Public Assets Institute > Blog > The Con Hogan Award

The Con Hogan Award

In 1973, as a UVM student, I had the opportunity to be a University Year for Action intern—similar to AmeriCorps—at the Vermont Department of Corrections. The experience changed my life. And Con Hogan, who was Deputy Commissioner, was a big reason it did.

That’s why I’m pleased and honored to have helped create the Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial, Community Leadership.

At the time of my internship, Commissioner Kent Stoneman was converting corrections from a prison-based to a community-based model. As part of the transition, the central office was assembling an employee policy manual covering every aspect of operations, from use of force to visitation. When I arrived, the manual had a table of contents and a few policy documents, some still in draft form. There was a lot to do.

Con led a working group of department staff at regular meetings, where they discussed each policy. My job was to take notes and write the next draft of the policy for the group’s review. I also got to participate in the discussions. Some policies were simple and could be completed in one meeting and one draft. Others were more complicated and required days of discussion, outside research, and dozens of drafts. The process also involved interviewing inmates; to do so, I lived inside the prison and the juvenile detention center.

I went into the job unsure of what a policy was, much less how to write one. I came away with greater confidence and understanding about policy and policy making—and more profoundly, about why policy matters.

I learned this from Con. For him, the seriousness of making policy grows out of respect and care for the people the policy affects—in this case it was inmates and their families, corrections staff, as well as people they encountered on the outside. Ever conscious of the effects on real people’s lives, Con demanded that every detail be both workable and humane, and every sentence clear and unambiguous.

That respectful attitude extended to the employees of the department, and even to me, a naïve 20-year-old. Con and his staff treated me like an adult: valued my efforts, challenged my assumptions, included me in conversations, and even shared their jokes. It was fun working there, and it was hard work.

The experience—anchored by Con’s moral values and intellectual rigor—helped define the rest of my life’s work in policy consulting, the Legislature, and now, Public Assets Institute.

Con Hogan was my mentor, as he has been to many others over the years. He served as a member of Public Assets Institute’s Board of Directors prior to accepting his current position on the Green Mountain Care Board.

He is an important figure in Vermont. From his work in the public, nonprofit, and private for-profit sectors, he exemplifies the kind of thinking and leadership that Vermont needs as we address the challenges of a new century.

The Con Hogan Award for Creative, Entrepreneurial, Community Leadership recognizes Con’s life’s work and commitment by encouraging and rewarding mid-career leaders who share his vision of a better Vermont—one that places the highest value on the public good—and who seize the responsibility for making that vision real.

One mid-career individual who best meets the award criteria will be selected each year to receive $15,000, to be spent however the individual chooses. The first award will be presented on October 8 in Montpelier.

There are two ways you can get involved. One is to join us at the event.

The other is to support the annual award. I hope you will join me in making a one-time, tax-deductible gift. (If your check arrives by September 30, your name will be included as a founding donor on the event program.)

Please send your check, payable to “Vermont Community Foundation/Con Hogan Award,” to:  Vermont Community Foundation, ATTN: Jane Kimble, 3 Court Street, Middlebury, VT 05753

Posted by Paul Cillo on September 19, 2015 at 10:10 am

2 Responses to “The Con Hogan Award”

  1. Avram Patt says:

    We’re in. Great story, Paul. I worked for Con when he was AHS Secretary. He deserves the honor. (Only problem is that I’m probably not what you’d consider mid-career anymore…..)

  2. Helen riehle says:

    Thanks for providing your experience with Con and the request for a Contribution . So pleased to advance this wonderful tribute to an outstanding person

    Hope all is well with you.