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2019 100 List: Forces

  

Once someone has been in the building for so long, there are certain people who seem to always be the first person to be called when something doesn’t make sense or when help is needed. They not only play well with others, they’re the first kids chosen for the softball team – sometimes literally. 

 

Aubuchon

RICH AUBUCHON

By JEFF DAVIS

Integrity, tireless, strategic – those three qualities best describe Rich.  When Rich speaks, legislators and lobbyists listen.  The hardest working lobbyist in the Capitol, Rich gets things done in a shrewd and thoughtful manner.  He has spearheaded the tort reform effort while managing a dozen other complex issues for utilities, insurance companies, the Kansas City Chiefs and various other clients.  Rich is one of the most accomplished lobbyists in the Capitol and will be a force in Missouri politics for years to come.  

 

BURTON-LIESE

By TIM GREEN

Over the past 15 plus years, Burton-Liese Government Relations has grown to be an influential and effective organization in the Missouri Capitol. Burton-Liese’s partners, Chris Liese and James Foley, are experts in numerous areas and have utilized their knowledge to forge strong working relationships with legislators and staff. With expertise in finance and insurance, municipalities, political subdivisions, economic development and public education, there are few areas of legislation in which Burton-Liese is not involved. Members of Burton-Liese have over 3 decades of capitol experience, with solid reputations as honest, hardworking and trustworthy.

A main element of Burton-Liese’s effectiveness is their ability to capably reach out to both sides of the aisle. The associates of Burton-Liese come from both Republican and Democrat backgrounds, and this balance helps the firm in communicating with legislators on contentious and divisive issues. Firm associate Andrew Foley is an expert on Missouri’s budget, with both R and D legislators regularly seeking his counsel on various areas of state spending. Former state representative Tony Dugger has become a vital member of the Burton-Liese team, taking on such issues as municipal policy and utility regulation, and has become very trusted by members of both parties. Over the years, Burton-Liese has worked hard to ensure openness with both parties.

Burton-Liese represents a wide range of subject areas, and has lengthy tenures representing some the largest and most prominent professional associations in the state. Burton-Liese’s ability to expertly and compressively cover numerous legislative subjects make it a key, go-to organization in the Missouri Capitol.

 

ST. LOUIS – KANSAS CITY CARPENTERS REGIONAL COUNCIL 

By VICTOR CALLAHAN

The Carpenters have proven to be an effective and successful political force on the issues that affect the lives and well being of the working people of Missouri. Because of a strong leadership tradition, starting with the late, great Terry Nelson and continuing today with Al Bond, the Carpenters have been at the fulcrum of advocating on behalf of the men and women they represent. They also have the distinguishing quality of supporting and advocating for those who support them. Their impact on issues, either at the Capitol or at the ballot box is always constructive, practical and productive.

 

CATALYST GROUP

by RICH CHRISMER

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller is required reading at Catalyst. The book chronicles the rise of young upstart Michael Ovitz who built an empire with Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Years later, CAA remains the dominant talent and sports agency in America.  

Catalyst is one of the fastest growing influence management firms in the country. Entering the government relations scene thirteen years ago, Catalyst founder Danny Pfeifer has worked hard to build a company culture that carries the banner of youth and energy where everyone stays hungry for client success and continued growth. 

Catalyst’s brand is disruption.  Specializing in multi-state government affairs, public affairs, and corporate strategy, the firm represents clients that are producing large-scale disruptions in their industries and emerging businesses facing regulatory challenges and marketplace entry barriers. 

The driving force behind Catalyst and its Strategist in Chief is Danny Pfeifer.  His ability to engage with clients at an executive level has made him one of the most sought after government relations specialists.  Business executives want Pfeifer in the boardroom for his thoughtful, candid strategic advice.  With his years of experience in managing complex government affairs, Pfeifer is more than a lobbyist for his clients.  He’s become a strategic partner, evaluating challenges, identifying opportunities and offering solutions to help clients accomplish their goals.  Under Pfeifer’s leadership, Catalyst has become a national powerhouse in government relations.

