Jim Morrell has more than seventeen years of communications experience spanning private business, political campaigns, Capitol Hill and the White House. Over the course of his career, he has provided strategic communications advice to many top companies, trade associations, and government officials.
Morrell is a founding partner of Blueprint Communications, which he launched with colleague Chad Kolton in 2013. Prior to that, he was a partner at public affairs firm HDMK in Washington, DC. At HDMK, he worked with a diverse group of clients helping them to hone their messages and craft successful communications strategies designed to impact public policies.
In 2006, Morrell served as deputy chief of staff for the House Republican Conference under then-Chair Deborah Pryce (R-OH), where he oversaw all of the Conference's public communications operations. Prior to joining the Conference, he worked at Quinn Gillespie & Associates crafting crisis communications plans, entailing both media and lobbying strategies, for numerous clients including Fortune 500 companies.
Morrell previously served as spokesperson in the White House Office of Media Affairs. In that capacity, he was the principal White House spokesperson during the 2004 presidential campaign for media outlets in fourteen states, including the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Michigan. In 2000, Morrell worked as a writer for the Bush-Cheney campaign in Austin, Texas where he handled rapid response.
Morrell has worked in numerous capacities on Capitol Hill. He was communications director for Congressman Rob Portman (R-OH), where he worked extensively on tax and pension issues. Morrell also served as speechwriter for House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL). He began his career in the office of then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-TX), eventually serving as senior legislative aide.
He lives in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife and two sons.
With more than eighteen years of experience in the public and private sectors, Chad Kolton has established an expertise in developing public relations strategies that successfully influence policymaking and effectively respond to crises at the global, national and regional levels. As a spokesperson for Republican and Democrat administrations, he has been quoted in nearly every major media outlet in the country and has created and placed opinion content in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Foreign Affairs.
Kolton has extensive experience in providing executive-level public relations counsel and in implementing comprehensive media strategies. He has headed the public affairs office for both the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In both positions, he was tasked with developing communications strategies with international implications and directing national crisis response communications.
Kolton has also served as the press secretary for the White House Office of Management and Budget. In this role, he created and articulated messages to support Administration initiatives on fiscal, tax and trade policy as well as federal regulations.
In the private sector, Kolton has provided strategic communications counsel for corporate, political and government clients, including developing strategic public relations and crisis communications plans, reorganizing communications departments and providing comprehensive media relations support. His work encompassed a broad range of issues, including international affairs, homeland security, trade, energy and regulatory oversight.
Kolton began his career on Capitol Hill as deputy press secretary for the House Republican Conference under its then-Chair, U.S. Representative John Boehner (R-OH), the current speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
LISA CAMOOSO MILLER
Lisa Camooso Miller is a partner at Blueprint Communications, having been a notable communications leader for the past twenty years in local, state and federal government posts, political campaigns and committees, as well as advocacy organizations. She regularly provides commentary on radio and television, including FOX News, CNN and MSNBC.
Miller joined Blueprint Communications from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) where she served as head of media affairs. There, Miller built a targeted statewide outreach program for members of the media and public during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles. After the program was successfully implemented, National Journal featured ACCCE in a cover story, “Paid to Juggle,” highlighting the organization as the new trade association model in D.C.
Miller was previously deputy communications director for the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Speaker of the House of Representatives, where she played a role in the deployment of key government initiatives, such as the manufacturing and jobs report, and the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. She also served as the head of communications for the Republican National Committee, and managed a $1 million budget, a strong team of communications professionals, and both a national and statewide public affairs effort.
Prior to her time in Washington, D.C., Miller served under two New Jersey governors, where she participated in the recovery and rebuilding efforts following the attacks of September 11th.
Miller is a native of Wayside, New Jersey. She holds an M.A. in corporate and public communications from Monmouth University and a B.A. in communications from The College of New Jersey. She and her husband have two children and live in Northern Virginia.
