Mark Cowan draws on more than 35 years’ experience working on complex domestic and international public policy issues as counsel for a broad range of clients. He advises corporations, government entities, and foreign sovereigns on a wide array of business, regulatory, and trade issues.
His career is expansive and varied, having served among others, in the US Air Force, in the administrations of US Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, on the Trump Transition Team, and with the CIA.
Cowan, a lawyer, has headed three companies of his own, been a senior partner at Patton Boggs, LLP, an AM Law 100 firm, wherein he both created and directed the firm’s Business Development Department and effort for over 500 lawyers. Having founded The Jefferson Group in 1987, Mr. Cowan grew that public affairs firm to become the second largest in its class in just six years. Thereafter, he was Vice Chairman of Cassidy & Associates, Washington’s largest public affairs company, C.E.O. of the Columbus Group, C.E.O. of Newmyer Associates and a Senior Vice President at Hill and Knowlton, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, where he counseled numerous domestic and international clients.
Patrick Murphy is a former Democratic Presidential appointee and western state legislator who has maintained an active role in the work of the US Senate and House of Representatives. His ever-expanding base of contacts with established and emerging Democratic political leaders reinforces his ability to develop successful policy initiatives and execute winning strategies in Washington, DC. He has enacted important legislative and regulatory change for clients in energy, technology, healthcare, finance and banking.
Mr. Murphy began his Washington career as an appointee at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and moved on to direct a national strategy for government relations for the newly formed U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corporation (USSC). He was the founder and president of the Government Relations Group for the national public finance firm, Kutak-Rock.
Prior to moving to Washington, DC, he had an accomplished public service career having been twice elected to the Nevada State Legislature where he was Chair of the Government Affairs Committee. He was appointed by the Governor to the Nevada State Crime Commission and served the Nevada State Board of Education, the Nevada Commission on Tourism, and the Democratic National Committee.
Phil Bond is one of America’s most honored technology policy experts. A former US Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology, his 25-plus year career in Washington has included numerous recognitions for his leadership roles in the Executive branch, on Capitol Hill, at major high technology companies, and most recently as the CEO of TechAmerica, the largest technology advocacy association in the US.
Bond has been accorded numerous accolades during his 25-plus years in Washington, DC, including being named to the Federal 100, the annual listing by Federal Computer Week of the most influential people in government technology; named one of the Top 50 Tech Leaders of 2003 by Scientific American magazine for his policy leadership around nanotechnology; and was elected Deputy Chair of the World Information Technology and Services Alliance, a federation of more than 70 national technology associations around the world.
From 2001 to 2005, Bond was Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce for Technology and, from 2002-2003, served concurrently as Chief of Staff to Commerce Secretary Donald Evans. In his dual role, Bond worked closely with Secretary Evans to increase market access for U.S. goods and services and further advance America’s technological leadership at home and around the world. He oversaw the operations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Office of Technology Policy, and the National Technical Information Service. During his tenure, the Technology Administration was the pre-eminent portal between the federal government and the U.S. technology industry.
Adam Rak is a government relations professional with 20 years’ experience in public policy. He has worked for Congress, industry associations and a Fortune 500 company. Focused on the field of government relations, Adam has significant expertise on technology policy with a focus on security and privacy.
Most recently Adam was the Regional Vice President, Silicon Valley for TechAmerica the nation’s largest high tech trade association. In this role he successfully led the organization’s program, advocacy and sales efforts in the association’s largest and most important market.
Adam also led Symantec’s Public Affairs program, building a global organization. In this role, he had responsibility for managing Symantec’s relationships with government officials and overseeing the company’s worldwide public policy agenda. In addition, he had responsibility for the management of Symantec’s corporate philanthropy, community relations and corporate social responsibility programs.
Prior to joining Symantec, Adam worked in Washington, DC as a legislative aide for former Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly. Adam also worked at TechNet, as the State Public Policy Director. Adam is a past Chair of the Business Software Alliance’s Policy Council and he also helped found the Cyber Security Industry Alliance the only CEO led public policy and advocacy group exclusively focused on cyber security issues.
He has a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University. He lives in Silicon Valley with his wife Allison and three daughters.
