Firm co-founder Greg Werkheiser has accepted the position of founding Director of the National Center for Service and Innovative Leadership at the Presidio Trust, a role in which he will guide the transformation of one of the nation’s most iconic historic sites. Learn more.
Greg Werkheiser is an accomplished social entrepreneur, educator, attorney and civic leader. He is founder of the Phoenix Project, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Virginia that promotes sustainable solutions to social and economic problems by educating and empowering emerging social entrepreneurs and building community support for social innovation. Greg led growth of the organization from startup to winner of the Governor’s Award for Volunteerism and Community Service in just four years.
Greg earned his B.A. in government from the College of William and Mary, where he served as student government president and cofounded Virginia’s statewide student coalition. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia and is a member of the Virginia and District of Columbia bar associations. Prior to founding the Phoenix Project, Greg practiced law with the Washington, D.C. firms of Piper Rudnick and Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice as a commercial litigator, serving as lead Virginia litigation counsel to several Fortune 500 companies.
Greg also developed a focus on Native American law, litigating and winning a precedent-setting five-year battle on behalf of a New Jersey tribe seeking to prevent the destruction of a cultural and archaeological site. Greg became the first lawyer to receive New Jersey’s Historic Preservation Award and was named Pro bono Attorney of the Year. He was a founding board member of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.
Greg has distinguished himself as an educator and political leader. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has recognized Greg as one of the nation’s leading civic educators, extensively documenting his work in the recently published Educating for Democracy: Preparing Undergraduates for Responsible Political Engagement. He founded and directed for seven years the bipartisan Virginia Citizenship Institute, later merged with the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, which over the last decade has prepared hundreds of young Virginians to be more informed, thoughtful and engaged citizens. Greg is a contributing author to The Civic Mission of Schools, the seminal work laying out a national strategy for improving civic education in America’s schools, now being pursued by eighteen states. By appointment of Governor Mark Warner, he chaired the Virginia Commission for National and Community Service, the body charged with overseeing AmeriCorps and other federal and state service initiatives. Greg also co-chaired the 2004 Fairfax County Bond Referendum Citizen Committee and helped secure approval of $300 million in investments in Fairfax parks, libraries and transportation.
Greg is a veteran staffer of eleven political campaigns in the Commonwealth and himself has run for the Virginia House of Delegates, securing the endorsement of The Washington Post and raising more money for his campaign than any other House candidate in history. As a speechwriter, Greg has penned public remarks for Virginia Governor Mark Warner, President Bill Clinton, and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, among others. Greg also served as speechwriter for the late Ambassador to France Pamela Harriman, coordinated for the United States Information Agency President Clinton’s participation in the meetings of the G-7, and launched in partnership with the U.S. Department of State the Harriman Foreign Service Fellowship Program. Greg has keynoted more than thirty conferences and addressed audiences nationwide on topics of social innovation, civic engagement, and cultural heritage preservation.