Our Team

As one of the leading bipartisan government relations firms our team is consistently ranked among Washington’s best.

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  • Kai Anderson
    Kai Anderson
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Barry D. Rhoads
    Barry D. Rhoads
    Chairman
  • Jesse Barba
    Jesse Barba
    Vice President
  • Jordan Bernstein
    Jordan Bernstein
    Chief Operating Officer
  • Kevin Binger
    Kevin Binger
    Senior Vice President
  • Charles Brittingham
    Charles Brittingham
    Senior Vice President
  • Donna Jo Denison
    Donna Jo Denison
    Vice President
  • Nicole Di Resta
    Nicole Di Resta
    Senior Vice President
  • Susann Edwards
    Susann Edwards
    Vice President
  • Kaleb Froehlich
    Kaleb Froehlich
    Vice President
  • Michelle Greene
    Michelle Greene
    Senior Vice President
  • Amelia F. Jenkins
    Amelia F. Jenkins
    Senior Vice President
  • Arthur Mason
    Arthur Mason
    Executive Vice President
  • Steven McKnight
    Steven McKnight
    Senior Vice President
  • Ryan Mulvenon
    Ryan Mulvenon
    Vice President
  • Terry Paul, BG, USMC (Ret)
    Terry Paul, BG, USMC (Ret)
    Executive Vice President
  • Vernon Simmons
    Vernon Simmons
    Vice President
  • Barbara Sutton
    Barbara Sutton
    Executive Vice President
  • Chad Sydnor
    Chad Sydnor
    Vice President
  • Russell J. Thomasson
    Russell J. Thomasson
    Executive Vice President
  • Janie Wise Thompson
    Janie Wise Thompson
    Vice President
  • Dave Belote
    Dave Belote
    Senior Advisor
  • Christopher Cole, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
    Christopher Cole, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
    Senior Advisor
  • John Conger
    John Conger
    Senior Advisor
  • Gregg Hartley
    Gregg Hartley
    Senior Advisor
  • The Honorable Gary J. Krump, LTC, USAR (Ret)
    The Honorable Gary J. Krump, LTC, USAR (Ret)
    Senior Advisor
  • James H. Lofton
    James H. Lofton
    Senior Advisor
  • The Honorable Nick Rahall
    The Honorable Nick Rahall
    Senior Advisor
  • Rear Admiral G. Dennis Vaughan, USNA (Ret)
    Rear Admiral G. Dennis Vaughan, USNA (Ret)
    Senior Advisor
Kai Anderson
Chief Executive Officer

 

Kai Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of Cassidy & Associates, helps a broad range of corporate and non-profit clients advocate for their interests in Washington, DC. In addition to general representation, he specializes in designing legislative strategies that balance the responsible development of natural resources and critical infrastructure with conservation.

From positions on and off Capitol Hill, Kai has contributed to numerous conservation campaigns in the West including the responsible siting and construction of high-voltage transmission lines, the completion of renewable energy projects, and improving corporate sustainability for a variety of clients ranging from start ups to Fortune 500 Companies to local and national environmental organizations.

After earning a PhD in geology from Stanford University in 1998, Kai came to Washington DC to serve a one-year Congressional Science Fellowship in the office of Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s (D-CT). Kai worked nearly six years for former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, ultimately as his Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, before leaving public service to establish an environment and energy advocacy practice at Cassidy. Kai assumed leadership of Cassidy & Associates in 2013 and still continues working with his clients.

A native of eastern Oregon, Kai grew up hunting, fishing, and hiking on public lands. He has applied his background and experience in natural resources and earth science to policymaking throughout his career.

Kai lives in Washington DC with his wife, kids, and border collie mix and enjoys gardening, tending a backyard pizza oven, and traveling to the West.

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Barry D. Rhoads
Chairman

As Chairman of Cassidy and Associates Barry Rhoads leverages his decades of Washington experience to assist clients with legislative and appropriations programs while creating common sense solutions. A native of the farms of Western Pennsylvania, Barry arrived in Washington as an officer in the U.S. Army and tax prosecutor at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Barry is best known for his work with a long list of states and communities facing the daunting threat of military base closure or realignment. After returning from service as a war crimes prosecutor during the first Gulf War, Barry was named Deputy General Counsel to the 1991 Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission. During this time Barry worked on every aspect of the first round of base closures, with an emphasis on environmental remediation, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Commission and its operating procedures. A regular writer and speaker on the topic of military basing, reuse and development, Barry has received special recognition for his pioneering work in various aspects of defense-related privatization.

In 2001 Barry founded the Rhoads group which grew into a very successful firm. The Rhoads Group focused on defense and homeland security issues, working with public and private sector organizations, colleges and universities seeking to support the defense and security of the United States. In late 2010, Barry accepted a merger offer from Cassidy and Associates, ensuring the continuity of his work with Rhoads Group and greatly expanding the resources available to clients.

