Tom O'Donnell, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
©2012 Richard A. Bloom
Add to Briefcase
Brianna Mcclane and Christopher Snow Hopkins
June 28, 2012, noon


Tom O’Don­nell

The Na­tion­al As­so­ci­ation of Chain Drug Stores has named Tom O’Don­nell, chief of staff for out­go­ing Rep. Steven Roth­man, D-N.J., as its vice pres­id­ent of fed­er­al-gov­ern­ment af­fairs, ef­fect­ive Ju­ly 9. O’Don­nell ar­rives dur­ing what he de­scribes as a “his­tor­ic mo­ment” for the as­so­ci­ation. As the health care in­dustry comes to terms with the Su­preme Court’s de­cision on the Af­ford­able Care Act, he in­sists that the as­so­ci­ation will be a big play­er in the months ahead. “One of the cri­ti­cisms of the [law] has been cost con­trol…. Well, this or­gan­iz­a­tion is in a po­s­i­tion to bring costs down for av­er­age Amer­ic­ans.”

O’Don­nell was raised in Boon­ville, N.Y., in the foot­hills of the Ad­iron­dack Moun­tains. After gradu­at­ing from the State Uni­versity of New York at Platt­s­burgh, he came to Wash­ing­ton as an in­tern and later a le­gis­lat­ive as­sist­ant for then-Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-Colo. The 48-year-old has been a fix­ture in the House ever since, serving as an aide to then-Rep. Lane Evans, D-Ill.; a pro­fes­sion­al staff mem­ber on the House Vet­er­ans’ Af­fairs Com­mit­tee; and chief of staff to Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., and then-Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill. His cur­rent em­ploy­er, Roth­man, was soundly de­feated in a June 5 Demo­crat­ic primary by his col­league in the New Jer­sey del­eg­a­tion, Rep. Bill Pascrell.

Two weeks ago, O’Don­nell re­ceived a let­ter from the Con­gres­sion­al Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on con­grat­u­lat­ing him on 25 years of ser­vice. It is a du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion, he says. “I’ve been do­ing this for 25 years? Some­times I have to pinch my­self.”

Chris­toph­er Snow Hop­kins


Chris Wal­ters

Chris Wal­ters, the new seni­or dir­ect­or of gov­ern­ment re­la­tions at the Small Busi­ness In­vestor Al­li­ance, is a third-gen­er­a­tion en­tre­pren­eur. His grand­fath­er, fath­er, and moth­er have all owned small busi­nesses — an air­plane clean­ing ser­vice, a plumb­ing com­pany, and a travel agency, re­spect­ively.

Hence, “en­tre­pren­eur­i­al­ism is in my blood,” Wal­ters says, by way of ex­plain­ing why he has spent most of his ca­reer cham­pi­on­ing the in­terests of small busi­ness. At the in­vestor al­li­ance, he will rep­res­ent private-equity firms in­vest­ing in small busi­nesses. The as­so­ci­ation’s mem­bers have a stake in the on­go­ing tax-re­form de­bate, and Wal­ters says he in­tends to be “on the of­fense” to en­sure that “in­cent­ives in the tax code are aligned with the real­it­ies of small busi­ness.” This may be his only chance for dec­ades to come; the last ma­jor over­haul of the tax code was in 1986.

Wal­ters says that it was not un­til his seni­or year at Geor­getown Uni­versity that he real­ized he wanted to work in the pub­lic-policy arena. The year was 2000, and Vice Pres­id­ent Al Gore and then-Gov. George W. Bush were locked in a tight pres­id­en­tial race. Wal­ters ana­lyzed the twists and turns of the un­fold­ing saga and in­cor­por­ated his find­ings in­to his course work. “That race was what really hooked me,” he says.

After gradu­at­ing, he in­terned with then-Sen. Rick San­tor­um, R-Pa., and was promptly pro­moted to le­gis­lat­ive as­sist­ant. The of­fice’s bête noir, Wal­ters jokes, was San­tor­um’s Sen­ate coun­ter­part, Ar­len Specter. “One of the more mem­or­able mo­ments dur­ing that time was when [our soft­ball team] faced off against Team Specter,” he says. “I’m pretty sure we won, but I can’t tell you for cer­tain.” Asked if he was sur­prised by San­tor­um’s for­mid­able per­form­ance in the re­cent Re­pub­lic­an pres­id­en­tial primar­ies, Wal­ters says, “The op­por­tun­ity was there for him, and he took ad­vant­age of it. He cam­paigned in every one of Iowa’s [99] counties.”

In 2004, Wal­ters en­lis­ted in the Bush-Cheney pres­id­en­tial cam­paign and was de­ployed to cent­ral Pennsylvania. The Key­stone State went blue that year, but Wal­ters de­scribes it as a Pyrrhic vic­tory for the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who “wouldn’t have won without di­vert­ing re­sources from oth­er battle­ground states.”

