Experts

Potomac International Partners is a group of multidisciplinary consulting experts who matches ideas, needs, opportunities, and challenges with specific actions. We go beyond simple consulting and counsel, providing real time, real world action steps geared towards achieving success for our clients.

Team

Mark Cowan

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.

Phone:703-665-3399

Bernie Merritt

Bernie Merritt started his career in political operations where he gained the foresight of constituency involvement and issue advocacy to affect public change. He started in 1980 as staff assistant to the U.S. Senate Republican Conference, and then quickly moved on to assist and direct several political campaigns and committees, eventually landing on Jack Kemp’s 1988 Presidential Campaign.

As Northeast Political Director for Jack Kemp’s 1988 Presidential campaign having oversight of 11 states, Bernie Merritt traveled a lot of miles and met a lot of people on the campaign trail and witnessed first-hand that “all politics are local.” Following a stint in the Office of the Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development Bernie served as a key advisor to the Secretary coordinating all 10 regional offices and 81 field operations.

Following the Secretary’s office Bernie was one of the original architects of using political field operations to assist in corporate and association legislative battles both on the national and state levels. He leaned on his entrepreneurial spirit to team up with Jim Weber and turned his network of campaign operatives into a grassroots consultancy business that today is still one of the most prolific and effective political operative networks in the country. Bernie was also a founding partner at Qorvis Communications, a local communications firm.

For more than two decades, Bernie has managed dozens of public policy campaigns, drawing on his political experience to bring an integrated approach to devise effective strategies for clients at Weber Merritt.

Bernie is an elected City Council Member in the town of Fenwick Island, Delaware. He serves as the town’s secretary as well as the Chairman of the Dredging Committee and a member of the Charter and Ordinance Committee.

Jim Weber

Jim has worked in key positions at all levels of government.  He was chief of staff to the minority leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives, Political Director in the Governor’s office, press secretary to a Member of the US House of Representatives, and a Chief of Staff on the Senate side.  But, before all that, he was a newspaper editor and publisher, putting out a weekly newspaper in southwest Minnesota, and a printer.

His career in political communications and consulting goes back to his days as a field operative with the Minnesota GOP where he worked with legislative races all across the state.  From there, he went on to manage Congressional races and eventually move to Washington DC and a stint on Capital Hill as a press secretary.  From the Hill, he went to the National Republican Congressional Committee as Regional Field Director, then to Kemp for President as Regional Political Director, and then on to setting up his own political consulting practice.  In that capacity, he helped elect and reelect the first ever Republican Governor of Mississippi along with other Governors and Members of Congress.

In 1994, he teamed up with fellow Kemp for President alum Bernie Merritt to start Weber Merritt Grassroots Communications.  WM operated successfully for over 20 years and was involved in many of the biggest campaigns launched by business interests nationally.  Relying on their campaign organizing backgrounds, Jim and Bernie based their company’s founding principle on the belief that “local” interests, if channeled properly, can forcefully affect public policy. Over the years, they added other practice areas to make it a full-service public affairs firm.  In addition, Jim was one of the founding partners of Qorvis Communications, a successful Washington based public relations firm.  Today, Jim is a founder and director of Potomac International Partners, a full service “best in class” public affairs firm.

Patrick Murphy

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

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.

Aaron Manaigo

Aaron T. Manaigo is the former New York State, Bronx County District Leader {R} 78th Assembly District for two terms from (1995-1998). Mr. Manaigo has over 20 years of experience representing both international governments and private sector companies throughout Africa, Latin America/Caribbean and Asia. He has worked on economic diplomacy for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, U.S. Dept. of State and the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, Mr. Manaigo has served as an advisory board member at the Center for Strategic & International Studies {CSIS} Abshire – Inamori Project.

Mr. Manaigo has unique U.S. Presidential Campaign experience having Co-Chaired the Great America PAC for President Trump and been a senior advisor on the Presidential campaigns of President George W. Bush, U.S. Senator John McCain, and Herman Cain.  Currently, Mr. Manaigo is a partner at the Washington, DC based international consulting firm Potomac International Partners.

