Our Team

Meet the ACG Team

We succeed when our clients succeed. We deliver meaningful results through clarity of purpose, consistent superior service, professional conduct and our complete commitment.

ACG provides honest, objective and experienced advice. Our team of diverse professionals possesses an unparalleled depth of both policy and political expertise. Our breadth of government reach allows us to gather and interpret information in a way that few others can.

We have a deep understanding of both the inside and the outside language of Washington. We work with you to synthesize complex issues and communicate them succinctly and directly in a way that both engages and motivates the target audience.

Unique to our firm, ACG employs a fully collaborative best resources approach to issue management. While there is a primary point of contact for specific projects, all managing partners and firm principals stay actively involved to ensure the most effective use of our resources.

Our clients call us when they have a major strategic or operational need or an organizational challenge. They have come to rely on ACG for its leadership, experienced management and results.

Sarah Abernathy

Sarah Abernathy joined the American Continental Group in 2016 primarily to serve as Deputy Director of the Committee for Education Funding.  She has close to 30 years of experience working on education and budget issues in both Congress and in the Administration, including at the Department of Education, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

For the previous 18 years Sarah worked on the House Budget Committee Democratic staff, most recently serving as Senior Policy Coordinator focusing on budget issues relating to education, social services, and job training as well as environmental issues.  She helped lead and manage the staff to develop goals and policy, including budget legislation.  As the education staffer, she was responsible for collaborating with a range of stakeholders including the Administration, the advocacy community, the Congressional Budget Office, and Members of Congress to create and analyze budget options and craft strategies for their successful adoption.  She developed special expertise in student financial aid policy, appropriations analysis, and budget process.  Earlier in her career she spent 6 years as a legislative assistant for Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Rep. Jim Moody (D-WI).

From 1994-1998 Sarah worked at the U.S. Department of Education in the Planning and Evaluation Service where she focused on rehabilitation services and adult and vocational education issues.  During that time, she was detailed to the Office of Management and Budget’s education branch where she supervised policy and budgets for special education and vocational rehabilitation.  She was also detailed to the Health and Human Services’ regional office in San Francisco where she worked on child care and Head Start programs. 

Sarah graduated from Williams College and also earned a Master’s in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.

Molly Ahearn

Molly Ahearn arrived at ACG on Super Tuesday in March 2016 with over a decade's worth of government and non-profit experience. Ms. Ahearn was most recently Director of Government Affairs for the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) where she lobbied both the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats, for the owners of more than 22,000 independent community pharmacies that represent an $81.4 billion healthcare marketplace and employed more than 314,000 individuals. 

Prior to NCPA, Ms. Ahearn was Director of Congressional Affairs at the the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) where she represented 430 multi-specialty medical groups that employ over 150,000 physicians who annually treat more than 120 million patients in 49 states.

After graduating from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Women's and Gender Studies, Ms. Ahearn began her career in government with U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer from New York. Over the course of 5 years Ms. Ahearn held a variety of administrative and policy positions with Senator Schumer: from Deputy Scheduler in his Manhattan office to Policy Advisor on the Joint Economic Committee during the Senator's Chairmanship of the committee. Ms. Ahearn worked on a range of issues including financial services, consumer protection and healthcare though the passage of both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Financial Regulatory Reform Act. 

Ms. Ahearn also worked in the House of Representatives for Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY-3) where her portfolio included healthcare, social security, elderly/senior issues, financial services, budget, tax, consumer protection, campaign finance reform, trade, telecommunications, labor and agriculture.

In 2012 Ms. Ahearn graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts in Government and a concentration in Political Communications. Through her father, she is a 4th generation Washingtonian. She lives in the District in Northeast with her boyfriend Alec and her dog Mowgli.

Michael Barbera

Michael Barbera joined American Continental Group in 2005, bringing extensive high-level lobbying, political and public relations experience to the firm. Prior to joining American Continental Group, Mr. Barbera was Vice President for Government Affairs and Public Relations at MGB Ltd., a lobbying firm specializing in defense and homeland security issues. He coordinated the firm’s political activities and directed the firm’s government relations work on Capitol Hill.

