President, Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association
Ray is President of the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association, the state trade association representing Virginia’s cable industry. Ray’s principle responsibilities are representing Virginia’s cable industry before members of the Virginia General Assembly and the United States Congress. Prior to joining the VCTA, Ray was the Vice President of Government Affairs for the Virginia Bankers Association. Ray currently serves of the Governor’s Rural Broadband Advisory Council, the Virginia Utility Protection Services Board of Directors, and the Virginia State Corporation Committee’s Public Affairs Committee on Utility Safety Awareness. He previously served on the St. Mary’s Hospital Community Affairs Committee and Benedictine School Athletic Foundation. Ray is a graduate from Mary Washington College, The School of Bank Management at the University of Virginia, and The Robert Morris School of Commercial Lending. Ray is married to Alison. Their children Ryan and Madeline attend the University of Virginia.
former Member, Virginia House of Delegates (R-51)
Sorensen Alumnus: PLP 2012
Rich Anderson retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2009 as a colonel after a 30-year military career. In 2009, he was elected to represent the people of the 51st District (Prince William County) in the Virginia House of Delegates. He served in the House from Jan. 2010 to Jan. 2018, where he was chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology. He currently sits on the board of advisors of Youth for Tomorrow (YFT), an organization focused on youth development among especially vulnerable populations in Prince William County. He previously served as the chair of the Virginia War Memorial Board of Trustees, the General Assembly Military and Veteran Caucus, and the Joint Commission on Technology and Science. Rich was born and raised in Roanoke and is a graduate of Virginia Tech.
Partner, Aldrich Capital Partners
Mirza Baig is the founding Partner of Aldrich Capital Partners (ACP). As a serial entrepreneur and investor in healthcare and technology, he has been involved in scaling operations and growing sales to build large businesses that have enjoyed successful outcomes. As a co-founder of Imaging Advantage, Legal Advantage and Tech Fetch, he built these companies from zero revenues and sub-10 employees to well over $100mm in revenues, and over five hundred employees globally. Previously, Mirza held executive positions in investment and financial management at AOL Time Warner including as CFO of eCommerce group that grew from $350mm to $850mm under his leadership. Mirza serves as a board member for civic organizations including Young President Organization (YPO) of Northern Virginia and Medicaid of Virginia (DMAS).
David Bailey Associates
David Bailey, President of David Bailey Associates, is a teacher and trainer working with clients who want to learn how to become more involved in state government decisions. He developed training tapes, produced and hosted television shows, and has written extensively about citizen advocacy. His legislative directory, Capitol Connections, is the directory used on Capitol Square and throughout the Commonwealth. Twenty years ago he created Virginia Capitol Connections Quarterly Magazine, and it flourishes as a nonpartisan vehicle that helps inform and educate the public. In 2009 he began This Week in Richmond seen on four Virginia PBS stations. Before the 2017 session, the Virginia Capitol Connections app will be available for Android and iPhone.
Chief Lobbyist & Senior Legislative Outreach Policy Director, Dominion
Jim Beamer has been Chief Lobbyist and Senior Legislative Outreach Policy Director at Dominion since 2007. He previously served as an independent contract lobbyist for clients in healthcare, manufacturing, energy and finance. Jim gained prominence in state government as lead lobbyist in the administration of Governor George Allen and as a legislative assistant to former legislators including Judge G. Steven Agee of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. His involvement in politics started in 1984 with a congressional campaign in Virginia’s Ninth district and he has worked in numerous state and legislative campaigns including spearheading a statewide program for the National Federation of Independent Business to elect pro-business legislators in 1993.
Chairman & CEO, Appian
Sorensen Alumnus: PLP 2011
Matthew Calkins has been CEO & Chairman of the Board since founding Appian in 1999. He has been recognized as an Innovator by InformationWeek, Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and a top entrepreneur by the Washington Post and the Washington Business Journal. Matt worked at MicroStrategy (MSTR) from 1994-1999, serving on the board from 2005-2014. As a board game designer and player, he won “Wargame of the Year” and finished third in the 2012 World Boardgaming Championships.
