Christopher Snow Hopkins
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Christopher Snow Hopkins
May 1, 2014, 5 p.m.

At the Bar 

When Sen. Frank Lauten­berg, D-N.J., died last year of com­plic­a­tions from pneu­mo­nia, his staff re­mained on the payroll for two months to help wrap up the late law­maker’s work.

“He was 89 when he died, but it was still kind of a shock,” says Ben Dun­ham, Lauten­berg’s chief coun­sel at the time. Once the of­fice closed, Dun­ham took “a true va­ca­tion, with noth­ing hanging over my head, to re­as­sess and fig­ure out what I wanted to do next.”

After a trip to Croa­tia — where he asked his then-girl­friend to marry him — Dun­ham, 35, vis­ited a hand­ful of cor­por­a­tions, trade as­so­ci­ations, and law firms in Wash­ing­ton be­fore ul­ti­mately de­cid­ing on McK­enna Long & Ald­ridge, where he took over last month as coun­sel in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment-af­fairs prac­tice.

Dun­ham, who was raised in north­ern Alabama, holds a bach­el­or’s de­gree from the Uni­versity of Alabama and a law de­gree from the Uni­versity of North Car­o­lina.

Asked what brought him to Wash­ing­ton, he says, “I figured out pretty early on in law school that you could make a big­ger dif­fer­ence ac­tu­ally writ­ing the laws “¦ than you could ar­guing in front of a judge on how to in­ter­pret a law that’s already been writ­ten. I think that made the de­cision for me.”

Dun­ham spent five years in Lauten­berg’s of­fice, help­ing to draft a ma­jor re­write of the Tox­ic Sub­stances Con­trol Act and to co­ordin­ate the sen­at­or’s re­sponse to Hur­ricane Sandy.

Chris­toph­er Snow Hop­kins

Trade As­so­ci­ations

At 19, Craig Al­bright was poised to enter the busi­ness world when he had an epi­phany.

“I real­ized that I was lit­er­ally watch­ing C-SPAN for fun,” says Al­bright, who re­cently be­came vice pres­id­ent for le­gis­lat­ive strategy at BSA | The Soft­ware Al­li­ance.

So the Michigan State Uni­versity un­der­gradu­ate ap­plied for an in­tern­ship with then-state Rep. Jon Jelle­ma of Michigan and was soon craft­ing le­gis­la­tion in place of Jelle­ma’s main policy ad­viser when the lat­ter went on ma­ter­nity leave. Be­fore Al­bright’s in­tern­ship was over, Jelle­ma had shep­her­ded an in­fra­struc­ture bill through the state House.

As vice pres­id­ent for le­gis­lat­ive strategy — a newly cre­ated po­s­i­tion — Al­bright will lead BSA’s lob­by­ing ef­forts in two areas: in­tel­lec­tu­al prop­erty and data. He is the second seni­or hire by Vic­tor­ia Es­pinel, who took over as pres­id­ent and CEO in Oc­to­ber.

Al­bright spent the pre­vi­ous four years as a spe­cial rep­res­ent­at­ive at the World Bank, where he ad­min­istered a glob­al gov­ern­ment-af­fairs pro­gram as a seni­or aide to Pres­id­ents Robert B. Zoel­lick and Jim Yong Kim.

Al­bright, 41, grew up in the De­troit sub­urbs, where his fath­er was a cor­por­ate ex­ec­ut­ive and his moth­er was the lead sop­rano for the De­troit Op­era House. (As a boy, Al­bright was an ex­tra in many of the troupe’s of­fer­ings, in­clud­ing The Mar­riage of Figaro.)

As a seni­or at Michigan State, Al­bright stayed with fam­ily friends in Wash­ing­ton while he im­plored law­makers to give him a job, even­tu­ally win­ning over the top aide to then-Rep. Joe Knol­len­berg, R-Mich.

Start­ing as a low-level staffer, Al­bright climbed to the top of the peck­ing or­der, serving as chief of staff to Knol­len­berg and later to Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas.

Be­fore mov­ing to the World Bank, Al­bright served as deputy as­sist­ant for le­gis­lat­ive af­fairs un­der Vice Pres­id­ent Dick Cheney and then as spe­cial as­sist­ant for le­gis­lat­ive af­fairs to Pres­id­ent George W. Bush.

He is mar­ried to Mary Beth Al­bright, a former lit­ig­at­or at Wil­li­ams & Con­nolly, who vaul­ted to star­dom after ap­pear­ing on a cook­ing com­pet­i­tion show on the Food Net­work. “We can’t go to res­taur­ants without people re­cog­niz­ing her or the man­ager com­ing out,” Craig Al­bright says.

Away from the of­fice, Al­bright ac­com­pan­ies his 6-year-old son — “an ab­so­lute sports fan­at­ic” — to Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als base­ball games, George Wash­ing­ton Uni­versity bas­ket­ball games, and Woo­drow Wilson High School base­ball games. Every morn­ing, his son races out to the door­step to re­trieve the news­pa­per and per­use the sports sec­tion.


In the Tanks

“Data visu­al­iz­a­tion” may be a hot phrase among Wash­ing­ton pro­fes­sion­als, but the concept is noth­ing new.

“More than 30,000 years ago, people were draw­ing on cave walls to com­mu­nic­ate in­form­a­tion about hunt­ing and gath­er­ing,” muses Jonath­an Schw­abish, who is join­ing the Urb­an In­sti­tute as a seni­or re­search­er and a data-visu­al­iz­a­tion ex­pert. “I ba­sic­ally think of data visu­al­iz­a­tion as “¦ graphs and visu­als that ef­fect­ively com­mu­nic­ate in­form­a­tion.”