Prior to moving to the private sector, Mr. Barbera worked for three and a half years as Chief of Staff to Congressman Curt Weldon. In this role, he was responsible for overseeing all of the Congressman’s legislative, political and communications efforts – including his work as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Barbera also brings a wealth of public relations experience to the American Continental Group, having worked for two leading public relations firms and directing public relations for a large national non-profit business organization. In these positions, he worked on a variety of issues, including financial services, health care, welfare reform and business regulations. In 1996, his public relations work won the prestigious American Communicator Award for op-ed placement.

In addition, he served for five years as Press Secretary for Congressman Weldon and as national political reporter for the National Catholic Register.

Mr. Barbera graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1989, with a B.A. in history.

Sheryl V. Cohen

Sheryl V. Cohen joined the American Continental Group in 2008. She is a veteran Senate staffer with nearly two decades of management, strategic planning, political, communications and fundraising experience.  She has an extensive and diverse universe of contacts with members of the Senate and House and their staffs, as well as throughout the field of politics and campaigns.

Ms. Cohen served as Chief of Staff to United States Senator Christopher J. Dodd from 1999 to 2008, with the exception of the time she spent from January 2007-January 2008 managing his presidential campaign effort. During her tenure as Chief of Staff, her responsibilities included the Senator’s Chairmanship of the Committee on Banking with its broad jurisdiction over financial institutions, as well as his involvement in education, health, and other important issues before the Senate.  She managed a staff of seventy-five and was responsible for the development and strategic execution of all policy, communications, and office management.  She oversaw a budget of nearly six million dollars, all hiring and staff management, and the integration of competing Washington, Connecticut, and political responsibilities.

As Campaign Manager of the Dodd for President Campaign, she recruited a staff of over one hundred and thirty, built strategic ground operations in multiple states, created and managed departments in research, communications, policy, technology, political, field, fundraising and administration.  The campaign raised nearly sixteen million dollars from a diverse national network ranging from leadership in the fields of business, finance and technology to extensive grassroots on-line support.

From 1995 – 1999 Ms. Cohen served as Senator Dodd’s Political Director during his tenure as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee (1995-1996) and as the Finance Director for his 1998 six million dollar reelection campaign.

Ms. Cohen also served as the Finance Director for Senator Joe Lieberman’s successful 1994 Senate campaign and prior to that was his liaison on women’s and children’s issues and grassroots organizing in the state of Connecticut.

She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and attended the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service.

Manus Cooney
Manus Cooney joined the firm in 2010, bringing with him a preeminent public policy practice specializing in intellectual property, competition, tax, and administration of justice policy matters. ACG’s clients will have the benefit of his expertise in strategic public policy planning, execution, and representation before federal agencies and Congress.
 
Prior to joining ACG, Mr. Cooney served as President of the consulting firms TCH Group and Potomac Counsel from 2003-2010. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Cooney served as Senior Vice President and Policy Counsel for the file-sharing company Napster, Inc. He was responsible for setting the company's strategic course on public policy and product development issues. He served as the principal liaison to the White House, the Department of Justice, Congressional offices, industry leaders, and the media on key technology policy and product issues.
 
Mr. Cooney served with distinction on Capitol Hill for several years. From 1996-2000, Mr. Cooney served as Chief Counsel & Staff Director of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was the principal legal and policy advisor to the Committee’s Chairman, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT). Mr. Cooney was primarily responsible for the development and stewardship of the Committee’s legislative, executive, and oversight agendas.
 
Mr. Cooney has had many leadership roles. Sen. John McCain appointed Mr. Cooney to the Justice Advisory Committee of the McCain for President Campaign. Mr. Cooney currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children.  He’s previously served on the Boards of the Churchill Centre & Churchill Museum and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. He is a Member of the Federal City Council, Economic Club of Washington, D.C., Federalist Society and the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
 
Mr. Cooney holds degrees from Villanova University and the University of Baltimore Law School.
Matt Dolan
Matt Dolan has decades of experience in tax policy and tax practice, and has worked extensively on major tax policy initiatives as both an attorney in private practice and a U.S. Senate staff attorney.
 
Prior to joining ACG, Matt was a Director at the Federal Policy Group, a leading Washington tax policy boutique, from 2007-2015, and was a partner at the law firm of Baker Hostetler from 1995-2007, where he both led the firm's legislative group and chaired its Washington tax practice.  At both firms, he represented leading businesses from around the world, including many Fortune 100 companies, in various tax matters, including litigation, regulatory issues, and an extensive range of tax legislative and policy matters.
 
