Strategic Solutions for Complex Challenges
Meet The Team
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The partners in DecideSmart have over 100 years of executive experience with major organizations in state government, local governments, economic development, public safety, public schools, and higher education.
Dr. Bob Holsworth, Managing Partner
Bob is the team lead for higher education and civic engagement projects.
Prior to joining the firm, he was the Founding Director of the Center for Public Policy and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also served as Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences – the largest unit of the 31,000-student university.
Bob has occupied key positions in a number of major governmental initiatives. He was the Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness. He has been the Director of the Virginia Executive Institute and Co-Staff Director of the Commission on the Future of Virginia’s Urban Areas, a gubernatorial commission that examined how Virginia’s urban areas could become flourishing parts of regional economies.
Bob serves on the Board of Visitors of Virginia Commonwealth University. He received his BA from Seton Hall University and his PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mr. Bill Leighty, Managing Partner
Bill is the team lead for state government based projects.
Prior to joining the firm, he served as Chief of Staff to Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia. As Chief of Staff, Bill essentially served as Chief Operating Officer of the Commonwealth of Virginia where he instituted a statewide performance management system for all agencies. In 2005 and again in 2007, Governing magazine named Virginia “The Best Managed State in the Nation.” In 2007, Bill was named one of nine “Public Officials of the Year” nationally by Governing magazine. Prior to serving as Chief of Staff, he was the Director of the Virginia Retirement System, where he led the agency to three consecutive United States Senate Productivity Awards.
Recently, Bill completed a Performance Review of the United States Joint Staff Pension Fund, a $52 billion pension system, and served as Senior Advisor on an engagement with the Scottish executives, advising the government on implementing a National Performance Management System. He also led a delegation of US governors on an engagement to train newly elected governors of Nigeria in 2011 and has written a handbook on transition to guide new governments in taking the reins after election. Bill currently serves on the Virginia Retirement System’s Board of Trustees, a $62 billion pension fund.
Bill served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He received his BA from the University of Mary Washington and his MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Mr. Lane Ramsey, Managing Partner
Lane is the team lead for local government based projects.
Prior to joining the firm, Lane was the County Administrator for more than 20 years of Chesterfield County, a jurisdiction with over 300,000 residents and an annual budget of more than $2 billion. Prior to this position, he managed finance operations for Chesterfield County for 15 years. During his tenure, Chesterfield acquired a AAA bond rating from all three national bond rating agencies. The county also received numerous awards at the state and national level.
On a regional basis, Lane was a charter member and served as Chair of the Greater Richmond Convention Center Authority that built and operates the Convention Center. He served over 10 years as Chair of the Appomattox River Water Authority. He was President of the Virginia Local Government Managers Association, a member of the Board of Visitors of Virginia State University, and is the recipient of the American Society of Public Administration’s National Public Service Award. He has also served as Interim County Administrator in Gloucester and Goochland Counties, assisting the localities through crucial transition periods.
Lane served in the U.S. Army and is a Vietnam veteran. He received his BS from Mars Hill College.
Dr. John Thomas, Managing Partner
John is the team lead on civic renewal, non-profit, and facilitation projects.
Prior to joining DecideSmart, John served for over two decades as the Director of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.
Previous professional assignments have included service as Executive Director of: the National Association of Counties, the American Society of Public Administration, and the Florida Association of Counties. Earlier in his career he directed the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments in Ohio. John began his public service as a teacher and administrator in the Toledo public schools.
Throughout his career John has successfully designed, developed, and implemented programs and activities involving: elected and appointed public officials, academic and civic leaders, as well as professionals from the private and non-profit sectors. Guiding officials in crossing “boundaries” and developing social capital have been important elements of the work.
In Virginia John has been recognized for his significant leadership role in two award-winning organizations – the Council on Virginia’s Future and LEAD VIRGINIA, Inc. He is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and in 2014 he received the Excellence in Virginia Government Award for Lifetime Achievement.
John earned his BA from the College of Wooster, his MA from the University of Toledo, and his MPA and DPA from the University of Southern California.