Ohio State announces new leader for Office of Government Affairs
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Blake Thompson, an experienced administrator, scientist and specialist in institutional partnerships, will assume the role of vice president for government affairs at The Ohio State University, pending Board of Trustees approval.
Thompson succeeds Herb Asher, who retired from the post in January.
Thompson, who joined Ohio State in 2009, will continue to also serve as secretary of the Board of Trustees until a replacement can be named for that position. In that role, he leads strategy and agenda development for the board, coordinates its committee functions and manages the university’s relationships with many of its external partners.
Initially holding the joint position of vice president for institutional affairs at both Ohio State and Battelle, Thompson became vice president for economic and work force development and special assistant to the president at Ohio State in 2012. In that role, he led the planning and management of the Science and Technology Campus Corp., Ohio State’s research and technology park. He was elected secretary of the board in January 2014.
At Ohio State, Thompson has been active in the creation of the Wexner Medical Center Board and provided staff support to the presidential search committee that selected President Michael V. Drake, later serving on the presidential transition team. He also teaches public policy analysis and nonprofit leadership in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs and led establishment of the college’s Battelle-endowed Center for Science and Technology Policy.
“Blake has absorbed a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge in his time here at Ohio State, and he is known and respected by the university’s many constituencies,” Drake said. “He’s well-positioned to make a very smooth transition into this additional leadership role.”
As vice president, Thompson will provide strategic leadership for the university’s relationships with federal, state and local government officials and manage the government affairs team. The Office of Government Affairs, which includes staff in Columbus and Washington, D.C., coordinates the university’s interactions with elected officials at the federal, state and local levels, specializing in such issues as legislative, regulatory and budget decisions, and economic and community development.
Before coming to Ohio, Thompson was director of university partnerships for Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where he was responsible for building partnerships with local, state and federal communities. Previously, he held posts on the staffs of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations and U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi. As Cochran’s legislative director, Thompson successfully navigated the appropriations process to obtain funding for health, education and infrastructure in his home state.
“Blake has a rare skill set that combines broad knowledge of how government functions at all levels and valuable expertise in public-sector administration and management. With that background, he will be a highly effective representative of Ohio State and a persuasive advocate for Ohio higher education,” said Jeffrey Wadsworth, chair of the Board of Trustees.
Thompson holds a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Mississippi and an executive master’s degree from Georgetown University. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy.