University at Albany
Edward Murphy, MPA '81

Distinguished Continuing Professional Education Leadership Award of Excellence

Edward Murphy, MPA '81

President & Executive Director
Workforce Development Institute

Workforce Development Institute (WDI) President and Executive Director Ed Murphy has a long history as a leader in public policy, organized labor, and economic and workforce development. Fluent in Vietnamese, Mr. Murphy began his professional life as a military intelligence agent during the Vietnam War.

While deputy director of the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs during the administration of Governor Mario M. Cuomo, Murphy served as an advisor to U.S.District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein in the Agent Orange Product Liability Litigation, a landmark class action lawsuit brought by Vietnam veterans and their families.

Mr. Murphy has articulated the challenges, mistakes, missed opportunities and options Americans experience interacting in a global economy. He has used his Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, graduate work in the history of social change and Master of Public Administration from the University at Albany to support work in government, nonprofits, consulting, leadership in organizational development and systems transformation. He led the development of New York's first state workforce plan in 1989, recommending introduction of a Workforce Impact Statement. In 1991, Murphy left state government and, with his wife Lin, founded Pathfinders Institute, an organization through which he provided humanitarian assistance, including helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) get the readjustment counseling they needed. He established some of the earliest PTSD programs. Through Pathfinders, Mr. Murphy also facilitated reconciliation between the United States and Vietnam.

While working with the New York State AFL-CIO, Mr. Murphy established WDI, a statewide leader in workforce intelligence, education and training of workers. He has organized coalitions that have brought together business, organized labor and environmental organizations to address energy concerns. He serves on the New York State Workforce Investment Board and has been an Op-Ed columnist, publishing 25 articles in newspapers, journals and magazines and an accomplished photographer whose work has been displayed in a number of exhibits.

Mr. Murphy served as a technical advisor on the 1988 film Off Limits assisting actor Willem Dafoe in preparation for his role as a joint services Criminal Investigation Division (CID) agent on duty in war-torn Saigon. In addition, he was honored by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his contributions as a writer on the 1988 HBO movie Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam.

Ed Murphy and his daughter Zoeann co-authored and provided the photography for the book Vietnam, A Father Daughter Journey. Mr. Murphy is currently writing a memoir that discusses ethics, how one learns about work, chooses a profession, develops skills, makes decisions, and finds work that balances personal and social values and earns an income to support a family.