He is also the Co-founder of the National Infrastructure Investment Alliance (NIIA) a coalition of government, civil society and private sector interests, formed to work on the U.S. Opportunity Zone Initiative- a bi-partisan new U.S. law designed to revitalize distressed U.S. communities.

Phil Armstrong

Through out a diverse career in public affairs, corporate communications, and advertising, Phil has earned a national reputation as a counselor and strategist on reputation and issue management, brand strategy, crisis communications and political advocacy.

Phil has deep, hands-on expertise devising and leading integrated campaigns around the world. He has represented companies from multiple categories, including financial services, technology, consumer packaged goods, automotive, telecommunications, energy and the environment, health care and airlines.

His clients have included Mercedes-Benz, Becton Dickinson, Allstate, DuPont, UPS, Northrop Grumman, Unilever, Kia Motors and Pfizer; many trade associations, including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Information Technology Industry Council; multiple NGOs; and several federal government agencies.

Phil consults with clients facing reputational challenges including labor-management disputes, product recalls, on-site incidents, law enforcement actions, environmental incidents, and civil disobedience.  He works with law firms on civil and criminal litigation matters, government investigations, bankruptcies and restructuring, and has designed crisis communications contingency protocols and models for companies and NGOs.

Currently based in Potomac’s New York office, Phil spent more than two decades of his career in Washington, and has managed political and policy communications programs for corporate, trade association and NGO clients on legislative, regulatory and international trade issues.  He has been a registered lobbyist, political consultant and government official.

Phil has been an agency leader and executive for more than 30 years. He was previously COO for Zeno Group, a Daniel J. Edelman company, based in New York. Prior to Zeno Phil was EVP at Euro RSCG, a global communications company; managing partner at Earle Palmer Brown, a national advertising agency; and senior vice president of Hill and Knowlton.

Phil started his career in politics and served as a political appointee in the Department of Defense as a speechwriter, and as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the Department of Education.

Phil received a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Iowa. He has been a guest lecturer at the American University School of Public Affairs and a member of the Counselors Academy of the Public Relations Society of America. He has received numerous professional awards for his campaigns, including the Silver Anvil from PRSA and the Gold Sabre from the Holmes Report.

Adam Rak

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.

Mattie Amagai

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.

Lee Brinckley

Over a 20-year span, Lee has been leading organizations globally in brand and marketing strategies including corporate, non-profits, associations, NGOs and government agencies. With a strategy-first mindset, he helps brands integrate their business goals into their brand story so they effectively engage with their audience.

Lee is a rising leader as a social media advocacy expert. He understands the social media landscape and multi-generational user behavior and helps organizations reach their demographics with influential campaigns. Lee currently leads social advocacy and digital campaigns for Potomac’s clients.

Lee’s clients have included Bristol Myer Squibbs, John Deere, Hitachi, FEMA, HON, The Department of the Interior, Stratford University, Food Marketing Institute, USA Rice Federation and Rock the Vote.

He served on The American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC) Website Advisory Committee and led digital strategy workshops for conferences and organizations. He is currently an active leader with the Boy Scouts of America.

Prior to moving to Washington DC, Lee spent several years as counselor at Youth-Reach Houston, a foster group home for at-risk teenage boys. Through his mentorship, many of the boys have become college-educated, family men who give back to their community.

Lee holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Greenville College. He resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, two daughters, and son.

David Weber

David joined Weber Merritt in 2014, where he began assisting with social media communication efforts, campaign research and development, and field campaign operations.  He now manages all field campaigns and works on business development efforts researching potential clients and industries.

Before coming to Weber Merritt, David worked on Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign as a Coalitions Coordinator, where he managed the Young American’s for Romney Coalition and was assistant to the Deputy State Director of Virginia. Shortly thereafter, David joined LeapFrog Communications where he was a federal sub-contractor to Booz Allen Hamilton. At Booz Allen he coordinated all ten regions on a FEMA flood risk contract.

David graduated from James Madison University in 2012 with a degree in Communications Studies, and is currently earning his part-time MBA from George Mason University.

Cheryl Pellegrino

Cheryl Pellegrino is a seasoned communications professional with 25 years of hands-on experience as an agency executive and client counselor.