John “CZ” Czwartacki has spent nearly three decades developing communications expertise and experience that is arguably second-to-none: Digital know-how that built a social media platform for a $100 million company; Crisis management skills that were called upon to help lead America’s response to the attack of 9/11; Public affairs and communications talents that were earned serving a future Speaker of the House, a Senate Majority Leader, two cabinet departments in two administrations and a presidential campaign.
Prior to becoming Principal with Blueprint Communications, CZ spent a year as Special Advisor to the non-partisan Campaign to Fix the Debt, a project of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB). That effort marshalled CEOs and civic leaders from across the country to pressure America’s leaders into finding common ground and making some progress toward the goal of long-term debt reduction.
Czwartacki had previously worked at Verizon Communications, Inc. for nearly a decade. There he served as Executive Director - Communications and reported to the company’s Chief Communications Officer. He was responsible for driving the company’s overall public affairs social media strategy and assisting business units across the company with their own communication executions, especially in the area of social media.
Immediately prior to Verizon, Czwartacki was Director of Public Affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He was recruited into that role in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to lead the communications efforts of the federal government’s $4 billion response and recovery.
Czwartacki had been a partner in the boutique communications and public affairs agency Greener and Hook when he was asked to take over the 200-plus member communications team at FEMA.
Previous to that agency experience, CZ was one of Washington, D.C.’s top government communications professionals, serving some of the nation’s most senior elected officials over the course of a decade --including a Senate majority Leader and a future Speaker of the House. His work on Capitol Hill was recognized in 1999 when he was named by IABC-Washington as “Communicator of the Year.”
Czwartacki was also an adjunct professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University for eight years. A contributor and featured guest on television and radio, Czwartacki is also a sought after guest speaker, including by public and private organizations such as Vodaphone, the National Governors Association, and the National Security Agency.
Czwartacki can be found most days discussing his various passions, and his four sons’ hockey exploits, on Twitter as @CZ.
Ashley Helms joined Blueprint Communications as a Senior Associate in 2013. With a strong record of communications experience both on and off of Capitol Hill, Ashley has created and executed effective communications campaigns, worked on statewide political races in Florida and New York, and consulted for campaign operations and project management.
Ashley most recently served as Deputy Communications Director for the Connie Mack U.S. Senate campaign where she executed media strategies, conducted relations with national media outlets, and traveled with the candidate during the statewide Florida race. Through this experience Ashley learned the intricacies of campaign and crisis communications.
Prior to her work on the campaign, Ashley worked on Capitol Hill serving as the press secretary for then Congressman Connie Mack (R-FL), at the time a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In this role, she developed strategic media campaigns to ensure effective communication and messaging for the Congressman and managed all social media and online communications. Before joining Congressman Mack’s staff, Ashley served as press secretary for Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
In the private sector, Ashley worked in the integrated marketing department at Country Music Television (CMT), where she assisted in creating and writing presentations and composed project pitches for television advertising.
Ashley began her career in DC at Campaign Mail and Data Inc. during the 2008 presidential cycle serving as a campaign finance and compliance consultant for Presidential, Senate, and Congressional candidates.
Gretchen Gailey has a wide depth of knowledge in communications stemming from more than 10 years of experience as a journalist. She has worked in network news, cable news and local news, on and off the camera, as well as in print journalism. She has interviewed heads of state, covered natural disasters, political campaigns, terrorist trials and told the stories of countless Americans across the country.
Most recently Gailey served as the Communications Director for Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA), the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. As Communications Director, she promoted the Congressman’s legislative priorities and communicated his message to the people of the 9th District of Pennsylvania.
Prior to coming to Capitol Hill, Gailey was a reporter for WHTM Harrisburg covering crime and the Pennsylvania State House. Before returning to her home state of Pennsylvania as a reporter, she worked for several years as a field producer for Fox News Channel in Washington D.C. where she worked on stories ranging from the DC Sniper and Michael Vick scandal to being on the ground in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti after the tragic 7.0 earthquake.
