New Venable Partner Says Hill Work Helped Skill Set | Hill Climbers

Posted July 16, 2013 at 2:55pm

For Andrew Olmem, Venable law’s newest partner, extensive experience on Capitol Hill prepared him well. Olmem said his previous experience as the Republican chief counsel and deputy staff director on the Senate Banking Committee, including during and after the 2008 financial crisis, enabled him to develop a unique skillset.

“What really helped was my time on the Hill and that I was there at one of the most historic times in the committee’s history,” Olmem said. “It will have an impact that will last for decades in the economy and in the financial system.”

Olmem worked for seven years on the Banking Committee, working on legislation such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Dodd-Frank and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. He will work on financial services and legislative work at Venable.

Previously, he worked as a corporate and securities attorney for Mayer Brown and for Shaw Pittman; he also spent time at the Securities and Exchange Commission and at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

New Role for D.C. Veteran

When Joel D. Kassiday began his Washington career in 1979, he did not know it would last this long.

“It is fairly rare for someone to spend 30 years on the Hill,” Kassiday said.

Kassiday, who has worked in six congressional offices and has served as chief of staff for three members, became vice president of the lobbying firm HillStaffer on July 9. Before HillStaffer, Kassiday worked for the Republican Jewish Coalition and for the lobbying firm Liz Robbins Associates.

“Thirty years is probably sufficient for anybody,” Kassiday said, referring to his work in congressional offices. “It was a very logical move and HillStaffer is a unique kind of government affairs organization and a new model.”

He said the lower costs to clients combined with deep expertise at the senior level made HillStaffer a great fit. Kassiday will work on bringing in new business.

Return to the Constitution State

Liz Donovan is home again. The former deputy press secretary for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee began as the communications director on Monday for Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn.

Donovan, who interned previously for the congressman while studying at the University of Connecticut, said working for her home state and on familiar issues drew her to the position.

“I am hoping to bring a Connecticut voice to this job,” Donovan said. “I care deeply about the state and I am really excited to be back in this delegation.”

Donovan previously worked on campaigns and for now-Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., before joining the HELP Committee in 2011.

Nadler Hires Communications Director

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has hired Aaron Keyak as his new communications director after the departure of his longtime CD, Ilan Kayatsky.

Keyak, who previously worked in communications roles for the National Jewish Democratic Council, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications and for former Rep. Steven R. Rothman, D-N.J., said he was excited to work for Nadler.

“Rep. Nadler is a true progressive champion,” Keyak said. “He is a strong progressive and a staunch outspoken supporter of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

Keyak last worked as the interim executive director of the NJDC. Kayatsky is moving to San Francisco to work at the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund.

Pet Industry Hires Former NRCC Staffer

Mike Bober, former coalitions director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, will start as the vice president of government affairs for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council on Aug. 1.

Bober previously worked for the House Conservatives Fund PAC, Hammond & Associates and the Manufactured Housing Institute.

“It was a really good opportunity and a way to transition away from politics while still staying involved in government affairs,” Bober said.

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