Cheryl understands how to effectively navigate the ever-changing communications landscape and reach consumers through both traditional and social media.  She has deep expertise in strategic program development events and account management and is skilled in all aspects of communications including account planning, creative, editorial, media outreach, events, crisis management, advocacy relations and social engagement.

During her career, Cheryl’s managed multiple new product introductions, integrated marketing campaigns, strategic partnerships and special events. She’s also handled client situations involving product recalls, lawsuits and corporate protests and has developed thought leadership programs for corporate executives.

Her works spans a variety of sectors including consumer products, retail, food and beverage, health and wellness, fashion and beauty and financial services.  She’s represented clients included Unilever, PepsiCo,  iVillage, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Twinlab Vitamins, Church & Dwight, Evenflo Baby Products, Kmart, Party City, Wolverine Footwear, TD Ameritrade and DeBeers.  She’s also worked with leading advocacy groups such as Susan G. Komen, the March of Dimes and Skin Cancer Foundation.

Currently, Cheryl manages events and influencer outreach for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Previously, Cheryl was an SVP in the New York office of Zeno Group where she led the agency’s Speaking Female practice, and has held senior positions at Euro RSCG, Earle Palmer Brown and J. Walter Thompson, all in New York.   Prior to her agency work, Cheryl worked at Seventeen Magazine where she managed special events and promotions.

Cheryl holds a degree in journalism for Southern Methodist University and resides in Stamford, Connecticut with her husband and two sons.

Gary Bivings

GARY BIVINGS is a seasoned communications professional specializing in digital communications and online engagement.  His nearly 30 years in the field ranges from technology design and web-platform development for new ventures, to high-profile national policy and marketing campaigns featuring paid advertising, content publishing, and social media platform engagement.

Earlier in his career Gary built a successful consulting practice, beginning as a sole-practitioner and growing into a 30+ person digital strategy and development firm in Washington, DC, called The Bivings Group, which was sold at the end of 2011. TBG pioneered many approaches to the web and social media in its online initiatives for corporate, philanthropic, and political clients.

These initiatives encompassed novel approaches to website design and development, and new technologies to track and manage online conversations in all the various forms of social and conventional media. The firm pioneered ways to identify key audiences online and engage them in public policy debates through multiple digital channels including paid search, content publishing and display advertising.

Biving’s work has garnered numerous awards including several the Webby Awards.  The firm’s clients included candidates for state and national office, including Presidential campaigns, the Nasdaq Stock Market, T. Boone Pickens, Pew Charitable Trusts, Edison Electric Institute, Thomson Digital and American Express.

Gary has a B.Sc. in Physics and Math for the University of Arizona and an M.P.A. from the Harvard Kennedy School.

 

Michael Brown

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 Ralston

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

Christopher Coursen

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

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

International Advisors

David Kim

David Kim serves as a senior advisor for Asia for Potomac International Partners and has been a long-time advisor for Cowan Strategies, with nearly 25 years of experience in business development, government affairs, market research and communications work in both the United States, South Korea and throughout Asia.

Mr. Kim began his career with the Pacific Consultant Corporation in Seoul, Korea, notably engaging and directing a robust public relations, public affairs and new business development wing and as a result, made connections with individuals and businesses from around the world. Soon after, Mr. Kim became the Managing Director of the Dong Nam Research Institute, and the Korean Representative for Washington based CCI as an advisor for the company’s International Quasi-Government and Multinational Corporations wing.

After serving in the Korean Army, Mr. Kim graduated from Dan Kook University in Seoul with a degree in International Trade. Mr. Kim also holds a degree in economics from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Currently, Mr. Kim resides in Seoul.

Andre Araujo

Andre Araujo, a native of São Paulo, joins Potomac to assist our clients with business and opportunities in Brazil. Mr. Araujo has a Law Degree from Mackenzie University in São Paulo, and an extensive resume with both governmental and private sector organizations throughout Brazil.

Mr. Araujo has been CFO of the Brazilian National Association of Electric and Electronic Industries for 14 years, President of the State of São Paulo Metropolitan Planning Authority, CFO of PRODAM – the City of São Paulo Company for Information Technology. Additionally, Mr. Araujo has spent the last four years representing international shareholders as a member of the board of CEMIG, a NYSE listed corporation and the second largest energy enterprise in Brazil with national interests in electric power and gas.