After the elec­tion, Wal­ters re­turned to Wash­ing­ton, ac­cept­ing a po­s­i­tion in the Treas­ury De­part­ment’s Of­fice of Le­gis­lat­ive Af­fairs. In 2005, after Hur­ricane Kat­rina battered the Gulf Coast, he helped to draft the Kat­rina Emer­gency Tax Re­lief Act, which aided storm vic­tims. Wal­ters says that Demo­crats re­cycled cer­tain com­pon­ents of the bill, such as bo­nus de­pre­ci­ation, in the 2009 eco­nom­ic-stim­u­lus pack­age.

The 34-year-old was most re­cently seni­or man­ager for le­gis­lat­ive af­fairs for the Na­tion­al Fed­er­a­tion of In­de­pend­ent Busi­ness, which has been chip­ping away at the 2010 Af­ford­able Care Act since its in­cep­tion. Last year, the group was in­stru­ment­al in push­ing for a law that re­pealed the le­gis­la­tion’s un­pop­u­lar 1099 tax-re­port­ing pro­vi­sion.



Mary Frances Kertz

Mary Frances Kertz-new at the Lampkin Group (C) 2012 Lauren Carroll

Mary Frances Kertz provides a glob­al per­spect­ive as the new as­sist­ant vice pres­id­ent in fed­er­al-gov­ern­ment re­la­tions at the Mass­Mu­tu­al Fin­an­cial Group. Kertz re­turned to the United States in Novem­ber after two years in China. At the fin­an­cial group, she will lobby on fin­an­cial-ser­vices is­sues while mon­it­or­ing tax re­form. Mass­Mu­tu­al has of­fices around the globe, which is per­fect for the vet­er­an world trav­el­er.

Kertz, 30, cred­its her fam­ily’s road trips as the source of her travel bug. In fact, on one of her par­ents’ solo trips to Ire­land, they stumbled upon a castle con­ver­ted in­to a board­ing school. Kertz spent one of her high school years board­ing in that school, run by nuns for in­ter­na­tion­al stu­dents. “It was really a great ex­per­i­ence to learn about oth­er people’s cul­ture,” the St. Louis nat­ive says. “And at the age of 15, to have that per­spect­ive helped carve a lot of my out­look throughout my life.”

The per­spect­ive stuck. She has traveled to more than 20 coun­tries and gained ex­per­i­ence in the in­ter­na­tion­al sus­tain­able-de­vel­op­ment field in the pro­cess. Her pro­mo­tion path at the Treas­ury De­part­ment — from spe­cial as­sist­ant, to the deputy as­sist­ant sec­ret­ary for le­gis­lat­ive af­fairs, to spe­cial ad­viser for the U.S.-China Stra­tegic and Eco­nom­ic Dia­logue — provided the back­ground she wanted. “I truly woke up every morn­ing ex­cited to go to work,” she says. “We worked really hard, but it was a really ex­cit­ing and re­ward­ing place to work.”

She dealt with U.S.-China re­la­tions and moved to­ward her long-term goal of work­ing in China. She con­sul­ted friends and col­leagues and for­mu­lated a plan. In 2010, she moved to China and en­rolled in a Man­dar­in lan­guage-im­mer­sion pro­gram for four months, while job hunt­ing. “If I didn’t want it as badly as I did, it would have been very dif­fi­cult to achieve,” she says. “I just re­mained very di­li­gent.”

And the hard work paid off. Kertz landed a po­s­i­tion as a seni­or op­er­a­tions of­ficer at the U.S.-China En­ergy Co­oper­a­tion Pro­gram. She says that the ex­per­i­ence taught her a lot, not only about Chinese and U.S. busi­ness re­la­tions but also about people. “I was re­minded that, fun­da­ment­ally, people are very sim­il­ar no mat­ter where you are,” she says. “We all want kind of the same things. We want the op­por­tun­ity to work hard and provide the best for our fam­il­ies.”

After re­turn­ing stateside in Novem­ber, Kertz spent sev­en months as a con­sult­ant at the Lamp­kin Group, a pub­lic-af­fairs firm, be­fore join­ing Mass­Mu­tu­al on June 11.

Bri­anna Mc­Clane


Ed­win Elf­mann

Ed­win Elf­mann, a spe­cial­ist in ag­ri­cul­ture policy, is the new seni­or le­gis­lat­ive rep­res­ent­at­ive for the Amer­ic­an Bankers As­so­ci­ation. He was most re­cently a le­gis­lat­ive as­sist­ant for Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

Elf­mann, 26, was raised on a 1,000-acre farm sev­en miles out­side of Maple Lake, Minn. Com­pared with op­er­at­ing a farm, he says, for­mu­lat­ing policy is a leis­urely oc­cu­pa­tion. “Out there, 12-hour days are part of the busi­ness; I joke that any­thing I do in D.C. is easi­er than bal­ing hay.” As a teen­ager, Elf­mann milked cows at the crack of dawn and “hauled grain” to the Twin Cit­ies, an hour’s drive.

