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25 Questions with Lantz McGinnis-Brown

We aren’t just researchers here at the Idaho Policy Institute. Get to know the team with a 25 Questions series.

Lantz and Henry
Lantz and Henry

Q: Favorite invention?
A: The internet – despite its unruliness, it has given us access to an incredible wealth of information

Q: What would you name your autobiography?
A: The Redneck Who Became a Policy Wonk: An American Success Story?

Q: Were you named after anyone?
A: My great-grandparent’s last name was Lantz

Q: What is keeping you busy these days?
A: PhD coursework, an energetic toddler, and an unhealthy compulsion to learn everything about everything

Q: All-time favorite class/professor?
A: It’s a time between PUBADM 502: Organization Theory & Management with Dr. Elizabeth Fredericksen and ENGL 401: Advanced Nonfiction Writing with Karen Uehling

Q: If you were left in the woods with only the items in this room, what would you build?
A: A messy jumble of books and papers large enough to be seen by any passing airplanes

Q: What is your favorite place to eat?
A: Any place with a decent vegan menu – I’m not picky

Q: If you could sit down with anyone for lunch, who would it be and why?
A: Hunter S. Thompson, because I admire his fearless, all-in approach to journalism, and I expect he would have a lot of stories to tell and lessons to share

Q: Favorite place to be?
A: Just about anywhere with my wife Kelly, and son, Henry. I’m not picky

Q: What is your favorite quote and why?
A: “…At this place, at this moment, all mankind is us, whether we like it or not. Let us make the most of it, before it is too late!” – Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Q: Favorite vacation, real or imaginary?
A: Already done: Camping on Dry Tortugas Island in Florida
Someday: Exploring the history and culture of southern Spain

Q: Favorite mascot?
A: Brownie the Elf – the mascot for the Cleveland Browns

Q: In elementary school, what activities did you get excited about and what were you best at?
A: Writing stories and making life difficult for my teachers (for which I would like to make a public apology)

Q: What kind of problems do you best solve?
A: Complex problems with lots of moving parts and uncertainty that require a lot of thought, planning, mapping, conversation, and collaboration. Conversely, I’m not great at solving easy problems that don’t call for any of that.

Q: Something you can’t do?
A: Sing in public (a more extreme form of self-expression, of which there are many that I’m bad at)

Q: What sport are you best at?
A: Soccer

Q: Last book you read or are currently reading?
A: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

Q: What/Who is your academic inspiration?
A: What: The important role of collective citizen action and community self-representation in democratic governments
Who: The anthropologist Gregory Bateson, who took a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to solving social problems, and wasn’t afraid to propose revolutionary new ideas, some of which were actually good

Q: Last movie that made you cry?
A: Coco, the animated children’s move – for children

Q: Favorite career moment?
A: Getting hired as a Research Associate with the Idaho Policy Institute

Q: Favorite cereal?
A: Life

Q: In a team environment, what role do you usually take on?
A: I try to be a supporter and a synthesizer. I like listening to other people talk about ideas they are excited about, and finding ways to help those people be successful. I also really enjoy finding ways to bring peoples’ passions together toward a common goal.

Q: All-time favorite TV show?
A: Parks & Rec

Q: How would your best friend describe you?
A: Loves his family. Reserved on the outside, passionate on the inside. Recovering shy person. A little too obsessed with self-improvement. Main hobby is collecting hobbies.

Q: What is your favorite sport to watch?
A: Drag Racing (in a past life, I wanted to be a mechanic)