Prior to that Jess served as the Vice President and Partner in the Washington, D.C., consulting firm Growth Squared. As the firm’s Vice President, he serviced client companies and provided insight on growth, workforce relationships and other business strategies.
For 2.5 years, beginning in early 2009, Jess served as a member of the Obama Administration where he was appointed to the Small Business Administration to serve as the Associate Administrator for Field Operations. In this role, Jess served as one of the five Associate Administrators who reported directly to the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. He managed more than 1,000 employees in 119 locations, in every state and U.S. territory, or about half all of the agency’s employees. Jess was also charged with executing all of the agency’s programs, process improvement programs, product innovation and strengthening the agency’s relationships with customers and partners.
During his tenure at the SBA, Jess also led a groundbreaking effort to reengineer the agency’s employee performance system. He built an innovative program that involved and empowered the agency’s frontline career employees and managers to drive a more informed and sophisticated performance system focused on recruiting, retaining and developing the best employees in the federal space. By focusing on the end user and the agency’s ability to deliver tangible on-the-ground value to small business owners, detailed and measurable metrics were developed for the first time in the agency’s history to properly measure its office’s impact for taxpayers across the country.
Prior to coming to Washington, DC, Jess was the campaign manager in a successful effort to defeat ballot initiatives in Colorado that threatened the well-being of economic development and workers alike by bring members of the business community and labor community together for a common goal. In 2008, he served as the Deputy National Political Director for the John Edwards for President Campaign. Prior to that, Jess worked as a consultant for various campaigns and organizations with a focus on rural public policy issues. While serving as the Special Assistant to the Maine Speaker of the House, Jess spearheaded the effort to create Maine’s Consumer and Commercial Court Docket, a specialty-court docket dedicated to resolving business-related litigation.
Jess has worked in the area of government and public policy for over a decade. Much of his focus has been on building and strengthening organizations to improve agility and strategic value for stakeholders.
In 2004, Jess received a Juris Doctorate from the University Maine School of Law. Jess was also the recipient of the University of Maine Law School Outstanding Public Service Award, was the President of the University of Maine Student Bar Association.
Prior to law school, Jess pursued a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Public Organization Management from the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, and received a Bachelors Degree in Politics and Government from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Jess grew up in York, Maine, and now resides in Portland, Maine, with his wife, Kate, and son, Edson.