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MAB Lobbyist Firm Kelley Cawthorne Adds Three Partners to Leadership Team

Kelley Cawthorne, the Midwest’s leading multi-client lobbying firm, continued its rapid growth by announcing (7/14) the elevation of three team members to partnership status and promotion of another to the position of Chief Operating Officer. Government relations professionals Jim Kirsch, Jason Sheppard and David Hildenbrand have achieved partnership status at the firm as of July 1, 2022, building on their distinguished careers in and around Lansing, Grand Rapids, Detroit and Columbus. Additionally, current Kelley Cawthorne Chief of Staff Natasha Oxender Kimmerly has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer.

David Hildenbrand, Partner
Hildenbrand, of Lowell, joined Kelley Cawthorne in 2019. He is an expert on the state government budget after serving as Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee as a member of the Michigan Senate from the Grand Rapids area. Prior to that, he was elected by Kent County voters to the Michigan House of Representatives and was an agriculture policy advisor to former Gov. John Engler. Hildenbrand represents clients on a variety of appropriations, health care and non-profit issues, including Michigan Court Appointed Special Advocates, Kids’ Food Basket, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services and Launch Michigan.

Jim Kirsch, Partner
Kirsch, of Holt, joined Kelley Cawthorne in 2017. He previously served as an in-house lobbyist for telecom giant AT&T, where he was named Michigan’s most effective corporate lobbyist in 2013 and 2015 by subscribers of MIRS news service. He also worked on the Michigan Senate Democratic Staff for then-Senate Minority Leader and now-Governor Gretchen Whitmer. He represents clients such as AT&T, DTE Energy, Ford Motor and Property Management Association of Michigan.

Jason Sheppard, Partner
Sheppard, of Temperance, leads Kelley Cawthorne’s rapidly expanding Ohio practice. He joined Kelley Cawthorne earlier this year after serving three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives, where he represented Monroe County on the Ohio-Michigan border. Sheppard held several leadership positions in the Legislature, including House Majority Whip and chair of the House Government Operations Committee.

Natasha Oxender Kimmerly, Chief Operating Officer
Kimmerly, of Haslett, joined Kelley Cawthorne in 2012. She has been promoted to Kelley Cawthorne’s Chief Operating Officer position after a successful tenure as the firm’s Chief of Staff. Kimmerly, an attorney, has also worked for major Mid-Michigan corporations Jackson National Life Insurance Company and Capitol Bancorp. Kimmerly is a graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Michigan State University.

“Kelley Cawthorne has become the leading multi-client lobby firm in the Midwest by hiring the best and the brightest, because we always have an eye on the future,” said Kelley Cawthorne CEO Rob Elhenicky. “With the elevation of Jason, Jim, Dave and Tasha to our leadership team, Kelley Cawthorne is positioned to continue our front runner status in the Lansing and Detroit markets into the future, while accelerating our growth in the Ohio market and beyond.”

Kelley Cawthorne President Melissa McKinley said the firm is building on the vision of its founders, Frank Kelley and Dennis Cawthorne.

“We are excited to have professionals of the highest quality like Tasha, Jim, Jason and Dave take leadership positions at Kelley Cawthorne,” said McKinley. “When Attorney General Frank Kelley and State Representative Dennis Cawthorne founded our firm in 1999, they envisioned a multi-generational advocacy firm driven by a hopeful and inclusive culture that fostered the most talented team anywhere. With today’s announcement, we continue to build on that vision.”

Kelley Cawthorne is a bi-partisan government relations firm with operations in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Detroit and Ohio. The firm and its lobbyists are consistently rated at the top of its field, with the Crain’s Detroit Business “50 Names to Know in Lobbying” list most recently including Partner Carrie Linderoth and Senior Partner Dave Ladd.

“As we grow our leadership team and continue expanding region-wide, Kelley Cawthorne’s future has never looked brighter,” said Ladd.

Kelley Cawthorne’s deep client list includes major Michigan, national and international organizations, including: McLaren-Karmanos Cancer Center, Wayne State University, Ford Motor Company, DTE Energy, Deloitte, the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters, Wal-Mart and AT&T.

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