Amagai has three core responsibilities – managing client accounts, ensuring that we deliver on what we have promised to our clients and tracking that progress; research – overseeing the research team and preparing necessary background information, whether for a client, business development or a specific project; and proposal development – assembling proposals for new clients and projects. Amagai also manages junior level staff that fall under her purview.
Mattie spent the past six years at the International Republican Institute, where she managed political party development and governance projects in the former Soviet Union, with a particular focus on Moldova and Belarus. In this capacity she worked closely with IRI offices in Chisinau, Vilnius and Warsaw to implement international projects and brings to Potomac International Partners a background in program management, budgeting, government relations in the U.S. and abroad, proposal writing and monitoring and evaluation.
Previous to joining Potomac Mattie served on two U.S. presidential campaigns and participated in the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. She graduated from Bowdoin College in 2008 with degrees in Government/International Relations and Russian Language.
The Honorable Michael Brown is a Senior Advisor to Potomac International Partners. Prior to joining Potomac, Mr. Brown was elected At-Large Councilman for the Washington, DC City Council, rising to the position of Council Vice Chairman.
Prior and during to his public service, Mr. Brown was the Managing Director of Government Affairs Practice of Edwards, Angell, Palmer and Dodge. He was previously the Managing Partner of Lacade and Fay, and a Member of The Patton Boggs Law Firm. Earlier in his career he was a Legislative Assistant to Rep. Peter Rodino (D-NJ).
Mr. Brown served as National Finance Chair Vice Chairman of the DNC from 2000-2004. He served as a surrogate speaker for the Obama-Biden Campaign, a role he has occupied since the Clinton-Gore, Gore-Liberman, Kerry-Edwards, Obama-Biden. Mr. Brown is also a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, TVONE, MSNBC and other local and international interviewers.
Mr. Brown has twice been appointed as a member of United States Delegations to Africa. He currently serves as a Board Member of the Constituency of Africa and is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. He serves on numerous civic foundations and co-founded The Ronald H. Brown Foundation. Mr. Brown is a graduate of Clark University and Widener University (Delaware) School of Law.
Susan B. Ralston’s strong background in seamless event management, political fundraising, coalition building, and project management drives each and every client interaction. Given her 6 years of high-level executive branch experience and 10 years of government affairs experience and business-to-government collaboration, Ms. Ralston is uniquely qualified to deliver on her clients’ objectives.
From contributing as Senior Advisor at the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), where she was responsible for membership and partnership development, strategic planning, and coalition building, to launching Winning For Women, a 501c4 national grassroots organization, to orchestrating corporate and non-profit high-profile events with attendees ranging anywhere from 20 to 3,000, Ms. Ralston’s ability to build relationships, fundraise, and manage complex events to the minute, has been a reliable and sought-after service. She has also managed events for World Vision’s Strong Women Strong World, the Halifax International Security Forum, and the Institute for the Study of War, organizing VIP receptions, running complex general programs, and managing keynote dinners. From galas to dine-arounds comprised of 20 simultaneous dinners with foreign heads of state, Ms. Ralston gets the job done right. She has also been an active fundraiser for Republican House, Senate and Presidential candidates, as well the NRCC, NRSC, RNC and RGA for more than 10 years.
Prior to her work as a consultant, Ms. Ralston was the Special Assistant to the President and a deputy to Karl Rove, the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor at The White House. She was responsible for the development of policy, strategic planning, political affairs, public liaison activities, and intergovernmental affairs efforts of The White House. She was also responsible for domestic issue campaigns, including Education, Healthcare, Social Security, Immigration, Energy, Budget and Economy, Environment, National Security, Iraq, Global Diplomacy and the Gulf Coast, as well as the development and production of presidential and major surrogate events.
As a Filipino-American, Ms. Ralston was actively involved in the creation of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She was a member of the Presidential Delegation to attend the Inauguration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, of the Republic of the Philippines, in June 2004.
During the 2004 re-election campaign, Ms. Ralston was the White House Liaison to Bush-Cheney ’04, coordinating the activities between the two entities. She also served on the Advisory Committee for “W Stands for Women,” the campaign’s outreach effort to women.
Prior to her public service, Ms. Ralston was the Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs at Greenberg Traurig and has also worked for the lobbying firm of Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds, LLP.
