Welcome! I’m Mark. I teach and research political science and public policy at SMU. Through Liminal Advisors, I also help high-impact companies put their people at the heart of their strategy as they navigate change. Some things I’m involved and interested in:
Teaching and researching U.S. politics. On the politics side, I teach an introductory course on the US government at SMU, as well as a class on Campaigns and Elections. My Ph.D. dissertation investigated in part how the hiring practices of campaign teams affected the outcomes of congressional elections. On the policy side, I teach public policy at Southern Methodist University and also write about theories of the policy process. Much of that work has focused on Texas, but in 2023 I will examine the development and spread of narratives about voter fraud before and after the 2020 elections.
Researching the growth of employee ownership and workplace democracy. Supported by a grant from a family foundation, a fellowship at Rutgers’ Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Participation, and an award to start a research cluster at SMU, I am working on four projects on employee ownership. They cover why family firms might choose different forms of employee ownership, why owners of breweries might set up employee stock ownership plans, the democratic habits of employee ownership trusts, and designing policy recommendations on employee ownership trusts and perpetual purpose trusts.
Teaching and researching Texas politics and policy. My Texas-oriented research, supported at points by grants from the IC2 Institute and the Mitchell Foundation, has covered policy responses to Winter Storm Uri, how to predict entrepreneurial firm growth in rural Texas using machine learning, the emergence of local policy narratives in response to Covid-19, and recommendations for geothermal energy policy.
Building entrepreneurial teams and organizations. I help companies build and manage their teams through change at MPA Global Advisors. In my Ph.D. dissertation I investigated hiring patterns on political campaign teams, as a type of temporary organization. I have also managed entrepreneurial teams myself, both in early-stage investment funds and nonprofits, and invested in startup teams through Gray Ghost Ventures, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford Seed Fund, and UnLtd USA (née Techstars Impact).
Investing in impact through entrepreneurship. Most of our clients at Liminal Advisors are impact investing firms and for-profit companies with a social or environmental purpose. Before joining MPA, I invested in mission-driven startups through Gray Ghost Ventures, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford Seed Fund, and UnLtd USA (née Techstars Impact).
Some other things I’m interested in and will write more about soon: philosophical pragmatism, interpretive data science, and U.S. immigration policy.