As a Senate staff attorney, Matt worked as Finance Committee Counsel for former Senator David Durenberger (R-MN), a Finance Committee member, and was responsible for all issues within the Committee's jurisdiction, including tax, trade, and health care matters. 
 
Matt's clients have  included major financial institutions, private equity interests, manufacturers, technology companies, real estate investment trusts, insurance companies, technology companies, hospitality industry entities, entertainment industry companies, and higher education institutions, among others.  Matt has worked directly with those entities, as well as with numerous trade associations representing their interests.
 
Matt also founded, and continues to lead, the Global Teaching Project, an entity that provides a platform for great teachers from around the world to provide high quality instruction to learners everywhere, regardless of their means or circumstances, with an initial focus on advanced-level secondary school subject matter.
 
In addition to his professional duties, Matt has served in a volunteer capacity for many charitable, philanthropic, and public service entities.  He has been an officer and director of the Todd Wagner Foundation since its founding over a decade ago; over that period the Foundation has donated tens of millions of dollars to various philanthropic initiatives, with a particular focus on expanding educational opportunity to underserved youth.  For over 20 years, Matt has been a board member of Archbishop Carroll High School, a college preparatory school operated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington that serves as a means for many students of limited means but high aspirations to achieve better lives for themselves and their families.  Since 2005, Matt has served on the board of the Archdiocesan Catholic Charities Immigrant Services program, which provides medical, vocational, and other support to recent immigrants and others seeking assistance.  Matt also served from 2003-2007 on the Maryland State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, a gubernatorial appointment. 
 
Matt is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and Yale College.  Matt is president and a board member of the Yale Club of Washington.  Since 2004, Matt has taken a leading role in implementing the Yale Club's Community Service Summer Fellows Program, which sponsors Yale undergraduates to serve in various Washington-area community service organizations.
 
Matt and his wife, MaryEllen, have four children and live in Maryland.
Kate Gillespie

Kate joined ACG in November 2016 as an executive assistant and office manager. In this role, she coordinates schedules and manages the firm’s executive team.

Kate graduated from College of the Holy Cross in May 2016 with BA in Political Science. While at Holy Cross, she was a member of the women’s basketball team, serving as captain of the team during her senior year. She was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll all four years.

A native of the area, Kate resides in Washington, DC.

Hannah Grantham

Hannah Grantham joined the American Continental Group in 2017.  She assists with managing the firm’s executive team and tracks a variety of legislative issues for clients, particularly those related to health care.    

Hannah’s D.C. career started on Capitol Hill where served as a legal fellow for Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-MS).  While there, she advised congressional staffers on a variety of legislative and legal issues, including tax, First Amendment, health care and agriculture. 

Ms. Grantham attended the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University, where she earned her Juris Doctor and Diploma in Comparative Law.  She is barred in the state of Louisiana, where she primarily practiced in health care.  Her portfolio includes working for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, working at the in-house legal department for Ochsner Health System (Louisiana’s largest non-profit health care system) and for Sullivan & Stolier, LLC, a private health law firm focusing on advising clients and hospitals with respect to the business aspect of the healthcare industry. 

Patrick Grant

Patrick C. Grant joined American Continental Group in April 2017, bringing more than a decade of experience both in Congress and at the Treasury Department. Mr. Grant’s extensive legislative and policy experience enables him to assist clients on a broad array of financial services, international trade, housing, tax, and other issues.

Mr. Grant most recently served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of Treasury. There, he led Treasury’s engagement with the Senate and House of Representatives on the Department’s International Affairs portfolio. Mr. Grant helped secure passage of Trade Promotion Authority, the IMF quota reforms, and he represented Treasury before Congress on CFIUS, the Financial Stability Board, the Basel Committee, and export credits.

Prior to joining the Treasury Department, Mr. Grant served as Counsel to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs from 2010 to 2014. At Senate Banking, he was responsible for all aspects of the legislative process for a variety of issues, including the Export-Import Bank, CFIUS, sanctions, and international financing.