Prior to taking the helm of his own firm, Barry was a partner in the Washington law firm of Verner Lipfert where he began his defense practice developing and implementing legislative strategies for a broad range of defense and aerospace contractors, Fortune 500 corporations and high-technology leaders.

Before joining the Base Closure Commission, Barry was a partner at the firm Watt, Tieder & Hoffar, where his practice included government contracts, construction litigation, and defense and security issues. In 1987, during his tenure as a federal prosecutor for the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice, he was named the Department of Justice Tax Division Outstanding Attorney of the Year.

Barry retired from the United States Army after 22 years of service, holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and holds a BA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

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Jesse Barba
Vice President

Jesse is a Vice President at Cassidy and Associates where he helps clients successfully navigate the legislative and regulatory landscape across the federal government. Jesse strives to build strategic relationships for stakeholders and clients so they may secure critical investments and help educate decision makers in Washington.

Jesse recently served as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) where he managed a public policy portfolio that included energy, financial services, transportation and labor issues. He was responsible for monitoring federal policy, interacting with state and local government stakeholders and briefing lawmakers and their staff on Congressional and Administration initiatives and priorities. He also served as the Congresswoman’s liaison to the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Congressional Alaskan Pacific Asian Caucus, and has strong connections to the Congressional Black Caucus. Jesse earlier served a similar role to U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY).

A Native of New York, Jesse earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from American University and a master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University. Jesse serves on the Advisory Board for the Grassroots Professional Network, is the co-founder of Electing a Democratic Generation (EDGE), and is a two-timed recipient of the Bryce Harlow Foundation Fellowship.

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Jordan Bernstein
Chief Operating Officer

As the Chief Operating Officer of Cassidy and Associates, Jordan manages the day-to-day operations of the firm while also representing his clients who are as diverse as global brand names to national non-profits, large integrated health systems, universities and trade associations. He specializes in devising and executing comprehensive legislative strategies directed at promoting clients’ specific federal policy and funding objectives in Washington.

Jordan’s exceptional ability to create and grow relationships between the federal government and public and private entities is grounded in his tenure as Chief of Staff to Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.   In this role, Jordan not only had unique inside-access to the legislative process, but also was an essential participant in the determination of congressional policy and appropriations.  His policy work encompassed healthcare, transportation, homeland security, education, telecommunications, corporate governance, defense, and other front-burner topics.

Jordan provides trusted advice and counsel to many of his clients as their general representative in Washington relying on his keen awareness that client issues don’t fall neatly into a single category and that the best solutions come from having a deep understanding of the entire legislative and political process.

He earned a bachelors degree in Political Science from Michigan State University and an M.A. in Political Management from George Washington University.

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Kevin Binger
Senior Vice President

Kevin is a Senior Vice President at Cassidy and Associates, representing prominent tech and industrial companies and their interests in cybersecurity, privacy, as well as tax and trade. Kevin helps technology innovators build strong relationships in Congress and at federal agencies, impact the policy-making process, and get results. He has a successful track record of executing winning strategies for clients in areas ranging from privacy to pensions to helium supply.

Kevin has 20 years of senior staff experience on Capitol Hill, including his tenure as Chief of Staff to one of the largest committees in the House of Representatives – the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — where he helped write the law creating the Department of Homeland Security.  While serving on the Committee, he developed an expertise in federal procurement laws and laws directly affecting high-tech companies.

His work on Capitol Hill was recognized by Roll Call newspaper which named him one the 50 Most Influential Staffers in Congress.

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Charles Brittingham
Senior Vice President

Charles brings more than a decade of successfully drafting and advancing public policy on Capitol Hill to his position as Senior Vice President at Cassidy & Associates. His keen awareness of issues combined with his technical and political skills have helped him create meaningful solutions to some of the nation’s public policy challenges.

Charles led negotiations for Senate Republicans on Public Law 113-121, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), serving as a senior advisor to then Ranking Member Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. That was the first authorization bill for the Army Corps of Engineers in seven years. Charles’ work was so crucial to the bill’s success that Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) brought him back to the EPW committee to help pass the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act in December 2016.

His tenure on Capitol Hill also includes work on the successful passage of the two most recent highway reauthorization bills known as the FAST Act and MAP-21.

Before joining Cassidy, Charles served as Majority Senior Water Resources Policy Advisor for the EPW Committee and prior to that worked as a senior advisor to then Chairman Vitter of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Charles also served at the EPW Committee during Senator Vitter’s tenure as ranking member, from 2012 to 2015, and from 2011 to 2012 on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. He served in various roles before that in Sen. Vitter’s personal office.

Charles earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, history and philosophy from Louisiana State University.

