Archive for “August, 2016”

High-Stakes, Bi-Partisan Public Strategy Firm Welcomes Ryan Brack, Advisor to NYC’s Inaugural Chief Technology Officer

New York, NY – Seasoned digital communications professional Ryan Brack will join Mercury as Senior Vice President, Mercury Partner and former Communications Director for Governor Pataki Michael McKeon announced today. Brack worked at Google in Silicon Valley and served in key technology positions in the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations, most recently as the Director of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Mayor’s Office of Tech and Innovation and a senior advisor to New York City’s first Chief Technology Officer, Minerva Tantoco.
“Ryan Brack will bring an exciting new dimension of expertise to Mercury, and demonstrates the commitment we have to expanding our technology and innovation practice,” said McKeon, “His deep knowledge of emerging trends and unique experience in politics, global and digital communications and government technology are a significant asset for our public affairs operations.”

“Mercury is a world-class public affairs firm and I am thrilled to join such an elite team of strategists,” said Brack. “We are a living in a world that is undergoing unprecedented disruption, which means opportunity and a better customer experience for those who are prepared. Traditional industries are transforming into hyphen-tech industries, today’s well-funded startup has the ability to be tomorrow’s market leader, the competition for quality tech talent is ruthless, and governments are grappling with how to regulate, innovate, and go digital — meanwhile, millennial consumers are accelerating these trends. With 18 offices around the world and over 100 in-house experts across various disciplines, it is clear that Mercury is the 21st century firm for clients who are ready to act on these 21st century opportunities.”

“Ryan Brack is a prime example of why the New York technology and innovation community is not only growing exponentially but is leading the country in developing civic innovations that serve the public good,” said Andrew Rasiej, the Founder of Civic Hall and Chairman of New York Tech Meetup. “By adding Ryan to their roster of talent, Mercury is bringing on an experienced civic innovator who substantially increases the firm’s vision, capacity, and impact.”

“Mercury and their clients just landed a significant win by hiring Ryan!” said Jeff Namnum, Co- Founder of leading Android development and design firm, touchlab. “We’re fortunate to build the products of the future, for example as the Android development and design experts for New York City’s ambitious LinkNYC Wi-Fi hotspot initiative and the firm behind the soon-to-be launched mHealth platform, ResearchStack 1.0. Ryan impresses us as one of a rare breed of people who truly understands the importance of harnessing these and other rapidly changing technologies.”
“During his time in the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, I came to know Ryan as someone with his finger on the pulse of where the City’s tech sector is headed next,” said Margaret Honey, President and CEO of the New York Hall of Science. “He will no doubt be a great benefit to any of his clients who are looking to broaden their participation and visibility in NYC’s tech ecosystem.”

“Mercury couldn’t have made a better decision by hiring Ryan Brack to enhance their public affairs footprint for tech and innovation — especially here in the Northeast region,” said New Jersey Tech Meetup Founder, Propeller Festival Founder, and longtime tech community advocate, Aaron Price. “He understands the opportunities waiting to be unlocked along the East Coast and his skillset is uniquely positioned to help clients who want to harness the energy and excitement of rapidly growing tech communities from Trenton to Philadelphia, and Boston to the Bronx. Players from the entire region’s tech sector should jump at the chance to engage someone like Ryan who understands tech from multiple angles.”

“Ryan Brack brings an expertise, energy, and effectiveness that is hard to match; he’s been a tremendous connector and advocate for our organization in New York City and beyond. We hope companies take advantage of Ryan’s passion for diversity in the tech sector as they look to bring on talent from all walks of life,” said Andrew Lowenthal, Executive Director of Out in Tech.

