Mercury Continues Rapid New Jersey Growth

Welcomes former Senate Chief Al Barlas, Healthcare Strategist Randy Minniear, and Murphy Administration Education Expert LaVar Young


WESTFIELD, NJ – Mercury, a leading global, bipartisan public strategy firm, today announced the additions of three diverse seasoned professionals, adding even more bipartisan government experience and policy expertise to its ranks.

Veteran GOP senate chief of staff and political strategist Al Barlas, healthcare expert Randy Minniear, and education and local government expert LaVar Young have joined the firm. All three will serve in senior roles at Mercury’s Westfield, New Jersey office.

“We are thrilled to add three unique and talented leaders to our New Jersey team,” said Mercury Partner Mike DuHaime.

“Al Barlas, Randy Minniear, and LaVar Young bring diverse policy and political expertise that will help our clients continue to navigate the ever-changing public affairs world in New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC,” said Mercury Partner Michael Soliman.

Al Barlas comes to Mercury with over 15 years of experience in government and Republican politics in New Jersey. Barlas began his career in Trenton as Legislative Director for then- Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon before serving as Chief of Staff to State Senator Kevin O’Toole. Upon Senator O’Toole’s retirement from the legislature to become Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Barlas then served as Chief of Staff for State Senator- Elect Kristin Corrado. Barlas’ political career also includes roles as County Chairman of the Essex County Republican Committee and campaign manager for multiple legislative and county races in northern New Jersey.

Randy Minniear spent over two decades in both healthcare and state government affairs. Most recently, Minniear served as Executive Vice President of External Affairs for the Hudson County- based integrated health system, CarePoint Health, where he managed day-to-day operations. Prior to CarePoint, Minniear served for over a decade as the Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Policy for the New Jersey Hospital Association. He started out his career in state politics as Legislative Director and then Chief of Staff to former State Senate President John Bennett.

LaVar Young brings nearly 20 years of proven success in advising local municipalities, government agencies, non-profit organizations and political campaigns. Prior to Mercury, Young served as the Director of the Office of Civic and Social Engagement for the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) in Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration, where he was responsible for supporting the Governor and Education Commissioner in executing an operational blueprint and serving as a liaison between NJDOE and New Jersey’s 661 school districts. Additionally, Young served as the New Jersey State Director for the Black Alliance for Educational Options (NJBAEO). Under his leadership, NJBAEO was successful in recruiting and mobilizing New Jersey parents to actively support parental choice to empower families and increase quality educational options for working-class families.

“Bringing this team into our operation is critical to our growth in New Jersey and beyond,” said Mercury Partner Mo Butler. “Each brings an expansive knowledge from both a local and a state government perspective, which will help our clients in the fields of healthcare, education and beyond.”

Barlas, Minniear, and Young join a growing list of Mercury hires in 2020. Since the new year, Mercury has hired former US Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), former Congressman Jeff Miller (R- FL), and former communications adviser to President Obama and Pennsylvania Governors Wolf and Rendell, Andrea Mead.

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, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Tennessee, as well as international offices in London and Mexico City. Mercury is a part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group.

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, global health strategy and corporate social responsibility. It encompasses more than 6,300 public relations professionals in more than 370 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. (NYSE: OMC) 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.

Emily D’Alberto
[email protected]