Having completed his first year as president and chief executive officer of Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), former Congressman and Florida House Speaker Tom Feeney today announced a new governmental affairs team that will direct the organization’s advocacy efforts during the 2013 Legislative Session and at the federal level. A combination of seasoned senior staff and outside consultants, the 2013 AIF governmental affairs team will be led by Brewster Bevis, newly named as AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs.
As the Florida affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, AIF already has a significant presence in both the Florida capital and nation’s Capitol. Taking advantage of the association leadership’s extensive background in Washington, D.C., including Feeney’s six terms in Congress and Bevis’ role as Associated Builders & Contractors’ top federal lobbyist, AIF has plans to expand and enhance its advocacy role at the federal level.
“What happens on Capitol Hill has an immeasurable impact on Florida employers. AIF’s core mission is to not only advocate on behalf of Florida businesses here in the Sunshine State, but also in the federal halls of power. Beginning this year, we will take a much more active and regular role in Washington, D.C.,” said Feeney.
AIF’s General Counsel Tamela Perdue will expand her leadership among AIF’s various councils and coalitions and oversee additional policy development initiatives with the AIF leadership team and membership. Additionally, Ryan Tyson, Vice President of Political Operations, will continue to oversee AIF’s recently expanded political operations, including coordinating AIF members’ participation in issue advocacy and electioneering activities. Melissa Luke, a recent political science graduate of Florida State University, also joins the AIF advocacy team as the governmental affairs coordinator.
A distinguished roster of consultants will augment AIF’s internal executive team.
Notably, Jon Costello, Gov. Rick Scott’s former legislative affairs director, now with Rutledge Ecenia, P.A., will serve AIF in the coming months as its Interim State Legislative Affairs Director and will focus on AIF’s economic development and manufacturing priorities.
After nearly a decade with AIF, Feeney also announced the departure of valued team member Jose L. Gonzalez, who has served as AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs since 2007. Gonzalez will be joining Anheuser-Busch as the company’s new Director, State Affairs, responsible for Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.
“We heartily congratulate Jose on his new role and thank him for his many years of service to this organization and its members. He has been integral to the growth and success of AIF and a tireless champion for the issues most important to Florida’s business community. In his private sector capacity, Jose will remain heavily involved with AIF and we look forward to his continued leadership as he takes the reins as chair of our Environmental Sustainability Council,” said Feeney.
“Working at AIF on behalf of Florida’s job creators for almost 10 years has been both an honor and a privilege. The legislative victories I have been a part of over the years have had a direct impact on the quality of life of all Floridians and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to represent the thousands of business who call Florida home,” said Gonzalez. “I look forward to joining the Anheuser-Busch team. Anheuser-Busch has a long and rich tradition in Florida and throughout the Southeast, not only as the beer industry leader, but as an active participant and leader in the state’s business community.”
“With a new team in place, this is a time of great opportunity for AIF and its members. We have assembled a top-notch group that will carry on AIF’s accomplished history of working on behalf of Florida’s employers to ensure our state’s business climate is conducive to job growth and economic prosperity,” added Feeney.
In addition to Costello, AIF has added Charlie Dudley and his associates at Floridian Partners, Teye Reeves, Jorge Chamizo and Ken Granger to the AIF ranks. They bring expertise on a number of key business issues, including telecommunications, energy, insurance and economic development. Doug Mann of Littlejohn and Associates will handle all environmental and agricultural issues for AIF, including the coordination of AIF’s Numeric Nutrient Criteria Taskforce. Former State Representative Don Brown will focus on property insurance, legal reform and workers’ compensation issues. Tracy and Frank Mayernick also join AIF’s lobby corps and will handle legal reform and assist with health care issues.
Returning AIF lobbyists include Al Cardenas (general business issues), Slater Bayliss (health care and hospitals), Stephen Shiver (economic development, transportation and ports), Justin Day (general business issues), Sarah Busk (general business issues), Gerald Wester (insurance), Jim Rathbun (energy and regulated industries), Frank Meiners (taxation and information technology), Rheb Harbison (manufacturing, aerospace and health care), John French (ethics and elections) and Leslie Dughi (health care).