At the Mayor’s office, Brack was responsible for public and community affairs, communications and public relations, branding and marketing, and crisis communications. He was also tasked with seeking out and bringing on private and public sector partner organizations, with a special focus on diversity in tech.
Prior to joining the senior technology team within Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, Brack managed global communications and public affairs at Google’s San Francisco headquarters for their photos, news, social, and developer relations teams. Brack also served through two terms of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, initially as the Chief of Staff for Public Affairs, responsible for helping pass Mayoral control of public schools, then as the first-ever Director of Online Communications and founding member of the Mayor’s Social Media Advisory and Research Taskforce.
Brack is a veteran of the notably tech-centric candidacies of Howard Dean for President, Ned Lamont for U.S. Senate, and served as Executive Director of the Pledge for Al Gore Political Action Committee designed to draft Al Gore for President in 2008. He is a resident Long Island City, of one of NYC’s fastest-growing tech communities.

Ryan Brack can be contacted at [email protected] and (212) 681-1380.

About Mercury

Mercury is a high-stakes, bipartisan public strategy firm. The firm provides a comprehensive suite of services that includes federal government relations, international affairs, digital influence, public opinion research, media strategy and a bipartisan grassroots mobilization network in all 50 states. Our firm is not just led by top talent — we distinguish ourselves by having senior talent deeply engaged in each project from start to finish, a promise we keep to clients. The firm has an established global presence, with U.S. offices in Washington, DC, New York, California New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina, and international offices in London and Mexico City.

Mercury is a part of Omnicom Group Inc. Omnicom is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.

Building Toward 2017, Fulop Taps Veteran Political Operative Soliman

Preparing for a 2017 guv run, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop announced today that longtime statewide political operative Michael Soliman has formally signed on with the Fulop Team as a senior advisor, running political coordination and outreach for Mayor Steven Fulop.

Soliman, partner at global public affairs firm Mercury, has spent the last 17 years building a statewide political network. He served for seven years as the state director and chief of staff to U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, and managed Menendez’s successful 2012 reelection campaign.

“Michael has tremendous experience working closely with elected officials at all levels of government and community stakeholders,” said Fulop. “His knowledge will be invaluable as we continue to run a robust political operation.”

“Mayor Fulop’s strong vision for the future is needed at this critical juncture,” said Soliman. “Since day one of his administration, Mayor Fulop has taken an aggressive and innovative approach to revitalize Jersey City, leading the state in important areas such as job creation, economic development and affordable housing, all without raising taxes. I’m excited to join Mayor Fulop.”

Here is the original post: Building Toward 2017, Fulop Taps Veteran Political Operative Soliman

Kasich confidant takes next job mixing public policy and private business

A longtime John Kasich confidant and driving force behind JobsOhio has taken a managing director position with one of the world’s largest public strategy firms.
Jay Chabria stepped down as senior advisor to Gov. Kasich in February. Chabria handled personnel issues and was integral in the governor’s role in shaping leadership across Ohio by appointing university trustees, state school board members and other governing board members.

Public strategy firm Mercury, a subsidiary of Omnicom Group, announced Friday that Chabria will come on board. The company, boasting 300 clients, supports a wide range of public and private firms, from nonprofits foundations and think tanks — like the free-market minded Manhattan Institute and the social-justice, grant-making Ford Foundation — to emerging tech firms like UBER and AirBNB or the mainstays of Silicon Valley like Ebay and Microsoft.

“There is no doubt that Jai’s public and private sector experience will be a tremendous asset for our clients and help us hit the ground running as we build our business in Ohio,” said Mike DuHaime, one of the many partners at Mercury.
Chabria, a resident of the Columbus suburb of Powell, will remain close to the state capitol.

Chabria followed Kasich for two decades bouncing between public office and private practice, whether in banking or consultancy.

After working Kasich’s campaigns for U.S. Congress, Chabria joined his boss in Columbus as the two comprised an Ohio office for Lehman Brothers, a banking giant that collapsed in 2008 signalling the beginning of a national economic crash.
Chabria later found and hired Kasich’s cabinet as governor. Earlier in the governorship, Chabria guided the formation of JobsOhio, a privatized economic development arm that has been exempted from public disclosure. Chabria also was a go-between for the administration and the legislature during critical moments, including crisis situations, public controversies and the perennial clashes of crafting a state budget.

