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.
- 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.
- C. Stuart Chapman
C. Stuart Chapman joined the firm in 2014. He is a veteran Hill staffer with a reputation for marshaling all aspects of communications, the legislative process, and political campaigns to create innovative strategies for challenging crises. Having run both a Blue Dog and a New Democrat office, he has a history of working on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Hill. After leaving Senator Jay Rockefeller's office in 2007, Mr. Chapman served as Chief of Staff for Congressman Zack Space, who represented a historically-Republican Ohio district. Mr. Chapman oversaw all aspects of the Congressman's operations, including his technology, energy, and health care work on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
More recently, Mr. Chapman served as Chief of Staff for Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, where he orchestrated a multi-faceted plan to enable her to survive during a 2012 redistricting cycle that saw New York lose two Congressional seats. He also supervised the Congresswoman’s work on the Education and Workforce Committee and the Financial Services Committee, including her work as Ranking Member of the International Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee. During the 112th Congress, Mr. Chapman was honored with selection to the bi-cameral, bi-partisan Stennis Fellows Program.
Capitalizing on his former journalism experience, early in his Congressional career, Mr. Chapman served as Press Secretary for Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Mr. Chapman earned a B.A. from Rhodes College, an M.A. from the University of Georgia, and a Ph.D. from Boston University, where he wrote an award-winning biography of Shelby Foote.
He is married to Bridget Walsh -- and is the proud father of twins, Genevieve and Ben.
- 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. The issues overseen by Mr. Cooney included: intellectual property law (e.g. Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Trademark Law Treaty Implementation Act; Domain Name Amendment Act; Copyright Term Extension Act; and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Reauthorization Act.); Internet policy issues; judicial nominations; civil justice reform; and oversight of the Executive Branch and Judicial Branch.
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 on the Board of Directors for The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, The Churchill Centre & Churchill Museum and The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. He is a Member of The Federal City Council, The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., The Federalist Society and The American Intellectual Property Law Association.
Mr. Cooney holds degrees from Villanova University and the University of Baltimore Law School.
- Mark DesMeules
Mark DesMeules joined the staff at American Continental Group in 2012. He specializes in intellectual property, technology and competition issues. Mark oversees research for ACG’s intellectual property group and leads the development of ACG’s weekly IP reports.
Prior to joining ACG, Mark worked as a Research Assistant in the Government Department at Connecticut College, studying the Military History of Afghanistan. In addition, he interned at the Carmen Group in Washington, DC, researching public policy issues.
Originally from mid-coast Maine, Mark graduated from Connecticut College 2011 with dual B.A. in Economics and International Relations. He completed part of his undergraduate degree at the Paris IES School of International Business and Affairs.
- Marla Grossman
Marla Grossman is one of the country’s preeminent intellectual property, technology and trade government relations attorneys. As a partner at the American Continental Group (ACG), she helps her clients with strategic public policy planning and representation before the White House, US federal agencies and the U.S. Congress.
Ms. Grossman has been dubbed “The Influencer” by I AM Modern Magazine (December 2010), an “industry insider” by IP Watchdog (January 2015) and a “leading copyright attorney and lobbyist” by the National Law Journal (May 2013). The Washington Business Journal said, “Marla Grossman seems to turn everything she touches into gold.” (April 2001) and named her one of the Washington DC area’s “Most Influential Business Women” (November 2004). Ms. Grossman was selected to the Washington DC Super Lawyer List (2013, 2014, 2015) and recognized as an Excellence in Advocacy Nominee (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 at the law firm of DLA Piper, which had acquired the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand, where she headed the Internet Ventures Group and practiced government relations law with such luminaries as the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and the former US Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. While she was a partner at Verner, Liipfert, The National Journal described the firm as the top federal government relations firm in the U.S.
From 1997-1999, Ms. Grossman served as minority counsel to the US Senate Judiciary Committee, where she was instrumental in the development of policy positions and legislative initiatives for current US Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, Patrick Leahy (D-VT). 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.
Before working on Capitol Hill, she served as the Assistant Director of Public Liaison and Director of Law Enforcement Outreach for the Clinton-Gore 1996 presidential campaign.
