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Monthly Archives: January 2014

Twenty years is a long time.

Think about it. When I opened the doors as Quorum Direct, Inc. in February of 1994 the Dallas Cowboys were still relevant in the NFL; Hillary Care was preceding Obama Care as the national health plan that left the rails; my ‘company car’ was a re-tread Mercury Marquis (the average age driver of which was 70 years old; I was 30), our Texas Longhorns still had 3 more years with the coach who would PRECEDE Mack Brown, who himself maxed out four years ago; and the # 1 song on the Billboard charts was The Sign by Ace of Base.

Incidentally if you’ve been thinking about them, here you go:

Quorum was founded on the premise that grassroots lobbying would eventually overtake traditional lobbying as the best way to impact public policy first, and second that practice would soon devolve to the state level – and the big states first — since the concept wasn’t common beyond the Beltway.

Some would say we were ‘first in’ this new world of influence in Texas. Fortunately, my path crossed some visionary Houston tort reformers and we were off and running.

Twenty years later, Thomas B. Edsall with the New York Times opines on ‘The Unlobbyists’ (December 31, 2013):

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/opinion/edsall-the-unlobbyists.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

According to Edsall, “the action has shifted (away from the traditional lobbyist) to what is known in the business as strategic advice: how to convince and mobilize voters and opinion elites in support of the client’s agenda..”

It’s what we do, working outside the Capitol Dome, helping clients identify a target Audience, the right Message to communicate, and the Influencers who can best carry that message forward.

Speaking of signs, 2014 adds to 7 so I’m expecting at least a lucky year; though if luck is indeed what happens when planning meets opportunity we’ll do some of that too.

The most recent was a year that saw Quorum Public Affairs grow significantly.

The venture capital firms we represent are investing in strong Texas small businesses, and we added clients in manufacturing, financial services, health care, technology, and homeland security.

We’re helping companies re-locate to the Texas market by facilitating business alliances and relationships to help them grow. Companies like LIN Media – with 43 TV stations in 23 cities – and Top Golf, which has deftly combined a game of leisure with a night club and is growing quickly, re-located their corporate headquarters to Austin and Dallas respectively. Two California-based companies for which we’ve helped develop relationships are on the way in 2014. Google, Apple, Chevron, GEICO, Oracle, and Shell made significant investments in major Texas markets. Texas is investing in them, too, through the state’s Texas Enterprise Fund, Emerging Technology Fund and other incentives.

On the policy front, Texas is streamlining the way it delivers health care; cutting taxes for small businesses, investing in infrastructure like water and roads, and making it attractive for companies to move or expand here.

Interim legislative committees will be looking at issues across the board, with emphasis on a tax and regulatory environment that supports Texas’ competitive economic advantage in culture and cost; it’s a growth agenda and Texas continues to be a destination state.

We’ll continue to do what we do best: helping companies navigate political, legislative, and regulatory challenges. We do it well, we know the state of Texas from one end to the other, and our network of relationships is second to none.

Some call it strategic communications. We call it public affairs.

All in all, we’ll call it a sign of things to come.

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