Greg Porter 

As the son of a single mother, Greg Porter faced near homeless experiences growing up hopping from place to place, but never understanding what was happening until he was older.  These brushes with poverty inspired him to become involved in his community and not-for-profit causes to help address homelessness in the Kansas City area.  Porter recognized a breakdown in communication between government agencies and not-for-profits and worked successfully to connect these entities to better serve the homeless.

Porter has taken the same approach on behalf of his clients, helping them make lasting connections with the government officials and agencies that regulate their businesses to help policymakers better understand the impact their decisions have on jobs and the economy.

Porter is a passionate advocate for greater diversity and inclusion in government and the private sector, including his work on behalf of Native American tribes where he has helped create a more positive and collaborative working environment between tribes and regulators.  

Porter has cultivated a vast personal network of government officials, their senior staff and the thought-leaders who shape public opinion with over a decade of experience in public service, politics and government relations at the federal, state and local levels.

Alex Eaton

Alex Eaton’s love of sports is an ideal match for a firm representing the MLB, NBA and PGA, three of the largest sports franchises in the world.  His Twitter feed is a mixture of wry observations on sports and sharp analysis on public policy.  A relentless advocate for sports betting legislation, he’s also commissioner of more than one fantasy sports league. “Did you fill out a Catalyst bracket?” is a common question every March.

With over a decade of experience, Eaton specializes in providing trusted, high-level government relations advice to corporations and trade associations drawing on his extensive experience in government, politics and the private sector.  Eaton has helped dozens of clients navigate the legislative process, including businesses facing unique regulatory challenges such as sports betting.

Before joining Catalyst, Eaton advocated for multiple trade associations where he directly lobbied the legislative and executive branches of government.  He was also a key advisor to several leaders in government and politics.  He provided strategic and tactical counsel to United States Senator Jim Talent and served as Director of Policy for State Senator Mike Parson, the current Governor of Missouri.

Becky Lohmann

When her youngest sister was diagnosed with epilepsy six years ago, Becky Lohmann shifted into the top gear of big sisterhood.  She became absolutely invested in researching treatment options from the most effective doctors to experimental breakthroughs.  

The experience taught Lohmann that government is often an unnecessary barrier to helping the people it purports to help.  So she became an advocate on behalf of her sister and others like her.  It was here she learned that advocating for issues across all levels of government is where meaningful change happens.  Lohmann wanted to get more involved in the legislative process, and there was no turning back.

Since that time, Lohmann become one of the most respected government relations professionals in Jefferson City. Known for her ferocious work ethic,Lohmann takes pride in outworking the competition on behalf of her clients at Catalyst.  In an era of Republican supermajorities in the Missouri State Capitol, her personal support for free market competition and less government is aligned with many legislators who are considering policy impacting the disruptive businesses Catalyst represents.

Becky’s sister is doing great and continues to have one of the best advocates in Jefferson City on a pro bono retainer.

David Willis

Nobody knows more about the intricacies of Missouri state government than David Willis.  If it was an unassembled computer, Willis could assemble it without the directions.

Willis’ understanding of the legislative process and trusted counsel is highly valued in the Missouri State Capitol where he worked for four Speakers of the Missouri House including service as Chief of Staff for Speaker Steven Tilley and Speaker Todd Richardson.  His service is unprecedented for a leadership staff member in the Missouri House.

As chief of staff to the House Budget Chairman, Willis helped craft budget policy across diverse areas of state government earning him a razor-sharp understanding of the nuances and details of the Missouri budget process.  Working for years to help craft complex public policy, Willis has extensive experience on issues involving education, higher education, agriculture, economic development, Medicaid, disruptive technology and a variety of regulatory issues impacting businesses large and small.

 

CHARLES ANDY ARNOLD

By STEVE CARROLL

The old famous Speaker of the US House, Tip O’Neil, used to say, “All politics is local”.  He was an old school politician and knew how to play the game.  Well, Andy Arnold is an old school lobbyist for sure.  He grew up around politics and government and he knows how to play the game the right way.  I have known Andy since I first was elected to the House in the early 1980”s.  He has been around the Capitol a long time.  He has the institutional knowledge and knows the legislative process as well if not better than anyone in the building.