A 2001 Peabody Award winner, Ms. Grossman lectures and writes extensively on intellectual property, technology and trade issues.
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.
Ms. Grossman also serves as 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.
- 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.
- Greg Houston
Greg works with ACG on engaging the NGO, think-tank, university and social sectors in policy matters. He also advises the firm on US-Canada trade and policy issues. Throughout his career, he has worked with governments and policy organizations around the United States and in over 50 countries to facilitate open dialogues and citizen engagement in key trade policy issues. As a founding members of the Canada Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, he also brings deep experience in Canadian energy, finance, and manufacturing sectors and remains active in trade policy as the Washington advisor to the renowned Lake Louise Business Forum.
From 2010-2014, Greg served as the Senior Vice President of Development and External Affairs with Meridian International Center. At Meridian, he oversaw all communications, government partnerships, business and philanthropic development, public programs and conferences, and start-up initiatives. He opened offices in China, India, Paris, Canada, Dubai, and Istanbul, and launched the Global Leadership Summit series of traveling policy conferences.
Prior to joining Meridian, Greg was a founding partner of Counterfactual Strategies and a Senior Advisor to Odell Simms and Lynch, a leading consultant for non-profit fundraising, organizational strategic planning, and international economic development. His work primarily focused on advising government funded non-profit clients in structural matters related to growth and sustainability.
From 2001-2008, Greg was Director of Development at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, one of the world’s leading think-tanks. At the Center he created Institutes, Programs and Projects in 16 countries on six continents, worked with six US Presidents, numerous foreign heads of State and Government, CEOs, domestic and foreign policy makers, and leading non-profit figures.
Greg began his career in local politics before moving to Washington to work for Arizona Senator John McCain. He has since worked for leading political figures on both sides of the aisle and remains an advocate for bipartisan approaches to policymaking.
He graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in political science and sociology and holds a Masters with Merit from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in Public Administration with a concentration on global economics. He completed additional post-grad study as a Social Entrepreneurship Scholar (PLD, Class of 1972 Endowment) at Harvard Business School.
Greg has written several prominent white papers including The Capacity Building Implications of Aid Donations on “Good” and “Weak” State Governance Structures and The Balanced Equation Model of Social Organization Evaluation. He has appeared on CNN, BBC international, China Daily (TV) and various local television and radio programs.
He is a member of the University Club of Washington and the Washington Rising Leaders Council, and was named one of Washington’s “Most Influential Under 40” by Washington Life Magazine in 2012, ’13, and ’14.
- Chris Israel
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 on 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.
- Michelle Johnson
Michelle Johnson joined American Continental Group in April 2014. She manages and coordinates the firm’s executive team and contributes to ACG’s weekly reports. Michelle joined the ACG team with experience working in the non-profit and private sectors in both the financial and energy industries.
Prior to joining ACG, Michelle began her career in Washington as a Government Analyst for USA Synthetic Fuel Corporation, covering issues regarding energy policy, government relations and business development.
Originally from southern California, Michelle graduated from Trinity College, CT in 2013 with a B.A. in International Political Economics and a minor in Hispanic Studies.
- Kendall Kalagher
- Kendall Kalagher joined the staff at American Continental Group in June 2013. She will be coordinating the firm’s executive team as well as managing and overseeing daily operations for the firm’s advocacy group. Kendall will be joining the ACG team with experience working in the private sector. Prior to joining ACG, Kendall worked for Adams and Garth, Inc. on the Chartered Financial Analyst Essay Support Staff in Charlottesville, Virginia. In the Fall of 2011, Kendall studied civilization, culture, language, and European economics in Barcelona, Spain. She passed the Spanish language fluency exam prior to returning to the U.S. Kendall graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Tech in 2013 with a dual B.A. in English and Spanish.
- David Metzner
David 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.
- Stephen M. Pinkos
Stephen Pinkos has nearly 15 years of experience working in senior government positions on Capitol Hill and in the Administration. From January 2011 to June 2013, Steve served as Policy Director and General Counsel to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. He worked with the Offices of the Speaker and Majority Leader to devise and pass all major legislation considered by the House of Representatives. He also worked with the Office of the Speaker and the House General Counsel on broad legal matters affecting the House of Representatives.
