PSI Team Member Fun Facts

You may know PSI as a top lobbying firm in Trenton, but do you know anything about the people who make up our team? We asked each of our partners and associates to answer some fun questions, so you can get to know them better. Check it out below:

Roger Bodman, Managing Partner

Hometown: Bernardsville, N.J.

Fun-Fact: Appointed in 1982 by Governor Thomas Kean, I was the youngest New Jersey Department of Labor Commissioner at age 29

Awards: “Good Guy” Award, Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey; PolitickerNJ Power List; NJBIZ Power List; Eagle Award, New Jersey Alliance for Action

Education: Ohio University, cum laude

Favorite Food: Cheeseburgers

Hobbies: Golf, boating, and restoring old vehicles

 

Bill Maer, Senior Partner

Hometown: Teaneck, but currently living in Manasquan, N.J.

Fun-Fact: During college, I had my first full-time campaign job as field organizer for Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis’s 1988 Presidential National Campaign. I covered six states, starting in the early primary of New Hampshire and ending on Election Day in Ohio.

Awards: PolitickerNJ Power List since its inception; appointed by two governors to the Brookdale Community College Board of Trustees and the New Jersey Building Authority

Education: Clark University, bachelor’s degree in government; Villanova University, master’s degree in political science

Favorite Food: Clifton’s famous Rut’s Hut’s “Ripper” Hot Dog

Hobbies: Politics, cooking, drinking coffee, traveling, swimming, and playing Skee Ball with my daughter

 

Joe Simonetta, Senior Partner

Hometown: New Hope, Pa.

Fun-Fact: I was the youngest Executive Director of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors at age 26

Awards: Association Executive of the Year, 1991 New Jersey Society of Association Executive

Education: Mount Saint Mary’s College, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelors of Science

Favorite Food: Pasta of any kind

Hobbies: Golf, boating, travel, and cooking

 

Joe DeSanctis, Partner

Hometown: Trenton, currently living in Newtown, Pa.

Fun-Fact: When I was 13 years old, I scored 51 points in a basketball game. I also enjoy playing golf and had two hole-in-ones.

Education: Trenton State College, bachelor’s degree in political science/public administration

Favorite Food: Most food items that begin with the letter “P”, such as pizza, pasta, and polenta

Hobbies: Golf, attending car shows, watching college football, and vacationing with the family

 

Tracie DeSarno, Partner

Hometown: Union, N.J.

Fun-Fact: I worked for the first elected County Executive in Essex County. During that time, I met my husband who was working for Senator Bill Bradley.

Awards: Dean A. Gallo Award for Distinguished Legislative Leadership, Hemophilia Association of New Jersey; New Jersey Women’s Power List; Vlunter Services Award, D.A.R.E New Jersey

Education: Douglass College, Rutgers University, magna cum laude

Favorite Food: Eggplant parmigiana

Hobbies: Reading anytime anywhere, but especially on the beach!

 

Matt Halpin, Partner

Hometown: Robbinsville, N.J.

Fun-Fact: I am an Eagles season ticket holder

Awards: Distinguished Service Award, New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers; Golden Sneaker Award, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Education: Rutgers University, MBA in finance; Rutgers University, bachelor’s degree in political science; Eagleton Institute of Politics, Associate

Favorite Food: Steak and potatoes

Hobbies: Coaching youth sports, golf, and Golden Dome softball league

 

Josh Hodes, Partner

Hometown: Sea Girt, N.J.

Fun-Fact: I served as a member of the Rules Committee at the Democratic National Convention

Interests: Serving on the Advisory Board of the New Jersey New Leaders Council and as Chairman of the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority

Education: Rutgers University, Bachelor of Science; Rutgers University, master’s degree in labor and employment relations

Favorite Food: Chocolate chip cookies

Hobbies: Spending time with my family and jogging at the Jersey Shore

 

Ed Mount, Partner

Hometown: Syracuse, N.Y.

Fun-Fact: I love Hilton Head Island in South Carolina

Awards: Governor’s Proclamation for Excellence in Government, Governor’s Award for Management Improvement, Ellis Island Preservation Commission Award

Education: LeMoyne College, bachelor’s degree in labor relations; United States Air Force Electronics School

Favorite Food: Chocolate chip cookies

Hobbies: Travel, golf, and the gym

 

John Holub, Associate

Hometown: Robbinsville, N.J.

Fun-Fact: I was the off-stage announcer who introduced Governor Christie Whitman at countless events, including the Inauguration, Inaugural Ball, and Capital Dome Rededication

Awards: Winner in PolitickerNJ’s Winner & Losers Feature, noted to have “mastered the inside game”

Education: Syracuse University, bachelor’s degree in political science

Favorite Food: De Lorenzo’s tomato pies

Hobbies: Anything with my two children and following Syracuse basketball, football and lacrosse

 

Patrick Stewart, Associate

Hometown: Voorhees, N.J.

Fun Fact: My father, H. Donald Stewart, was elected to the New Jersey Assembly from 1972 to 1982. He represented the third legislative district of Cumberland, Salem, and Gloucester Counties.

