Witt Associates Grows Government Relations Division, Expands Little Rock Office

by Mark Carter  on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 9:32 am  

James Lee Witt's crisis management firm, Witt Associates, has expanded its government relations division and its presence in Little Rock.

James Lee Witt's crisis management firm, Witt Associates, has expanded its government relations division and its presence in Little Rock.

The firm announced Friday the addition of four professionals to the division including former Clinton advisor and Arkansas Law graduate George Kopp, senior advisor and counsel, who will split his time between Little Rock and the firm's home office in Washington D.C.

In addition, Bob Nash is moving back to Little Rock full time from the D.C. office to support the firm's growing government relations operation in the state.

The Little Rock office now features six employees including Witt himself, who has transitioned to chairman and founder and now spends almost all his time in Arkansas. Kenneth Burris serves as the firm's CEO in Washington.

Also joining the firm's D.C. office are vice president John Weinfurter, director Jon Harsch and legislative assistant Megan Rodgers.

Witt Associates' Arkansas clients include the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock, Clinton National Airport and the University of Central Arkansas. Also, the firm continues to work with Arkansas Tech University's nationally renowned emergency management programs that it helped establish.

Elsewhere, its client list includes states, major cities, major universities and even countries.

The firm's government relations practice has grown into the areas of aviation, insurance and financial services, complementing its core focus areas of advocacy, partnership development, economic development, coalition building, crisis management, issues management nand monitoring, policy development and corporate and community relations, according to a news release.

Witt Associates president Barry Scanlon said the growth in government relations services was prompted by client demand.

"We are pleased to have such an accomplished bipartisan focused team of government relations experts who will be able to provide their expertise to our current and future clients in addition to serving the impressive client roster they have brought to Witt Associates," he said in the release.

Scanlon said Witt Associates has grown "three fold" in recent years while surveys show more than half of the top 20 government relations firms in the country have seen a downturn in services of between 2 and 30 percent.

Witt Associates revenue topped $40 million in 2010 following the $22 million buyback of the firm from Global Options Group.

Scanlon said the firm will continue to grow its government relations division, capitalizing on the work of its current and new team members and Witt's reputation.

"Witt is predominantly known as someone who reached across the aisle and found solutions with partnerships with people of all political persuasions," he said. "This strong group of government relations executives shares this bipartisan ethic, and has helped triple our revenue as well as providing the foundation to be a leading D.C. government relations firm in 2013 and beyond."

Rounding out the firm's Little Rock office, located in the River Market, is Jimmy Witt (James Lee's son and a former Yell County judge like his father) and Hal Hunnicutt, who started the firm's government relations work in Arkansas.

Wiit Associates has 120 full-time employees with a cadre of more than 500 experts in various disciplines worldwide deployable on a moment's notice for the firm's crisis management and disaster clients. 



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