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Donna Jo Denison
Vice President

Donna Jo, a Vice President at Cassidy and Associates, provides clients with expertise on the development and deployment of legislative, regulatory and advocacy strategies. She specializes in food, nutrition and appropriations issues and where these sectors connect with a broad range of policy, budget, and regulatory matters from production, research, health and food safety, to international trade and commerce.

She brings in-depth government relations experience to Cassidy having served for 12 years as a senior policy and political aide in the U.S. Senate advising U.S. Senators Mary Landrieu and J. Bennett Johnston, and uses that background to help her clients successfully navigate the legislative process. Her pragmatic approach to solving multifaceted problems and advancing solutions across party lines has enabled her to develop effective advocacy strategies on behalf of her clients. Her diverse client experience includes advising an agricultural cooperative with $2B in consumer sales, facilitating trade and food safety crisis management for a multinational meat packing company, to working with a large community college system on the advancement of research, food and nutrition programs. Having a broad understanding of the legislative and regulatory process and how political hurdles often interfere, enables her to drive success for her clients.

Prior to her work at Cassidy, she served as Director of Legislative Affairs for United Fresh Produce Association where she led the produce industry’s International Trade Council and served as a member of USDA’s Agriculture Technical Advisory Committee in Fruits and Vegetables.

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Nicole Di Resta
Senior Vice President

Nicole is a Senior Vice President at Cassidy and Associates, successfully helping clients anticipate, understand, and navigate the policy, budget, and regulatory actions across the federal government while protecting their interests and creating opportunities.

Utilizing her substantial knowledge and experience of Congress and the Executive Branch, Nicole develops comprehensive strategies for clients. She actively pursues legislative and administrative avenues for opportunities and solutions. Nicole advocates for a broad range of corporate and non-profit clients in the National Security area, tailoring unique approaches to promote her client’s interests, raise awareness on issues, and develop results.

She joined Cassidy and Associates after serving 16 years on Capitol Hill, most recently on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense as a Professional Staff Member. Her portfolio for the Defense Subcommittee included the Defense Health Program and all medical research and health information technology; missile procurement for all Services; Marine Corps Procurement; Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund; programs and authorities related to security stabilization and operations in the Global War on Terrorism; and military bases and commands in Hawaii and the Pacific Area of Responsibility. She also supported the Hawaii delegation through the 2005 BRAC process, successfully removing Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard from the closure list.

Nicole negotiated key policy provisions with multiple committees and government entities in a bipartisan and bicameral basis. She facilitated working relationships between numerous private sector entities and government officials to foster groundbreaking medical research and technology benefiting service members and their families.

Prior to joining the Defense Subcommittee, Nicole worked as a Professional Staff Member for the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury and General Government. Nicole also served on the personal staffs of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA).

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Susann Edwards
Vice President

Susann is a Vice President at Cassidy and Associates, providing political and policy insight to clients and developing successful economic development strategies for military communities. Her experience in developing successful coalitions and grassroots campaigns have been instrumental to her work as communities and military bases across the nation adapt to the new restricted budget realities in Washington and at the Pentagon.

Susann developed her innovative approach to strategy formulation during her years working on state and national political campaigns. At the Democratic National Committee, she worked with senior Party officials to create strategies, resolve problems and organize high-profile events. She used her creative talents to help manage the Platform Committees at three Democratic Conventions.

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Kaleb Froehlich
Vice President

Kaleb is a Vice President at Cassidy and Associates, providing clients valuable counsel and innovative solutions in the energy, environmental, and natural resources sectors. Kaleb has significant expertise in the critical issues affecting these areas as well as extensive knowledge of the relevant regulatory processes and players which allows him to effectively assist clients in engaging with and navigating Capitol Hill, various federal agencies, and other important federal and state governmental bodies and personnel. A native of Alaska, Kaleb also has unique experience and background with issues involving public lands, timber, mining, fisheries management, oil and gas, and Alaska Natives affairs.

Prior to joining Cassidy and Associates, Kaleb served for nearly six years as Senior Counsel to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and its ranking member at the time, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). In that capacity, he was involved in a wide range of issues, including public lands, wildlife management, and environmental regulation. Notably, he helped shape the final versions of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which designated nearly two million acres of wilderness, and the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, which was designed to avert an historic shortage of helium threatening the medical, technology innovation, and space industries. In addition, Kaleb served as the lead counsel on numerous pieces of Alaska-specific energy and natural resources legislation, which became law.

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Michelle Greene
Senior Vice President

Michelle is a Senior Vice President at Cassidy and Associates and a recognized military healthcare professional with more than 20 years of leadership experience in the U.S. Army. Clients benefit from both her operational experience in the Army and the Military Health System as well as her legislative expertise gained while serving as the Chief of Congressional Affairs in the U.S. Army’s Office of the Surgeon General and an Army Budget Congressional Liaison.