From 2007-2010, Mr. Grant served as Counsel and Legislative Assistant for Senator Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT), during which both the Dodd-Frank Act and the Affordable Care Act were enacted.

Mr. Grant earned a Bachelor of Arts from Villanova University and his J.D. from American University Washington College of Law. He currently resides in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife Katie, a daughter, and triplet sons.

Zach Gross
Zach first joined ACG as a research associate in 2015, leaving the firm to undertake his master’s studies before returning as an associate in 2016.  Zach primarily works on intellectual property and technology policy, supporting ACG partners Chris Israel and Marla Grossman.
 
Before coming to ACG, Zach served as an intern and fellow on the Democratic staff of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, where he worked on labor and pensions policy. While completing his undergraduate degree, Zach interned in Senator Chris Murphy’s (D-CT) Washington, D.C. office, having previously interned on his 2012 Senate campaign. 
 
A Connecticut native, Zach holds a master’s degree in social policy from the University of Oxford and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of St Andrews (Scotland). 
Marla Grossman

Marla Grossman is known as one of the nation's preeminent government relations attorneys.  While Ms. Grossman has earned a reputation for providing valuable representation to Fortune 500 companies, she has developed a wide network of contacts in the Washington DC community and across the country that allows her to serve a diverse portfolio of clients.  As a Partner at the American Continental Group (ACG), Ms. Grossman advises clients about trends in US federal policy which might affect their business and helps clients with strategic public policy planning and representation before the White House, Federal Agencies and Congress.

Dubbed “The Influencer” by I AM Modern Magazine, the Washington Business Journal claimed, “Marla Grossman seems to turn everything she touches into gold” and named her one of the Washington DC area’s “Most Influential Business Women”.  Ms. Grossman has been called an “industry insider,” a “mover and a shaker” and “the real deal” by IP Watchdog, a “leading lobbyist” by the National Law Journal and “one of the most sought-after lobbyists in the capital and across the country” by the Expert Network.  Ms. Grossman has been selected to the Washington DC Super Lawyer List every year since 2013.

Before joining ACG, Ms. Grossman was a Partner at PCT Government Relations, a lobbying firm focused on intellectual property and technology public policy matters. Prior to that, Ms. Grossman was a Partner and Chair of the Internet Ventures Group of the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson, which at the time was described by The National Journal as the top federal government relations firm in the US.

Earlier, Ms. Grossman served as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she was instrumental in the development of policy positions and legislative initiatives for then-Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and current Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Patrick Leahy. Ms. Grossman helped coordinate legislative activities for Senator Leahy on intellectual property, Internet usage, entertainment, online gaming and technology, and was directly involved with legislation such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Copyright Term Extension Act; Trademark Law Treaty Implementation Act; Domain Name Amendment Act; and US Patent and Trademark Office Reauthorization Act.

A Peabody Award winner, Ms. Grossman received her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School, and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University (Phi Beta Kappa). She is admitted to the District of Columbia bar. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Yale Alumni Fund. 

Alex Hoffberg

Alex Hoffberg joined the staff at American Continental Group in March of 2014. He tracks a variety of legislative issues and researches current issues to help craft strategies and talking points for clients. Prior to joining ACG, Alex interned with Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) and worked on several Democratic political campaigns. He served as a field organizer for both a U.S. Senate campaign and the 2012 presidential campaign, and he was a regional field and political director for a mayoral campaign.

Alex graduated from Villanova University in 2012 with a dual B.A. in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Arab and Islamic Studies.

Chris Israel

CIsrael Chris Israel joined American Continental Group in 2010, bringing his experience as an accomplished public and private sector executive with an extensive record of leadership, including senior-level appointments by the President of the United States, service on Capitol Hill and holding a senior-level position within a Fortune 50 company.

Mr. Israel works with a diverse range of clients to develop and execute effective policy and communications strategies. He continues to be a frequent speaker on IP and innovation issues and was named one of the 50 “Most Influential People on IP” by Managing Intellectual Property magazine in 2006.  He has also been called upon to testify before Congress several times since leaving public service.

Mr. Israel served for nearly seven years in senior leadership roles in the Bush Administration.  He was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technology Policy at the Commerce Department by President Bush in 2001. While in this position, he led the development and execution of the Administration’s policies designed to maximize U.S. competitiveness and technological growth. 

