Nexight Group
Q&A with New Vice President John Mortensen
Nexight GroupDecember 1, 2015

Nexight Group is happy to welcome John Mortensen to the team as our new Vice President. John comes to us with more than 20 years of experience in program measurement, analysis, and evaluation consulting. We sat down with John to ask him a few questions about himself, his views, and his new role at Nexight. 

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Prior to joining Nexight Group, I was Vice President of the Strategies and Metrics Division at Energetics, where I led a team providing clients expertise in the areas of measurement, evaluation, policy analysis, critical infrastructure, energy management, and communications. Before that, I worked for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the City of Syracuse, and enjoyed a few years as an independent consultant. My primary technical expertise is in helping clients to project, measure, analyze, and evaluate their organization’s performance and use that information to improve strategic and operational decisions, provide accountability, and communicate value to stakeholders. I helped pioneer a performance measurement verification and validation process that is considered a best practice in the federal government, and have led a benefits analysis process that was used to inform and defend a federal client’s multibillion dollar budget request.

I am married and have two sons. I enjoy biking, watching the Baltimore Orioles, college basketball, and playing whiffle ball with my family.

Q: Why did you decide to join Nexight Group?
Well, there are few reasons actually. First, it gives me the exciting opportunity to build a measurement and analysis practice at a vibrant, growing small business. Second, I have known Jack and Ross for years and have always been impressed by their strong leadership, entrepreneurship, commitment to quality, and dedication to an enjoyable work environment. Finally, there are great people at Nexight – professional, smart, dedicated, and full of energy. What more could I ask for?

Q: Given your experience with a wide range of government agencies, explain why you think metrics are important?
Measurement, and more broadly, evaluation, is important for understanding how an organization is performing. Organizations need metrics for internal purposes to understand if they are on track or if they need to adjust operations to meet their goals. They also need metrics for accountability purposes to demonstrate to Congress, board of directors, or shareholders whether goals are being met. Finally, metrics can help to communicate the value of the organization to stakeholders more generally.

Q: What are some of the critical steps in developing meaningful metrics?
On its face, developing metrics appears to be fairly easy and to some extent that’s true – anyone can come up with a metric. However, there is a big difference between a metric that is pulled out of thin air and a metric that is well-reasoned, properly scoped, supported by quality control procedures, and – most importantly – used.

To that end, some of the critical steps in developing meaningful metrics are: 1) developing a program logic model that identifies a suite of potential measurement areas; 2) selecting a metric that will be used internally to inform decisions and/or externally to demonstrate value; 3) defining the metric – why, what, how, and when you are measuring; 4) setting targets based on a sound rationale and interpretive framework; and 5) verifying and validating the quality of the measure data. Without taking these steps organizations can find themselves with performance data that is not meaningful, not used, not understood, misinterpreted, or not reliable.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about your new position?
I am looking forward to working with the diverse and talented team at Nexight and helping clients succeed through improved measurement and analysis.

Check out John’s LinkedIn page to learn more about him and connect.

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