Chabria left the governor’s office in February, as Kasich mounted a distant second place finish in New Hampshire, his best showing until his single win in Ohio in March. Since then, Chabria has worked for Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges, a close Kasich ally, in planning the national convention in Cleveland this year.
“I’m excited about joining such a well-respected firm and helping Mercury expand its presence here in Ohio,” Chabria said in a company release.  “Having been fortunate to have worked at the highest level of state government, I’m looking forward to using my business background and crisis management experience to help clients achieve success.”

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 Follow on Twitter: @ABJDoug.

Climate politics heat up Ohio’s role as an electoral battleground

With Ohio shaping up to once again be a battleground state for this year’s presidential election, contrasts on energy and climate policy could affect whether Democrats or Republicans win the state’s 18 votes in the Electoral College.

And while Republican nominee Donald Trump’s promises to revive the state’s coal industry may resonate with some voters, the party’s continued denial of climate science appears to be a growing political liability.

“Most people believe that climate change is happening,” Mercury political strategist Jai Chabria said at a panel in Cleveland last month, hosted during the Republican National Convention by Politico and sponsored byVote4Energy, a project of the American Petroleum Institute. Chabria previously served as an advisor to Ohio Gov. John Kasich and helped launch his bid for the Republican nomination.

Not only does a nationwide majority accept that climate change is happening, but so do 70 percent of Ohioans, according to a 2013 report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Moreover, survey results released by NextGen Climate earlier this year show that 83 percent of Ohioans favor a goal of 50 percent clean energy by 2030.

“The millennial generation firmly believes that there is climate change,” Chabria said. “We have to accept those realities in the party.”

However, a recent Gallup poll found that the economy is a high priority among nearly all voters of both parties, while climate change remains low, especially for Republicans.

‘Behind the eight ball?’

The Republican platform adopted in Cleveland last month advocates an “all-of-the-above” strategy that strongly favors development of coal and fossil fuels. At the same time, the party rejects the principles of the Paris Agreement and the earlier Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

The party also characterizes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as “a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy.”

In scientific papers that take a position on whether human activities are causing climate change, however, 97 percent agree that is indeed what is happening, according to a report in Environmental Research Letters.

Perhaps more importantly, 56 percent of registered voters believe human activities are the main cause of global warming, according to a recent Yale/George Mason University survey. Another 4 percent in that survey believe that natural changes and human activities both play a role.

“I think it gets us behind the eight ball when we don’t actually have that real conversation” about climate change, Chabria observed.

As for Republican nominee Donald Trump having called climate change a hoax, Chabria said, “I think that’s a problem.”

At the state level, Chabria acknowledged Kasich’s strong support for the state’s coal and natural gas industries. Nonetheless, Chabria said, Kasich has “also tried to make sure that renewables are a part of this conversation too.”

“There’s been a move in the legislature to strip away the standards” for renewable energy and energy efficiency, he continued. But, he said, Kasich’s position is that “there should be standards.”

At the same time, Chabria and other Republicans on the panel supported continued development of fossil fuels, including both coal and petroleum.

“The goal of the Trump administration would be first of all to stop the bleeding” in the U.S. coal industry, said Kevin Cramer, a congressional representative from North Dakota who advises Donald Trump on energy issues.

Even Jay Faison at the ClearPath Foundation, which calls for reducing carbon emissions, said “coal is going to be part of the situation.”

“I don’t think calling coal ‘clean’ without explaining is a great political move,” Faison noted. Yet he thinks clean coal could be possible. “We think innovation is the way out of the box and we think America is going to lead that innovation.”

Courting coal communities

In contrast, the Democratic Party platform adopted last week calls climate change an urgent threat and sets a goal of producing half of the country’s electricity from clean energy sources within the next decade.

“Democrats believe that climate change poses a real and urgent threat to our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures, and that Americans deserve the jobs and security that come from becoming the clean energy superpower of the 21st century,” said the platform.

At the same time, the platform pledges support for “the coal communities who kept America’s lights on for generations” and promises new investments for energy-producing communities.

However, it’s not clear how that general promise will play in areas that historically have depended on the coal or petroleum industries.

