Mark Brown

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Topic: Organizational Change
Presentation Date and Time: Friday, May 8, 2020, 8:00 AM
PMI Talent Triangle: Leadership

Biography: Mark A. Brown is the chief operating officer for the U.S. Department of Education office of Federal Student Aid (FSA). FSA administers the federal student financial aid programs, which—in Fiscal Year 2018—provided more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans, and work-study funds to approximately 13 million students at nearly 6,000 participating schools. In total, FSA oversees a federal student loan portfolio valued at nearly $1.5 trillion1 representing more than 43 million customers.

As the chief operating officer, Brown is responsible for the strategic and operational management of the federal government’s first performance-based organization (PBO). Brown’s vision for leading the PBO includes measuring results and efficient performance; continuously improving programs, products, services, processes, and systems; and investing in workforce training and education to meet FSA’s mission, Keeping the Promise: Funding America’s Future, One Student at a Time.

Under his leadership, FSA has strengthened accountability and oversight of vendors and simplified the administration of programs, such as the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program. Brown also has furthered the implementation of Next Generation (Next Gen) FSA, an enterprise-wide effort to transform every aspect of how FSA delivers federal student aid. This fall, FSA will launch a new “digital front door,” an online platform that will provide students and families enhanced information, tools, and resources to help them make practical plans for higher education that will lead to better borrowing.

Brown joined FSA after a 32-year career in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). He served as the deputy commander for the Air Education and Training Command, where he was responsible for Air Force education and basic and technical training. Prior to that, he held a series of roles across the USAF, including commander of the 2nd Air Force, director of financial management and comptroller, and Mission Support Group commander. During his time as CFO of the Air Force Material Command, he was charged with overseeing a $67-billion portfolio with budget and financial planning responsibilities that provided vital services to support command units around the world. Brown also served as a congressional liaison to the House and Senate appropriations military subcommittees.

Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tuskegee University, a master’s degree in public administration from Troy State University, a master’s degree in strategic studies from the Air Command and Staff College, and a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National Defense University. Brown and his wife, Gwendolyn, live in Virginia and have two adult sons, Mark and Michael.