From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Israel served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Commerce Secretaries Donald L. Evans and Carlos Gutierrez, where he assisted in the leadership and management of major Commerce Department priorities such as trade and economic policy. He also served as senior liaison to the White House and other federal agencies. 

In 2005, he was appointed to be the first U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement by President Bush.  In this role, he was responsible for coordinating and leveraging the resources of the U.S. government to protect American intellectual property at home and abroad. He was frequently called upon to testify before Congress and lead U.S. delegations to key countries including China, India, Russia, Japan and the EU.  He also represented the U.S. in global fora including WIPO, G8 and the OECD.

Before serving in the Bush Administration, Mr. Israel was Director of International Policy at Time Warner where he worked on issues such as online privacy, intellectual property protection and online taxation.  He also assisted in the development of the Global Business Dialogue on E-Commerce, working directly with Time Warner’s then-CEO Gerald Levin. Earlier in his career, he served on Capitol Hill for U.S. Representatives Jan Meyers (R-KS) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS).

Mr. Israel received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from The George Washington University.

John Kneuer

John Kneuer is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on telecommunications, Internet, and spectrum policy.

From October 2003-November 2007, Mr. Kneuer served first as the Deputy Assistant Secretary, and then as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information. As Assistant Secretary, Mr. Kneuer was the principal advisor to the President of the United States on telecommunications policy and the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration ("NTIA"). In addition to representing the Executive Branch in domestic and international telecommunications and information policy activities, NTIA manages the federal use of spectrum; performs cutting edge telecommunications research and engineering; and administers infrastructure and public telecommunications facilities grants.

Prior to his service at NTIA, Mr. Kneuer practiced law at the firm of DLA Piper in Washington, D.C., providing regulatory and legislative representation to corporate clients in the telecommunications, defense, and transportation industries. Mr. Kneuer began his career as an Attorney-Advisor in the Commercial Wireless Division of the Federal Communications Commission's Wireless Bureau.

Mr. Kneuer is a sought after public speaker, regularly presenting before government, industry, and academic meetings and forums, and has testified more than a dozen times before the United States Congress. He is a regular contract Professor at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy at the National Defense University. He received his B.A. and J.D. degrees at the Catholic University of America. Mr. Kneuer has held Top Secret/SCI security clearances. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Audit and Compensation Committees of Globalstar Inc. (GSAT – NYSE-MKT).

John Manchester
As an associate at ACG, John Manchester focuses on intellectual property, technology, and trade issues.  Mr. Manchester is also responsible for producing the ACG “Content & Technology” and “Patent and Trademark” policy reports—two weekly newsletters that provide a comprehensive review of developments in the intellectual property policy space in Washington D.C., Silicon Valley, and across the globe. 
 
Mr. Manchester also serves as the Deputy Executive Director of the Coalition for Patent and Trademark Information Dissemination—a coalition of information services and workflow solution providers that offer value-added patent and trademark information services.
 
Prior to joining ACG, Mr. Manchester interned with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), working with her Armed Services Committee on defense, foreign policy and military issues. 
 
A native of Granville, New York, Mr. Manchester graduated from Rhodes College in 2015 with a B.A. in History and International Studies.
David Metzner

David MetznerDavid Metzner has been with American Continental Group since 1994. In this capacity, he has assisted corporate and non-profit organizations in understanding the development of public policy. Mr. Metzner has consulted for over twenty-five years on the federal nature of the American Government and the interplay between the states and Washington and foreign governments in the development of public policy. This has included national debates about the regulation of the financial markets, intellectual property, foreign policy, the arts and public diplomacy.

In 2007, Mr. Metzner assumed the leadership of ACG Analytics, the firm’s financial industry consulting offering, which offers money managers the opportunity to gain insight into how public policy can affect their investment decisions. This has included the sub-prime housing crisis, government conservatorship of the GSEs, the TARP program, government assistance for the auto makers, Cap and Trade, energy policy, and financial industry reorganization.

He began his public policy career as the Director of Legislative Affairs for The Singer Company. He assisted the CEO and other senior executives in developing corporate positions on tax policy, international trade, and national security. During this period, he often spoke to corporate employees about the private sector’s role in policy development at the state, local, and federal levels of government.

