Washington & Jefferson College. University of Chicago.
He was coordinator of Kentuckians for the Commonwealth (KFTC) from 1981 to 1993, and has been executive director of the Virginia Organizing Project since 1994. He earned a bachelor"s degree from Washington and Jefferson College, graduating in 1976 with honors in political science and sociology. He earned a master"s degree from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago in 1979.
Szakos began his work in eastern Kentucky working on housing development in David (Floyd County) in 1979.
He worked as a reporter for the Martin Countian in Inez, Kentucky in 1980-1981, and field coordinator for the Appalachian Alliance in 1982. In December 1982 he became coordinator of the Kentucky Fair Tax Coalition (KFTC), which became Kentuckians Foreign The Commonwealth in 1988.
After ten years with KTFC, Szakos spent a year in 1993-1994 as director of a community organizing project in Nagykovácsi, Hungary. He returned to the United States. in 1994 to become the founding executive director of the Virginia Organizing Project.
In August 2010 the group shortened its name to Virginia Organizing.
In a 2005 paper Szakos emphasized the need for a collective recruitment plan for community organizers. One book (We Make Change, 2007) is based on more than 75 interviews with community organizers across the country about what they do and why they do lieutenant The other (Lessons from the Field, 2008) is a compilation of essays written by experienced rural community organizers, sharing lessons they have learned.
In 2009, Szakos was arrested by his own health insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross, after he tried to ask why his organization"s premiums had risen 14%.