Gailey began her career in journalism working for NBC News in Washington. She worked as a field producer for their affiliate service, NBC News Channel, as an associate producer for their political team covering the 2004 Presidential Election, and as a “one-man-band” for their affiliate in Hagerstown, MD. She has also worked for the Associated Press and in the publishing division of the AARP.
Gailey is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and holds a B.A. in Journalism from the Pennsylvania State University.
ELIZABETH TREGASKIS GORDON
Elizabeth Tregaskis Gordon has ten years of experience working with foreign and domestic government and corporate clients, facilitating international expansion and relationship-building between the top-level leadership within the client country or client organization and both the United States government and corporate partners.
Most recently prior to joining Blueprint Communications, Tregaskis Gordon served as vice president for international affairs at Cassidy and Associates, where she helped clients to identify areas of mutual interest and concern and develop strategies for increasing cooperation in those areas. She provided clients with intelligence on the political environment in Washington and helped them to anticipate potential public relations challenges and implement strategies for mitigating problems and communicating key messages, policies and actions. In addition, she assisted the international group by researching, writing and editing background and briefing materials in both Spanish and English for distribution to the White House, Congress and or clients.
Prior to joining Cassidy & Associates, Tregaskis Gordon served as an operations manager at Classical Movements, where she managed and led domestic and international performance tours for world renowned orchestras and choruses. She supported tour participants by training them on local culture and provided advice regarding the political environment, currency stability, and security of tour destinations. In this role, Tregaskis Gordon also developed and produced a music festival for several hundred students in South America.
Tregaskis Gordon began her career as a case worker and Spanish / English interpreter with Bethanna Social Services Agency in Philadelphia.
Additionally, Tregaskis Gordon draws on past experience working and living in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. She attended The College of William and Mary and earned a B.A. in Hispanic Studies.
Maia Siprashvili-Lee joined Blueprint Communications with more than 10 years of senior-level experience planning and executing international programs on behalf of the government of Georgia. Throughout her diverse career working on military, education and corrections issues, she has consistently demonstrated her ability to successfully design and implement complex public affairs initiatives to drive policy priorities.
In her most recent role as Deputy Defense Minister, Siprashvili-Lee’s coordinated efforts by Joint Staff and Ministry of Defense civilian personnel to support Georgia’s aspiration to become a NATO member. She also worked to raise public awareness of developments in Georgia’s military both locally and with NATO and Non-NATO countries by working closely with international military staff at NATO Headquarters. Siprashvili-Lee initiated a Strategic Defense Review of Georgian National Military Strategy. She also supported negotiations regarding the deployment of Georgian troops to Afghanistan as part of the largest per capita contribution to International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan (ISAF). As a part of this responsibility she served as a spokesperson for local and international media.
As Head of the Ministry of Education’s International Relations Department, Maia managed departments such as Public Relations, Higher Education, and Human Resources. She worked closely with international donor organizations (USAID, UNICEF, UNESCO, World Bank, European Union, and World Vision) and monitored projects implemented by them in Georgia’s education sector. Siprashvili-Lee also planned and executed high-level ministerial visits outside of Georgia.
Maia Siprashvili-Lee’s biggest achievement was the creation of “Teach and Learn with Georgia” (TLG), a global recruitment program initiated by the president of Georgia with the goal of bringing 1,000 native and fluent English-speaking volunteers to Georgia annually to teach English. Maia led the international marketing and advertising campaigns that made the recruitment program successful. She also established the training and internal communications program that supported international volunteers while they served in Georgia. TLG was one of the most high profile success stories in Georgia, generating frequent international and local media coverage.
For her leadership on the TLG program, Maia Siprashvili-Lee was awarded both the Medal of Presidential Excellency and the Medal of Honor by the president of Georgia. In addition to her work experience, Maia fluently speaks Georgian, English, German and Russian.