. Merewitz provides nonprofits and other organizations with tips on saving up to 20 percent on high electricity and natural gas bills. Click here for more information.
For over thirty-five years, Mr. Pociask has been involved in consumer public policy research. He has published numerous economic studies, including three books for the Economic Policy Institute, and policy studies for numerous independent nonprofit organizations. Many of his research studies have focused the consequences of public policies on consumer welfare. He has extensive experience in various policy issues, including energy, insurance, consumer products, information technology and healthcare. He has conducted surveys of consumer opinion covering a wide variety of public policy issues. He has participated as a consumer advocacy representative for policymaker organizations. He chairs the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Advocacy Committee.
He has also written reports for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, including one on small businesses’ telecommunications expenditures and use, and one on broadband use in rural America. He has testified before Congress. He has appeared numerous times in the media, including Bloomberg News, NBC, FOX, New York Times, Forbes and others. From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Pociask served as chief economist and executive vice president for Joel Popkin and Co., an economic consulting firm in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he was chief economist for the Bell Atlantic Corporation. He has completed his Ph.D. coursework in economics and has an M.A. in economics from George Mason University.
Dr. Lars Powell serves as the executive director of the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research located in University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. Professor Powell’s research interests include insurance markets and regulations, insurance operations, insurer capitalization and predictive analytics. He has served as an expert to federal and state courts and legislatures. His work appears in leading academic and practitioner journals including Journal of Law and Economics, Journal of Risk and Insurance, and Journal of Insurance Regulation, among others. He has been on the board of directors for the Southern Risk and Insurance Association and a member of the American Risk and Insurance Association and the Risk Theory Society. He is a founding board member of Arkansas Mutual Insurance Company and a recipient of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies’ NAMIC Service Award.
Dr. Pusok is a Director at the American Consumer Institute, where she is responsible for a wide variety of issues, including survey research in connection with consumer policies. Her policy research focuses on examining the effects of outdated regulations on new technologies, including cybersecurity and privacy, as well as consumer survey analysis on issues including, but not limited, to healthcare and labor.
Previously, Krisztina served as a research associate at Reason Foundation, where she worked and published on issues pertaining to environmental and energy policies, and the regulation of innovations and technologies. Krisztina completed her Ph.D. at the University of Missouri in political science, where she conducted extensive research on public-private partnerships and voluntary industry standards. She also has a master’s degree in international security studies from University of St. Andrews in the U.K., as well as a bachelor’s degree in international relations and international business from Webster University in Vienna, Austria. She lives in Washington, DC.
Dr, Andy Puckett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Finance at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Puckett joined the University of Tennessee faculty in 2009 from the University of Missouri, where he taught investments to both undergraduate and graduate students. He received his Ph.D. in finance from the University of Georgia and his undergraduate degree in finance from Auburn University. Dr. Puckett’s primary research interests are in the areas of institutional investing, analysts, and market microstructure. His research has been published or is forthcoming in the Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Corporate Finance, Review of Accounting Studies, and the Journal of the American Taxation Association. Dr. Puckett’s research has also been presented at numerous conferences including the American Finance Association Conference, Utah Winter Finance Conference, National Bureau of Economic Research Market Microstructure Conference, Financial Management Association Conference, and Singapore International Conference.
John W. Rollins, FCAS, MAAA is the president of Rollins Analytics, Inc., an independent consulting firm in Florida specializing in providing actionable, credible, professional actuarial analysis to the private and public sector. He has practiced in U.S. property-casualty insurance for 20 years and in Florida property lines for the last 11, serving as chief actuary of both the Florida Farm Bureau Insurance Companies and the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. He has also led consulting operations for catastrophe modeling and global accounting firms. He has authored numerous prize-winning research papers, many trade publication articles, and speaks and testifies frequently on property insurance and hurricane risk issues to legislators, regulators, academics, and the media. He holds an B.A. in math from Duke and an M.A. in economics from the University of Florida, and resides in the Gainesville area with his wife and children.
Nate Scherer is a Policy Analyst with the American Consumer Institute where he researches and writes about a diverse range of consumer issues. He previously served as a Policy Analyst at the Reason Foundation and has also worked for several other nonprofits including the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Leadership Institute. More recently, he worked an educator for Fairfax County Public Schools and performed research for Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab. He possesses a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education, Social Studies, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics. He currently resides in Falls Church, VA.
Liam Sigaud is an economic policy and research manager for the American Consumer Institute with several years of experience in public policy research and analysis in the government and the nonprofit sectors. He worked two years working as the lead policy analyst at the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free market think tank. He was also a staff writer for Ballotpedia and served an internship at the Governor’s Office of Policy and management for the state of Maine. Liam earned his undergraduate from the State of Maine and has a graduate certificate in Policy Analysis from the University of Southern Maine.
As the Founding Executive Director of the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia’s Health Policy Institute, Dr. Stefanacci is building upon his recently completed work as Health Policy Scholar at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). At CMS he spent a year working on the policy and implementation of the Medicare Part D Pharmacy Benefit, especially regarding access issues for frail elderly. He holds two Master’s degrees — one in Geriatric Health as well as Business Administration. He is board certified in Quality Assurance and Utilization as well as being a Certified Medical Director (CMD). Recently he achieved recognition as a fellow in both the College of Physicians of Philadelphia and AGS as well as becoming an honorary lifetime member of ASCP. In addition to writing and lecturing extensively, he serves as editor-in-chief of the Assisted Living Consult and Medicare Patient Management as well as serving on the editorial boards of Caring for the Ages, Consultant Pharmacist, LTC Interface, Managed Care, and Jefferson’s Health Policy newsletter. Based on his experience and the expertise within the University of the Sciences as the oldest College of Pharmacy, the Health Policy Institute has focused on pharmaceutical related issues.
Mr. Mitch Wilk is the Managing Director of the Economics & Policy practice group of LECG, and founder the public policy research and consulting firm Wilk & Associates.
Prior this this, he served as Commissioner and President of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). He was appointed by the Chairman of the FCC to serve on the six member Conference Committee to oversee the implementation of a key initiative to encourage industry competition.
Prior to his appointment to the CPUC, Mr. Wilk was Deputy Legislative Secretary, and later, Deputy Chief of Staff to California Governor George Deukmejian. He served on a select Advisory Panel to the California State Senate Committee on Energy and Public Utilities to develop recommendations for CPUC reform and reorganization. During the 2001 California electricity crisis, Mr. Wilk joined other experts to co-author two widely published Manifestos on the crisis under the auspices of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. He is on the Academic Advisory Board of the Progress & Freedom Foundation’s Institute for Regulatory Law and Economics, an educational forum for new regulators. His views are frequently sought by media, academic, and governmental institutions regarding current developments and trends in utilities and other regulated industries.
Mr. Wilk is an Army veteran, and earned B.S. and M.B.A. degrees in finance from The American University in Washington, D.C., during which time he also served as a member of Congressional Staff.