In January 2009, Mr. Metzner completed his six year Presidential appointment as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In this capacity, he focused his efforts on strengthening the Center’s programming on Globalization, China and Latin America. He led the Board’s initiative in creating the Kissinger Institute on China-United States Relations. Congressman Lee Hamilton, the Wilson Center’s President, called this the “Center’s most important initiative in thirty years”. The Chinese Government has enthusiastically endorsed the Institute for its leadership in the two nations’ bi-lateral relations.

Mr. Metzner serves on the Institute’s Advisory Board which is chaired by Dr. Kissinger and Xu Kuangdi, the former Mayor of Shanghai. He is a member of the Economic Club of Washington and the National Committee on US-China Relations. Mr. Metzner earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Boston University, a Masters of Art in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University National Law Center. While at Fletcher, he produced a highly regarded thesis on the role of the Vice President in Foreign Policy. At George Washington, he did research on government procurement policy and its affect on the economy.

He resides in Washington, D.C., and is married to the former Viktoria Jerch and has four daughters and three dogs.

Julie Philp

Julie Philp has 14 years of experience working on and with Capitol Hill in a variety of issue areas. Prior to joining American Continental Group, she served as Director of Federal Affairs at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, representing more than half a dozen Fortune 500 companies, and as a consultant at the American Capitol Group, specializing in health care policy.

During her time on Capitol Hill, she served as Legislative Director for Congressman John Campbell, where she handled tax, budget, immigration, education, and transportation. Julie was hired by Campbell to build his legislative office following his special election in December of 2005. She worked with the California Congressional offices on education, tax, and health care policy during the passage of the Deficit Reduction Act and on immigration policy during the debate of immigration reform. Julie drafted an amendment to the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act for Campbell, and successfully shepherded the language to passage just ten days after Campbell was sworn into the House of Representatives.

Before joining the California delegation, Julie focused on health care, transportation, and foreign affairs policy as the Senior Legislative Assistant for Congressman Gil Gutknecht.  Her first role on Capitol Hill was as the Foreign Affairs Legislative Assistant for Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, joining the office just a month before the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

Julie graduated from the University of North Carolina at-Chapel Hill in 1997 with a degree in Communications. Prior to working on the Hill, she was an English teacher in Miami, Florida, and Annapolis, Maryland.

Owen Reilly

Owen Reilly joined the staff at American Continental Group in March 2016.  He works on a variety of legislative issues, including those related to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees.

Prior to joining ACG, Owen developed meaningful experience at both the state and federal level. Most recently, he worked in Senator Richard Durbin’s (D-IL) personal office. He also served as a legislative fellow in the New York State Senate, where he managed a diverse legislative portfolio ranging from healthcare and education to law enforcement and criminal justice initiatives. While in law school, he was a law clerk with Senator Durbin’s Judiciary Committee staff and interned with the New York Attorney General’s Office.

Owen graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2010 with a dual B.A. in English and Philosophy, and he received his J.D. at Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 2014. He is admitted to the bar in New York.

Shawn Smeallie

Shawn Smeallie joined American Continental Group in 1994, bringing his extensive experience on Capitol Hill, the Executive Branch, and in the private sector to the firm. His knowledge of the regulatory and legislative process and his work on defense, trade, energy, tax, and environmental issues over the course of his 20 years in Washington, D.C. provides the firm and its clients a significant resource.

Prior to ACG, Mr. Smeallie served as a Special Assistant to President Bush for Legislative Affairs from 1990 to 1993. As a Commissioned Officer of the President, he coordinated the efforts of policy-makers on Capitol Hill and constituent organizations to develop and implement the Administration’s legislative strategies. During these three years, he was responsible for the defense, trade, energy, environment, budget, and tax issues that came before Congress. He also served in the Bush/Cheney transition team, assisting with nominees during the confirmation process.

From 1989 to 1990, Mr. Smeallie was Special Assistant to the Director for Legislative Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. While at OMB, he worked closely with the Budget and Appropriation Committees of Congress. He was primarily responsible for representing the Administration before the Congress on the annual budgets of various agencies, including the budgets of the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Before joining the Bush Administration, Mr. Smeallie was employed as the National Security Advisor to U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato of New York. While there, he was the Senator’s representative on the Appropriations Subcommittees on Defense and Foreign Operations.