Of Counsel, Lee & Hayes, PLLC
Jim Cheng supports technology startups and entrepreneurs and advises companies on economic development issues and on investing in the U.S. He has over 25 years of experience as a technology entrepreneur, angel investor, private capital investor, business leader and senior state government executive. From 2010 to 2014, Jim served as Virginia's Secretary of Commerce and Trade. His portfolio of 13 agencies included economic development, housing, employment, export, licensing, tourism, small business, mining and energy. Before his role in state government, Jim was an active angel and private equity investor specializing in technology companies. In addition to mentoring many startups and small businesses, he was the President of Totus Lighting Solutions, an efficient-energy startup.
Allison Cryor DiNardo
President, King Street Wireless
Allison Cryor DiNardo leads King Street Wireless, a company providing 4G LTE service to millions of customers in a joint venture with US Cellular. She has worked in telecommunications, developing and managing wireless companies, for 17 years. Allison served as Deputy Associate Director of Presidential Personnel under President George H.W. Bush. Following her White House service, she managed major fundraising campaigns including the University of Virginia’s $165 million athletics capital campaign. Allison currently serves on the boards of CTIA, the Jefferson Trust, the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership and the Alexandria Industrial Development Authority. She is a former member of the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors.
Vice President & Market Leader for Northern Virginia Operations, Cox Communications
Sorensen Alumna: PLP 2010
Kathryn Falk is the Vice President and Market Leader for Northern Virginia Operations for Cox Communications. Prior to joining Cox Communications in 2002, she served for 5 years as the President of the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association (VCTA). Kathryn serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Virginia Technology Council, and the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association, and is a board member and Past President of Women In Cable Telecommunications (WICT) Washington-Baltimore Chapter. She was honored with the National Cable Telecommunications Association’s Vanguard Award for Young Leadership in 2006, the highest award in the cable industry.
Partner, NextWorld, LLC
Sorensen Alumnus: PLP 2003
David Fife is a partner at NextWorld, a global private equity firm focused on providing venture capital and late-stage growth equity to the technology, retail & consumer branded sectors. David currently oversees the firm’s $400mm NextWorld Evergreen Fund. He has over 20 years of corporate finance, private equity investment and senior operating experience. Previous representative investments include Rossignol, Derek Lam, Bonobos, Diamondback Tactical, Michael Kors, Stio, Chop’t Salad, and Farfetch. He currently serves on the board of directors of Alter Eco Chocolate, Credo Beauty, and chairs the audit committee for The American School in London Foundation. David began his career at Goldman Sachs & Co. He holds a BA from Duke University and a MA from Columbia University.
President, Fried Companies, Inc.
Barbara Fried is president of Fried Companies, Inc., a real estate development and management firm, chairman of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, and a member of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia. She previously served as chairman of the Sorensen Institute's Statewide Advisory Board. Barbara received a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. She holds an M.A. in History from the University of Virginia (2004). She is a member and past chairman of the board for Innisfree Village, a voluntary community for adults with intellectual disabilities. She is a founder of Charlottesville Area Riding Therapy (C.A.R.T.), a non-profit organization located at the Fried Farm.
President and Owner, the Gaston Group
Susan has been involved in the political field for most of her life, having watched her father lobby for the oil and gas industries. With over 20 years of governmental affairs and lobbying experience before the U.S. Congress, federal and state regulatory agencies, the Virginia General Assembly and local government bodies, she has created strong relationships on both sides of the aisle. Susan is on the Williamsburg Regional Board of Directors for Middleburg Bank and serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she serves as Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance.
Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education
Former Lt. Gov. of Virginia
Past Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia
A business executive who started at the bottom of the career ladder, John rose quickly through the ranks of The American Tobacco Company to the position of Executive Vice President. After a near-fatal bout with polio, John rebuilt his life and career. He continued to work for the Company and retired as a Senior Vice President. John was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1997. Soon after the events of September 11, 2001, John became the Director of Homeland Security for Virginia. Under his guidance, Virginia's approach to security became a model for other states. Four years later, President George W. Bush nominated him to the position of Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. In 2007, John was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, and served to complete the unexpired term of Ed Gillespie. He now serves on a number of non-profit boards and travels widely with his wife Maggie.
Member, Virginia House of Delegates (D-35)
Sorensen Alumnus: PLP 2012
Mark Keam represents Fairfax County in the Virginia House of Delegates. As a legislator with a reputation for bipartisanship and effectiveness, Mark focuses on creating jobs, improving schools, addressing transportation needs, reducing burdens on businesses, and strengthening social safety nets. Professionally, Mark has three decades of experiences in both the private and public sectors. Mark has been an entrepreneur, executive with a technology firm, head of a chamber of commerce, and attorney in both executive and legislative branches of federal and local governments. Mark graduated from University of California Irvine and from Hastings College of the Law.
CEO, Jo-Kell Inc.
Sorensen Alumna: PLP 2009
Suzy Kelly is Chief Executive Officer of Jo-Kell Inc., an electrical engineering and distribution company providing automation solutions and shipboard electrical equipment to markets throughout the United States and abroad. She is currently serving her second consecutive term on the Chesapeake City Council and is an active member in her community. Through her initiative, the Chesapeake Can Do Food Drive was established. The Can Do Food Drive supports the local food bank with thousands of pounds of food each year. In addition, Suzy and Deacon Adrian Marchi founded Catholic Passion Ministries. Suzy produces radio commercials and online articles on matter of the faith and of the Church.
Member, Virginia House of Delegates (D-49)
Sorensen Alumnus: PLP 2003
Delegate Alfonso H. Lopez has represented the 49th House of Delegates District (Arlington & Fairfax) in the Virginia General Assembly since 2012. Raised in Fairfax County, he has over 24 years experience working in Federal and Virginia politics and policy. During the Administration of Governor Tim Kaine he served as the head of Federal and Congressional Relations for the Commonwealth. He currently serves on the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee, the Science & Technology Committee, and the Militia, Police, Public Safety Committee. He also serves as the Minority Whip of the House Democratic Caucus. He has the honor of being the first Latino Democrat ever elected to the Virginia General Assembly.
Chairman of the Board, American National Bank
Charley Majors is Chairman of the Board of American National Bank & Trust Company and its holding company, American National Bankshares Inc. He served at various times as President, CEO, and Executive Chairman of the Bank and the holding company. With assets totaling approximately $1.5 billion, the Bank is headquartered in Danville, Virginia, and has 25 offices in Virginia and North Carolina. He currently serves as chairman of the Future of the Piedmont Foundation and as Vice Chairman of Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania. He is a board member of the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research and Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation.
Member, Virginia Senate (D-1)
Sorensen Alumnus: CTP 2010
Monty Mason represents Virginia's 1st Senate district, including all of the City of Williamsburg and parts of Newport News, Hampton, Suffolk, James City County and York County. Monty was twice elected to the House of Delegates in the 93rd District before winning his race for State Senate in November of 2016. Monty is a strong supporter of the College of William and Mary and serves on the university’s Challenge 1 Strategic Planning Committee. Monty’s career in business spans more than 25 years and includes working in the real estate and financial sectors as well as more than a decade with VISA in fraud and risk management.
Ned Massee recently retired from his position of Vice President of Corporate Affairs at WestRock Foundation. Before MeadWestVaco and RockTenn merged to form WestRock in 2015, Ned oversaw MeadWestvaco’s corporate affairs, with responsibility for domestic and global government relations, community affairs and special projects for senior leadership. Before joining Westvaco, Ned had over 12 years of experience on Capitol Hill. He was a key member of the staff of United States Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) between 1973 and 1984. As chief legislative assistant, he was responsible for the coordination of the senator’s legislative program and staff.