As an un­der­gradu­ate at Ham­line Uni­versity in St. Paul, Minn., he con­sidered ma­jor­ing in chem­istry but later de­cided on polit­ic­al sci­ence, a dis­cip­line more closely tied to cur­rent events. “I came to the con­clu­sion that, if I opened a news­pa­per, I was go­ing to read an art­icle about polit­ics be­fore I read an art­icle about chem­istry.”

Elf­mann ex­pec­ted to be­come a high school so­cial-stud­ies teach­er but changed his ca­reer path after an in­tern­ship with then-Sen. Norm Cole­man, R-Minn. Three weeks after gradu­at­ing from Ham­line, the young man headed to Wash­ing­ton, even­tu­ally tak­ing a job with the Na­tion­al Corn Grow­ers As­so­ci­ation.

One year later, Elf­mann found him­self at the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment, where he func­tioned as a “util­ity man,” he says. “Any­thing they could throw at me, I picked up.” After re­ceiv­ing a mas­ter’s de­gree in polit­ic­al man­age­ment from George Wash­ing­ton Uni­versity, he joined King’s of­fice as a le­gis­lat­ive as­sist­ant re­spons­ible for the law­maker’s ag­ri­cul­ture port­fo­lio.

Elf­mann’s “stress re­liev­er” is rugby. As a hook­er for the Wash­ing­ton Rugby Foot­ball Club, he com­petes in the spring, sum­mer, and fall, trav­el­ing as far north as Pitt­s­burgh and as far south as Raleigh, N.C. The winter is re­served for strength and aer­obic train­ing.



Josh Saltz­man

Josh Saltzman, Vice president for global government affairs at Airlines for America Chet Susslin

Josh Saltz­man, un­til re­cently chief of staff for Rep. Pete Ses­sions, R-Texas, has joined Air­lines for Amer­ica as vice pres­id­ent for glob­al gov­ern­ment af­fairs. He will re­port to CEO Nich­olas Calio, a former White House as­sist­ant for le­gis­lat­ive af­fairs in both the George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tions.

Ori­gin­ally from Bucks County, Pa., out­side Phil­adelphia, Saltz­man at­ten­ded the Col­lege of Wil­li­am and Mary, where he was act­ive in the Col­lege Re­pub­lic­ans. After gradu­at­ing in 1999, he spent a year work­ing for then-Rep. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., be­fore pur­su­ing a mas­ter’s of philo­sophy in in­ter­na­tion­al peace stud­ies at Trin­ity Col­lege, Dub­lin.

Re­turn­ing to Wash­ing­ton, Saltz­man star­ted as a le­gis­lat­ive as­sist­ant for Rep. Ed Royce, R-Cal­if., but ul­ti­mately landed a job with Ses­sions, vice chair­man of the Rules Com­mit­tee. As the en­for­cer of par­lia­ment­ary pro­tocol, the pan­el func­tions as a clear­ing­house for le­gis­la­tion, Saltz­man says, which gave him “the op­por­tun­ity to get in­volved in just about every le­gis­lat­ive area.” When Ses­sions was elec­ted chair­man of the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Con­gres­sion­al Com­mit­tee in 2008, Saltz­man was pro­moted to chief of staff. (His pre­de­cessor, Guy Har­ris­on, had va­cated that po­s­i­tion to be­come the NR­CC’s ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or.)

Now 34, Saltz­man is a young­ster com­pared with Wash­ing­ton’s eld­er states­men. Asked if Con­gress is more po­lar­ized today than when he star­ted, he says, “I don’t think it’s more or less po­lar­ized; I think there’s a lot of at­ten­tion paid by the press to wheth­er it’s po­lar­ized.” Saltz­man is a cap­able golfer, but with an in­fant daugh­ter at home, “I haven’t touched a club in months,” he says.



Sam Beard

“All you need are big, simple ideas,” says Sam Beard, who cel­eb­rated 50 years of work­ing on pub­lic is­sues this month. “You don’t need to be a geni­us.”

In 1968, the former aide to Sen. Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., hatched an idea that would pump $179 bil­lion of cap­it­al in­to Amer­ica’s in­ner cit­ies over the next 20 years. In a cramped, one-room Man­hat­tan apart­ment, he re­ima­gined the re­la­tion­ship between Amer­ic­an small busi­nesses and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment.