Andy has the unique ability to take a complex issue and break it down in his mind and understand it completely.  He is an encyclopedia of knowledge and a master of the facts on issues he works on for his clients.  The nice thing about Andy is that he doesn’t take himself too seriously in this business we are in as some of us do sometimes.  Andy plays his cards close to his vest but when he speaks and acts, he is worth listening to and watching.  His honesty, ethics and the way he treats others is refreshing and admirable.  Working with him on issues has made me a better lobbyist and it is an honor to call him my friend.  The Capitol and the legislative process of which we work is better off because Andy Arnold is a part of it.

 

CHUCK HATFIELD 

by RICHARD MCINTOSH

I have literally known Chuck Hatfield since the beginning of his career in Missouri government.  I first meet him when I came over on the transition team with Attorney General Nixon.  I cannot begin to fully describe the complete and total chaos we walked into with during that transition.  As Jay’s chief of staff, I saw him handle some of the most complex, politically complicated, public policy issues with intelligence, prudence, patience, compassion and humor.  Chuck had a barrel of oil in his office to smooth the waters and keep a complete team of Alpha’s (as if Jay would hire any other kind of individual) working together and achieve a simply incredible number of successes in a very short period of time.  All the time managing and advising Jay himself.

Chuck was responsible for helping launch the careers of a tremendous number of highly successful individuals.  You would be surprised to see the who’s who list of individuals, both past and present involved in and around Missouri government.  The depth and breathe of the complexities of the issues which Chuck handled through his tenure as the AG’s Chief of Staff more than prepared him for his leap to private practice.  I saw Chuck build his private practice from literally ground zero to become a brand in amongst himself.  There are simply certain issues you go to Chuck, period.  It should not be surprising to anyone that given his knowledge of the law, state government experience, work ethic, faith and commitment to his family that Chuck would have an out-sized influence on the course of public policy in the state of Missouri.  You can see Chuck’s fingerprints over a broad swath of public policy, which is a fitting legacy.

It has been an honor and privilege to count Chuck as a friend, not just in business, but also and in particular, the times he was there for me and my family.  I have never forgotten his loyalty.

 

JANE DUEKER 

by GOVERNOR BOB HOLDEN

I first became acquainted with Jane over two decades ago.  1992, I was elected State Treasurer of Missouri.  A friend in the legal profession informed me that Jane Dueker was an attorney in the Missouri Attorney Generals Office and recommended her as Legal Counsel for the State Treasurer’s Office.  I reached out to Jane and she agreed. 

The last two years of my term as Governor, Jane served as my Chief of Staff.  As in her role for the State Treasurer’s Office, Jane was certainly up to the task for this challenging position.  She did an excellent job.  She was tough but fair; loyal; receptive to new ideas; and she was an excellent negotiator.  Jane viewed public service as an honor.

A good example of Jane’s exemplary service to the job, I often reflect on a certain event.  There was a particular piece of legislation that some of Jane’s close friends supported but I did not.  I decided to veto it.  Jane carried the message of my veto back to her friends while she wholeheartedly supported my position.

Jane Dueker is totally committed to any cause or issue she undertakes.

 

 

HUSCH BLACKWELL SANDERS

by PHIL SCHNEIDERS

Husch Blackwell Strategies is a well-rounded firm, from top to bottom. Every member of their team brings something to the table that makes them an indispensable part of our legislative strategy. Starting with Chris Moody, who is impressively thorough and reliable. I can send him to any hearing or seminar and I know he will deliver. Angie Schulte is the glue of the firm, not only keeping them together but keeping them on time. She’s an absolutely great lady. Noel Torpey provides a vital inside look, having crossed over from the legislature. He gets along with everyone in the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. Ginger Steinmetz is the personality of HBS and a great lobbyist. She puts her social butterfly tendencies to work planning fantastic dinners and events. I wouldn’t trade Jay Reichard for anybody in the Capitol – he’s the hardest working lobbyist in the building, burning the candle at both ends. He knows where everything is as far as the workings of a bill and knows every aspect of the Capitol inside and out. Andy Blunt is the name and face of the firm with instinctual political knowledge. His connections strengthen every aspect of the firm. 

