Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Monday, July 18, 2022

Board of Visitors spotlight: Roger Ervin

roger ervin capitol full

Photo of Roger Ervin by Paul L. Newby, II /UW–Madison Wisconsin School of Business

 An accomplished global operating executive with experience in the public and private sectors, Roger Ervin joined the La Follette School Board of Visitors in 2020.

Ervin’s wide-ranging career has included working in the highest levels of presidential politics and diplomatic service and serving as the president and CEO of Blumont, a 5,000-employee global company that works with communities around the world to implement programs that provide relief and support recovery. He currently serves as a partner of Putnam Partners, a strategic and communications firm based in Washington, D.C. that focuses on issue advocacy, corporate branding, and electoral campaigns.

Ervin served as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue from 2007 to 2011. He has also served as a policy analyst for the U.S. House of Representatives, where he focused on economic policies for the Banking, Foreign Affairs, and Judiciary Committees and as a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of State, where he was responsible for high-level foreign government relationships and the deployment of embassy and intelligence resources. In this role, Ervin worked with the Bureau of African Affairs, where he played a major role in crucial foreign policy issues including Nelson Mandela’s rise to the presidency. Ervin also served as a senior advisor to the Biden 2020 presidential campaign.

Ervin, who received his bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and his MBA from UW–Madison’s School of Business, teaches PA 278: Public Leadership and PA 285: Strategic Public Management as an adjunct professor at the La Follette School. He recently spoke with La Follette students about his career path as part of the school’s Elevating Equity in Policymaking series.

“I am honored to serve on the La Follette School Board of Visitors and as an adjunct,” says Ervin. “As a former government official and business executive, I look forward to helping guide and grow the institution and to impart the knowledge that I have gained onto students who will be the next generation of public sector leaders.”

To learn more about Ervin’s career, including his advice around the importance of lifelong learning, listen to the 1050 Bascom podcast on Ervin’s career in presidential politics, diplomacy in Africa, and business.

The La Follette School Board of Visitors provides important guidance by identifying resources that can raise the stature and standing of the school, helping with fundraising, providing career advice to students, and acting as goodwill ambassadors. The La Follette School is grateful to Ervin for sharing his extensive expertise with the board and the school.