I first encountered Audrey Taylor in late 1995 or early 1996. I was a newly minted Assistance to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) policy consultant, and she was on the ICES project working on reports.
Over the next few years, I moved up the bureaucratic hierarchy and Audrey founded netlogx. Our stars aligned when Congress replaces AFDC with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program in late 1996. TANF is a very messy program: lots of eligibility data to track and report as well as following TANF block grant funds used by programs scattered across sundry state agencies. All that data required the state to develop and implement what was then called the TANF Data Warehouse (today it’s called the FSSA Social Services Data Warehouse or SSDW) and Audrey was part of the Data Warehouse team.
I worked with Audrey and the Data Warehouse to get everything set-up and then I left TANF for the wonderful world of Medicaid. In 2003 I became the head of Indiana’s TANF program and really came to understand the wonders of Audrey and netlogx. Every state agency decided that they wanted access to TANF block grant funds, and Audrey and I would meet with the agencies to explain the intricacies of TANF and what client level data they needed to provide for our federal reports. That was usually enough to dissuade them pursuing the dollars.
After nine years as Mr. TANF, I decided that I needed a change. I had reached the apex as a non-political state worker, so I looked to see what the private sector could do with my specialized skill set (aka welfare policy geek). At the time, in addition to Audrey, netlogx was the home of several of my former state colleagues, but I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in with an ‘IT’ company focused on project management.
I met with Audrey, Nick Petrone, and Nick Taylor and they seemed keen on me joining the netlogx family. They had a clearer picture of what I brought to netlogx than I did, and said that I had experience and skills that would help netlogx with its state government contracts and bring in revenue. In March 2013, I left the security of the public sector and joined netlogx.
Today, I’m a defined niche within netlogx: my primary gig is helping the state of Indiana oversee its TANF program, but I also have supporting roles on other projects as well as serving as an in-house resource for other netlogx projects working with state welfare agencies. All told, I guess Audrey and the Nicks figured out that my odd skill set brought something useful to the company—and I’m very thankful for that.