 

 

GIBBONS WORKMAN

by RALPH BROWN

It’s always so interesting how life plays out. When I was younger, I envisioned my future as many others do, without accounting for the curveballs life throws your way. If someone had told me six years ago that I would be working with Tricia Workman and Mike Gibbons on tobacco issues in the state of Missouri, I never would have believed it. Yet here I am today, working side by side with the wonderfully brilliant attorneys at GibbonsWorkman. It’s amazing how things can change. As someone who’s career and background was non-political, I can attest to the fact that working with the right team through important political processes is critical. There is not a more fitting team for that task than Tricia and Mike. They have helped me manage, and dare I even say excel, through the legislative arena all while becoming very dear friends and members of the Cheyenne family in the process. 

Working exclusively with the legislative and executive branches, Tricia and Mike are two of the most genuine and respected lobbyists in the state of Missouri. They consistently bring insight and wisdom to any issues that arise. Their innate ability to dissect a problem into fundamental parts makes that problem easier to understand and easier to manage. It’s a talent that many possess but not one that many have perfected.

Tricia and Mike “know their stuff” in the political arena and aside from having great respect for that, I also truly admire the way they’ve chosen to carry out their personal lives, always thinking of others along the way. It would be easy to become selfish or biased, working in the arena that Tricia and Mike work in, but they’re not. Instead, they’re consistently making sure that everyone they engage with is treated fairly and equally which speaks volumes about their character. Living their lives for the good of others, Tricia and Mike are gifted, talented and passionate about their work. I’m fortunate that our paths crossed six years ago and that I have the opportunity to call them my friends in Jefferson City.

 

Gate Way Group 

by RACHAEL DUNN

Gate Way Group is truly an interesting and dynamic force in the Capitol, beginning with their clients and ending with their professionalism. DeAnna Hemphill was one of the first lobbyists I met when I came to the building and she has set the bar. At the same time, Tom Dempsey was Senate Pro Tem and when I joined this paper, he made me realize what a true open door policy is for those in leadership. Dave Berry always exceeds expectations on Gate Way Group’s always-evolving portfolio of issues. Tracy King joined the team, bringing over a wealth of business knowledge. Travis Brown might be Missouri politics’ most interesting man. He’s written a book on state tax policy – and it is actually interesting. He advocates on behalf of many developing industries and several Missouri staples, so casinos must hate him. He knows exactly where the line is at all times and he knows what cards are in everyone’s hand. 

 

THE GOVERNOR’S TEAM

by GOV. MIKE PARSON

In my opinion this is the most talented group of people we have in the state and I am incredibly proud not only of their character, but the dedication they have to making Missouri better. When I took office we made a pledge that we would do things differently, be willing to take on tough issues, and propose bold ideas that benefit Missouri both now and in future generations – that commitment is something ‘Team 57’ takes very seriously every single day and why they will always be special to me.

by AARON WILLARD

Most administrations are built right after a campaign, so the tendency is to utilize people that helped you through that battle. The inherently unique thing about ‘Team 57’ is that these are people that all stepped away from what they were doing and raised their hand to help the State of Missouri at a pivotal time. That type of commitment to our state is what stays at the forefront of everything we do and a big reason why I believe we will be able to generate a tremendous number of opportunities for Missouri.

 

GREGG KELLER

by DANNY PFEIFER

Most people know Gregg (yes, 3 G’s) from his clever, provocative, but always astute and relevant Twitter (@RGreggKeller).  Or his hair.  But I knew him before Twitter and before almost anyone in politics (the only thing that hasn’t changed is his hair).  We were 23, recent college grads, had fantastic first jobs in finance, and for whatever reason had decided to leave to work on a U.S. Senate campaign for Jim Talent.

One thing that’s really amazed me over the years about Gregg professionally is his versatility. People know Gregg’s conservative credentials and tireless work in building effective coalitions for some of the world’s leading companies and top national associations.  But what they forget or never knew is the guy has done just about everything in politics, and at the highest level.  He’s great on strategy, comms, grasstops, coalitions and more.  The guy just does a bunch of things really, really well.

When you’re in D.C. with Gregg (as I have been a bunch of times) two things are obvious: first, the guy knows seemingly everyone there and, second, they all know about his Missouri connectivity and that he’s managed to keep one foot firmly planted here.  Back home in Missouri everyone seems to know Gregg or know of him, too (thanks, Twitter), and they know how effective he is in D.C. Making him a go-to guy to get things done in DC and back home. 

