Executives in Residence and Fellows

Executives in Residence

Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Joe Riley served over ten terms as Mayor of the City of Charleston, from 1975-2016.  He graduated from the Citadel in 1964 and USC Law in 1967, and then served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1968 to 1974.  In his time as Mayor, Charleston transformed from a decaying urban center to a top cultural destination.  He is known for his revolutionary redevelopment projects, which he carefully crafted to add to the overall quality of life in the city.  He diffused racial tensions by working closely with the African-American community, and appointing the city's first black police chief, Reuben Greenberg.  The crisis leadership that he demonstrated after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 gained national praise, with many admiring him getting the city quickly cleaned up and running.  He has developed a robust tourism economy for the city, in addition to securing the renowned Spoleto Art Festival.  

Riley is currently working on a plan to build the International Museum of African-American History, a $75 million project scheduled to open in 2018.  He has returned to the Citadel as a professor of American Government and Public Policy, and currently is a valued fellow for The Riley Center.

Robert (Bob) O'Neill

Bob O'Neill joined the Riley Center as Executive in Residence in 2018 after serving as a Riley fellow for two years.  In this role he has built the capacity of the Center’s professional development services by providing expertise in building local government leadership. Mr. O’Neill also serves on the core faculty and teaches in the Master of Public Administration program at the College of Charleston.

Mr. O’Neill is the former executive director of ICMA (International City/County Management Association), which advances professional local government worldwide, a position he held since December 2002.  Before coming to ICMA, Mr. O’Neill served as president of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). From May through September of 2001, he was on temporary assignment at the Office of Management and Budget as counselor to the director and deputy director on management issues.

Mr. O’Neill served as Fairfax County executive from 1997 to 2000, where he is credited with developing a series of strategies aimed at revitalizing older residential communities and commercial areas within Fairfax County as well as launching a series of initiatives focused on performance and results management.  His “reinvention” of the government of Hampton, Virginia, as city manager from 1984 to 1997, was widely recognized; his many accomplishments included a downtown and waterfront revitalization initiative and development of a nationally recognized youth-at-risk program.

Mr. O’Neill has been the recipient of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University’s Spirit of Public Service award and the National Public Service Award presented by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and the American Society for Public Administration. He is a NAPA fellow and faculty member of the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute and Leading, Educating and Developing programs.  He earned his BA in political science from Old Dominion University and his master’s in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Administration, Syracuse University. He also completed the Executive Program at Colgate Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, and received an honorary doctorate of laws from Old Dominion University.

Riley Center Fellows

William E. Tomes

Bill Tomes is a Fellow at the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston and is the former Director of Governmental Research and Service at the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research at USC. Through his consulting firm, Bill works with public and non-profit organizations throughout South Carolina.

Bill has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Human Resources.  Over the past 30 years, Bill has worked as an organizational development consultant specializing in both the private and public sectors in the United States and Canada.  He has conducted training programs and written book chapters and articles on various human resource and governance topics.  Bill currently serves on the faculty of the Local Government Leadership Institute, the Non-Profit Leadership Institute at Francis Marion University, and the Institute of Government for County Officials.

Jon Pierce

Jon holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with a concentration in public administration from the University of Tennessee and Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science from Appalachian State University.  He has worked with state, local and non-profit agencies across the Southeast for over 35 years as a university-based facilitator, consultant and trainer. Dr. Pierce has assisted a large number of organizations in the design and conduct of strategic planning and goal-setting efforts.  He has facilitated in excess of 700 sessions with the policy boards of governmental, non-profit, and community organizations. Dr. Pierce is recognized as an authority on state and local government in South Carolina.

Dr. Pierce retired from full-time service with the University of South Carolina in July 2009.  He retired as the Director of Governmental Services for the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Public Service and Policy Research.  He held the faculty rank of Research Associate Professor and taught in the joint MPA programs at USC, Clemson, and the College of Charleston. Upon his retirement he was granted the title of Senior Fellow with the Institute.  In 2015 he was granted status as a Fellow with The Riley Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Institute for Public Service & Policy Research in 1986, he served as Director of the Governmental Services Institute and the Office of Professional Development and Community Education of Northern Kentucky University and as Executive Director of the Appalachian Regional Bureau of Government at Appalachian State University.

Bill Taylor

A native of Ware Shoals, SC, Bill Taylor has been involved in local government in South Carolina for more than 42 years.  He is a graduate of Clemson University and has a Masters’ degree in Public Administration from the University of Georgia. Bill has served as Economic & Community Development Director for the Upper Savannah Council of Governments in Greenwood, SC; Community Development Director and Assistant City Administrator for the City of Lancaster, SC; and for 29 years as the Town Administrator for the Town of Cheraw.  He also served as a Field Service Manager for the Municipal Association of SC for 9 years working with 154 cities and towns across 26 counties in eastern SC providing training and technical assistance for local municipal officials.  Bill retired from MASC in August of 2018 and established a local consulting firm (Local Government Solutions SC LLC) still working with local governments on administrative issues and special projects.

Bill has been involved in numerous civic and non-profit organizations over the years.  One of the highlights of his professional career was being elected to serve as a Southeastern regional vice-president on the International City & County Management Association (ICMA) Executive Board for a three-year term from 2004 – 2007.  He and his wife, Mindy, live in Florence, SC and have three married children and are proud grandparents to three grandsons who live in Florence, Gastonia, NC, and New York City.

Gerald "Jerry" Gordon

Gerald L. Gordon, Ph.D., is an economist and author, and is the president and chief executive officer of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) in Fairfax County, VA, a position he has held since late 1983. In 2016, Virginia Business magazine named Gordon one of its "50 most influential Virginians."  He was named to the same list in 2013, 2014, and 2015.  In 2015, Dr. Gordon was honored by International Economic Development Council with the Jeffrey A. Finkle Organizational Leadership Award for a “lasting commitment to the field of economic development.”

Gordon previously held positions with Arlington County, VA and the United States Department of Labor.  Gordon has taught at the University of Maryland, College Park, George Mason University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. He has consulted with city and state governments throughout the United States and internationally. He has also served as a consultant to businesses, non-profit organizations, associations, colleges and universities, various government agencies including the US Navy and the United Nations.

Gordon holds a bachelor's degree from The Citadel, a master's degree from George Washington University, and a doctorate in International Economics from the Catholic University of America. He is the author of numerous articles on strategic planning, economic development, leadership styles, and other management topics.  He has also authored 13 books and contributed opinion pieces to the Washington Post, Forbes, and American City and County.

Gordon was awarded a Fulbright Award for study in Scotland, where he made a series of recommendations on how to maintain and develop skilled employment in the region, and the approaches to doing so to secure its economic future when a nuclear power plant closes. He planned to further explore the region’s huge potential for renewable energy but also come up with specific ways to implement inward investment into the northern Highland region.