As the principal advisor to the Army Surgeon General on all congressional and legislative matters, she formulated the Surgeon General’s position on legislative issues and developed the congressional engagement strategy for all senior leaders of the Army Medical Department. As an Army Budget Congressional Liaison to the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees she served as a conduit and advisor for the Army leadership and the Congressional Appropriations Committees on topics including Army Healthcare, Medical Research and Development, Medical Procurement, Chemical Demilitarization, Military Construction and Chemical and Biological Defense.

Michelle is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and holds a Master’s degree in Health Evaluation Sciences from the University of Virginia and a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts.

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Amelia F. Jenkins
Senior Vice President

Amelia is a Senior Vice President at Cassidy and Associates where clients rely on her in depth experience on Capitol Hill working on every facet of natural resource policy from western water issues to tribal matters to forest management.

Amelia joined Cassidy in May after serving as Deputy Staff Director and Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources since 2011. Amelia served as chief policy advisor and strategist to then U.S. Rep. and now U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and its current Ranking Member U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) on legislative matters involving the management of 600 million acres of federal land, domestic energy production, tribal matters, territories and insular areas, wildlife, and western water. She was also the primary policy contact with House leadership, White House Legislative Affairs, Council on Environmental Quality, in addition to Departments under the committee’s jurisdiction.

Prior to the committee, Amelia was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Energy where she served as the top assistant to the Assistant Secretary and directly managed and oversaw the Department’s interaction with Members of the House of Representatives and all local, state, and tribal governments.

Her tenure in Washington has also included serving as Senior Advisor and Subcommittee Staff Director to the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power; Director of Coalition Development for the Western Governors’ Association; Senior Legislative Staff for the House Committee on Resources; Legislative Director for U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA); and Legislative Aide to Congressman DeFazio.

Amelia earned a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Forest Economics from the University of Idaho and a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics from Weber State University.

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Arthur Mason
Executive Vice President

Arthur is an Executive Vice President at Cassidy and Associates and is well known for his extensive network of relationships throughout high levels of government, politics, business and non-profits. He works with clients to advance their objectives by providing the strategic advice and connections needed to position their issues for success. Over his career at Cassidy & Associates, he has served a wide variety of clients including corporate giants, entrepreneurial start-ups, name brand retail products, large healthcare systems, and premier educational institutions.

A popular and entertaining speaker, Arthur is frequently asked to address organizations on “What’s Happening in Washington.” The diversity of his experience and expertise provides a unique viewpoint that cuts to the core of legislative and political issues. He has served as a guest lecturer on contemporary politics at American University. He has moderated panels for the intelligence community and authored an article on the landscape of challenges facing Congress during an election year.

A native of Brookline, Massachusetts, Arthur was a member of the United States Army and served in the infantry as a first lieutenant and captain in Vietnam. While a company commander, he was awarded the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action, the Bronze Star, three Air Medals, a Valorous Unit Citation, and numerous other declarations.

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Steven McKnight
Senior Vice President

Steven is a Senior Vice President at Cassidy and Associates and a veteran trial attorney who brings his substantial legal and policy background to the table in support of a variety of clients in the financial, business, and defense arenas.

Steven began his legal career handling a broad range of sophisticated corporate and financial litigation matters while in private practice. Among his areas of expertise were intellectual property litigation and transactions, later leading to his serving as chair of the local bar committee on intellectual property and invitations to lecture at seminars on related topics.

In 1987 Steven joined the U.S. Justice Department and served as a prosecutor specializing in tax fraud and financial crimes. Steven continued to specialize in financial crimes after being appointed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. During this tenure he also handled large-scale civil and criminal forfeiture matters as well as bankruptcy and other civil cases for two divisions of the district.

Joining forces with his colleague at the Department of Justice, Barry Rhoads, Steven turned his skills towards legal and public policy work on economic and defense matters, handling defense-related privatization and development issues, including representation of communities on base closure matters.

During his service as the firm’s senior legal advisor, Steven has broadened the scope of the public policy expertise at Cassidy while focusing on policy reform advocacy and representation of clients in Executive and Legislative Branch settings.

A native of Tennessee, Steven is a summa cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Arts and Science, and his J.D. degree from the School of Law, where he was a member of the Vanderbilt Law Review.

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Ryan Mulvenon
Vice President

Ryan is a Vice President at Cassidy & Associates developing and deploying substantial public policy solutions that deliver real results for clients. After 11 years in the Senate, most recently serving as an energy and environmental policy advisor to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Ryan distinguished himself as an effective, astute, pragmatic advisor successfully operating under the constant pressure of Capitol Hill.

Before joining Cassidy in December 2016, Ryan served Sen. Reid in numerous roles, as Policy Advisor since 2011, providing key analysis on energy, environment, agriculture, and natural resource bills and to the Senate Democratic Policy Committee prior to that. He earlier served as a legislative aide in the Leader’s personal office.