It’s true, time flies.  We’ve come a long way from standing in the back of a sale barn in Saline County in 2002, listening to campaign speeches and wondering if we had could get our old jobs back if things went bad in November.

 

 

JOHN BARDGETT AND ASSOCIATES

by BILL DEWITT

If you don’t know John, you haven’t spent time in Jefferson City.

In the fast-paced, evolving arena of Missouri state politics, John Bardgett and his team at John Bardgett & Associates remain the essential government affairs consultants for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’ve known John for more than two decades. He and his team continue to support our 11-time World Champion Cardinals with legislative information and influence, helping us maintain and grow a successful sports franchise which draws more than 3.4 million fans through the turnstiles annually. 

He’s a big personality who is plugged into the political scene. It doesn’t matter which side of the isle you’re on, his success as a bipartisan influencer derives from the ability to make connections through shared, common interests. He’s a thorough, attentive advocate for his clients who doesn’t cut corners. His friendliness and genuine passion for the legislative process makes him the “must know” player in Jefferson City. His firm’s decades of experience in Jefferson City and keen sense of our business model ensure legislative issues impacting our club are top of mind. Though our statewide elected officials and other power brokers can change with each election cycle, John and his team remain consistent, steadfast partners of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bill DeWitt III is the President of the St. Louis Cardinals.

 

LATHROP GAGE CONSULTING

by JEAN MANEKE

With a diverse mix of experience, expertise, and personal backgrounds, the partners at Lathrop Gage Consulting have all of the tools necessary to navigate the complex field of government consulting.  Their continued success can be easily measured by their length of service with clients, some lasting for over forty years.   

Harry Gallagher, Heath Clarkston, Doug Nelson, and Kurt Schaefer all have varying professional backgrounds and relationships that are leveraged daily to move their clients’ interests forward.  The relationship with Lathrop Gage, one of the leading law firms in Missouri, lends expertise to understand any issue that is brought to them.  Their firm is not partisan in nature and this allows them to fully represent clients and not be subject to the ever-changing winds of leadership and administrations.  

In addition, Lathrop Gage Consulting continues to excel as a consistent voice in promoting professional ethics.  The Lathrop Gage Consulting team easily fits on the 100 list for the Missouri Times, and in fact, is at the top of my list. 

 

Missouri Association of Counties (MAC)

by Wendy Nordwald, Warren County Assessor

One of most powerful voices in politics within the State of Missouri is The Missouri Association of Counties (MAC).  For over 30 years, the man at the helm is Director Dick Burke, who has provided a steady foundation and leadership for the Association.  Burke. has established networks of diverse county elected officials from Sheriffs, County Commissioners, County Clerks, Assessors and Collectors.  He has commanded a large army of elected officials, which over the decades led a vast collection of legislative efforts.  His unprecedented legislative accomplishments are the staple of county government today.  Communications Director, David Owen, spearheads the legislative efforts on many diverse fronts facing counties throughout the State.  Deputy Director, Bev Cunningham plays a vital role by assisting with the day to day operations and a multitude of issues across the state daily.

The Missouri Association of Counties is very fortunate to have the savvy and talented, Trent Watson, inside the Capital on a daily basis addressing County Government issues. Trent’s background and knowledge on a wide variety of issues facing county governments renders him the ideal fit.   With the ever-changing dynamics of term-limits and Trent’s ability to impact public policy due to his vast knowledge of the legislative process and ability to convey even the most difficult issues in an effective manner, makes Watson a gentleman within the Missouri lobby core and a real asset for MAC. 

MAC’s members are all county elected officials from every corner of the State and each one contributes their own expertise and talents to advocate as a collective voice in the state on public policy.  These members are hard-working exemplary public servants who work to enhance best practices and advocate for cost-effective solutions to government issues.  Other state associations will be hard-pressed to match the grassroots network of these individuals.  Some current members include former legislators; Steve Hobbs (current MAC 3rdVP), Tom Flanigan (State Senator), and Dave Hinson (State Representative).  In addition, MAC has bridged the gap to the state legislature for prior members such as:  Senator Lincoln Hough and Representatives Dean Dohrman, Peggy McGuagh and Rodger Reedy.  Rep McGuagh and Rep Reedy, both were at one time MAC’s President.  Roots run deep in the MAC, how deep do you ask?  The highest office in the State and Governor Mike Parson was a member of MAC.  Which is why all members of MAC are proud to call Governor Mike Parson as one of our own!

