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Farewell to Cassidy

Larry Grossman is wrapping up this week an 11-year run as a top lobbyist at Cassidy & Associates, branching out on his own with the newly formed Grossman Group LLC.

A senior vice president at Cassidy, Grossman has been the backbone of the firm’s appropriations work, particularly on defense issues, an expertise he honed in the early 1990s working on the professional staff of the House Armed Services Committee under then-Chairman Les Aspin (D-Wis.).

“Working for Gerry Cassidy has been an incredible opportunity but I’ve always thought the real challenge would be to go out on my own,” said Grossman. “And now’s the perfect time.

“There is a real demand in Washington for hands-on, personal and professional lobbying. That’s what I am going to bring to my clients,” said Grossman, a Connecticut native whose family has politics in its blood. His younger brother Andy is executive director at the Demo-

cratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

At Cassidy, Grossman’s clients included General Dynamics and Boeing, as well as Major League Baseball and the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Grossman also developed a niche in telecommunications, working on the acquisition of VoiceStream Wireless by Deutsche Telekom. He worked for VoiceStream Wireless (now T-Mobile) and Alaska Native Wireless in the failed industry settlement of the NextWave spectrum controversy.

One of his other longtime clients will be his first client at the Grossman Group: the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation, the Las Vegas-based charity that runs a charter school and provides other services for at-risk children in the city. Grossman does pro bono work for Agassi.

Having the world’s most recognizable tennis player as a client has provided Grossman his share of unusual moments: ushering a bare-chested Agassi around Senate office buildings after a one-on-one with Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) in the Hart Senate Office Building’s tennis courts or setting up meals at Agassi’s favorite D.C. stop, The Tombs in Georgetown.

Grossman — who received his undergraduate degree from Bard College and a master’s in classics from Oxford — is setting up a temporary office on K Street, but one thing is certain about his new group’s permanent headquarters: It will be somewhere near a stop on the 30, 32, 34, 36 Metrobus line.

A creature of habit, Grossman has lived in Georgetown for his entire tenure in Washington and has always taken the bus to work — whether his office was in the Rayburn House Office Building or the posh Cassidy suite at Metro Center, even as his home shifted from a cramped apartment building with twenty-something neighbors to a nice townhouse with Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as neighbors.

“I love the bus in the morning — 20 minutes alone with the newspaper,” Grossman said. “It might be the only quiet 20 minutes I find all day.”

Former Aide Follows Callahan to Dawson. Just four months after ex-Rep. Sonny Callahan joined Dawson & Associates, a former aide to the Alabama Republican has joined him.

Michael Strachn, who will be senior vice president, comes to Dawson after leaving a similar position at Cassidy & Associates.

The latest move is another in a long series of Dawson’s key hires from the House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water development — the powerful panel once chaired by Callahan.

Former Reps. Tom Bevill (D-Ala.), John Myers (R-Ind.) and Ron Packard (R-Calif.) also came to Dawson after chairing the subcommittee. Packard has since left Dawson to form his own practice in California.

Strachin spent seven years on Capitol Hill after 23 years with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Foley & Lardner Adds Two in D.C. Office. A former aide to Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and a former energy company executive have joined the D.C. public affairs office of Foley & Lardner.

Susan Riley previously worked for Kennedy as staff director for the Bay State Senator, steering his health, education, housing and community development activities. There she was a liaison between the Senator and House leadership and the business community.

Jane Cahill comes to Foley & Lardner after being vice president of external affairs for PG&E, the Bethesda, Md.-based spinoff of the struggling California energy utility.

A Sooner Rises. Dan Mahoney, who was the American Council of Life Insurers’ communications chief, has been promoted to the organization’s top public affairs official.

In January, Mahoney followed his former boss, ex-Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R), to the life insurers’ trade association, where the two-term Sooner State governor became ACLI’s president and chief executive officer.

While serving Keating in Oklahoma as his communications director, Mahoney coordinated the state’s public information and communications activities in response to the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Going Nuclear. Clint Edwards Williamson has joined the Nuclear Energy Institute as director of legislative programs.

Williamson was most recently legislative director to Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) and previously was an aide to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas).

Pentagon Taps Lobbyist to Spearhead Academy Misconduct Inquiry. The Pentagon announced last week that former Rep. Tillie Fowler (R-Fla.), now a partner at Holland & Knight, has been named chairwoman of the panel charged to study sexual misconduct allegations that have rocked the Air Force Academy.

As mandated by Congress, the group will conduct a 90-day inquiry of the policies, culture and organizational structure of the Colorado Springs, Colo., academy.

Fowler led the Congressional investigation into allegations that Army drill sergeants sexually assaulted female trainees at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in 1996.

Brody Mullins contributed to this report.

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