Awards: Father of the Year, presented by my three children Emily, Ryan, and Alexandra

Education: Villanova University

Favorite Food: Cheesesteaks

Hobbies: Going to sporting events with my family and summers at the Jersey Shore

Do you have anything in common with any of our partners or associates? Let us know. Want to learn more about each of our team members? Check out our team page. If you’re interested in learning more about how we’ve become a top lobbying firm in Trenton, check out this page.

Top 5 Industries That Need Lobbying in New Jersey

In New Jersey, businesses across a wide variety of industries use lobbying services every year with the goal of influencing legislation, regulation, and the enforcement of government decisions. With vast connections, lobbyists have the ability to influence key decision-makers and push agenda forward on behalf of the business they’re working for.  Each year, more and more money is being spent on lobbying services. See the top five industries that need lobbying in New Jersey:

Pharmaceuticals/health products

The pharmaceutical and health products industry includes drug manufacturers and sellers of medical products and nutritional and dietary supplements. The main goals of this industry are to resist government-run health care and encourage a faster approval process for drugs and medical products.

Insurance

This includes health, property, and car insurance companies as well as agents and brokers. In recent years, health insurance companies have become increasingly involved in the legislative process, hoping to influence new regulations.

Cannabis

Since Governor Phil Murphy was elected, the push for medical marijuana expansion and the legalization of recreational marijuana has become a hot topic. In fact, over the last year lobbying on the subject has increased by more than 300 percent. Over a million dollars was spent on lobbying efforts in 2018 with projections to see even more in 2019. 

Business associations

This includes small businesses, pro-business and international trade associations, and chambers of commerce. Business associations are mostly concerned about labor regulations, intellectual property, product safety and taxes, and civil justice system reform. 

Oil and gas

Energy companies make up a large chunk of the overall lobbying spending. They are mainly focused on promoting legislators with pro-energy ideas in fossil fuel production and commodity exploration and extraction. 

Lobbying serves an important purpose in influencing decisions and allowing many voices to be heard that may otherwise be overlooked. Public Strategies Impact in Trenton, New Jersey offers lobbying services that can help your business. As government relations experts, Public Strategies Impact consistently achieves positive results for clients.

Learn more about how Public Strategies Impact can help your business’s interests on the state and national level

Creating a Crisis Management Plan for Your Organization

In the face of a crisis, is your organization prepared to deal with the issue before it grows? In this age of technology, it’s impossible to bury a scandal. The best thing to do in a bad situation is to have a solid crisis management plan to fall back on.

A crisis management plan is simply a document that outlines the processes an organization will use to respond to a critical situation that would negatively affect its reputation, ability to operate, or profitability. Creating a new document or optimizing a previous plan is beneficial for every organization. There are a few key pieces to a crisis management plan that organizations should have in order to be successful in handling a crisis or media nightmare.

1.  Anticipate the crisis and create scenarios.

Get your team together to brainstorm any potential issues that could cause a stir. Write down all of these ideas and create steps to take for each scenario. Perhaps a small change in your procedures could prevent a crisis.

2. Designate roles.

When a crisis occurs, tensions and nerves are running high. Instead of panicking and assigning roles on a whim, preset roles ahead of time. This will allow those assigned people to prepare themselves completely for any situation. Common roles to assign:

  • Leader (usually the CEO)
  • Chief advisers to the leader
  • Subject-specific experts
  • Trained spokespeople for the media

3. Resources.

In the heat of the moment, a detailed section of your plan with resources your employees can easily refer to will be extremely beneficial. These resources can be anything that is helpful to your business. For example, timelines, log in credentials, and specific processes.

4. Contact lists.

Frantically searching for contact information in a time of need is not a good look for an organization. Having a thorough list of contacts in your plan will erase the stress of finding the correct contact in a timely manner. At a minimum, your contacts should include:

  • Each member of your crisis team
  • Each backup member of your crisis team
  • Stakeholder information
  • Third party consultants/experts that could help in specific situations

5. Strategy and messaging for crises

Communication is key in the midst of a crisis. Keeping your team, employees, and stakeholders in the loop is extremely important to prevent loss of revenue and reputation. The difficult part of communicating is getting that material approved quickly. You should have strategies in place beforehand, so creating communications materials is simple and can go through the process of getting approved as fast as possible.

6. Action plans.

During a crisis, your team should not be wondering what the next step is going to be. From your scenario brainstorming session, create checklists for everything. It’s impossible to predict the future, so make these checklists as flexible as possible to ensure you’re hitting every possible point. Each task in a checklist should be assigned to a person so they know exactly what they must do.

Putting out the fire before it grows is the goal of a detailed crisis management plan. You may not think your organization is vulnerable to crises, but if it were to happen one day it is best to be prepared. Need help creating a plan? Public Strategies Impact offers crisis management services to develop a crisis plan and train your team for the media. We can also be the correspondent on your behalf. Find out more about PSI’s crisis management services here.