In addition to his duties with Potomac, Mr. Araujo is the Director of Adne Consulting Group, a 25 years old firm who has among its clients major American corporations in Brazil and large Brazilian energy and construction groups. Adne was an active consultant in the recent large Brazilian privatization program, assisting international investors in buying Brazilian assets and organizing new partnerships for managing acquired companies.

Mario Pejrone

Mario Pejrone is the Principal at Cardinal Consulting and a Partner at EXECO Consulting. Italian firms specialized in strategic consulting services in Business Development & Marketing, Organization and HR areas. With an emphasis on supporting European and American Corporations’ growing processes in the Global Market and on facilitating the Internationalization of their businesses.

Mario Pejrone brings more than 15 years of international business experience working in leadership roles. Quality focused Senior Executive with deep understanding of European & African Markets and Customer Expectations, instilling a customer-centric approach essential to success of global organizations.

His expertise ranges from developing marketing and business development strategies to providing support to corporate leaders in entering new markets, establishing strategic partnerships, investing in new companies and pursuing the effectiveness of business processes & organization.

From 2008 to 2018 Mario Pejrone served in Executive roles for an Italian Multinational Company. Initially oriented to execute the business development strategy to approach new markets; then focused to develop the Aerospace & Defense business in Europe; finally challenged to startup the North American Operations, as well as to drive the acquisition and integration of an American Defense Service Provider.

Before, Mario Pejrone has held different positions in the private sector.

He served as Sales & Marketing Director and as General Manager.

He managed, as Temporary Manager, Start Up Projects in Italy and in Africa.

He developed and executed the global strategies to advance the international business agenda of companies in the industrial sector, in the logistics sector and in the renewable energy sector.

General Jose Fernando Iasbech

General Jose Fernando Iasbech, a senior advisor to Potomac International Partners (Potomac) for Brazil, joins Potomac to assist clients identify, pursue and service business opportunities in Brazil and the United States.

General Iasbech served in the Brazilian Army for almost 40 years and retired as Army Brigadier General in December 2015. During his time as an active Officer, he participated in international programs in numerous countries, including UN Military Observer at UNPROFOR (Bosnia, 1992-1993), the Combined Logistics Advanced Course at United States Army Logistics Management College (Fort Lee/VA, 1994), the General Staff Course at the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr (Germany, 2001-2003) and the Royal College of Defense Studies course (London, 2010-2011).  He also led the Brazilian Army strategic project known as Proteger, which is responsible for protecting critical infrastructures and providing support to society in situations of natural or provoked crises. Prior to retirement, his last assignments were as Commander of the 9th Military Region, 4th Army Deputy Chief of Staff (Logistics and Mobilization) and Head of Special Advisory of the Brazilian Army for Major Events (support for Rio2016 Olympic Games).

General Iasbech is also a senior advisor to the board of directors of Canada-based Sigma Lithium Resources and a consultant of Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM).

Tadeu Carneiro

Tadeu Carneiro, a senior advisor to Potomac International Partners (Potomac) for Brazil, joins Potomac to assist clients identify, pursue and service business opportunities in Brazil and the United States.

Mr. Carneiro is Chief Executive Officer of Boston Electrometallurgical Corporation, an invited lecturer in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a part-time lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA.

Before retiring as Chief Executive Officer of Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) in December 2016, Mr. Carneiro spent 30 years with the company in progressively senior leadership positions.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining in the United Kingdom.  He is a Director on the Canada-based Ivanhoe Mines Board and also a board member with Canada-based Sigma Lithium Resources and of SBSHSL Hospital in São Paulo, Brazil.

Yoko Yoshii

Yoko Yoshii joined Potomac International Partners as a senior advisor for Japan after he left Advertising Giant, Dentsu, in November 2018.

As a highly capable and results orientated business manager with over 25-years of account service and 10-years of company management, Yoko has lead high-performance teams by implementing successful strategic brand and media campaigns, especially in FMCG and healthcare industry.

