February 23, 2018

Mark Melroy (MPA ’10)

CFO, Washington State Attorney General’s Office

Why is the work you do important?  

The Attorney General’s Office does a wide range of good work for the people of our state. Just a few examples: our Consumer Protection Division stands up to companies defrauding consumers; our Social and Health Services Divisions advocate for the best interests of children in our state’s foster care system; our Ecology Division helps to protect the environment.  

Anecdotally, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Solicitor General Noah Purcell have described some of the feedback they’ve received about their recent work on the travel ban case, which has been extensive. Recently I heard AG Ferguson reference a letter they received from an eight-year-old girl who was born in Iraq but living in the United States. She wrote “Because you stood up … I can be here.” Every day I go to work to support those guys and all the other great people at the Attorney General’s Office.

What lessons from your graduate education still influences you today?  

Of all the things I learned from Affiliate Professor Dwight Dively, which are too numerous to list, perhaps the most significant was that a civil engineer could become something completely different while still making good use of a technical background.  

Professor Steve Page taught me the lesson of how to create public value using Mark Moore’s model and that still helps me to this day. My current work helping manage the operations of the AGO is very focused on the “organizational capacity” part of the strategic triangle and I often find myself analyzing authorizing environments, which is part of the “legitimacy and support” triangle. That last sentence is a shout out to the nerds.

Finally, above my desk I have the program for the celebration of life for former Evans School Dean, Marc Lindenberg. There is a quote on the program from Dean Lindenberg’s daughter Anni that says “To other people, success is often measured by material goods. For my father, success was measured by the number of people he helped.”

What is your favorite part of your job?

Working with an incredible team of dedicated public servants. I never anticipated enjoying management as much as I do. Working to support people and help them achieve their potential is just the most meaningful and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I have an incredible team at the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and in particular I have an assistant named Melanie Griffith who can only be described as superhuman given how much she accomplishes including raising 3 children under the age of six.

What has been the most surprising part of your career? 

I was educated and trained as a Civil Engineer and am still licensed in the State of Washington. That’s in part because, as the first member of my immediate family to attend college, the priority was to pursue a profession that would provide job security. Today, I help manage the finances and operations for the Attorney General of Washington state.

What advice would you offer to a graduate student at the Evans School? 

More than advice, I would offer my thanks. I would like to thank them for pursuing meaningful work that focuses on supporting people – because to me, that’s what the Evans School is all about.