The presence of a handful of extremely capable specialist firms as well as almost all the national full-service agencies makes Illinois arguably the third largest public affairs market (after Washington, D.C. and California) in the United States, but that didn’t deter political and media strategist Ryan McLaughlin from launching a new competitor into the space in April of 2008. McLaughlin, who had served as vice president at Zapwater and helped to build its corporate and public affairs practice into one of the region’s largest and who earlier served as campaign manager and media spokesman for Peter Roskam’s dramatic election to Congress, believed there was room in the market for a dynamic, energetic young firm that could deliver high-profile media relations and special events that could drive clients’ policy agendas.
His confidence appears to have been well-founded. In its first year of operations, Mac Strategies Group has tripled the size of its client roster and picked up several high-profile assignments. Perhaps most notably, it was retained by
Other high-profile assignments include work on the Illinois Policy Institute’s 2008 Illinois Piglet Book, elevating a low-profile organization into one of the top public policy newsmakers in the region; developing a series of international marketing pieces in several languages for the Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau to revitalize its international marketing efforts; and conducting media tours to promote a Dr. Seuss for President Art Exhibit that featured the political art of Dr. Seuss. Additional clients include the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance, a national coalition of 120 specialty crop producers; Central States Trucking; the United Fresh Produce Association;
McLaughlin is joined at the helm of the company by Cally Eckles, principal, who brings more than a decade of government affairs experience having worked for a national healthcare trade association and two senior Members of Congress. Together, they have experience in managing diverse issue-oriented campaigns on issues including: agriculture, the budget and the economy, education, energy, healthcare, corporate legal affairs, manufacturing, technology and transportation.
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