New Leaders Step Up to Reclamation Leadership Development Program

Written by: Jesselyn Hamilton

Back row from left to right: Darion Mayhorn, Ryan Newman, Jerome Jackson, Chris Wright, Matt Tillman, Shane Schieck and Troy Steadman (RLDP Coordinator). Front row left to right: Rita Bailey (RLDP Coach) and Jolaine Saxton.
Back row from left to right: Darion Mayhorn, Ryan Newman, Jerome Jackson, Chris Wright, Matt Tillman, Shane Schieck and Troy Steadman (RLDP Coordinator). Front row left to right: Rita Bailey (RLDP Coach) and Jolaine Saxton.
The Bureau of Reclamation Leadership Development Program is Reclamation's premier development program for future leaders. It provides a variety of learning experiences to broaden leaders’ perspectives and competencies.

“The Reclamation Leadership Development Program has proven to be a critical asset for Reclamation,” said Troy Steadman, Reclamation's learning officer. “It produces leaders that are better prepared to take on the challenges of their current positions while ensuring they have the tools to perform at higher levels of the agency.”

In December 2019, employees throughout Reclamation applied to be in the 2020 RLDP cohort. To participate in the program, applicants were required to be permanently assigned to a position at the GS-13, GS-14, or equivalent grade level; have demonstrated potential for assuming higher levels of leadership; and be willing to dedicate the time and effort required by the program. Seven individuals were selected for the 2020 cohort. The cohort participated in an orientation in February 2020 and will graduate in late 2020.

Throughout 2020, the group will participate in a range of developmental experiences. The program includes formal leadership training events, a 90-day detail, one-on-one coaching sessions with a professional coach, interviews with senior leaders, in-depth dives into personal strengths and weaknesses, a multi-day site tour visiting some of Reclamation’s projects, and self-directed learning projects. In sum, the program will provide a unique learning opportunity for each participant individually and collectively as a cohort to hone their leadership skills.

The 2020 RLDP cohort consists of a dynamic group of self-starters. A description of the selected participants is as follows:

Jerome Jackson is based in Denver, Colorado, and serves as Reclamation’s Recreation Program Manager. Jerome is currently working to ensure data collection efforts are being reported timely and accurately and to implement Secretarial Orders to expand recreation opportunities. Jerome earned his B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach and a J.D. degree at Whittier Law School.

Darion Mayhorn manages Reclamation’s Drought Response Program as Reclamation’s Drought Coordinator located in Denver, Colorado. In this position, he responds to congressional inquiries, develops and maintains a multi-million dollar annual budget, develops agency policy, and coordinates and communicates with stakeholders and internal staff to support the planning and implementation of actions that build long-term resiliency to drought across the West. Darion has a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a B.S. in Civil Engineering and Applied Mathematics from Saint Louis University.

Ryan Newman is currently the Upper Snake Field Office Manager and Assistant Area Manager, located within the Snake River Area Office in Boise, Idaho. Ryan is responsible for the oversight, operations and maintenance of eight dams, three powerplants, and approximately 250,000 acres of Project lands, as well as numerous recreation and wildlife management sites. Ryan attended South Dakota State University where he graduated with a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, minoring in Chemistry, as well earning a M.S. in Fisheries Sciences.

Jolaine Saxton is the Lower Colorado Basin Region’s Finance Officer and Supervisory Accountant over the Regional Accounting Group located in Boulder City, Nevada. She manages the financial aspects of assets under construction, real property, personal property and fleet programs; has financial oversight of regional financial activities; and develops and implements regional financial guidance. She earned her B.S. in Business Administration from Southern Utah University and her M.S. in Accountancy from the University of Phoenix.

Shane Schieck started his current role as the Manager for the Crow Water Rights Settlement Implementation in February 2018. The Crow Water Rights Settlement was passed in 2010, and Reclamation’s portion of the settlement was $378 million for the rebuilding and refurbishment of the Crow Irrigation Project and the construction of a new municipal, rural, and industrial water system. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Engineering from the University of Wyoming. He also earned an A.S. in Physics and an A.S. in Engineering from Casper College. He is a registered professional engineer in Wyoming.

Matt Tillman is the Assistant Power Manager at Grand Coulee Dam, where he is responsible for overseeing the information technology, public affairs, property, training, and administrative services departments. Matt began his career with Reclamation while still a student in high school. He worked full time through college until earning his B.S. in Information Technology/Information Systems Security from the University of Phoenix.

Chris Wright is the Operations and Maintenance Manager for the Yakima Field Office where he has responsibility for the short- and long-range management of a maintenance program that services a $4 to 5 billion agricultural basin. Before Reclamation, Chris served 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps in active and reserve service. While working for Reclamation, Chris obtained his B.S. in Criminology with a minor in Business Administration from Regis University.

Published on March 13, 2020