Ryan knows how the Hill works and understands the focus necessary to solve complicated energy, environment and infrastructure challenges. His decade of public policy experience includes participating in the development of clean energy markets, ensuring energy security, developing water infrastructure and deploying advanced biofuels.

Ryan earned a master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University and bachelor’s degrees in history and political science from Xavier University.

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Terry Paul, BG, USMC (Ret)
Executive Vice President

In a town where defense and security of the homeland are at the top of the agenda, Terry Paul stands out as leader in the consulting industry as he serves as an Executive Vice President at Cassidy & Associates. A remarkable military career combined with intimate familiarity of the legislative process, he brings extraordinary value and Hill experience to the firm’s clients.

During his Marine Corp’s career as an infantry officer, he served in various command and staff positions at virtually every echelon from platoon through division. A cherished highlight of his career was as a Captain he co-founded the renowned Marine’s Infantry Officers School.

General Paul is best known in Washington for his experience as the Marine Corps liaison officer in the U.S. Senate, a post he held for an unprecedented ten years until he was promoted to General Officer and assigned to the Pentagon, where he oversaw all legislative issues in the House and the Senate.

The increase to the Marines’ Congressional defense funding was very evident during his tenure. His years of world travel escorting Senate and House members provided rare and influential time with members. That exposure created frequent opportunities for mentoring, building enduring relationships, and allowed a forum for presenting candid advice on defense matters. As a trusted confidant, he continues that role today providing experienced counsel to senior military leaders in a supportive, advising effort.

Consequently, for the over 10 years he has headed the Cassidy Defense team’s effort, the team has enjoyed an unparalleled success rate with clients that otherwise have been stymied and frustrated by the huge bureaucracy within DOD.

From energy saving applications to communication devices…. from new aircraft to armored vehicles from ships to satellites….the Cassidy Defense team has excelled at assisting clients in a wide variety of businesses, both foreign and domestic, with winning lucrative opportunities within DOD’s vast market.

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Vernon Simmons
Vice President

Vern is a Vice President at Cassidy and Associates and specializes in working on behalf of defense policy and procurement stakeholders to help them secure federal funding and promote their issue-specific needs in Washington. He brings U.S. Department of Defense budget, acquisition, and resource management expertise to bear on behalf of Cassidy & Associates’ clients. Combined with his organizational, financial, and strategic planning capabilities, Vern is an excellent asset to our clients.

He came to Cassidy and Associates following a distinguished military career where he served in a variety of leadership and financial positions across all levels of the U.S. Air Force. In his most recent assignment, he served as Deputy Chief of the U.S. Air Force Budget and Appropriations Liaison Division where he worked with Members and staff of the House and Senate Appropriations and Budget Committees in order to promote the legislative priorities of the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. In this role, his primary responsibility was to garner support for the $117 billion Air Force budget called for in the President’s Budget. Vern also held the position of Assistant for Congressional issues in the U.S. Air Force, Budget and Appropriations Liaison Division with responsibilities for science and technology, medical, and information technology issues.

Formerly, he served for two years as the Budget Director of the Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, where he was responsible for a budget of $26 billion in appropriated funding which supported 85,000 personnel at 10 major installments.

Earlier in his career, Vern held other notable positions including Commander of a 50-person Air Force Comptroller Squadron at Seymour Air Force Base, North Carolina; U.S. Air Force Budget Analyst at the Pentagon; and several other prestigious positions. He attained Top Security Clearance during his tenure with the Air Force.

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Barbara Sutton
Executive Vice President

Barbara is an Executive Vice President at Cassidy and Associates with over 30 years of combined experience working both in the federal government and in federal government relations. She navigates the intricacies of Congress and across federal agencies, effectively leveraging this experience on behalf of many of the firm’s largest and longest standing clients by successfully identifying creative opportunities and solving problems.

For more than 25 years, Barbara has advised corporate CEOs, university and college presidents, hospital executives, municipalities and leaders of non-profit entities on the implications of federal legislation and related regulatory policy.  She is a firm believer that in order to be an effective lobbyist, one must fully understand the intersection of policy and politics as it relates to a client’s challenge or its strategic planning goals.

Barbara’s accomplishments are grounded in the kind of first-hand experience that comes only from working at the highest level of Congress where she served on the Leadership Staff of former Speaker of the House, Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. until 1987 when she joined Cassidy & Associates.  Her frequent interaction with nearly every office in the House of Representatives, Senate, the White House and the executive branch agencies has provided her with access to an extensive bipartisan political and legislative network in Washington which she maintains to this day.

A lifelong Red Sox fan, Barbara is a native of Boston and received her B.A. from Trinity College in Washington, DC.