“Coal is critical in the state of Ohio,” stressed Chabria. “In southeast Ohio, when we’re just talking politically, it’s a real hot-button issue down there. And there’s a real belief that the Clinton administration is going to kill coal.”

That’s a big issue in Monroe County where the unemployment rate in June was above 10 percent. Six other counties in southern and eastern Ohio had unemployment rates above 7.2 percent that month. The statewide average for June was 5.1 percent.

Ohio-based Murray Energy is also wary, and its CEO has thrown his support behind Donald Trump, reported company spokesperson Gary Broadbent in an email statement.

“Mr. Murray fully supports Mr. Trump for President over Hillary Clinton, who has said that, if elected President, she is ‘gonna put a lot of coal miners and coal companies outta business,’” Broadbent said. “Mr. Murray believes that Mr. Trump is totally committed to the survival of the United States coal industry and to the jobs, livelihoods, and families in it.”

Some Democrats are trying to dispel the view of Republicans as the savior of the coal industry. For example, one press release by Ted Strickland’s campaign to unseat Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) cited instances in which it claimed the incumbent had voted against the interests of coal workers in Appalachia.

Meanwhile some conservative Republicans stress the economic benefitsof clean energy, including Nan Hayworth, a former Republican member of Congress from New York state and director of ConservAmerica.

Moreover, denying climate change is not the way to save the coal industry, according to Alex Bozmoski of republicEn, who spoke at another panel in Cleveland last month, which was hosted by Bloomberg Government and Defend Our Future.

“If we want to save… coal miners as opposed to… solar industry workers, we’ve got to figure out a way they can compete in the market and not try to figure out a way for the government  to subsidize the industry because it’s an identity politics play — because somehow we identify with coal as an American energy source when we have way more people that are building our turbines and our solar panels,” Bozmoski said. As of 2014, about 75,000 people were employed at U.S. coal mines, according to the Energy Information Administration. Data from the Solar Foundation show that the U.S. solar industry supported more than 208,000 jobs, of which 188,000 were totally focused on solar activities.

In any case, the Republican Party’s position on climate change could be problematic at the ballot box, said Faison. Although climate change isn’t a top priority for most voters, he said, it ranks high among swing voters.

“Clean energy is the Number One peel-away issue,” he said, meaning that it ranks above immigration, the economy or other issues as a subject that could turn voters away from how they might otherwise cast their ballot. “They really don’t trust our party.”

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign has cast voting for Clinton as a vote tosave the planet.

In Chabria’s view, the Republican Party has “to come up with solutions” on climate change. “We can’t be the party where nothing gets done,” he said.

Ex-Kasich adviser takes strategy job, keeps convention role

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A long-time senior adviser to Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) has landed a job in the private sector.

Jai Chabria’s (jay cheh-BREE’-uh’s) new position at the bipartisan public strategy firm Mercury will dovetail with its opening of a new Ohio office.

A spokeswoman for the Ohio Republican Party says Chabria will continue in his role as a planning adviser to this summer’s Republican National Convention while holding the new job. Republicans pick their presidential nominee in Cleveland during the July 18-21 event.

Chabria’s departure from the governor’s office was announced in February, as Kasich was still campaigning for president.

Chabria has spent the past two decades working with Kasich on campaigns, at Lehman Brothers, and inside his administration.

Kasich adviser Jai Chabria to open Ohio office for global public affairs firm Mercury LLC

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Republican operative Jai Chabria, a key adviser to Gov. John Kasich, will open an office here for the public affairs firm Mercury LLC.

Among Mercury’s partners is Mike DuHaime, a top strategist for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who like Kasich ran unsuccessfully for this year’s GOP presidential nomination.

Chabria, whose friendliness with DuHaime helped pave the way for the opportunity, will begin June 1 as a managing director. The firm is known for its lobbying, but Chabria said he intends to leave such work to others. Mercury also specializes in public relations and political consulting.

The office will be Mercury’s first in Ohio and one of 19 in the U.S. or Mexico.