 

SHARON JONES & THE MISSOURI ASSOCIATION OF TRIAL ATTORNEYS

by MIKE GROTE

Jones is one of the most intelligent and hard working lobbyists in the Capitol.  Jones entered the political sphere while working on campaigns and transitioned into the Capitol as a lobbyist with Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys (MATA).  While many find it hard to balance the multiple issues in the capitol, Jones decided it wasn’t challenging enough and graduated law school while still working to protect the interests of her client’s full time.  Jones is the wisdom and architect behind numerous policy developments.  She is artful in her legislative drafting.  Jones is always quick with an immensely witty comment even in the most dire of circumstances.  While many have knowledge of the Capitol and their issues, Jones has a deep understanding and comprehension that makes her an incredible asset to her clients and a nemesis to her opponents. 

 

MISSOURI ASSOCIATION OF CAREER FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS

by RYAN MCKENNA

I was a House member and Senator for most of my adult life and I remain so thankful for the support from the firefighters.   The work, effort, and class they have shown over the years representing first responders is unparalleled in Jefferson City. 

The firefighters have maintained a solid reputation with legislators of both parties. I am honored to be able to call our firefighters my brothers and sisters. Thank you to Gary Donovan and Dave Tilley for their hard work on behalf of the membership. 

 

MISSOURI AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION

by DUSTY SCHNEIDERS

Growing up watching my dad at the Capitol had always fascinated me and sparked my interest in politics.  He has always been a great role model and someone I look up to when needing advice.  Most people around the building would say the same thing about him. He is a very likeable, honest, and a respected lobbyist. He is one of the most professional people at the capitol and has helped build Missouri Automobile Dealers Association (MADA) into one of the most influential associations.  It’s easy to say he has built a reputation of getting things done and he always has the best interest of his dealers in mind.

 

MISSOURI SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION

By TOM RAFFETY

A soybean might not be the first thing that comes to mind as a mover and shaker in the Capitol – but if you’re not thinking of the Missouri Soybean team, it’s time to open your eyes.

The Missouri Soybean Association has proven itself as an organization making great moves – including clearing the final $4 million of a decade-old debt in the Missouri Qualified Biodiesel Producer Incentive Fund in 2018. They were instrumental in establishing the Fertilizer Control Board and giving teeth to the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s pesticide program, too. They’re consistently part of the solution for managing Missouri’s land and water resources, working alongside state agencies and conservation groups. The team has also driven smart legislation protecting disaster and emergency loss programs, and ensuring farmers aren’t subject to unreasonable tax increases on ag land.

On top of all that, they’re accessible and intentional – making good on commitments to transparency and communication, and staying focused on their mission. They support their supporters and aren’t hamstrung by affiliations, whether from political parties or preferred tractor color.

Their secret to getting it all done may be that they aren’t familiar with the word ‘impossible’ – and aren’t burning time worrying about who gets the credit for good policy. Smart money says their leadership, including CEO Gary Wheeler, has his eyes toward the future. He’s one we know has the vision to tackle those big challenges.

MISSOURI RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION & JIM KREIDER

by TIM GREEN

Jim Kreider has been a lifelong supporter of public education and educators. His experience serving as the Missouri Speaker of the House and as a State Representative for 10 years serves him well as Executive Director of Missouri Retired Teachers Association and Public School Personnel. Since 2003, he has grown the association from just 8,000 members to over 28,000 and 148 Local MRTA Units throughout the state. Under his leadership, the organization has become independent, nonpartisan and has chosen to not endorse candidates.

His knowledge of campaigns and philosophy has assisted him to be inspiring and motivational with his grassroots organization which in turn has made them very effective with the legislature. Jim has educated and organized MRTA’s members well – when he calls them to action they respond in droves! Once called the “silver tsunami” by legislators MRTA members are known for their huge rallies at the Missouri State Capitol every February, for filling hearing rooms on a moment’s notice and inundating legislator email inboxes.