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Chad Sydnor
Vice President

Chad is a Vice President at Cassidy & Associates where he puts his legal background and expertise in defense policy together to help develop effective strategies and deliver real results for clients.

Chad joined Cassidy in June 2017 after serving on Capitol Hill since 2011. He most recently served as a senior defense policy aide and counsel to U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), and prior to that in similar roles as a military legislative aide to Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC).

Chad holds the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army, earlier serving as a battalion intelligence officer and company commander and continues to serve as a reservist as an aviation officer rated in the AH-64 Apache helicopter.

Prior to his active duty service in the Army, Chad was an Assistant District Attorney in Raleigh, NC.

Chad is a graduate of North Carolina State University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and holds a Juris Doctor from Campbell University. He remains a member in good standing of the North Carolina State Bar.

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Russell J. Thomasson
Executive Vice President

Russ is an Executive Vice President at Cassidy & Associates where he develops and deploys legislative strategies that are specifically tailored to keep clients fully and successfully engaged in Washington at the highest levels of government. Russ joined Cassidy in August after serving three years as Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn as part of a 15-year tenure on Capitol Hill that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said was “incredibly effective” and Russ was “an invaluable member of (the Senate leadership) team.”

Russ has served on Sen. Cornyn’s staff since 2003 and as the Majority Whip’s Chief of Staff, he developed and implemented legislative and policy strategies as part of the Republican leadership team as well as conducted negotiations with Members, senior staff, and committees. Roll Call newspaper has repeatedly recognized Russ as one of Capitol Hill’s top 50 staff members in its annual list. Earlier Russ served as Sen. Cornyn’s Legislative Director and Legislative Assistant.

Prior to his work for Sen. Cornyn, Russ served as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Bob Smith (R-NH) and as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Air Force.

Russ earned a master’s degree in Russian Studies from Indiana University and a bachelor’s in Mechanical Engineering from Kansas State University.

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Janie Wise Thompson
Vice President

 

Janie is a Vice President at Cassidy and Associates, where she works on issues related to alternative energy development, environmental compliance, climate change, public lands, energy tax and technology innovation. Janie earlier served the Obama Administration as a Congressional Affairs Liaison for the Department of Energy where she was responsible for monitoring federal energy policy, interacting with state and local government stakeholders and briefing lawmakers and their staff on DOE initiatives and priorities. Prior to the DOE, Janie served on the staff of the House Committee on Science and Technology under Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Subcommittee Chairman Brian Baird (D-WA), where she focused on federal authorizations for on energy and environment research, development and demonstration.

A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Janie is a graduate of The University of the South, Magna Cum Laude. She holds a Masters of Science in Engineering Management and Systems Engineering from The George Washington University.

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Dave Belote
Senior Advisor

Dave is a Senior Advisor at Cassidy and Associates, helping clients successfully navigate issues at the nexus of renewable energy and national defense.  Before joining Cassidy, Dave served as Vice President for Federal Business at Apex Clean Energy where he earned one of the first six small-business awards under the Army Corps of Engineers Multiple Award Task Order Contract for solar energy.

Earlier, Dave was the first Executive Director of the Department of Defense Siting Clearinghouse at the Pentagon, where he built a “one-stop shop” for industry to work with federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure that utility-scale renewable energy and transmission projects were compatible with military operations and installations. Dave developed the process and published the Federal Rule allowing local officials, industry, and military leaders to assess mission compatibility of a wide range of projects. He concluded the first-ever Memorandum of Understanding between DoD and a wind developer, protecting flight paths and radar approaches for flight trainees while simultaneously promoting large-scale economic development; since joining Cassidy, he has successfully negotiated four similar memoranda for developers, facilitating the permitting of nearly 1 gigawatt of wind power while protecting critical military capabilities. For these accomplishments across the public and private sectors, Dave was recognized as a White House Champion of Change: Veterans Advancing Clean Energy and Climate Security.

Dave is a retired Air Force colonel and F-16 pilot who earned two Bronze Stars during Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as commander for Nellis Air Force Base. He is also a five-time Jeopardy! champion.

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Christopher Cole, Rear Admiral, USN (Ret)
Senior Advisor

Using the breadth of experience gained from his career in the Navy and private sector, Rear Admiral Christopher Cole, U.S. Navy (Retired) strengthens the Cassidy and Associates’ Defense Practice in helping our clients build business with the Navy.

During his military career as an aviator, Rear Admiral Cole served in various flying and staff positions, ultimately commanding two aircraft squadrons and two amphibious ships. He graduated from the Naval War College, was a member of the Secretary of Defense Strategic Study Group, and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

As a Flag Officer, Rear Admiral Cole served as the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia; and Director, Ashore Readiness Division (N46) in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C., leading the Navy in the formation of consolidated Navy installation management and preparations for Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005.

