McGuireWoods Consulting announced today it has opened a Tallahassee office with the arrival of veteran lobbyists Sean Stafford, Rhett O’Doski and Ryder Rudd. Stafford, O’Doski and Rudd have more than six decades of combined government relations experience in Florida and were formerly with the Advantage Consulting Team, which was founded by Stafford and O’Doski in 2008.
“We are excited to welcome Sean, Rhett and Ryder to the McGuireWoods team and establish a strong government affairs practice in Tallahassee,” said Jim Hodges, incoming president and CEO of McGuireWoods Consulting who officially takes his position on Jan. 12. “They are seasoned professionals who possess the relationships and policy expertise to be tremendous assets for both current and future clients, as well as a great resource for the law firm and its attorneys.”
Stafford and O’Doski will be co-directors of the firm’s Tallahassee office with all three serving as senior vice presidents in the firm’s State Government Relations practice. All are adept at working with companies and organizations, both large and small, to develop tailor-made strategies aimed at achieving clients’ business goals and legislative objectives.
“McGuireWoods Consulting possesses a broad reach in multiple states and stable of accomplished government affairs professionals across the country, and we are honored to have been chosen to lead the Florida lobbying team,” said Stafford, co-director of McGuireWoods Consulting’s Florida Government Relations practice. “It’s gratifying to have your body of work recognized and valued by a prestigious international firm. Our knowledge and experience in Florida coupled with the firm’s policy and subject matter expertise throughout the U.S., and in Washington, D.C., will ensure we possess the resources and capabilities to best serve current and future clients alike.”
Stafford is a lifelong Tallahassee resident who has provided political, legislative and strategic advice to some of the nation’s most recognized corporations over the past 25 years. He has worked across party lines and navigated complex issues in state government across numerous industries. Stafford, who is also an active member of the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists, has been appointed by Republican and Democratic elected officials to various task forces, including the Governor’s Trade Mission to the UK Task Force and the Florida Chief Financial Officer’s “Safeguarding our Seniors” Task Force.
O’Doski has a diverse government relations background with more than 20 years of experience working in both the public and private sectors. He served as senior consultant to former Florida Insurance Commissioner and current U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, as a legislative specialist to former state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and chief of staff to former state Sen. Charles Williams. He also lobbied Florida’s Legislature for the Department of Insurance under two gubernatorial administrations where he was responsible for the development, coordination and passage of the department’s legislative agenda and budget priorities. In addition to his expertise in insurance-related issues, O’Doski is also well versed in the healthcare, energy, technology and financial service industries.
Rudd has more than 14 years of state government and regulatory experience in both the public and private sectors. He served in the Executive Office of the Governor, the Department of Management Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Public Service Commission. He has deep experience in issues related to energy policy, utilities, telecommunications, environmental protection, natural resources, land use, real estate, insurance, purchasing and procurement, state agency vendor contracts and the state retirement system.
“The firm has a number of clients based in the state or that have legislative or policy-related needs in Florida and we are excited to be able to offer our comprehensive suite of services to them,” said Mark Bowles, incoming chairman of McGuireWoods Consulting. “Establishing an office in Tallahassee helps fill out our southeastern footprint and the additions of Sean, Rhett and Ryder ensure we have assembled the best team possible to move forward with our strategic vision.”
The Tallahassee office is located at 115 East Park Avenue. McGuireWoods Consulting’s parent firm, McGuireWoods LLP, will continue its operations from the Jacksonville office.
“Having a presence in Tallahassee will be a significant resource for the law firm and its clients,” said Eric Bilik, managing partner of McGuireWoods LLP’s Jacksonville office. “Our legal services often require a government relations component and possessing the ability to have those services in-house will be a valuable differentiator when marketing our capabilities to clients.”