Twenty-five years ago, Tom Lynch impersonated his boss so that the latter could woo the daughter of a prominent citizen without his knowing. He also deserted the king of England on the field of battle, prompting the beleaguered sovereign to call for the execution of Lynch’s son and heir.
“That was a long time ago,” Lynch says.
As an undergraduate at James Madison University, in Harrisonburg, Va., Lynch helped create what would become the American Shakespeare Company and, in the process, played a number of sycophants and scheming potentates, such as Tranio in The Taming of the Shrew and Lord Stanley in Richard III.
Last month, Lynch joined the lobbying practice of Ice Miller Strategies, where he will represent clients in transportation, defense, health care, federal acquisition and leasing, and other sectors. He was most recently staff director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee.
A native of Vienna, Va., Lynch blames his wonkish disposition at least partly on The Washington Post. “I can remember the front page when President Reagan was shot,” he says. “I can remember the front page when President Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize. Those are things you grow up with.”
Lynch, 46, also served as legislative director for Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.
Christopher Snow Hopkins
As a senior at Georgetown University in 2005-06, Olivia Alair got the political bug during an internship at the Democratic National Committee and came to admire Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, a party stalwart who was chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
After graduation, Alair landed a job in Biden’s office and ended up becoming his deputy press secretary in Iowa during his short-lived run for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. When Biden dropped out shortly after a fifth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, Alair returned to his Washington office, but by midsummer she was working on Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign as a spokeswoman in the critical state of Ohio. “It was ground zero and an exciting place to be,” Alair says.
After Biden was elected vice president, Alair helped his appointed successor get settled in the Senate and then became deputy press secretary and eventually press secretary for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The 28-year-old native of West Hartford, Conn., helped LaHood develop what is likely to be his legacy project: trying to stem the rising tide of accidents caused by distracted drivers.
“He saw some of the emerging information on this issue “… and used the bully pulpit to call attention to it,” Alair says. “He has saved innumerable lives because he’s raised awareness of the issue.” But there’s still a long way to go. Alair says she now walks to work every day and counts the number of drivers navigating Dupont Circle with cell phones pressed against their ears.
Right after Thanksgiving in 2011, Alair was asked to join the Obama campaign again, this time as press secretary to the first lady. What followed was the most intense year of her life, traveling with Michelle Obama across the country and handling media inquiries by the thousands. “I had a front-row seat watching history,” she says.
The experience was exhilarating — and exhausting. “Sleep and campaigns are not compatible,” she says. When it was over, Alair decided to “go dark” for two months to recharge.
She resurfaced this month to start her new position at SKDKnickerbocker as vice president in the consulting firm’s public-affairs and crisis-communications practice.
IN THE TANKS
With a donnish aspect and tweedy wardrobe, Roger Scruton is an unlikely addition to the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s stable of senior fellows. But the British theorist and cultural observer regards the Washington-based think tank — which takes as its mission the application of Judeo-Christian morality to public policy — as the ideal platform for a philosopher-at-large.
“You could say that my project at the center is just being me,” he says, speaking on the phone from England. “I’m a freelance writer and thinker — being at the center is a very good way of maintaining that identity.”
Scruton will ponder the implications of neuroscience for the humanities at large. “In a way, neuroscience is confiscating the agenda and reshaping it as something pseudoscientific,” he says. “I’ve been quite concerned about this”…. Neuroscience is invading people’s conception of legal responsibility. It’s giving a ready-made excuse to criminals, who can get off with a brain-scan defense”…. People do not fully understand the natural forms of reasoning with which we deal with human predicaments.”
Views such as these set Scruton apart from other denizens of the think-tank milieu, who tend to eschew bold pronouncements. But Scruton is nothing if not provocative, as was evident during last year’s donnybrook over Frank Gehry’s controversial design for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, to be located opposite the National Air and Space Museum. Even as the art establishment rallied to the support of the illustrious architect, the Brit cautioned against bombast, kitsch, and other pitfalls of monument-building.
Scruton was born in Manchester, England, and received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Cambridge University. He has taught periodically over the years — with appointments at Boston University, Princeton University, Oxford University, and the University of St. Andrews — but his main occupation has been writing. He has published close to three dozen books.
Scruton, 68, was previously a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. When not meditating on questions of aesthetics and urbanism, he hunts on horseback in the manner of the English gentry.
Speaking the language of the federal budget can go a long way toward advancing a career in Washington. Just ask James Hearn, recently installed at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a nonprofit set up by Congress in 2002 to oversee audits of public companies and investment brokers.
Hearn, 53, was hired as the board’s “budget nerd,” he says, after spending 10 years with the Congressional Budget Office and nearly 18 years on the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee.
He grew up in Maryland in Hyattsville and Beltsville, and studied public policy on both coasts before returning home to dive into the real work of government finance. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Boston University and a master’s at the University of California (Berkeley), working there for Aaron Wildavsky, a pioneer in the field of risk management.
“I wanted to work in the process, as opposed to studying it,” he says, so Hearn joined some of his Berkeley colleagues who had gone to work at CBO in 1984, a decade after its establishment.
