Kevin Griffis, senior adviser to the chief of staff and former director of public affairs for the US Department of Commerce, will join the top-ranked Podesta Group March 14 as a principal, Podesta Group Chief Executive Officer Kimberley Fritts announced today.
“As we continue to build and diversify our growing public affairs business, we hit the lotto with an ace like Kevin,” Fritts said. “His profound experience earned on the stump and at the Department of Commerce will be invaluable for organizations, both international and domestic, that seek strategic positioning. He is a PR guru with reach into newsrooms at home and abroad. In short, reporters know him and policymakers trust him. That’s a winning combination for all Podesta Group clients. We are thrilled to have him on board.”
As director of public affairs for the Department of Commerce, Kevin oversaw communications for 11 bureaus, including the International Trade Administration, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. An authority on how to adeptly manage the press, Kevin amassed a reporter rolodex that spans bureaus across the globe in his role as spokesperson. No stranger to crisis, he helped steer the agency through communications challenges as great as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and major policy initiatives including the national Export Initiative launch and the administration-wide Recovery Act and Jobs Act outreach efforts.
“Kevin is a creative, battle-tested communicator who has built a roster of press contacts in news bureaus around the world,” US Ambassador to China and former Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “His unflagging and thoughtful work helped shape everything from the launch of the president’s National Export Initiative to the administration’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
Kevin honed his communication skills on the campaign trail, helping to secure victories in key races at the state and national level. His war chest of experience crafting persuasive messages includes serving as communications director for the Democratic Party of Virginia and the state Coordinated Campaign during Tim Kaine’s successful bid for governor. His star rising, Kevin was picked up by the Obama for America campaign, where he was one of the original four early-state communications directors, serving in the hotly contested South Carolina primary. He directed communications for Obama primary campaigns across numerous states and led the development and execution of Barack Obama’s earned-media plan during the general election in the battleground of Virginia, helping deliver the Commonwealth for a Democrat for the first time since 1964. He eventually went on to serve as spokesperson for President Obama’s inaugural committee.
At ease on both sides of a story, Kevin spent the first six years of his career covering government and politics as a reporter in Maryland and Atlanta, Ga. His work in journalism won him recognition from the Atlanta Press Club and top prizes from the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, the Chesapeake Associated Press and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Kevin holds a bachelor’s degree from Beloit College.