At the Urb­an In­sti­tute, Schw­abish will help the think tank’s cadre of policy ex­perts move bey­ond pro­sa­ic graph­ics. “When most people cre­ate a chart with a tool like Mi­crosoft Ex­cel, they just use the de­faults,” he says.

Schw­abish, who comes to the Urb­an In­sti­tute from the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice, will also pur­sue his own re­search, such as de­vis­ing graph­ics to il­lus­trate the byz­antine So­cial Se­cur­ity be­ne­fit for­mula. A labor eco­nom­ist by train­ing, he main­tains that in­vent­ive graph­ics are now de ri­gueur among aca­dem­ics.

“In the world of eco­nom­ics, it used to be that a schol­ar would simply throw a line chart in his journ­al art­icle and go on his merry way,” he says. “Now, there’s this ac­know­ledg­ment that there are bet­ter ways to show data than have been re­cog­nized in the past.”

Schw­abish, 37, learned data visu­al­iz­a­tion through a “series of for­tu­nate events,” he says, be­gin­ning with a one-day course taught by Yale Uni­versity’s Ed­ward Tufte, whom Schw­abish calls the “god­fath­er of mod­ern data visu­al­iz­a­tion.”

At the time, Schw­abish was work­ing on a CBO re­port about So­cial Se­cur­ity be­ne­fits that in­cluded an un­wieldy spread­sheet. On Tufte’s ad­vice, Schw­abish em­bel­lished the data with a series of pie charts. “In a mo­ment, you can look at this long dis­play and you can im­me­di­ately see which op­tions did which,” Schw­abish says.

Schw­abish is a nat­ive of Buf­falo, N.Y. He holds a bach­el­or’s de­gree from the Uni­versity of Wis­con­sin and a doc­tor­ate in eco­nom­ics from Syra­cuse Uni­versity, where his dis­ser­ta­tion con­sisted of three es­says on in­equal­ity. Since ar­riv­ing at CBO in 2005, he has pub­lished re­ports on earn­ings and in­come in­equal­ity, im­mig­ra­tion, re­tire­ment se­cur­ity, data meas­ure­ment, and food stamps.

Last year, House Budget Com­mit­tee rank­ing mem­ber Chris Van Hol­len, D-Md., bran­dished one of Schw­abish’s in­fograph­ics dur­ing the an­nu­al long-term budget out­look meet­ing, prompt­ing a writer for Fast Com­pany to gush over the “go-get­ter in the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice “¦ who’s try­ing to visu­al­ize a more sens­ible fu­ture.”

When he isn’t sword-fight­ing with his 5-year-old son, Schw­abish con­ducts sci­ence ex­per­i­ments with his 7-year-old daugh­ter.


Trade As­so­ci­ations

Daniel Fab­ric­ant, who has re­turned to the Nat­ur­al Products As­so­ci­ation as its new CEO, is en­am­ored of nat­ur­ally oc­cur­ring rem­ed­ies.

“The things that come from nature — the com­pounds that come from nature — are just fas­cin­at­ing,” he says.

As a gradu­ate stu­dent at the Uni­versity of Illinois, Fab­ric­ant wrote his doc­tor­al dis­ser­ta­tion on black co­hosh, a flower­ing plant in­di­gen­ous to the Great Smoky Moun­tains that has been used for cen­tur­ies to treat men­o­pause. “These plants are ma­gic­al,” he says.

At the Nat­ur­al Products As­so­ci­ation, Fab­ric­ant will mon­it­or laws un­der con­sid­er­a­tion on Cap­it­ol Hill that have im­plic­a­tions for the in­dustry.

“When things hap­pen, they tend to hap­pen quickly,” he says. “There’s no time to get to­geth­er a big broad ini­ti­at­ive. You really have to already have the con­tacts in your Ro­lo­dex. We’re look­ing to re­in­vig­or­ate that func­tion and put more [boots]on the ground.”

Fab­ric­ant, who was most re­cently dir­ect­or of the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Di­vi­sion of Di­et­ary Sup­ple­ment Pro­grams, will also stay abreast of forth­com­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions.

“With this par­tic­u­lar ses­sion of Con­gress be­ing as grid­lock-y as it ap­pears to be, we have to keep an eye out on the reg­u­lat­ory side,” he says. “Any time you’ve got an en­vir­on­ment like this, the reg­u­lat­ory side tends to heat up where there may not be as much ad­vance­ment to the le­gis­lat­ive pro­cess.”

Fab­ric­ant, 38, grew up in Miami. His moth­er, broth­er, and sis­ter are all ac­count­ants. “I be­came the black sheep of the fam­ily when I pur­sued sci­ence,” he says.

After re­ceiv­ing a bach­el­or’s de­gree from the Uni­versity of North Car­o­lina, Fab­ric­ant re­turned to Miami to work in Miami-Dade County’s Med­ic­al Ex­am­iner De­part­ment un­der Joe Dav­is, one of the ex­perts called in the O.J. Simpson murder case. “Dav­is is really the fath­er of forensic patho­logy,” Fab­ric­ant says.

After re­ceiv­ing a Ph.D. in phar­ma­cognosy, Fab­ric­ant joined the Nat­ur­al Products As­so­ci­ation, first as vice pres­id­ent of glob­al gov­ern­ment and sci­entif­ic af­fairs and later as act­ing CEO.

At the FDA, he over­saw reg­u­la­tion of the $32 bil­lion di­et­ary-sup­ple­ment in­dustry, whose products are used by more than 180 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans daily. 


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