Passwords • Billing • Subscription Inquiries • General InquiriesEthan Ableman is FFIS’s program assistant, which means their job description encompasses anything the boss says it does. Luckily, they’re multi-talented and a good sport, who comes to FFIS after an internship at NPR and a couple of research gigs in Oberlin, Ohio (where they attended college). At Oberlin, Ethan called contra dances, cooked a weekly meal for 35 people, and occasionally studied statistics for their psychology major. Ethan also is pursuing certification as a licensed massage therapist. In short, they’re a 21st century renaissance polymath. Oh, and they love spreadsheets. Ethan hails from the DC area.
Executive Director and Executive Editor
State Budget Trends • Fiscal Condition • Intergovernmental Finance • Transportation • State Policy Reports (SPR)
Marcia Howard has served as the executive director of FFIS since 1998. Before she was the big boss here, she worked for a variety of Washington, DC-based nonprofits, as well as the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations prior to its untimely demise. She also had a really good one-year gig in Grenada but she was too young to fully appreciate it. Howard holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. Born and raised in Toledo, she thinks the Mudhens have the greatest sports mascot ever. She enjoys traveling to state capitols and helping state budget analysts translate federal “budgetspeak” into English.
Senior Budget and Policy Analyst
Food and Nutrition • Housing and Community Development • Labor • Justice • Education
Denise Lee, FFIS’s newest analyst, is an alum of all things federal. Past gigs include program manager for the Department of Justice, which had her visiting police departments across the country—thankfully, there was never an incident that required her to be fingerprinted or booked. She also served as a congressional legislative aide, and a staffer for a get-out-the-vote effort for a national organization. Denise is proud of her "multi-hemispheric" roots, which have provided her a diverse perspective, an appreciation of languages, and Spanish-speaking skills. She survived upstate New York’s snowbelt, getting a master’s degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s from the University of Maryland, her home state. When she’s not analyzing numbers at FFIS, she spends lots of time running after her six-year-old daughter, which is mostly done outside, rain or shine.
Budget and Policy Analyst
Energy • Environment • Interior • Agriculture • Natural Resources • Homeland Security • General Government • Competitive Grants Updates
Andrew Olson is our jack of all trades. He compiles the Competitive Grant Update, writes issue briefs, contributes to State Policy Reports, works on database updates, updates the FFIS website, and numerous other useful tasks. Remarkably, he does all this with one hand tied behind his back. Andrew has a bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Keene State College in New Hampshire.
Deputy Executive Director
Medicaid • CHIP • Public Health • Human Services • Federal Budget Process • Grants Management
Trinity Tomsic is deputy executive director of FFIS. Before that, Tomsic was a pretty big cheese in the Grants Management Division for Maryland’s Department of Human Resources where she was charged with managing more than $1 billion in federal health and human service funds. Tomsic also analyzed state budget and federal funding issues for the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Association of State Budget Officers. She is the greenest person in the office, no, in the building, maybe in the city. She recycles, turns out the lights, grows her own vegetables, and spends most of her free time working on an educational farm. She loves dogs and chickens and they seem to love her back, though we’re not sure the dogs and chickens love each other. A Utah native, Tomsic holds a master’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s from the American University in Washington, DC.