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Clark Hill Public Strategies Adds Michigan Lobbyist Brian O’Connell, Former GM & Pharma Government Relations Director, To Lead CHPS Midwest Growth

April 10, 2024

Clark Hill Public Strategies, LLC (CHPS), the government affairs affiliate of international law firm Clark Hill PLC, has announced that veteran lobbyist Brian D. O’Connell has joined the organization. O’Connell, who most recently was Regional Director of State and Local Public Policy for General Motors (GM), joins CHPS colleagues in Washington, D.C. and in Lansing, Michigan who work with high-level clients to promote their interests at the state and federal levels.

“Brian’s recent experience in the automotive industry focused on an array of business concerns – everything from economic development and manufacturing to energy and appropriations,” said Bret Wacker, a partner at Clark Hill and CHPS Managing Director. “His broad-based topical knowledge, coupled with the relationships he’s built over the years with lawmakers and influencers, makes Brian a tremendous asset for our clients and our organization. We’re thrilled to have him on board.”

O’Connell, who left GM in December 2023, coordinated and implemented a broad range of strategic initiatives including legislative, political, regulatory affairs, economic development, manufacturing, taxation, real estate, energy, appropriations, healthcare, sustainability, and environmental issues.

Prior to his position at GM, O’Connell was Wyeth Pharmaceuticals’ Director of State Government Affairs for Michigan and Ohio. Before his corporate positions, he worked in government, first as the Chief of Staff for former State Senator Shirley Johnson and earlier as the Legislative Director for former State Representative Jim McBryde.

He has been named to Crain’s Detroit Business “50 Names to Know in Lobbying” and has been recognized in multiple years as the “Top Corporate Lobbyist” in Michigan by MIRS/EPIC in 2019, 2021, and 2023.

“Clark Hill Public Strategies already has an outstanding team so I’m pleased to add my skills and the network I’ve amassed over my professional life to assist CHPS clients,” O’Connell said. “I see tremendous value for our clients in CHPS’ relationship and connectivity with Clark Hill, a law firm I know and respect, with a strong presence in 25 cities across the U.S. I see the current business and political environment as a remarkable opportunity to grow our business, particularly in the Midwest, while accomplishing strong results for clients in achieving their business objectives.”

With a dynamic political scene on the horizon, Clark Hills Public Strategies’ leadership expects companies and organizations to ramp up their efforts in navigating sensitive legislative issues and to get ahead of potential changes in the White House, Congress, Governors’ Mansions and Statehouses. “Our practice group is very responsive and adept to managing political changes emanating from elections. We have a team that’s able to pivot and be flexible – that’s part of what makes us so effective. Creating strategies regardless of the political environment is one of the hallmarks and strengths of CHPS,” said Del Chenault, Principal at CHPS. “We’re a diverse, bipartisan group. Whether clients are dealing with issues at the federal level or at the statehouse, our team is built to achieve success.”

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