“The ori­gin­al idea was very simple,” he re­calls. “Here’s Amer­ica, a land of tre­mend­ous op­por­tun­ity and dreams, but there’s too big of a gap between haves and have-nots”…. What we wanted to do was show that small busi­ness could be a job cre­at­or, just like the For­tune 500 com­pan­ies.”

At the heart of in­come in­equal­ity was “red­lining,” a prac­tice whereby banks and oth­er in­sti­tu­tions denied loans to minor­ity com­munit­ies. “No one would ever stand up and say, “˜Watch me, I’m a red­liner,’ “ Beard says. “They would deny it vehe­mently.” The solu­tion: gov­ern­ment guar­an­tees. Ab­solved of risk, banks had a strong in­cent­ive to pump cap­it­al in­to small and minor­ity-owned busi­nesses, a po­ten­tially luc­rat­ive mar­ket. The solu­tion was simply a mat­ter of cre­at­ing an ap­par­at­us for pub­lic-private lend­ing.

Be­fore long, Beard had the at­ten­tion of Howard Samuels, in­vent­or of the “bag­gie” and then-dir­ect­or of the Small Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion. At one point, Samuels sat in Beard’s liv­ing room as 30 vo­lun­teers milled around. “He couldn’t be­lieve the en­ergy,” Beard says. “He said, “˜God damn it, more is go­ing on in this apart­ment than any­where else in the coun­try!’ “

Some years later, with the help of then-Sen. Sam Nunn, D-Ga., and then-Rep. John La­Falce, D-N.Y., Beard es­tab­lished the SBA’s Sec­tion 504 Loan Pro­gram, fo­cused on loc­al-com­pany de­vel­op­ment. One by one, Beard helped teach Bank of Amer­ica, Wells Fargo, Cit­ibank, and oth­er lend­ing in­sti­tu­tions how to is­sue in­ner-city small-busi­ness loans backed by gov­ern­ment guar­an­tees. The pro­gram would take on a life of its own: Beard has worked with sev­en ad­min­is­tra­tions — Demo­crat­ic and Re­pub­lic­an — since the pro­gram’s in­cep­tion.

Beard, 73, was born and raised in New York City. Even though his fath­er, a stock­broker, was heir to a mod­est for­tune, his moth­er did not al­low Beard and his two broth­ers to “just sit in a chair,” he says. All three at­ten­ded Yale Uni­versity, and all three have suc­ceeded: An­son M. Beard Jr. is ad­vis­ory dir­ect­or of Mor­gan Stan­ley, and Peter Beard is an ac­claimed pho­to­graph­er.

After col­lege, Sam Beard taught for a year at the Hotch­kiss School, a private board­ing school in Lakeville, Conn. Told he needed a law de­gree to enter pub­lic ser­vice, he en­rolled in Stan­ford Law School — “like a lem­ming,” he says — but left three-quar­ters of the way through his first year. Re­turn­ing to New York City, he served as a staff as­sist­ant to then-May­or Robert Wag­n­er and later as an aide to Sen. Kennedy. When Kennedy was gunned down at the Am­bas­sad­or Hotel in Los Angeles on June 6, 1968, Beard re­treated to his Man­hat­tan apart­ment, where he laid the ground­work for what would be­come the SBA’s sig­na­ture loan pro­gram. As a co­rol­lary to his work with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, he foun­ded the non­profit Na­tion­al De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil, which now op­er­ates in more than 130 com­munit­ies and fa­cil­it­ates $500 mil­lion to $800 mil­lion of fin­an­cing per year. He is still chair­man of the coun­cil.

In 1972, Beard cofoun­ded the Jef­fer­son Awards for Pub­lic Ser­vice with Jac­queline Kennedy Onas­sis and the late Sen. Robert Taft Jr., R-Ohio.



Car­o­lyn Al­ston

Car­o­lyn Al­ston is a sage of ac­quis­i­tion. The new ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent and gen­er­al coun­sel at the Co­ali­tion for Gov­ern­ment Pro­cure­ment star­ted work­ing at the Gen­er­al Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion while still in law school — and she has in­hab­ited the realm of pro­cure­ment policy ever since.

The 62-year-old was most re­cently gen­er­al coun­sel at the Wash­ing­ton Man­age­ment Group, a Del­tek sub­si­di­ary that rep­res­ents com­mer­cial con­tract­ors. A nat­ive of New Haven, Conn., Al­ston stud­ied so­ci­ology at Cor­nell Uni­versity and at­ten­ded the Geor­getown Uni­versity Law Cen­ter. After more than a dec­ade in GSA’s leg­al of­fice, she served as the agency’s as­sist­ant com­mis­sion­er in charge of the Mul­tiple Award Sched­ules pro­gram, which en­com­passes $50 bil­lion in gov­ern­ment con­tracts. Over the course of 30 years with the agency, she watched the GSA shrink from a work­force of 40,000 to about 20,000.



Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.