PPA's professional staff come from a wide range of backgrounds. Learn more about their academic training, professional experience and skills here.
Jacob Malcom, Director
Learn more about PPA's director.
Jonathan Steele, Deputy Director
Jonathan Steele is the Deputy Director of the Office of Policy Analysis. His career at DOI started in 2004 with the National Park Service. He completed the Department’s Office of the Secretary Management Development Program, and he served for two years in DOI’s Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution. Jonathan has been with the Office of Policy Analysis since 2009. He has experience leading policy analysis and program coordination on a wide range of DOI management issues. He completed a two-year staff detailee assignment in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. Jonathan served as a communications specialist in the U.S. Army. He has a B.S. in Telecommunications and a M.S. in Environmental Studies, both from Ohio University.
Robert B. Richardson, Chief Economist
Robert Richardson is Chief Economist in the Office of Policy Analysis. He joined the Department of the Interior in 2022. Prior to joining the Department, he was a Professor in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University, where he conducted research on the contribution of ecosystem services to socioeconomic well-being. He was previously a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, and a former member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Robert holds a Ph.D. in natural resource and environmental economics from Colorado State University.
Christian Crowley, Economist
Christian began his career at the Department of the Interior in 2005, after working as a contractor in the Department of Energy. He has worked on projects in the areas of recreation, wildland fire, royalties (hardrock minerals, oil and gas, renewable resources), and economic impacts. He helped launch and develop the DOI Economics Community of Practice and organizes recurring workshops for the Community to share current research and leverage training opportunities. Christian also provides economic support for the Restoration Program in NRDAR policy, case-work and training capacities. Christian holds a Ph.D. in economics from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Kristin E. Skrabis, Economist
Kristin joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 1999. She has worked on a variety of projects while at PPA, including economic valuation of natural resource damages, tribal cultural resources, and FERC licensing of hydropower dams and pipelines. Kristin’s efforts include providing policy support to the Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment, along with claim development work on over 120 damage assessment cases. Kristin has an M.S. in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester and a Ph.D. in natural resource and environmental economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Ann Miller, Economist
Ann joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2017. She specializes in data visualization and has worked on a wide variety of projects, including issues related to wildland fire, energy, invasive species, recreation, and tribal economic development. In addition, she assists in producing the DOI Economic Contributions report, which is published annually. Ann has an M.S. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in Economics and Statistics from the University of Rochester.
Fabiano Franco, Economist
Fabiano began his career at Interior in 2015 with the U.S. Geological Survey, where his research was primarily associated with transdisciplinary matters ranging from assessment and valuation of ecosystem services to Multi-Resource Analysis. Fabiano joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2019, where he works on a variety of issues reflecting Interior’s widespread research areas, including assignments related to the Endangered Species Act, wildland fire, recreation, energy, economic contributions of DOI bureaus, among others. Fabiano holds an M.S. in Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy from the Vienna University of Economics, Austria; a B.S. in Business Management, and a B.A. in Sociology from Siena College.
Patrick Lee, Economist
Pat joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2019. He provides both policy and case-work support to the Office of Restoration and Damage Assessment. Pat has worked on projects related to the Endangered Species Act, energy and mineral price forecasting, and recreation, among other topics. Pat holds a Master’s degree in Applied Economics and a B.S. in Accounting, both from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Melissa Braybrooks, Economist
Melissa joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2020 after a decade as a lead Economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Melissa works on a variety of projects including the Great American Outdoors Act, state and tribal grant formulas, and cross-bureau research related to price forecasting of oil and gas leases. In addition, Melissa provides both policy and economic analysis support to the Office of Insular Affairs, working on projects related to economic development, statistical capacity development, and the role of DOI support in insular areas. Melissa holds a Master of Public Policy from Oregon State University and a B.S in Economics from Washington State University.
Whitney Boone, Acting Chief Policy Analyst
Whitney joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2020. She began her DOI career as a Presidential Management Fellow with the National Park Service (NPS) in 2015. She has held positions within the NPS and Bureau of Land Management in Alaska as well as NPS Headquarters in DC. Her professional experience includes resource management planning, coordinating environmental compliance activities, developing park planning policy and overseeing studies of potential additions to the National Park System. Whitney holds a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University and a B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Noah Van Gilder, Policy Analyst
Noah joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2015. His current portfolio includes program evaluation, wildfire, American Indian/Alaska Native issues, and general policy research. His past professional experience includes water resources, land and wildlife conservation policy. Before joining Interior in 2015, Noah served in various roles at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Management and Budget and the Nature Conservancy. Noah graduated from Cornell University in 2006 as a bachelor of sciences (B.S.) in natural resources and from the George Washington University in 2012 as a master of public administration (M.P.A.)
Ryan Richards, Program Analyst
Ryan joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2021. Prior to joining PPA, he spent six years on the public lands team at the Center for American Progress where he covered a range of topics, including conservation and restoration policy, natural climate solutions, rural development, and wildfire management. Before his time at CAP, Ryan worked on conservation domestically and internationally. He conducted his doctoral research on reforestation incentive programs in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, and was a Fulbright visiting researcher at the University of São Paulo-ESALQ and the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas. He also worked with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute on their Global Tiger Initiative and has worked on habitat restoration projects with farmers in Namibia and California’s Central Valley. He holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University, an M.S. in conservation biology and an M.P.P. in environmental policy from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. in wildlife biology from the University of California, Davis.
Hilary Smith, Senior Advisor for Invasive Species
Hilary is DOI’s senior advisor for invasive species and joined PPA in October 2014. In this role, Hilary guides the development and coordination of the Department’s national invasive species policy and program initiatives and provides recommendations on invasive species issues for DOI leadership. She works closely with bureaus and offices and facilitates inter-bureau coordination to strengthen strategic implementation of DOI invasive species efforts. Hilary also serves as the Departmental contact for external partners and stakeholders on invasive species issues. In addition, Hilary supports DOI’s Principal appointee to the National Invasive Species Council, an interdepartmental body of which DOI is a co-chair, and she serves as DOI's liaison to the National Invasive Species Council staff. Prior to joining DOI, for 12 years Hilary directed a landscape-level invasive species program in the Adirondack region of New York. Hilary has a M.S. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy from the State University of New York at Albany, and a B.A. in Biology from Hamilton College.
Davie Nguyen, Supervisory Policy Analyst
Davie joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2021 and joined the Department of Energy in 2022. Prior to that, Davie worked at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) where he was involved in the development of the oil and gas leasing program, and coordination of conventional and renewable energy lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf. Davie also worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and served a brief stint at the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 2010. He holds a Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke University and a BA in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine.
Tiffany Cox, Policy Specialist
Tiffany joined the Office of Policy Analysis in 2020 and joined the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2021. Prior to joining PPA, Tiffany conducted policy research for Think New Mexico, worked as a seasonal Park Guide at Glacier National Park, and served as a Staff Assistant and member of the Energy and Climate Change Task Force for U.S. Senator Tom Udall. In 2017, she received a Fulbright award to South Korea. Tiffany holds a B.A. in Government and Economics from New Mexico State University.