Since his retirement from active service in January 2004 Rear Admiral Cole has been a highly successful consultant to the Defense Industry in national security, energy strategy, environmental protection, BRAC, military construction, and installation management. He also serves on boards of several non-profit organizations, including Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor Foundation, the Military Bowl, and the Professional Housing Management Association.

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John Conger
Senior Advisor

John Conger is a senior adviser to Cassidy & Associates. He previously served in the Department of Defense (DoD) as principal deputy under secretary (comptroller), a Senate-confirmed position with responsibility for all budgetary and financial matters in DoD, including the development, defense, and execution of the department’s annual budget and overseeing the department’s efforts to achieve audit readiness.

Prior to that he served as the assistant secretary of defense (energy, installations, and environment) and was acting deputy under secretary of defense (installations and environment), overseeing base realignment and closure; management of more than 500 installations, 500,000 buildings, and 28 million acres; DoD’s climate change efforts; operational and facility energy policy; and environmental compliance, conservation, and clean-up programs.

Prior to his appointment at the Pentagon, he served in several staff positions in the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds a B.S. and an M.S. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.A. in science, technology, and public policy from the George Washington University.

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Gregg Hartley
Senior Advisor

“Gregg Hartley was one of the most savvy chiefs of staff to a leadership member that I’ve known in 30 years,” stated a prominent Washington lobbyist shortly after Mr. Hartley moved to the private sector. He has been repeatedly ranked as one of the “Top Hired Guns,” a list of select professionals published by The Hill.

Gregg Hartley provides his clients with a connection to a broad number of key Republicans in both the U.S. House and Senate. Mr. Hartley was the senior staffer and advisor for eighteen years to U.S. House of Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO), the former Republican Whip, and his expertise provides clients with a competitive advantage. As Chief of Staff to the Whip, he was part of the leadership staff who worked for the then Speaker, Majority Leader, Conference Chair, and seven other leadership offices. From the Republican Whip Office, Hartley directed coalition efforts, working with outside groups in “grow the vote” activities.

Mr. Hartley’s many relationships are enhanced by his political insights and ability to develop effective legislative and public affairs strategies. From 2003 to 2014 he served as Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Cassidy and Associates, directing the efforts of thirty-five government affairs professionals and overseeing the professional services rendered to the firm’s almost 100 clients. He directed the firm’s Communications and Media Practice, and has led teams serving commerce, transportation and financial services clients, including clients such as The Walt Disney Company, AT&T, Eagle Picher, Emerson Electric/Liebert Power, American Airlines, One Laptop per Child and The Doe Run Company. He was highly involved in representing the firm’s international and foreign affairs clients including the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Equatorial Guinea, and a range of clients in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Russia.

Mr. Hartley holds a degree in Economics and Urban/Regional Planning. He studied emerging country economics under Robert S. Hardie, the economist responsible for land reform in Post-War Japan and U.S.-led efforts in the Philippines. Mr. Hartley has also studied public administration, planning and business at the graduate level.

Mr. Hartley worked in then-Governor John Ashcroft’s Administration, as Blunt’s senior political aide in the Missouri Office of the Secretary of State, and in the first term of the Reagan Administration for a quasi-public agency, the Legal Services Corporation, as Director of Field Services. He also has worked in the banking, mortgage and securities sectors for local and national institutions. Early in his career, he led programs for Legal Aid of Southwest Missouri and Southwest Missouri Office on Aging.

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The Honorable Gary J. Krump, LTC, USAR (Ret)
Senior Advisor

Judge Gary J. Krump, is a Senior Advisor at Cassidy and Associates, and is one of Washington’s leading experts in federal contracting and federal market development. Judge Krump works with clients to build or expand their federal customer base, navigate the complex world of federal contracting and mitigate problems which may arise in serving the federal customer.

Prior to joining the firm, Judge Krump served as the Chairman & Chief Judge of the Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Contract Appeals. As Chairman, Judge Krump was responsible for ensuring the fair and timely disposition of disputes involving construction, supply and service contract challenges on a wide variety of cases where VA or other federal agencies were claimants.

From 1992 until 2003, Judge Krump also served as a member of the Procurement Executives’ Council (Chief Acquisition Officers’ Council), including serving two terms as Vice-Chairman of the council, and Chair of the Executive Committee. The council is comprised of all senior procurement officials from across the entire federal arena. In 1993 President Clinton appointed Judge Krump to the President’s Committee For Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, where he served until his retirement from federal service, including serving two terms as Chairman of the group.

Prior to his appointment to the bench, Gary served in a variety of senior roles in the Department of Veterans Affairs, including serving as the VA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition and Materiel Management. As Deputy Assistant Secretary of one of the largest acquisition and materiel management programs in the federal government, he directed and set policy in support of all VA facilities, as well as other government agencies and managed the VA’s Office of Acquisition and Material Management, the VA’s National Acquisition Operations Service in Washington, DC, the National Acquisition Center at Hines, Ill., and the Denver Distribution Center.

