Federal faces: Kenny Thompson, crafting presidential settings across the country

Kenny Thompson, President Obama's special assistant/advance lead.
Kenny Thompson, President Obama's special assistant/advance lead.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kenny Thompson, special assistant/advance lead,

White House Executive Office of the President

Best known for: When the president speaks at a factory in Ohio or drops in at a restaurant in Florida, the event can often appear effortless -- even spontaneous -- but it takes an entire team working and traveling full-time to manage every detail of the outings.

Thompson plays a major role in planning the "who, what, when, where and why" for the president's visits around the country -- not hour by hour, but minute to minute.

His days are spent meeting with local officials, scouting venues, planning activities and working with the Secret Service and local law enforcement to help manage security.

Government service: Eighteen months working in the White House after a seven-year career in politics.

Biggest challenge: The toughest part of the job is finding the people and places that fit the message we are trying to convey that day, he says. Whether the president is delivering remarks on manufacturing jobs, the high-tech sector, or fitness, it's our job to help create the picture to coincide with the message. It's often challenging to create the perfect setting.

Quote: "Public service is a fantastic way to affect people's lives in a positive way. It's a challenging line of work for sure, but when you are a part of something so much larger than yourself it makes it worth it."

-- From the Partnership for Public Service

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