|William H. Nixon
Chairman and CEO
For more than two decades Nixon served at the highest levels of the executive and legislative branches of the United States government, largely responsible for the critical intersection between policy, communications, and campaign management. A former award-winning journalist, he was the youngest chief speechwriter in the Administration of President Ronald Reagan, responsible for helping shape, articulate, and disseminate the president’s social and healthcare agenda.
As a senior staff member in the United States Senate, Nixon was actively engaged in foreign and domestic policy initiatives through more than a decade of work on the Senate Finance, Government Affairs, and Banking Committees. Much of his work related to international relations, trade, health care, taxation, education, and government oversight, including involvement with the World Trade Organization (WTO and restructuring of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following the end of the Cold War. Nixon was a staff member of the North Atlantic Assembly (NAA), and maintains key interaction with politicians, media, and opinion leaders throughout the world.
A veteran of many successful political campaigns, Nixon is also an internationally published author of books in the genre of fiction, non-fiction, and essay/opinion. Recognized as a leader in media management, crisis communications, and marketing, Nixon writes, publishes, and produces multi-media content throughout the world, maintaining key relationships with editors, journalists, and opinion leaders in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
|William D. Hansen
President and Director
Bill has a distinguished career in Washington, including twelve years in the U.S. Department of Education, where he served as Deputy Secretary, overseeing more than five thousand employees and a budget of $100 billion. President George W. Bush appointed Bill to serve as the director of his education transition team, and current presidential candidate, Governor Mitt Romney, relies on Bill’s counsel as one of his key domestic policy advisors.
In the private sector, Bill has built successful firms focused on education and led the Scantron and Global Scholar Corporation as President and Chairman. He continues to serve on several corporate boards, including the First Marblehead Corporation, Everspring, Performant Financial, and the Student Loan Finance Corporation. He is also a member of the advisory board of Parthenon Capital, University of Virginia Curry School of Education, and the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management at Brigham Young University. His public service includes board membership for the National Guard Youth Foundation, Reading is Fundamental (RIF), Thanks USA, and the Education Sector.
|Ambassador Richard Carlson
A key member of the Policy Impact team, Ambassador Carlson has a long distinguished career in the media, government service, and diplomacy. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the Seychelles, the director-general of Voice of America, and the President and CEO of both the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and King World Public Television.
Carlson is an experienced diplomat. As the Voice of America director he led official U.S. delegations to the Soviet Union, People’s Republic of China, and other countries. He also has testified numerous times before congressional committees and before both the British House of Commons and the Israeli Knesset. He has been an advisor to the Institute for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence in Washington, D.C., founded by Buck Revel, former assistant director of the FBI in charge of counter terrorism, and R. James Woolsey, former CIA director.
Carlson has been a writer for Time and Look magazines, as well as a correspondent for ABC-TV. He has won three Hollywood Emmys, four Golden Mike Awards, and the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award.
|The Hon. William L. Nixon
William L. Nixon is an immigration judge in the Executive Office of Immigration Review, United States Department of Justice. He was appointed in May 2005. He received a bachelor of science degree in 1958 from Brigham Young University and a juris doctorate in 1962 from George Washington University. Judge Nixon served as an assistant U.S. attorney in Salt Lake City from 1999 to May 2005.
He was chairman and CEO of Pro Wedge, Inc., from 1996 to 1999. From 1991 to 1999, he served as a member on the Procurement Appeals Board for the state of Utah. Judge Nixon was president and CEO of the Triax Co. and Triax Pacific, Ltd., from 1984 to 1996, and vice president and general counsel for the Triax Co., Triax International, Praxis Ltd., and Praxis Pacific from 1977 to 1984. He was a partner in the law firm of Spafford, Nixon, and Houser in Salt Lake City, from 1975 to 1977.
His experience also includes serving as an attorney and corporate officer for Tax Shelter Investment Cos. from 1969 to 1975 and an attorney in the law firm of Albaugh, Bloem, Smith, and Pike, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, from 1963 to 1969. He also was counsel for the review board, Federal Communications Commission in Washington, DC, from 1962 to 1963. He was a law clerk for the law firm of Dow, Lohnes, and Albertson in Washington, DC, from 1958 to 1962.
Judge Nixon is a member of the Utah state bar and an associate member of the Virginia bar.
|Benjamin May, Esq.