A career member of the Senior Executive Service, Gary served in many other capacities within the Department, including Acting Assistant Secretary for Acquisitions and Facilities, Director of the Office of Real Property Management, Director of Acquisition Management Service, and as Deputy Assistant General Counsel. The judge is also a frequent speaker and writer on a variety of topics related to federal procurement policy.

Gary began his federal career in 1972 as an attorney in the U.S. Army, serving as a Judge Advocate Officer and later a senior staff attorney.

A native of North Dakota, Gary holds a B.A. from North Dakota State University, an M.B.A. from Southern Illinois University, and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School. He is also a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College, the Federal Executive Institute, Leadership VA, and the Senior Managers in Government Program at Harvard University. Gary and his wife Mary Kay have two sons.

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James H. Lofton
Senior Advisor

James works extensively with defense, aerospace, high-tech firms, colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations on a broad range of federal appropriations and legislative issues. His knowledge of the legislative and appropriations process and relationships gained from more than 28 years on Capitol Hill provides clients with innovative approaches to the achieving their government relations objectives.

James assists university and industry clients in developing partnerships that leverage their unique capabilities to obtain federal funding for research and related infrastructure in support of state and local economic development priorities. He is currently developing strategies with several of these clients to introduce and match their innovative technologies and research capabilities to changing federal budget priorities including renewable energy and homeland security. He is proactively helping clients adapt to the new federal budget challenges and potential changes in rules and guidance for the Congressional Appropriations process and is focused on helping clients develop relationships with potential agency sponsors and the key members of Congress and staff.

Earlier in his career, James served as Legislative Director for Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) where he coordinated the Senator’s legislative and appropriations agendas and served as principal advisor on defense, transportation, energy, water resources, economic development, and the federal budget. His experiences serving as Staff Director for two Senate Subcommittees and understanding of the Committee process is especially useful to several clients in obtaining language in authorization, appropriations bills and committee reports to support policy and funding goals.

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The Honorable Nick Rahall
Senior Advisor

Former Congressman Nick Rahall represented West Virginia’s Third Congressional District. He served as the Ranking Member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and also served as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee from 2007 to 2011.

First elected in 1976, he served nineteen terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and is recognized as the youngest-elected, longest-serving Member in the history of the House. As the longest serving Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he was a leader in every Federal Highway debate since coming to Congress. He worked to build and repair the nation’s highways and bridges, improve and modernize airports, and provide critical water, sewer systems and flood control projects throughout West Virginia and the Nation.

A quarter of the bills he sponsored while in Congress related to public lands and natural resources. As Chairman of the Natural Resources he worked to honor the Committee’s charge of serving the natural environment, wild lands, scenic vistas, fish and wildlife, Native Americans, and the public interest.

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Rear Admiral G. Dennis Vaughan, USNA (Ret)
Senior Advisor

The critical importance of defense and homeland security permeates almost every corner of the government today, and Rear Admiral G. Dennis Vaughan (Retired) serves as an invaluable link between the military, defense, and intelligence communities, and Cassidy and Associates clients. His military career is exemplary, and combined with his private sector corporate experience, Rear Admiral Vaughan has the resources, expertise, and business savvy to successfully engage leaders in Congress and the federal agencies on behalf of our clients.

Rear Admiral Vaughan spent his last five years of active duty in the U.S. Navy in senior level positions at the Pentagon, and prior to that, worked for many years in corporate leadership roles. His unique combination of high-level military and corporate expertise makes him exceptionally qualified to understand and assist industry leaders in developing and strengthening their relationships within the federal government in order to meet their specific legislative and regulatory goals.

As an Admiral in the Navy, Vaughan served as Program Executive Officer (PEO) for Navy’s Mine Warfare; Chief of Naval Reserve; Deputy Commander of Military Sealift Command Pacific and Far East; and, Commander of Naval Inshore Undersea Warfare Group ONE, in addition to other assignments. In all, Rear Admiral Vaughan has had 13 commands including Command at Sea and Command Ashore, and has served in critical operations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Croatia, Haiti, and Vietnam. In his private sector work, he was President and Founder of Puget Sound Boat Works; President of TRA Real Estate Division; and Program Manager of major defense and aerospace programs.

Admiral Vaughan began his naval career as an NROTC engineering student at Oregon State University, and later graduated with a degree in Marine Science from the U.S. Naval Academy, continuing his studies at Seattle University to earn his M.B.A. He also has attended Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Armed Forces Staff College, the Naval War College, and the Army War College. Rear Admiral Vaughan testified frequently before Congress while in the Navy, and has been a featured speaker and columnist on management and leadership.

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