Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. Scholarship

by Alex Rodriguez

Scholarship to BIG Ideas


Upon retirement from ICMA and the Alliance Board, the Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. Scholarship to the BIG Ideas Meeting was created. It will be awarded to one early to mid-career local government professional. The scholarship covers costs related to event registration and assists with travel expenses. Submissions will be accepted until August 27, 2018.

Applicants should prepare an essay for submission. The questions for the essay include:

  1. How does attending BIG Ideas fit into your career development?
  2. How would you use the experience of attending BIG Ideas in your home organization?

The Scholarship recipient will also be asked to create a 500+ word essay on his or her attendance at the BIG Ideas Meeting following the conference for publication on the Alliance for Innovation website and distribution to Alliance members.

Submit Your Essay

This year's scholarship is underwritten by Alliance Corporate Partners HdL Companies and Zelos, LLC.


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About Robert J. O'Neill Jr.

Robert J. O’Neill Jr. was Executive Director of the International City/County Management.

Association (ICMA) from 2002 – 2016 and Alliance for Innovation Board of Director’s member from 2006 - 2016. As a founding board member of the Alliance for Innovation, he played an instrumental role in the creation of the partnership of the Alliance, ICMA and ASU. He was among the visionary Board of Director members that saw a need to create a safe place for local government leaders to come together and discuss the larger issues impacting local governments – and thus BIG Ideas was created.

Prior to joining ICMA, O’Neill served as president of the National Academy of Public Administration from 2000 to 2002. He was elected as a NAPA Fellow in 1997.

From 1997 to 2000, O’Neill served as Fairfax County, Va., executive, where he was credited with developing a series of strategies aimed at revitalizing older residential communities and commercial areas as well as launching a series of initiatives focused on performance and results management.

O’Neill’s “reinvention” of the government of Hampton, Va., as city manager from 1984 to 1997, was widely recognized; his many accomplishments include downtown- and waterfront-revitalization initiatives as well as development of a nationally recognized youth-at-risk program.