Member, Norfolk City Council
Sorensen Alumna: PLP 2013
Andria McClellan represents Superward 6 serves on the City Council of Norfolk. She currently serves on the governing board of WHRO Public Media, the executive board of the Civic Leadership Foundation, and OneVirginia2021's regional advisory board. She has previously served on a number of boards and commissions including the Norfolk Planning Commission, the Norfolk Commission on Arts & Humanities, and The Up Center. Andria holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia and is a graduate of the Wharton Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She has resided with her family in Norfolk since 2002.
Of Counsel, McGuireWoods LLP
Leigh Middleditch is Of Counsel in the Charlottesville office of McGuireWoods LLP and is Vice President of McGuireWoods Consulting, LLC. His practice is now concentrated in the non-governmental and tax exempt organizations fields. He has previously served on UVA's Board of Visitors and as the legal advisor to the University. He also held the position of University Lecturer in the Law and Darden Graduate Business Schools and is co-author of Virginia Civil Procedure. Leigh has taken leadership roles in numerous business, law, and health care organizations serving the Commonwealth. He is the founder of OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting and a co-founder of the Sorensen Institute. Leigh served on active duty with the United States Navy from 1951-1957 and retired as a Captain USNR.
Sorensen Alumna: PLP 2010
Atima Omara is award winning leader in non-profits and politics as a fundraiser and strategist. She has worked for Mark Warner when he was Governor of Virginia and as staff on over eight federal, state, and local Democratic campaigns in Virginia and across the country. She has worked on many issue advocacy related causes around women's rights and civil rights. Raised in Chesterfield County, she has over 12 years of experience in non-profit and political work. Atima had the distinction of being the first African American, the first Virginian, and the fifth woman President of the Young Democrats of America (YDA) from 2013 to 2015, the nation's largest partisan youth organization. Atima currently represents Virginia as a Member of the Democratic National Committee. She serves on the board of Emerge Virginia, which trains Democratic women to run for office, and Virginia's List, a PAC that aims to endorse and help elect pro-choice Democratic women candidates to office in Virginia. Atima volunteers her community on issues affecting, women, children, and people with disabilities.
VP State Government Relations, McGuireWoods Consulting
Davis serves as a vice president in the Virginia State Government Relations group at McGuireWoods Consulting. Previously Davis worked in Gov. McDonnell's administration as a special policy analyst to the Department of Transportation and as a member of Gov. McDonnell's Inaugural Committee. During this time, Davis assisted Secretary Connaughton with issues such as tolling, Hot Lanes and the 2011 Transportation Package. Davis has also served as a legislative assistant to former Virginia Delegates Chris Saxman and Rob Wittman as well as political director for the Republican Party of Virginia under then-Chairman John Hager.
President & CEO, Bristol Chamber of Commerce
Sorensen Alumna: PLP 2010
Beth D. Rhinehart is President & CEO of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, serving both Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee. Prior to joining the Bristol Chamber of Commerce, Beth served as Director of Government Relations for Wellmont Health System, and Chairman of the Bristol Virginia Public Schools Board of Education. Beth is a native of Bristol, Virginia, and earned her B.S. degree from Mary Washington College, Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Science in Counseling degrees from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from King College in Bristol, Tennessee.
Partner, Venable LLP
Sorensen Alumnus: PLP 2001
Larry is a Partner at Venable LLP, working primarily in the firm’s Tyson's Corner offices. His practice focuses on infrastructure development, government contracting, and government relations. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia, Georgetown University Law Center, and the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leaders Program. Larry successfully chaired Tim Kaine’s gubernatorial and U.S. Senate campaigns and served as Counselor to Governor Kaine and DNC Chief of Staff. While he was Counselor, Virginia was named “Best State for Business in America” by Forbes and CNBC and the “Top Performing State Government in America” by Governing magazine.