Mr. Smeallie has an undergraduate degree from St. Lawrence University and a Masters Degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University.

John F. Thomas

John joined ACG as an associate in Feb 2017.  Prior to ACG, John interned for Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO).  He also worked in the energy industry where he contributed to business development efforts in Austin, Houston and Galveston, TX. 

 A 7th generation Texan, John is a native of Austin.  He played football and ran track at the University of the South, and graduated with his Bachelor’s from Tulane University.  He is currently working on his Master’s in Government with an emphasis in Economics at Johns Hopkins University.

David Urban

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David Urban joined the Trump campaign in its early days working as an advisor in the Pennsylvania and Indiana primaries.  After helping secure primary victories in those states, Mr. Urban moved to the Republican Convention in Cleveland where he served as the campaign’s senior political liaison at the convention. After the convention, Mr. Urban was named as a Senior Advisor on the campaign, leading the Trump campaign to a historic victory in Pennsylvania. As the new Administration was being sworn in, Politico named Mr. Urban as one of the 30 most powerful people in President Trump’s Washington. Mr. Urban currently serves as the President of The American Continental Group (ACG) a consulting firm, as well as a “Political Commentator” on CNN and can be seen almost daily on a variety of the network’s programming.  

Mr. Urban has been referred to by both The New York Times and Politico as a “Prominent Republican/GOP lobbyist,” a “Mover and Shaker” by Campaigns and Elections Magazine, a “Top Influencer” by Politics Magazine, and a “big named lobbyist” by CNN. Roll Call identified “Urban [as] a member of Washington’s community of influential Republican moderates and pragmatists,” and The Hill named Mr. Urban as a "Top Lobbyist" who has "mastered the art of working Capitol Hill's hallways." In a profile of Mr. Urban, Philadelphia Magazine said that “when [Urban] talks, Members of Congress listen.”

Immediately before joining ACG, Mr. Urban served for five years as the Chief of Staff for United States Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA). Acting as the Senator’s senior advisor on legislative, political, media, and administrative matters in Pennsylvania and Washington, Mr. Urban was Senator Specter’s direct representative to the Senator’s Pennsylvania constituents as well as other Members of Congress, senior executive branch officials, ambassadors, and other officials of foreign governments. Mr. Urban represented Senator Specter as a part of the Senate Republican leadership and oversaw the Senator’s interests before the Judiciary, Appropriations, Veterans’ Affairs, and Environment and Public Works Committees.

From 1994 through 1997, Mr. Urban was an attorney in private practice. Mr. Urban’s diverse experiences in the law range from litigation involving director and officer corporate liability matters to structuring complex public bond financings for large health care systems. An active member of the Pennsylvania Bar, Mr. Urban is admitted to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.

From 1986 through 1991, Mr. Urban served as an artillery officer in the United States Army’s storied 101st Airborne Division. Illustrative of his distinguished record of consistently high performance during his time in uniform, Mr. Urban was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement while engaged in combat operations against Iraq during Operation Desert Storm.

Mr. Urban earned a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Juris Doctor from the Temple University School of Law.

Mr. Urban has lectured at various universities, serving as an adjunct professor at the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.

Jonathan Widjaja
Jonathan Widjaja joined the staff at American Continental Group in February 2017. Prior to joining ACG, Jonathan served as Voter Protection Deputy Director of Training for the Democratic Party of Virginia, where he helped prepare over 1,500 poll observers for the 2016 presidential election. Jonathan has also interned with his home congressman, Representative Paul Cook (R-CA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security.
 
A Southern California native, Jonathan graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2015 with a B.A. in Political Science.
Marty Wiethorn

Marty Wiethorn is a native Washingtonian with many years of experience dealing with busy, high-powered politicians and CEOs. She worked for many years on Capitol Hill as a scheduler for the late Congressman Goodloe E. Byron (D-MD) and his successor Congresswoman Beverly Byron (D-MD). Marty is the key point of contact on all office communications and correspondence, including coverage of the office reception area, phone communications, incoming and outgoing mail flow, and electronic correspondence. Further, Marty helps direct the numerous in-house office events at ACG, of which there are many on a weekly basis.

Marty also graduated cum laude from the University of Connecticut with a B.A. in English and a minor in History.