As an experienced President & CEO, he managed Dentsu Direct Solutions and Wunderman Dentsu, a joint venture between Dentsu and WPP.

Yoko’s noteworthy success includes the relaunch of Coca-Cola in Japan, and new product development that covered  research, product concept development, branding, package development, communication planning, CR development and execution as well as media and PR.

Board of Advisors

Board Member

Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.

Founder, President, Heritage Foundation, Chairman of the Asian Studies Center, Chung Ju-yung Fellow

  • Expert in Foreign Aid and Development, Economic Freedom, Asia and the Pacific
  • Before joining Heritage, Mr. Feulner was Executive Director of the Republican Study Committee
  • Mr. Feulner was the editor of U.S. – Japan Mutual Security: The Next Twenty Years, China – The Turning Point, and a contributor to 10 other books and numerous journals, reviews and magazines
Board Member

General Douglas M. Fraser

Commander, U.S. Southern Command

  • A retired U.S. Air Force General who was responsible for Department of Defense security cooperation in 45 nations and territories
  • The first U.S. Air Force officer to become U.S. Southern Command’s combatant commander
  • A command pilot with more than 3,100 flying hours, primarily in the F-15A/B/C/D, F-15E, the F-16 and the C-37
Board Member

Bill Press

Senior Political Contributor, CNN; Syndicated Political Talk Show Host, Columnist and Best-Selling Author

  • Bill Press is host of the The Bill Press Show, a nationally-syndicated radio show
  • Mr. Press attends the White House briefings as a part of the White House Press Corps, writes a weekly column for The Hill newspaper, and a nationally-syndicated column distributed weekly by Tribune Media Services
  • Mr. Press has enjoyed a high-profile career in government, politics and broadcasting
Board Member

Gerald “Gerry” Cassidy

Co-Founder, Former CEO, Cassidy & Associates

  • Mr. Cassidy is the co-founder and was previously CEO of Cassidy & Associates, from which he stepped down in 2013 to become chairman emeritus
  • Cassidy & Associates is one of the leading bipartisan government relations firms in Washington, D.C.
  • In March 2000, Cassidy was named #52 on the Forbes “The Power 100”

Greg Lebedev

Greg Lebedev currently holds a portfolio that spans business, government, and philanthropy. He is Chairman of the publicly-funded Center for International Private Enterprise, one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy. He is a Senior Advisor to the President and CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the largest business federation in the world, and is a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee. And, Lebedev is a Senior Advisor to the Robertson Foundation for Government, a private family fund that supports talented men and women wishing to pursue governmental careers in national security and international affairs. He also sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of Diplomatic Courier, a global affairs media network, and the Advisory Board of Ethisphere, a corporate governance consulting firm. Lebedev regularly advises on business strategy and international affairs, and in 2008 he was President George W. Bush’s nominee to be US Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform (with the rank of Ambassador).

Before these assignments, Lebedev served as President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), where he represented the domestic and international interests of the $1.7 trillion global chemical and plastics industry. Prior to the ACC, he was the United States Chamber of Commerce’s COO and Executive Vice President for International Policy and National Security Affairs for nearly five years. He was Managing Director of the Chamber’s public policy think tank, the National Chamber Foundation, and President of the Center for Corporate Citizenship, a governance and philanthropic resource of the business community.

Earlier, Lebedev was a Senior Partner of The Hay Group, then one of the largest international management consulting firms. He then joined the American Trucking Associations where he was Senior Vice President and CFO and acting-CEO. Following the first Gulf War, as an independent consultant, he directed projects associated with the reconstruction of Kuwait; and was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to be Inspector General of the Department of Defense. President Gerald Ford appointed him to the State Department post of Assistant Inspector General of Foreign Assistance/Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. Before that, he served in the Bureau for Security and Consular Affairs and was one of Henry Kissinger’s youngest Deputy Assistant Secretaries. Prior to his State Department tour, he was Deputy Special Assistant to the President of the United States at The White House.

Lebedev earned a Juris Doctor degree from the School of Law of the University of South Dakota and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the same university. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia; and he and his wife and daughter reside in Arlington, Virginia.