Virginia Senate Republican Caucus
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Jeff Ryer grew up in nearby Beverly, home to the Lodge family, and, at that time, the only city in Massachusetts that could be characterized as reliably Republican. Jeff earned a degree in Government at the College of William and Mary. In 1995, he began managing political campaigns, specializing in local and state races in Virginia. He continues in that field today, working as a consultant to Republican candidates and office holders who are among Virginia's most severely politically-challenged. Jeff also serves as a spokesman for the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus.
Thomas C. Sorensen Professor of Political and Social Thought, University of Virginia
Michael Joseph Smith is the Thomas C. Sorensen Professor of Political and Social Thought and Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. A product of public schools in Yonkers, NY, he holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University, and an M.Phil. from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. Prof. Smith came to the University of Virginia in 1986. The recipient of several teaching awards, Smith offers courses on human rights; since 1999 he has directed the Political & Social Thought honors program. He is the author of Realist Thought from Weber to Kissinger, and of many essays on the intersection of ethics and international affairs.
Sorensen Family Member
Adam is the youngest son of Thomas C. Sorensen. He graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and worked for five years as a reporter and editor for Time Magazine. He now attends the University of Virginia School of Law.
Jackie Stone is a partner with McGuireWoods, where she concentrates on legislative, regulatory and immigration matters. She currently chairs the McGuireWoods Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and previously served as the firm’s Global Hiring Partner and as a member of the Board of Partners. Jackie was a legislative assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives before receiving her law degree from Harvard Law School and undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Jackie has been recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyer and as one of Virginia's Legal Elite in government relations and immigration law.
Former Member, Virginia House of Delegates (D-23)
Sorensen Alumna: PLP 2005
Shannon, writer and pubic speaker, is a Member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Founding Member of OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, and Chair of Investor Relations for Beacon of Hope, an organization dedicated to inspiring and preparing students for post-secondary education. Her public policy priorities included ethics, education, transportation, and serving the poor through economic opportunity. She led bipartisan efforts to create transparent government, expand clean energy production, and invest in intercity passenger rail service for the first time in Virginia’s history. Shannon graduated from the University of Virginia in Economics (1981), and from Education for Ministry through Sewanee University’s School of Theology (2000).
Executive Director, Virginia Commission for the Arts
Sorensen Alumna: PLP 2006
Margi Vandherhye is the Executive Director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the state agency that supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. Margi served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2008 to 2010 representing the 34th district (McLean, Great Falls, and parts of Herndon and Vienna). She served for six years as a Presidential appointee to the National Capital Planning Commission during the Clinton administration. Margi chaired the Commission’s Joint Memorials and Museums Task Force which developed a nationally award winning master plan for monuments, memorials, and museums.
Partner, Woods Rogers PLC
Sorensen Alumna: CLP 2004
Beth has a broad complex commercial and civil litigation practice, representing clients across the Commonwealth. Beth uses her experience in technology to counsel clients in the midst of litigation, cybersecurity breaches, and investigation. Beth advises clients on assessment of risks, pre-litigation resolution of disputes, and the protection of IP rights. Her clients range from universities to hospitals to start-ups. Beth serves as adjunct professor at Washington & Lee Law School, teaching courses in electronic discovery. She graduated from Hollins University with honors in English and creative writing. Beth earned her J.D. from the William & Mary School of Law.
Chairman of the Board, Essex Bank
John Watkins retired from the Senate of Virginia in 2016 after representing the people of the 10th District for 18 years. Prior to his time in the Senate, he served three terms in the House of Delegates. As a legislator, John was known for his independence and had a strong reputation as a champion of regional cooperation. Currently, John serves as chairman of the board of Essex Bank. He is also the owner of Watkins Nurseries, Inc., a family business that has served central Virginia since 1876. He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and a U.S. Army veteran.