“I’m really excited about this,” Chabria said Thursday. “I’m looking forward to building it out.”

DuHaime said Mercury had been interested in moving into Ohio for a while.

“Ohio, obviously, is an incredibly important state,” he said. “Jai is the top in his field. He understands business, understands government. He’s the senior person for the governor of one of the most important states in the country.”

Chabria, 38, served as a senior adviser in the Kasich administration before leaving in February to pursue other projects. Since then he has been leading the Ohio Republican Party’s planning efforts for this summer’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Chabria said he will continue in that role. He also remains close with Team Kasich.

He has been with the governor for 20 years, having started with the then-congressman as a political assistant in 1996. He worked on Kasich’s brief and unsuccessful presidential bid during the 2000 election cycle. He was the second man in the two-man office in Columbus that Kasich often talks about when he downplays his time working for Lehman Brothers. And he helped build the early framework of Kasich’s 2016 White House campaign, which ended earlier this month.

“If John Kasich were a building, Jai Chabria would be a cornerstone of that building,” John Weaver, Kasich’s chief strategist, said Thursday. “He’s excelled at everything he’s done. It’s a smart move by Mercury to grab such a talented, plugged-in guy.”

Ashley Walker Named Partner at Mercury
Walker is the First Female Partner of the Global Public Strategy Firm

August 2, 2016 //Fort Lauderdale, FL — Mercury, a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm, announced today that Ashley Walker has been named as a partner. Walker, who has led the public affairs operation for Mercury in Florida since joining the firm in 2013, is the first woman to be named partner of the global consultancy.

“Over the last three years, Ashley has grown Mercury Florida into a thriving business,” said Mercury CEO Kieran Mahoney. “She has been an incredible addition to our team from day one, with a diverse set of skills and acumen that enable her to be successful in the political and public affairs arenas. Ashley’s work, and the top-tier bipartisan team she has built in Florida, clearly demonstrates the dynamic leadership befitting a Mercury partner. We are thrilled to add her to the leadership of this firm.”

“I am honored to accept this new role, and join the talented partners of Mercury,” said Walker. “The firm has been on an incredible trajectory for several years, and I am excited to work with our global team to continue to grow our reach and brand around the world.”

In this election year, Walker is serving as a strategic advisor for a number of super PACs, including one focused on the U.S. Senate race supporting Congressman Patrick Murphy and a super PAC focused on voter mobilization for the Presidential campaign and U.S. Senate campaign in Florida. In addition to her political work, Walker manages national and state-wide campaigns across several key issue areas including healthcare, real estate development, education, the environment and the sharing economy.

Prior to joining Mercury, Walker served as the Florida State Director of Obama for America for the 2012 re-election campaign. She also held several leadership roles throughout the Obama administration, including Florida State Director of Organizing for America, 2010 Coordinated Campaign Director and Deputy State Director for the 2008 Obama for America Florida campaign.

Walker joins Michael Soliman as the newest additions to the firm’s partnership. Soliman, whoworks in Mercury’s New Jersey and Washington D.C. offices, was named partner earlier this year. Mercury continues to expand nationwide and across the globe, most recently through the addition of offices in London and Mexico City.

About Mercury

Mercury is a high-stakes, bipartisan public strategy firm. The firm provides a comprehensive suite of services that includes federal government relations, international affairs, digital influence, public opinion research, media strategy and a bipartisan grassroots mobilization network in all 50 states. Our firm is not just led by top talent — we distinguish ourselves by having senior talent deeply engaged in each project from start to finish, a promise we keep to clients. The firm has an established global presence, with U.S. offices in Washington, DC, New York, California, New Jersey, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Tennessee, as well as international offices in London and Mexico City. Mercury is a part of the DAS Group of Companies.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group

Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, marketing to women, fashion, public health and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,000 public relations professionals in more than 330 offices worldwide who provide their expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public

Relations Group is part of the DAS Group of Companies, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. that includes more than 200 companies in a wide range of marketing disciplines including advertising, public relations, healthcare, customer relationship management, events, promotional marketing, branding and research.


Jennifer Wlach