Meet the NASPO Team

Rebecca Montano-Smith

Director of Research and Innovation

Rebecca joined the Research and Development team in October 2019 as Director. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology from Berea College and a Master’s of Science in Library and Information Science. Rebecca has spent the last 18 years in public library management. She is an avid reader of romance novels, management advice and narrative non-fiction. She recently completed the Master Gardener training and actually likes mowing the lawn. In her continued attempt to be adventurous, she consistently forgets that she doesn’t like heights.

Lori Denhart

Research and Innovation Project Manager
Lori Denhart received two Bachelor of Arts degrees from Eastern Kentucky University; one in Political Science and History, the other in International Relations. Previously, Lori worked for Kentucky State Government as the Governor’s Office for Local Government as the Local Government Advisor to all of Kentucky’s Cities and Special Purpose Governmental Entities. She joined the NASPO Research and Innovation team in January 2019 as a Project Manager. Lori is eager to use her background in training and development, problem solving bureaucratic issues, and assisting officials in utilizing resources to help further the NASPO mission statement. Lori has a passion for music, reading, and comedy. She also loves to craft and knit. Lori lives in Frankfort, Kentucky with her husband Lars and their son, Lincoln. She says out of all the titles she holds, being Lincoln’s mother is her favorite.

Kevin Minor, MPA

Media Production Project Manager

Kevin N. Minor received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Masters of Public Administration from Eastern Kentucky University. His areas of study include socioeconomics, world systems, community development, and cultural behavior. Through his role as project manager, Kevin creates digital media content for educational and marketing purposes; leads NASPO’s sustainability initiatives (including the green purchasing funds); acts as liaison to NASPO’s market research analysis subscriptions tools GovWin IQ and ProcurementIQ; and helps to administer research & policy support for his team. In his free time, Kevin enjoys hiking, kayaking, and movies.

Mariam Alabdali, MPA

Curriculum Specialist
Mariam Alabdali received her Bachelor of Arts in Digital & Media Communications and a Masters in Communication Studies with a focus in Instructional Communication both from the University of Kentucky. She is excited to work with the Research & Innovation and Procurement U teams at NASPO, where she will be able to engage in educating our NASPO members through content and materials in both research and education. Her goal is to be able to apply her knowledge and experience in adult learning theories and conducting research to able to help NASPO members become more educated in all areas of public procurement. Mariam enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as trying new activities and restaurants. She also loves wearing UK colors and gear!

Kelly McKown King

Communications Director
Kelly McKnown King received a Bachelor of Political Science from Chatham College (and is a proud women's college grad, even if her college has since gone co-ed). She comes to NASPO after four years working with the Council on Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulation (CLEAR)and the Kentucky Community Technical College System (KCTCS). She has a strong background and interest in professional development events and specifically program content, which she's excited to use to the benefit of NASPO members. In her spare time, Kelly enjoys spending time with Scott, her husband, her cats and her extended family in the Lexington area. She's an avid traveler- 2018 crossed Australia and New Zealand off her bucket list- and when she's not roaming, you can usually find her with a book or crochet hook in her hand, watching some kind of true crime show or during season, cheering on her beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers or Pittsburgh Steelers and Pirates.

Jordan Henson, MS

Procurement U Director Jordan has been with NASPO since 2015 and is a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, where he studied criminal justice before beginning a career in policy research for NASPO. He now leads NASPO's professional development program, Procurement University, to deliver a multi-faceted education platform to NASPO members and other state government procurement professionals across the country. His role includes oversight of Procurement U live trainings at NASPO events, leading development of online courses and learning engagements, and expanding Procurement U’s curriculum nationwide. Jordan has also been featured in NCMA's Contract Management magazine for his previous work with NASPO's Awards program. Jordan has a passion for technology, photography, and way too many interests to list. If you get an out-of-office reply from his email, he is most likely spending time with his family on Dale Hollow Lake.

Olivia Hook-Frey, MS

Director of Membership Engagement and Strategic Partnerships

Olivia Hook Frey is a Chicago native who has been with NASPO since 2016. She received both her Bachelors Degree in Communication and Masters Degrees in Organizational Communication, Training and Development from Illinois State University. Olivia serves our members while also focusing on relationships NASPO has with its strategic partners. When Olivia is not at work, she loves to cook with her husband, Kody, spoil her fur baby, Pete, and teach group fitness classes.

Daniel Kruger, M.Ed.

Academic Affairs Manager

Dan comes to NASPO with several years of experience in higher education, completing his undergraduate degree in 2013 and earning his M.Ed. in adult education and corporate training in 2016. Dan spent the last several years working as an Assistant Director of Admission for the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is excited to begin working with NASPO members and partner schools, and looks forward to building relationships over the next several months. When Daniel is not working or spending time with his wife and 7 month old daughter, he enjoys playing a round of golf (or two) and finding time to check off countries from his global travel list.

Chadwick Stephens, MPA

Research Coordinator
Chadwick Stephens joined the NASPO Research and Development team in January of 2020.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Public Administration from Eastern Kentucky University.  His professional background includes policy and program analysis for local community and family service agencies, Head Start, and local government.  A lifelong student, Chadwick is eager to expand his skills and knowledge while advancing the mission of NASPO and promoting good governance.  Outside of the office he is an experienced chef, musician, and travel enthusiast who loves to cuddle with his dogs, grow vegetables, and play with power tools.

Amanda Valdivieso, MBA

Learning and Development Coordinator
Amanda Valdivieso recently joined NASPO in February 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Temple University and a Master of Business Administration from Bellevue University. Her professional background includes working in association management, training and development, and military and governmental affairs. She is excited to start working with NASPO members and staff as a member of the Procurement U team, and her goal is to help NASPO members succeed in their public procurement roles. When she is not working, she is busy being a mom to her 4-year old daughter, two dogs and cat, and wife to her husband, Cory. She is a HUGE pop culture nerd and enjoys trivia nights and debating all the hot topics like which actor plays a better Spider-Man.

Omar Salinas Chacón, MPA

Research Coordinator
Omar joined the Research and Innovation team in May 2020 as a Research Coordinator. Omar is a native of El Salvador but has roots in Nashville TN, Louisville KY, Richmond KY, and now Lexington KY. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish from Eastern Kentucky University. He also holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Eastern Kentucky University as well. He assisted in research on best practices to recruit and retain students of color on college campuses in his undergrad. His work in graduate school focused on public management specifically looking at workplace discrimination. Outside of the office, Omar enjoys volunteering for several Kentucky non-profits and laughing with friends over a nice dinner.