When defending your pension system against billionaires and political agendas you have to have “Strength in Numbers” you can often hear Jim saying those words to his members. “We do not have the money to fight the millions of dollars spent on lobbying and legislation but we have 28,000 retirees who are educated, who care, who vote, and who will SHOW UP!” MRTA has been effective because of Jim’s philosophy of: “The world is run by those who show up.” MRTA members believe in Jim’s sincere dedication to them as retirees and to public education. Members recognize his unwavering and vast knowledge of the legislative process and support his strategies of dealing with legislation. Jim’s strategy is to deal with legislation, positive or detrimental, early in the process, at the committee level.

 

NEXUS GROUP 

by SCOTT CARTER, PRESIDENT OF SPIRE

When I first met Rodney Boyd, co-founder of Nexus Group, I started to see things that, just five minutes before, I hadn’t considered. When we work with Rodney, we discuss different perspectives, possibilities, and potential outcomes of legislative opportunities. He helps our regulatory team see the challenges ahead, understand who the key stakeholders would be and, perhaps most importantly, assess the long-term impact of our efforts.

As president of Spire Missouri, that insight is invaluable to me and our business. Part of Spire’s mission is to advance the communities where we live and work, and to do that, we work closely with Missouri’s state leaders to positively impact the lives of our employees and customers. Rodney helps us accomplish that objective.

Adding to Rodney’s own well-rounded perspective are the three other people who make up the Nexus Group: Brain Grace, Kate Casas and Kelvin Simmons. They also bring their expertise to the table, blending their knowledge of the political environment with the needs of their clients to achieve success.

In my experience, our mission becomes their mission, and Nexus Group works tirelessly to help us achieve it. For Spire, that means we can bring the full strength of our energy to the customers and communities we serve. 

 

LOWELL PEARSON

By ANDY BLUNT

When I first met Lowell Pearson he was an attorney in the administration of Missouri’s new Secretary of State, the up and coming Matt Blunt. Over the years, Lowell’s steady approach and friendly demeanor made him both a trusted advisor and personal friend to his peers and superiors in the Blunt Administration. Lowell steadily rose through the ranks and eventually became General Counsel in the Office of the Governor.

Since leaving state government and joining Husch Blackwell, Lowell quickly became the “go to” attorney in Jefferson City. On all the major issues of the day, Lowell is the attorney who can be relied on to honestly explain the intricacies of legislation to policymakers. Lowell is a master of Missouri’s initiative and referendum process, from writing the ballot language to post-passage litigation, he flawlessly gets the job done. However, it is in the courtroom where Lowell’s greatest capabilities are on full display.

Long before I was affiliated with Husch Blackwell, there was never a doubt in my mind where to send a client who needed a lawyer. Lowell is always effective in achieving his client’s objectives and capable of explaining the landscape so that the client feels like they understand and are a part of the legal strategy.

Most of us in Jefferson City are working the hallway or the phones to advocate for our clients. What makes Lowell Pearson a “must know” in Jefferson City is that for him it is just the opposite. From Governors to county officials, Lowell’s phone is always ringing and the people calling are the ones responsible for solving some of Missouri’s most pressing challenges.

 

STRATEGIC CAPITOL CONSULTING

by JACK OLIVER

If you want something done in Missouri, all roads lead to Steve Tilley; and now his partner Tom Robbins. Tilley and Robbins have made Strategic Capitol Consulting the foremost choice for lobbying, public affairs and business development in the state. 

Steve Tilley is a Perryville native and former Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives. His institutional knowledge of the legislature and understanding of each region in the state allows him to outflank his competition and connect with the rural vote.  SCC also has the home court advantage.  Tom Robbins is an attorney and Jefferson City native.  His connections and understanding of what makes Missouri’s capital city tick and the law gives him the advantage.  Tilley-Robbins partnership has made this lobbying firm a powerhouse in Missouri politics. 