In her spare time, Ms. Ralston rides and shows horses—and takes care of her farm in Virginia where inhabitants include 8 horses and a zebra
Mr. Coursen founded The Status Group in 1986 to provide strategic planning, policy analysis, consultation, and representation to executives in private industry in the areas of Technology, Telecommunications, and Government Relations. The concept of confidential intelligence and strategic planning combined with active representation grew out of Mr. Coursen’s own extensive work in the private sector, on Capitol Hill, and in national politics.
Prior to starting his own firm, Mr. Coursen was a partner with the prominent Washington law firm of O’Connor & Hannan, where he provided a full range of legal and Government Relations services to major corporations in many issue areas, including health care, tax, banking, and telecommunications.
After the 1980 elections, Mr. Coursen joined the United States Senate as Majority Communications Counsel for the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. As Majority Counsel, Mr. Coursen served as personal Advisor and Counsel on all Technology and Telecommunications matters to Senator Bob Packwood, the Chairman of the Committee, as well as to all Republican Committee Members. Mr. Coursen also served as Chief Counsel to Senator Barry Goldwater, the Chairman of the Communications Subcommittee.
Mr. Coursen is an active member of the Republican National Finance Committee, and served on the Leadership Committees for the Republican Senate-House Dinners from 1996-1999, for the Presidential Galas from 1997-1999, and as an official at the 1995 Republican Inaugural. He served as an Advisor on the Trump-Pence ’16, the Romney-Ryan ’12, the Bush-Cheney ’00 and ’04, the Dole-Kemp ’96, the Bush-Quayle ’88 and ’92, and the Reagan-Bush ’80 and ’84 Campaigns. Mr. Coursen was very active in the Bush-Quayle’88 Campaign, serving as Chairman of the Telecommunications Task Force and as a member of the Executive Committee of Commerce and Industry Leaders for Bush. In addition, he served on the Reagan-Bush ’84 Campaign as a Convention Official and as an Attorney Advisor, and on President-Elect Reagan’s 1980 Transition Team for Technology and Telecommunications.
Mr. Coursen received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington & Lee University in 1970, and his Juris Doctor degree from The National Law Center, George Washington University, in 1975. He is a member of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court and is admitted before all federal, military, and local courts in Washington. Mr. Coursen has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Telecommunications at the George Washington University National Law Center.
Mr. Coursen’s honors include appointments by President George H. W. Bush to the President’s Advisory Board for Cuba Broadcasting, where he served for over 13 years, under 3 Presidents, the last 7 years as Acting Chairman, and by President Reagan to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. Mr. Coursen is the recipient of the Republican Senatorial Medal of Freedom and the Republican Majority Medal. Mr. Coursen served on the Children’s Hospital
Foundation Board, and on the Advisory Board for the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Economic Reconstruction of Cuba. He currently serves as a Member of the Children’s National Health Center Emeritus Board. Mr. Coursen also serves as a Member of the Honorary Board for the Blue Sky Foundation, which uses tennis as a vehicle to thank our military for their service.
Mr. Coursen founded the Boys and Girls Club in Lexington, VA, in 1968, while in college. He volunteered as a Big Brother to three DC inner city boys while in law school. In addition, he is an active member of the One and (Red) campaigns to fight childhood AIDS in Africa. Mr. Coursen serves as an Advisor to the Veteran’s National Recovery Center, as a volunteer for The Wounded Warrior Project, and as a volunteer for the U.S. Marine Corps. Mr. Coursen also serves as an active member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Mr. Coursen has served as a member of the Metropolitan Police Department Auxiliary, and as an active supporter of Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).
Mr. Coursen is listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals, Men of Achievement, Community Leaders in America, and The Social List of Washington.
Chris Mustain is an expert in the policies and partnerships that support successful innovation ecosystems. As an Advisor to Potomac International he brings a deep knowledge of innovation-based economic development.
As a Vice President at the Council on Competitiveness, Mustain convened senior leaders from industry, government, academia, labor unions and the U.S. national laboratories to take action on economic competitiveness issues. He managed the Council’s Advanced Computing Roundtable that advocates U.S. leadership in supercomputing and strategies to leverage advanced computing for U.S. competitiveness. He served as an advisor to the National Science Foundation and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities.
