2021 Legislative Staff Achievement Award

7/21/2021

2021 Award Recipients

A photo of Cecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer, Arkansas House of RepresentativesCecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer, Arkansas House of Representatives
LINCS is proud to present Cecillea Pond-Mayo, chief information officer for the Arkansas House of Representatives, with a LINCS Staff Achievement Award for her integral role as part of the House communications teams since 2011.

She writes columns, press releases and speeches. She also provides oversight for livestream operations, video production, the website and social media, and she serves as the media liaison for the House speaker.

During the pandemic, under her leadership, the House communications team overcame numerous obstacles to ensure the legislative process could and would continue in a safe and healthy environment. She is respected for her unwavering professionalism and integrity while serving the legislature and the public.

 

A photo of Drew Volturo, deputy chief of staff for communications, Delaware House of Representatives Drew Volturo, deputy chief of staff for communications, Delaware House of Representatives
LINCS is proud to present Drew Volturo with a LINCS Staff Achievement Award for his long-term commitment to the Delaware House of Representatives as deputy chief of staff for communications for the House Majority Caucus.

He began working for the General Assembly as the Majority Caucus’ first communications director in 2009. He is truly admired for transforming the communications department’s role from a single person writing press releases and taking photos to a five-person team responsible for all aspects of communications for 26 representatives across numerous multimedia platforms.

In 2019, he led the launch of the successful “Whip Count” podcast. According to his colleagues, he is “the quintessential team player and has never sought out the recognition he truly deserves for all that he does.”

 

Awards

Beginning in 1997, each of the NCSL staff professional associations were given the opportunity to recognize among their membership two legislative staff or agencies who made outstanding contributions to their legislatures and to the staff association. The award was established through the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee as a means of recognizing excellence in service to state legislatures. The award is designed to recognize those who demonstrate excellence in supporting the work of a state legislature and strengthening the legislative institution.Each staff association may nominate up to two people, teams or legislative offices from its membership. LINCS honorees will be recognized at the NCSL “Salute to Legislative Staff” event during NCSL Base Camp 2021 (Aug. 3-5, 2021).

All members of LINCS are eligible and nominations may be submitted by the nominee or by other LINCS members. 

  • Helps improve the effectiveness of the legislative institution.
  • Supports the legislative process and the mission of the legislature.
  • Exhibits a high degree of professionalism, competence and integrity in serving the legislature and the public.
  • Contributes to the work of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • Demonstrates expertise in a particular field.
  • Contributes to existing knowledge.
  • Contributes to LINCS.

Nominations can also be mailed to Jennifer Stewart at NCSL, 7700 East First Place, Denver, CO 80230. Please feel free to call 303-856-1450 with any questions.

Past Award Recipients

2020

Betsy Theroux
Director of Media Services, Georgia House of Representatives 

Betsy joined the House of Representatives’ staff in January 2012 as a session assistant and then served as deputy member press secretary, member press secretary and interim director of communications before being named director of the Media Services Office. In 2015, Theroux was elected by the members of the House of Representatives to serve as the House Messenger for the 2015-2016 term, and was re-elected in 2017 for the 2017-2018 term and in 2019 for the 2019-2020 term.

Betsy currently serves as the chair of NCSL’s Legislative Information and Communications Staff (LINCS) association. She previously served as the LINCS secretary and vice chair. She is also a member of NCSL’s Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee. Theroux holds a B.A. in communications and a B.A. minor in Spanish from the University of Georgia. Betsy is a Georgia native and grew up in Dalton, Ga. She now resides in Atlanta, Ga. with her husband.

 

Wendy Madsen
Wyoming Legislative Service Office Special Projects Manager

Wendy Madsen has worked for the Wyoming Legislative Service Office since 1994. She most recently staffed the Capitol Rehabilitation and Restoration Oversight Group, consisting of eight members of legislative leadership and the Governor. She served as the legislative branch’s liaison on the Owner’s team for the $300 million Capitol Square Project, which was comprised of the rehabilitation and restoration of Wyoming’s Capitol; replacement, relocation, and expansion of the central utility plant serving five State buildings; the remodel and expansion of an adjacent office building, and the remodel and expansion of the underground building that connects the Capitol to the office building.

Prior to working on the Capitol restoration, Wendy was responsible for legislator training; media relations; and public outreach and civic education about the legislative process. Wendy was responsible for legislative operations including facility management, information management, emergency preparedness, and event planning. During her time at the Legislative Service Office, Wendy was responsible for establishing the Legislature’s general research function and worked as a member of the program evaluation staff.

Wendy served on the National Conference of State Legislature’s Executive Committee, the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee, and chaired the Legislative Information and Communication Staff Section. She has provided training through NCSL on a variety of legislative topics throughout the United States, Algeria, Mozambique, and Chile.

Wendy has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming. She and her husband enjoy time camping, hiking, and paddleboarding with their two fantastic daughters.

2019

Erica Shorkey 
Deputy Communications Director, Iowa Senate Democratic Caucus

A natural introvert with a lifelong passion for politics, Erica likes working behind the scenes to help legislators stay in touch with constituents. Part of a small communications operation, her job includes writing, editing and photography; creating and maintaining databases, websites and social media; and assisting with graphic, audio and video production. She especially enjoys simplifying complex information to help Iowa citizens understand what’s happening in state government. A Midwest girl, Erica was raised in Michigan, attended college in Minnesota and holds a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Erica was selected for the 2019 Legislative Staff Achievement Award for her ability to confront and master challenges, including the intricacies of email list management, web platform changes, computer support issues and an explosion in social media output. Most importantly, Erica works successfully with an ever-changing group of state senators who increasingly value (and have strong and sometimes contradictory opinions about) the diverse communications tasks she manages. 
 

Tim Bommel 
Photojournalist, Missouri House of Representatives

Tim Bommel has been serving as the staff photojournalist for the Missouri House of Representatives for nearly 20 years. His goal is to inform the public through journalistic, group, portrait and constituent photography. Prior to joining the legislature, Tim worked as a studio, wedding and commercial photographer. He also was as a member of the Missouri Army National Guard, serving as a photojournalist.
Tim was selected for the 2019 Legislative Staff Achievement Award by his peers for his years of legislative experience, which bring “an unparalleled point of view to the LINCS association.” Not only is he a deeply committed legislative staffer and asset to LINCS, Tim is a dedicated father of eight children.

2018

Jeff Fossett
Video Communications Specialist, Kentucky Legislative Research Commission

2017

K'Lynn Sloan Harris
Audio/Video Coordinator, Montana Legislative Services Division

2016

Dennis Yoder
Communications Technician, Senate Media Services, Texas

2015

Morgan Blanchard
Communications Specialist, Louisiana Senate

Jessica Bralish
Communications Director, Colorado Senate Minority

2014

Cory Stewart
Director of Communications, Louisiana Senate