Making a better future for the next generation in North Carolina.

Tom Fehsenfeld

The short story is that I am a retired business executive and now the author of this blog. Most of my life I lived in Michigan, raising a family and developing a family-owned petroleum distribution company (Crystal Flash). That company transitioned to employee-ownership in 2006 and I have retired to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with Carolyn, my wife of 40+ years.

Along the way I earned a PhD in Organizational Design from Walden University. Though I struggled with an undiagnosed attention deficit disorder for many years, I have always loved learning. I am usually taking a class or reading something from a new-to-me area.

Carolyn is an accomplished oil painter. When I was getting ready to retire, she told me, “Artists don’t retire, so you should find a worthwhile way to spend your time if you don’t have a job.” Because I have always been interested in how government policy gets made — and how we could do it better, Carolyn suggested I might go to work part time for a think tank. When I looked into think tanks, though, I realized I had no qualifications that would make them interested in me.

As I mulled over my options, I ran across an online Masters of Government program through Johns Hopkins University. I dusted off my reading and writing skills and went back to school, completing my master’s thesis and graduating in 2020.

The Johns Hopkins program was an exciting experience for me. I loved the dialog with the professors and other students. The faculty was a mix of hard-core academics and former government officials. Together they provided an eye-opening blend of theory and practical experience about how government really works – and sometimes doesn’t.

While going through the program I got hooked on writings by a tiny group of scholars who think deeply about building more foresight into government policy. Based on their work, I was able to write an award-winning thesis called Legislating for the Future. Check out the Library [add link] to find a link to the thesis and writings by others about governing for the long term.

The common thread in these writings is that we should consider how the initiatives we take in the present will affect future generations so we do not put them at a disadvantage. I hope this blog will extend that line of thought in a practical way for the people of American states, beginning with Michigan and North Carolina.

Let’s see how it works out.

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