A Brief Overview of our Team’s top Specialties

As a firm who has been around for more than 30 years, we have gained team members from a wide-range of industries, backgrounds, and areas of government. That is why we are lucky to be able to say PSI specializes in so many different areas. Even though most of our partners specialize in more than one industry, here are their top areas of expertise:

Roger Bodman – Transportation

While Managing Partner Roger Bodman is an expert in many different areas, transportation is his specialty. He served as the chairman of New Jersey Transit and the State Commissioner of Transportation under former Governor Tom Kean, meaning he was the chief advisor to the governor on all transportation matters in the state.

Bill Maer – Law and Justice

With a career spanning more than 25 years, Senior Partner Bill Maer has developed expertise in the areas of law and justice, gaming, and pharmaceuticals. He is chief spokesperson for the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and served on Governor Phil Murphy’s 2018 Law and Justice Transition Team.

Joe Simonetta – Regulated Professions

Joseph Simonetta has many decades of experience in association management and political advocacy. He served as chair of the Advocacy Committee of the American Institute of Architects IgCC Task Force and currently chairs the Advocacy Subcommittee, creating strategy for the AIA’s state and local chapters. He also specializes in healthcare, professional services, arts, hospitality, and tourism.

Joe DeSanctis – Energy and Environment

PSI Partner Joe DeSanctis has more than 25 years advocating for a diverse client base, but his specialties lie in energy, environment, utilities, and local government outreach. He has experience siting natural gas pipelines and other energy-related projects throughout the state and acquiring state and local permits in a timely manner.

Tracie DeSarno – Healthcare

A member of our team for more than 25 years, Tracie DeSarno specializes in healthcare, banking, entertainment, and telecommunications. She has represented clients in these industries and beyond on major legislative initiatives and served on Governor Phil Murphy’s 2018 Healthcare Transition Committee.

Matt Halpin – Finance and Real Estate

In addition to serving as an executive in our association management division, Matt Halpin specializes in finance, real estate, energy, and more. Having previously worked with the NJ Chamber, he is well-versed in broad-based issues, including economic development, international trade, and corporate taxation. Matt also serves corporate clients in managing the public affairs components of projects.

Josh Hodes – Education

Josh Hodes, partner, is an expert in education, energy, entertainment, sports, and redevelopment. He was appointed to the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority, where he currently serves as chair, and serves as an advisory board member to the New Leaders Council of New Jersey.

Ed Mount – IT and Procurement

With over 30 years of service in the public sector, Ed Mount has extensive experience and expertise in IT, procurement, and state government purchasing. He was on the New Jersey Information Resources Management Commission, the Office of Information Technology Governing Board, and the New Jersey Information Technology Leadership team.

John Holub – Retail

Joining our team last year, John Holub brings specialties in retail, pharmacy, chain restaurants, and more. He serves as president and CEO of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, executive director of the Pennsylvania Retailers’ Association, and executive director of the New Jersey Council of Chain Drug Stores. He represents more than 3,900 stores as the retail chief lobbyist.

Patrick Stewart – Regulated Professions

PSI Associate Patrick Stewart worked for the Assembly Republican Majority office staffing assembly committees, including the budget, consumer affairs, regulated professions, and labor committees. He has developed an expertise in regulated professions, healthcare, association management, and insurance and labor.

For a more complete overview of each of our team members, including their experiences and PSI specialties, please visit our team page.

March Cannabis Update

By the end of the month, New Jersey could become the 11th state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use among adults. Legislators just approved a bill that could result in the development of a cannabis industry estimated to generate close to a billion dollars. With the last voting session fast approaching before a three-month break, both New Jersey lobbyists and citizen’s alike are wondering if the bill will gain the votes it needs to officially pass.

Where are we in the approval process?

Unfortunately, the bill has drawn a lot of controversy. Both supporters and opponents lined up to testify on behalf of the bill, but were met with a six-hour delay, causing many to leave before they could be heard. After the delay, only 25 minutes of testimony was heard and the measure was passed both through the Assembly and Senate Judiciary Committee.

Is the bill likely to pass?

The next four days will be crucial for New Jersey lobbyists and bill backers, including Governor Phil Murphy, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Senate President Stephen Sweeney, to cobble together enough votes to successfully pass the bill. With many lawmakers stating they are still on the fence about the issue, the fate of the bill is far from certain. Along with the bill are two others that are designed to expand the state’s current medical marijuana program as well as the expunging of records for offenders convicted of marijuana charges.

Why is the passing of the bill in New Jersey so significant?

Lawmakers are creating what they believe will be the gold standard of cannabis policy. It will also mark them as the first state to actually organize the reform through the legislature instead of using a ballot initiative. What is also impressive is the fact that this has occurred in less than two years. Just short of 10 years ago, they had a governor who was staunchly anti-cannabis. The bill was designed to not only address patients and adult recreational users but also concerns related to stock-holders, local government, and community needs.

Do you own a company trying to break into the possible billion dollar industry in the State of New Jersey? PSI can help. For more than 30 years, PSI has represented the interests of their clients before both the executive and legislative branches of state government. Use their experience and know-how to help successfully advocate your business’s position before those who are responsible for making it happen.

 

Our Address:

414 River View Plaza
Trenton, New Jersey
08611-3420

Copyright © , Public Strategies Impact, LLC. All Rights Reserved.