Ten years of preparing cost estimates for federal programs led him to the Budget Committee in January 1995, when Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., became chairman. “The new majority gets to hire a bunch of people,” Hearn says, “and they needed someone who spoke CBO.”
One of his fondest memories, he says, is huddling with Domenici in his Capitol hideaway along with budget leaders from both chambers in 1997, negotiating a deficit-reduction measure that turned into a reconciliation bill that formed the basis for the federal budget.
Hearn stayed on the Budget Committee staff under three more GOP chairs and ranking members: then-Sens. Don Nickles of Oklahoma and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, as well as the panel’s current ranking member, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Over Hearn’s tenure, he moved from senior analyst to deputy staff director to his last position, director of federal programs and budget process.
Although it’s widely believed that Congress has become much more partisan in recent years, Hearn says his role on the committee staff has mostly stayed the same. But he did feel it was time for a change. “I’d been there for 18 years,” he says.
In good times and bad, government contractors almost always have job openings, and Charlie Eye knows how to fill them with just the right people.
Eye, 52, is the new vice president of government solutions at Futurestep, a division of the Los Angeles-based recruiting giant Korn/Ferry. Working out of Futurestep’s office in Reston, Va., Eye helps government agencies and contractors find workers to fill all types of positions, from the executive level on down.
“A company that wins a contract may need 100 engineers in 90 days,” Eye says. “We can go out and find them.”
Eye, who grew up in Loudoun County, Va., got into the recruiting field not long after graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in marketing. In 1994, he founded his own consulting practice, Employer Services, which grew to more than 150 employees serving defense contractors in particular, including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and BAE Systems.
ESC was acquired by two different companies in 2007 and 2010, and Eye stayed on both times as development director. He moved in November to Futurestep, which opened shop in 1998 and now has 850-plus employees.
“I have a passion for the recruiting business,” Eye says. “I feel like this is a good time for government to look at firms like ours that are good at doing things smaller and faster.”
IN THE TANKS
Katherine Jett Hayes
“I’m a little schizophrenic,” Katherine Jett Hayes concedes. “My father is a staunch Republican, but my mother comes from a liberal, blue-collar background. I’ve always had a foot in each camp.”
Since arriving in Washington, Hayes has vacillated between the Democratic and Republican parties to an extent that is “pretty much unheard of,” she says. In 1988, when she was an unpaid intern for then-Rep. Cardiss Collins, D-Ill., she volunteered at night for Bob Dole’s presidential campaign. And while she says she might “identify more with Democrats in some instances,” Hayes is married to a Republican stalwart — Mark Hayes, a former health policy adviser to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Earlier this month, Hayes was named director of health policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a redoubt of pragmatism and a repository of elder statesmen (including six former Senate majority leaders). In recent years, the center has resurrected the ideal of bipartisanship and demonstrated the efficacy of extra-governmental public-policy mills. “We don’t spend much time working on things because we think they’re nifty,” says Jason Grumet, the organization’s president. “This differentiates the tone of our exercise from more-academic institutions.”
In keeping with this philosophy, Hayes will compile a “list of options” for dealing with what many regard as the single greatest threat to American prosperity: soaring health care costs. “My aim is to strike a balance between looking at some of the entitlement programs “… while at the same time protecting the most vulnerable populations and making sure the programs still function as intended,” she says.
Hayes will work with Sheila Burke, a former chief of staff to Bob Dole, and Chris Jennings, a former special assistant to President Clinton for health policy. “I worked with them in the ‘90s, so it’s sort of like getting the band back together.”
Hayes, 51, was raised in Midland, N.C., which was little more than “a crossroads with a flashing light.” After majoring in international studies at the University of North Carolina, she returned to Midland briefly before seeking a job in Charlotte, the nearest city of any size.
“I had this dream of working for North Carolina National Bank [later Bank of America],” she says. “When they told me I would have to move to the Miami office, I said, “˜No problem.’”… The guy looked at me across the desk and said, “˜Now, why would a little ol’ thing like you want to move so far away from your mama and your daddy?’ “
Instead of joining the bank, Hayes took a job as a billing clerk in a nearby hospital, which was in the process of replacing Medicare’s cost-based reimbursement scheme with a prospective payment system. Although a “mere flunky,” Hayes took it upon herself to reprogram the billing department’s software.
Some years later, she had established herself in Washington as an aide to Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas. When he died in a plane crash near the Ethiopia-Sudan border in 1989, Hayes applied for a position with a three-term senator from New England who seemed to embody Leland’s “deep concern for the health care safety net, especially as it [related] to low-income individuals.” He happened to be a Republican.
“There’s really not that much difference, policy-wise, between Democrats and moderate Republicans,” Hayes says. “Plus, [the late Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island] didn’t seem to mind that I used to work for a Democrat.”
More recently, Hayes served as a health policy adviser to then-Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., and as vice president for health policy at Jennings Policy Strategies. She arrives at the Bipartisan Policy Center from George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services, where she was an associate research professor.
Hayes and her husband belong to “Health Wonks Who Tri,” a Facebook group of policy experts who train for triathlons. “A year ago, when I faced [the prospect of] turning 50, I started worrying about chronic diseases. As a health wonk, I know what can befall you.”