Notable successes include securing funding for nurses attending to special needs children, workforce development programs for non-profits such as Mission: St. Louis, protecting Missouri’s franchise law and free market values for local dealers like Tesla, Inc. and Senate Bill 919 (2016) which allows brewers and liquor producers to place advertisements on retail refrigerators. To contact Steve Tilley or Tom Robbins, go to www.strategiclobby.com. 

 

SPIRE 

by RODNEY BOYD

As the country’s fifth-largest publicly traded natural gas company in the country, Spire continuously makes a positive impact on Missouri. From delivering safe, reliable natural gas to generously supporting programs that advance Missouri’s communities, Spire’s commitment to our state is noteworthy.

Under the leadership of Spire’s president in Missouri, Scott Carter, the company has helped reshape the natural gas distribution landscape in Missouri. With the acquisition of Missouri Gas Energy in 2013, they now serve 1.1 million homes and businesses across our state. 

Spire’s continuous commitment to providing those homes and businesses with affordable natural gas, in addition to their dedication to advancing the state of Missouri, makes Spire one of our top 100.

 

SCOTT SWAIN 

by CASEY WASSER

The first visit I had to The Swain Group was for an interview with one of his clients—the Missouri Soybean Association.  What I came to learn about Scott was that he wasn’t just a contracted lobbyist for the Soybean Association, but instead, he was a strong, passionate advocate for our interests and a loyal member of our team and our mission. Scott truly cares about his clients and works extremely hard to continue to learn about their needs and make sure they get the best service possible. Scott relies on several decades of experience and relationships that make him a go-to lobbyist in tough situations and on controversial issues. 

 

PAT THOMAS 

by BRIAN MUNZLINGER

Pat Thomas is a definite asset in Missouri politics.  Aside from being a political wonk having served on county committees and the state party committee, she and her husband, Doug, have also been very involved in races, such as mine.  She is very astute to the issues at play in local politics all the way to national politics.  Pat understands what it will take to be effective.

One amazing trait about Pat is the amount of contacts and information she has saved over the years.  If I needed to know who to get in contact with to help with an issue or what happened even ten years ago, she always had a way to get answers.

Pat Thomas has always been extremely helpful to myself and other colleagues in the Senate and even House members, no matter what side of the aisle.  Pat is probably one of the most organized people in the Capitol, and she shares that experience with others.  I would venture to say that she likes to see things operate efficiently.  Truly, Pat Thomas is a person to know!   

 

 

TRISH VINCENT

by GOVERNOR MATT BLUNT

Everybody in Missouri government and politics knows Trish Vincent.  She is the highly sought-after administrator you want on your team.  On paper, Trish has more than 16 years of high-level management experience in state and federal government.  Those of us who have hired Trish will tell you no curriculum vitae can fully communicate the steady and calm leadership she brings to the job.

In addition to competent leadership, Trish always focuses on solutions no matter how difficult the challenge.  In the highest levels of state government where one must make thoughtful, often swift decisions, she is always willing to execute orders, but never hesitant to suggest alternatives and ensure that the best decision is made.

When she was my Director of Revenue and later my Chief of Staff in the governor’s office, I could always count on Trish to ensure I had all of the information I needed to make the best decision.  Trish Vincent is honest, loyal and relentlessly committed to Missouri.  Missourians are blessed to have her as a public servant and I am fortunate to count her among my friends.

In a short time, Scott has taught me a lot about our profession. I am not only a better lobbyist because of him, I am also a better advocate for our members. Anyone who knows Scott knows he is a great guy, a hard worker, and perhaps most importantly a grill master. If you haven’t had a steak grilled at The Swain Group, you’re missing out! There is no doubt that he is very deserving of this recognition.

 

Every odd year, the Missouri Times releases the 100 people who are most influential, the most effective, and the most relied on in the building. Narrowing it down to 100 is always painful, but this year, we asked 100 people – from current and past governors, company presidents, clients, friends, past and present (and future) legislators, and more – to write about those nominated and chosen for the 100 List.

For 2019, here are the 100 people you must know in the Capitol. This is one of five groups of this year’s list.

The list does not include those currently elected.

 

READ THE FULL EDITION ONLINE, or pick up at the Capitol’s Chez Monet, J. Pfenny’s, Tolson’s, or the Missouri Times offices on Madison St.