Dr. Tonya E. Thornton, Principal
Delta Point Solutions, LLC
Prior to establishing her own firm, Dr. Thornton (formerly Neaves) was the Director of Grants at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. In this role, she worked closely with faculty in developing proposals and securing contracts while also securing her own. She was also an Research Assistant Professor in the Master of Public Administration program and was Coordinator for its Emergency Management and Homeland Security graduate certificate. While at Mason, Dr. Thornton was also a Co-PI for the Center for Resilient and Sustainable Communities and was an Advisory Council Member for Mason’s Institute for a Sustainable Earth, in which she served as its liaison to the Fairfax County Energy and Climate Task Force.
Before joining Mason, Dr. Thornton was the Director for the Mississippi Public Safety Data Laboratory at Mississippi State University’s Social Science Research Center. During that time, she worked closely with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, in developing computational statistics programs and training law enforcement officers on how to analyze traffic records data in a timely, accurate, and consistent manner to assist the State of Mississippi in meeting its Highway Safety Performance Plan.
As a scholar, Dr. Thornton’s research portfolio has included securing contracts from the Department of Defense, Sandia National Laboratories, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, National Highway Safety Transportation Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Emergency Management Agency. To date, her total research funding approximates $6 million. Dr. Thornton has also published her efforts in the Review of Policy Research, Journal of Emergency Management, Review of Public Personnel Management, and the American Journal of Public Health. She has authored The Politics of Fiscal Responsibility: A Comparative Perspective (forthc.) and has co-authored edited volumes Managing Challenges for the Flint Water Crisis (2021) and The Role of Law Enforcement in Emergency Management (2021) and book chapters in The Future of Disaster Management in the U.S.: Rethinking Legislation, Policy, and Finance (2016), New Voices in the Old South: How Women and Minorities Influence Southern Politics (2008).She was also an editor for the National Academy of Public Administration and American Society for Public Administration’s Memos to National Leaders.
Dr. Thornton is very involved in her field as well, serving on the boards of several professional and non-profit organizations. As an active member of the American Society for Public Administration, she previously served as a District Representative to its National Council and is the Treasurer for its Section on Emergency and Crisis Management. Selected by former President, Janice Lachance, Dr. Thornton was chosen as a Program Co-Chair for its 2018 annual conference, coordinating 175 sessions, 750 presenters, and 1,200 attendees. She now serves as a Viewpoint Associate Editor for its Public Administration Review, the premiere journal for public administration, which focuses on connecting scholars with communities of practice. She now serves as Co-Chair for the Pandemic Task Force, and ad-hoc committee appointed by Presidents Kendra Stewart and Allan Rosenbaum.
For nearly a decade, Dr. Thornton has been hosting a graduate study abroad seminar in Croatia in connection with the University of Zagreb and the University of Split exploring such topics as overcoming socio-political challenges and utilizing innovative methodologies for big data. She has also been working with the National School of Administration and Magistracy in Cameroon to train future governmental employees across all levels of operation, where she once served as a Visiting Professor.
Dr. Thornton has a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy and Administration from Mississippi State University, where she also earned a Master of Public Policy and Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with an emphasis in the Geosciences. She has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Defense as a subject matter expert in critical infrastructure protection and a Top 40 Under 40 by the International Association of Emergency managers Region 3.