From 2007-2011, Steve was based in Fort Worth, Texas and worked as a lawyer, government relations specialist and businessman. He advised major corporations on legislative issues and provided expert advice on USPTO matters. He was also involved in Barnett Shale oil and gas leasing and partnered in an effort to bring more choice and competition to the Internet domain market.
From 2004-2007, Steve served as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In this position, he was one of the top IP policy-makers in the U.S, helping to develop and articulate the Bush Administration’s policy positions on all foreign and domestic patent, trademark and copyright issues. He managed the operations at the USPTO -- an agency with 7,000 employees and a $1.7 billion budget -- and a comprehensive effort to improve the quality and timeliness of patent and trademark examinations. Steve was also integral to the Bush Administration’s efforts to devise and implement strategies to promote the global IP interests of U.S. businesses and to thwart the global counterfeiting of U.S. products. He also spearheaded the USPTO’s efforts to facilitate greater efficiency and stronger cooperation among the USPTO and other IP offices around the world. This work required coordination with private industry as well as negotiation with officials from foreign governments and international organizations. Accordingly, Steve led delegations to Geneva, China, Japan, Germany, Singapore, Korea, Brazil and Vietnam.
Prior to his USPTO appointment, Steve served nine years in his first stint as a staffer on Capitol Hill. This included six years with the House Committee on the Judiciary working under Chairmen Hyde and Sensenbrenner. As Committee Staff Director and Deputy General Counsel from 2001-2004, Steve managed the Congressional consideration of significant issues including the several trade agreements; litigation management proposals; immigration, antitrust, intellectual property and bankruptcy law changes; and law enforcement oversight and legislation, including anti-terrorism laws.
In November of 2008, Mr. Pinkos was appointed to the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) by Commerce Secretary Gutierrez and he served on the Board until returning to Capitol Hill in January, 2011.
Steve received his JD from DePaul University College of Law and a BA from Miami University.
- 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.
- David Urban
David Urban joined the American Continental Group (ACG) in 2002. Mr. Urban has been referred to by The New York Times as a “prominent... Republican lobbyist,” a “Mover and Shaker” by Campaigns and Elections Magazine, a “Top Influencer” by Politics Magazine, and a “high-level Washington... lobbyist” by the Harrisburg Patriot News. 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, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
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.
- 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.
- Xiaoyu Zhu
Xiaoyu Zhu is a Research Analyst for ACG Analytics and joined the firm in 2011. He spearheads a weekly series of research notes entitled “China Insight.” Mr. Zhu’s research focuses on the intersection of China’s economic development and American investors’ interests, including macroeconomic and monetary policy, financial services regulation, real estate, Chinese domestic politics and its implications for the U.S. He is also dedicated to enhancing dialogue between leading American and Chinese investors.
Prior to ACG Analytics, Mr. Zhu worked with the China Practice of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategic consulting firm co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. For multiple Fortune 500 clients doing business in China, he conducted market and industry research, assessed political and business risks, interpreted regulations and policies, and analyzed media information. Mr. Zhu has also served as research assistant to leading experts at top Chinese and U.S. institutions. Working successively with Professor Zhu Feng of Peking University and Professor Mike Mochizuki of George Washington University, he retains an in-depth understanding of the security and economic dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region, especially the China-U.S. bilateral relationship.
He has also worked for several transnational programs, including Peking University – Yale University Joint Program and Peking University – LSE Summer School.
Mr. Zhu received dual bachelor's degrees in international studies and psychology from China’s Peking University. He then attended the Elliott School of International Affairs in George Washington University, and earned his master’s degree in international affairs with concentrations in international development and Asian studies. He was also a founding member of the Peking University – Yale University Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing.
Mr. Zhu is able to leverage his educational and professional experiences to provide clients with connections to leading think tanks, financial media, businesses, and law firms in Beijing, Shanghai, and Washington DC.