Grassroots Team Joins Edelman, WSW Forms New Unit
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Grassroots Team Joins Edelman, WSW Forms New Unit

Edelman has created a new grassroots and grasstops practice, recruiting Brian Lunde and George Burger away from Weber Shandwick, which is establishing a new, integrated grassroots division: Powell Tate Constituent Action Network.

Paul Holmes

WASHINGTON, D.C.—With public relations firms in the nation’s capital moving to offer more full-service solutions, Edelman has created a new grassroots and grasstops practice, recruiting Brian Lunde and George Burger—along with a team of four experts—away from Weber Shandwick. The Lunde & Burger firm was sold to Weber Shandwick four years ago, and is believed to generate about $5 million in revenues.

Weber Shandwick, meanwhile, is establishing a new, integrated grassroots division that will be known as Powell Tate Constituent Action Network.

“Over the last few years we’ve been on the lookout for professionals who could bring best-of-class grassroots and grasstops to our operation, at the same skill level as the rest of our practices,” said Leslie Dach, vice chairman of Edelman. “I feel very confident that we have successfully accomplished this effort, which will serve to further cement our leadership in public affairs throughout Edelman’s national and international network, and enhance our PR-centric approach.” 

Lunde and Burger are know for their work in grasstops advocacy and have pioneered programs at the attorney general level and in employee political grassroots. Brian Lunde has over 20 years of campaign management and grassroots organizing experience, while George Burger is a veteran issue strategist, campaign manager and political consultant who was director of operations for Reese Communications in the early 1980s. They have worked with clients including Andersen Consulting, SmithKline Beecham, Aetna, TWA, The Business Roundtable, and Kodak.

Joining Lunde and George Burger in the move are Timothy Binning, Cara Cromwell, John Dunagan and Michelle Neuman.

Robert Hoopes, a senior vice president at Powell Tate, will head the firm’s new Constituent Action Network, which “represents a unique bipartisan, multi-disciplinary approach to grassroots advocacy, providing clients with access to the full range of grassroots organizing and communications capabilities needed to create local support for state and national policy initiatives.”

The Network’s services include messaging, targeting, grasstops, coalition building and management, local media outreach, political intelligence, advocacy advertising, direct mail and phone banks.

Hoopes, who has headed grassroots organizations for the Independent Insurance Agents of America and , will be joined by Gail Harrison, head of Powell Tate Weber Shandwick’s coalition and ally development division, who will serve as senior strategist to the Network. Also serving as senior strategist is Tim Ryan, who recently served as executive director of Citizens for Better Medicare.  

“Our approach is unique in the industry,” said Mr. Hoopes.  “Businesses and associations interested in advancing their public policy positions can turn to a single source for the capabilities, expertise and integrated know-how necessary for success in the current political climate.”  

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