Elizabeth Furey, the new director of grassroots advocacy at the Credit Union National Association, spent a year teaching at a "gymnasium" in Klagenfurt, Austria, "which is basically a high school for university-bound students," before pursuing her current career. After leaving Austria, Furey worked for Rep. Michael Ferguson, R-N.J., and the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.
Furey, 26, likes to travel, ski, and train for triathlons. She hails from eastern Long Island and now lives in Woodley Park in D.C. Furey holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.
The credit union association has also hired Scott Howard to be its manager of grassroots advocacy. He worked for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign as a field director and was part of the rapid-deployment team for the Republican primaries. Howard started The Mitt Report, a website that ended up attracting more than 300,000 visitors. Howard also has a background in sales and marketing. He co-founded Autosouth Brokers, a wholesale car company, while he was earning his undergraduate degree at Piedmont College in Georgia. Before that, he worked his way up from car salesman to assistant new-car manager at Ken Garff Volkswagen Audi in Orem, Utah. Howard also co-founded Getaway Estates, a vacation real estate development company. He was formerly an aide in Georgia's General Assembly and was an intern for Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., and at the House Ways and Means Committee.
Howard, 34, hails from Orem and enjoys snowmobiling and mountain biking. --Winter Casey
Tom Weinberg, deputy chief of staff to Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., has been promoted to chief of staff. Weinberg, who also was Martinez's state director, expects to spend Monday through Thursday in Washington and Fridays in Orlando. When Martinez was mayor of Orange County, Fla., Weinberg served as deputy county administrator. He signed on about 15 months ago for a second tour with Martinez when the former mayor was elected to the Senate.
Weinberg is a sixth-generation Floridian. A Florida State University graduate and die-hard fan of the FSU Seminoles, he has two sons who graduated from the University of Florida and root for the rival Gators. "We have a lot of fun during football season," he says. "The Gators have beaten us badly lately, but we're having a lot of fun with it."
Weinberg, 58, spent many years working for the state of Florida in various positions in Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Orlando. He began his career as a probation officer, and later was a district administrator in the central part of the state. "I think when you get to senior-level positions in government--whether it's local, state, or federal--you really end up sort of thrown into the political arena. And I've always had an interest in good government." Much of his Florida-based family has worked in government as well: His parents were both civil servants, and one of his in-laws, John Thrasher, was speaker of Florida's House. Weinberg's wife, Linda, is a lawyer who is deputy county administrator in Orange County. She also worked with Martinez at his law firm Martinez & Dalton.
Weinberg succeeds John M. Little, who was hired by the Petrizzo Strategic Group as a senior vice president in the firm's Washington office. In addition to working for Martinez, Little was legislative director for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. Little received his bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University and his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1997. He resides in Arlington, Va.
Weinberg notes that Capitol Hill is quite an adjustment from Florida politics. "The Washington pace is fast and furious, and there's a lot going on."
--Gregg Sangillo and W.C.
Jenny DiJames, a lobbyist with Williams & Jensen, has been promoted to partner at the law and government-relations firm. She previously was legislative director to Rep. Bud Cramer, D-Ala. "I am from Huntsville, Alabama, [Cramer's] district, so I really enjoyed the opportunity to work on legislative issues that affected my family and people in my community," DiJames says. But Williams & Jensen recruited her in 2005. "With Bud being a conservative Democrat, very pro-business, I'd worked with a lot of Williams & Jensen's clients on a variety of issues. So I had gotten to know a few people here and knew from the get-go that it was a good place to work." Cramer's efforts in establishing the National Children's Advocacy Center in Huntsville led to her involvement in children's issues; DiJames also dealt with economic development matters for North Alabama.
DiJames, 37, says she became interested in politics during her first semester at Birmingham-Southern College while taking a class with professor Natalie Davis. She worked on the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign in Alabama, as well as other campaigns in the state, before earning her law degree from the University of Alabama.
DiJames is married to Dan DiJames, who is executive director of the National Education Association Staff Organization. Dan, who was a wrestler in college, has coaxed Jenny into watching Ultimate Fighting Championship matches on pay-per-view TV.
Williams & Jensen has other female Democratic lobbyists, including Joyce Rogers, a principal, who was an aide to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla; and Melinda Maxfield, an associate, who was deputy finance director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee under Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. Their presence marks an expansion for Williams & Jensen whose roster includes several high-profile Republicans. Steven Hart, chairman and CEO of the firm, is a GOP fundraiser who served in the Reagan administration. Firm principal Susan Hirschmann was formerly chief of staff to then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas.--G.S.
Microsoft has hired two new folks to join its government-affairs office in Washington. Bill Kamela (right) will be the company's policy leader for education, workforce, and immigration issues, while Caroline Curtin will serve as policy counsel for interactive entertainment, including parental controls and game ratings. She will also handle environmental and energy-sustainability issues.
Kamela, 54, most recently was staff director for the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. During the Clinton administration, he served in the Labor Department. He also worked for then-Rep. Augustus Hawkins, D-Calif., when Hawkins was chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, and for the National Urban Coalition as director of government affairs.
Curtin, 42, grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and is a horse lover. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Duke University, she spent a few years working for a horse trainer in Middleburg, Va. "We traveled all over the country for the competitions," Curtin recalls. She trained horses to jump, and she competed against Olympic-caliber riders. Curtin then decided to follow in the footsteps of her late father, William Curtin, and earned a law degree from Georgetown University.
Curtin comes to Microsoft from Revolution Health, where she was director of privacy and brand policies. Before that, she held the same position at AOL.--W.C.
Have a tip for National Journal's People column? Contact Gregg Sangillo or Winter Casey at 202-739-8400, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appears in the May 3, 2008 edition of National Journal Magazine Contents.