Mustain founded Innovation Advocates in 2009, an independent government relations firm offering advice and analysis on science and technology policy. From 2000-2009, Mustain was an IBM executive, serving as the corporation’s U.S. policy lead for innovation, privacy and other business technology issues. While at IBM, he served on the core team that produced the Innovate America report and was instrumental in working with Congress and the Executive Branch to enact the America COMPETES Act.
In the 1990s, Mustain managed the European-American Business Council and served as a legislative analyst in the White House Office of Management and Budget. He is well versed in trade, tax, investment and other economic issues. He’s been featured on National Public Radio’s Marketplace and written for Presidents, Cabinet Secretaries, CEOs and Members of Congress.
Mustain earned a Master’s degree with honors from Georgetown University in International Business-Government Relations. He was a fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research and selected for the prestigious European Union Visitors Program. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Heidelberg University in Ohio, completing majors in Political Science, Economics and German.
Major General John F. Wharton (US Army Ret)
John Wharton is senior adviser to Potomac International Partners. He is a Managing Partner, at One Defense, an organization originating out of the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Defense, focused on national security and technology acceleration in support of national security and homeland defense. He most recently served as Commanding General of the United States Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. There he led 13,800 scientists, engineers, and support personnel at more than 100 global locations controlling 75% of the Army’s R&D budget. Subordinate organizations included: The Army Research Laboratory, the Edgewood Chemical and Biological Center and the five Research and Development Centers: Armament (Picatinny Arsenal, NJ); Aviation and Missile (Redstone Arsenal, AL); Communication and Electronic (Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD); Soldier Support (Natick, MA); and Tank and Automotive (Warren, MI). Before RDECOM, he served as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Sustainment Command and Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois. Prior to that he was the Chief of Staff at the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the Commanding General, AMC-Southwest Asia/U.S. Army Central G-4/CFLCC C-4. John has also commanded units in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Korea, and the Sinai. He has a degree from the United States Military Academy and a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. He has also served as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, DC and Senior Advisor to the National Security Technology Acceleration Program (MD5) providing our Nation’s leaders with expertise regarding science and technology, innovation, and engineering affecting national security.
Joe Yuhas brings to Potomac International Partners a unique combination of East coast political roots and Western states public affairs experience. The result – the ability to immediately access political and public policy challenges regardless of the locale along with the tested skills to address them be it in the legislative arena or at the ballot box.
With an extensive record of accomplishments on the state and local levels, Joe has guided community relations, public awareness and advocacy efforts on behalf of Fortune 500 companies, local brands, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community causes. His diverse roster of over 50 client organizations includes the Governor’s Offices of Arizona and Utah, NASCAR, Orange County CA Department of Waste, Pfizer, Safelite Auto Glass, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, Dona Ana County NM Deputies Association, DaVita, Cleveland Indians, and The Hudson Group, among others.
Joe has developed particular expertise and an enviable record of success as a ballot measure strategist, guiding over 50 successful state and local initiative and referendum campaigns that have advanced economic and community development, commerce, education, transportation and infrastructure, public health, tourism, and public safety policies and programs. Among his more notable achievements was the passage of a measure that constructed State Farm Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals and expanded Major League Baseball’s Arizona Cactus League with new facilities bringing six additional teams to the state. As manager of the historic 17 Tribe Arizona Indian Self Reliance Initiative, he played a leadership role in the preservation and expansion of tribal government gaming in the state while defeating two competing measures – the first and only victorious Yes-No-No campaign in the nation’s history. Following his success as the general consultant to the Arizona’s medical marijuana initiative campaign, he went on to play a major role in the development of the rules and regulations that led to the development of the state’s cannabis industry that served as a model for other states.
Prior to relocating to the Southwest, Joe held elected public office in his native state of New Jersey. Elected to the Trenton City Council while still a college student, he was the youngest person ever elected to the governing body of a capital city. He went on to serve as a member of Mercer County Board of Freeholders and ultimately the New Jersey State Assembly.
Joe earned his Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science from Rider University. The Human Right Campaign-Arizona, Arizona Society of Association Executives, The Fiesta Bowl, and Arizona Tourism Alliance, and the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development have honored Joe for his work. Joe is an inductee of the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame. He has earned numerous honors for his work and ongoing support of Anchor House, a shelter for runaway, abused, and homeless children which he co-founded in his hometown of Trenton NJ.