Chris Stewart, CSUN’s new director of governmental affairs, seemed to come upon the job in a surprising way.
“I was already planning to move to California and I was looking for employment,” Stewart said. “While browsing through the CSUN Web site, I saw an opening for the director of governmental affairs, so I applied.”
The position became available after the retirement of Dorena Knepper, as she ended her 40-year career at CSUN.
In his new position, Stewart will be responsible for coordinating relationships between local, state and federal governments. He will also play a key role in the community and within area organizations, such as the Chambers of Commerce.
“I’m always looking for ways to improve the CSUN community,” said Stewart.
Since becoming director of governmental affairs, Stewart has helped with city ordinances and aided professors in receiving government grants.
Before beginning his employment at CSUN, he was living in Florida, where he worked with state and local governments.
One of the tasks Stewart will take part in is working with governmental bodies in Sacramento. He works with legislation that affects the CSUN community both positively and negatively.
“The role in Sacramento has an impact on the budget including a bond measure in the fall in which $56 million for CSUN (is included),” said Ken Swisher, associate vice president of public relations at CSUN.
“We had a handful of individuals who were final candidates for the position but it was clear that Chris really stood out,” said Swisher, who was on the committee that hired Stewart. “People that he interviewed with saw that he had a strong political skills and experience that will serve the community well.”
Although Knepper retired at the end of 2005, Stewart was not hired until the end of the spring semester. The position of director of governmental affairs is now a part of the Advancement Division of the university, a change that has been made since Knepper left CSUN.
“So far he’s doing a great job,” said Kathy Reeves, Stewart’s colleague and director of major gifts. “He’s well-qualified and I look forward to working with him on campaign issues that involve public affairs and governmental relations.”