COO and General Counsel
Benjamin D. May is the COO and general counsel for Policy Impact Communications. Mr. May oversees all administrative and legal concerns for Policy Impact, including advising on lobby and election law issues; drafting and reviewing contracts and letters of intent; and managing the firms lobbying and Foreign Agent Registration Act disclosures. He also monitors pending legislation and rulemaking on issues affecting Policy Impact’s clients.
In addition to his legal experience with Policy Impact, Mr. May worked with Thomson West developing new Westlaw products; the Department of Justice in the Executive Office of Immigration Review; the Department of Labor in the Employment and Training Administration; Utah State Department of Commerce Division of Securities; and the Syracuse University College of Law Securities Arbitration and Consumer Law Clinic.
Mr. May received his Juris Doctorate from Syracuse University College of Law. He received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Bachelor of Science in Sociology, and a Certificate in Criminology and Corrections from the University of Utah.
Mr. May is admitted to the District of Columbia Bar and the Virginia State Bar.
|Maj. Gen. Timothy R. Larsen (Ret.)
Executive Vice President
Timothy R. Larsen is Executive Vice President at Policy Impact Communications. As a career officer in the United States Marine Corps, he attained the rank of Major General. His background and unique experience, bring a comprehensive understanding of the Department of Defense, operational and strategic planning and complex joint, combined and multi-national military operations to the Policy Impact team. He has extensive experience at the tactical, operational and strategist level of planning and execution. He has held command and staff positions at every level of command to include the service headquarters, combatant commands and multinational organizations. This comprehensive operational background enhances his extensive experience in the Washington DC interagency arena.
Following active duty, General Larsen accepted a Senior Executive Service (SES) position as the Director of Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS). In that role, he provided oversight and national level policy guidance for over 80 programs across the Quality of Life spectrum for more than 200K Marines and 400K dependent families members. His responsibilities included all activities from retail to Marine and Family Support programs. He had fiduciary responsibility for more than $1B annually in non-appropriated funds generated through the Marine Corps Exchanges system and other MWR programs and over $400M in appropriated funds budgeted for Marine and Family Support programs. He served as a member of the Board of Directors for MCCS and Department of the Navy, Fisher House Foundation. and served on the Department of Defense, Education Activity (DoDEA), Dependent Education Council (DEC).
General Larsen brings extensive international experience in Asia and Middle East with government, military and diplomatic contacts. He has worked with the US Embassies in Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Kenya and Sudan. As Chairman of the US-Japan Joint Committee, he worked all issues involving the forward basing and stationing of US Forces in Japan and Okinawa with the relevant ministries and agencies of the Government of Japan (GOJ). He was the senior US Military representative assigned to Defense Policy Review Initiative (DPRI). The DPRI was tasked to develop and negotiate a series of bi-lateral international agreement with GOJ to ensure US-Japan mutual defense, continue regional security and realign the basing requirements for US Forces forward based and stationed in Japan, Okinawa and Guam. He served as the Exercise Director, White Cell Commander for the US-Korean combined exercise program for over ten major exercises. He was a Research Fellow at National Institute for Defense Studies Tokyo, Japan. He holds a MA in International Relations from Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island and a second MA in National Security Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. General Larsen was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan for his work in strengthening the US-Japan security alliance.
|William V. Cowan
Executive Vice President
Bill Cowan is a highly decorated, retired U.S. Marine Corps officer and a commentator on terrorism and national security for Fox News Channel since 2002. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Cowan also holds a Master's Degree in Computer Science from the Naval Postgraduate School and he was a Distinguished Graduate of the National Intelligence University.
As Marine officer, Cowan’s career was best characterized by often being selected for special, sensitive assignments. Subsequent to serving three and a half years on unique combat assignments in Viet Nam, Cowan was later selected as one of the first members in the Pentagon’s most classified counterterrorist unit. He conducted numerous clandestine and covert operations into the Middle East and Latin America both as a member of that unit and later following his retirement from the Marine Corps. Working with former CIA Director William Colby, he was responsible for the repatriation of a group of Western hostages from Kuwait after the country’s invasion by Iraq. He was also involved in every facet of the holding of Western hostages in Beirut, including the secret negotiations with Iran which ultimately led to their release.
Cowan served as a legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Warren B. Rudman and as the Senator’s primary staff assistant during the Iran/Contra hearings. He was also one of the key staff authors of the legislation which created the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, FL.
Cowan is well known in the media. He has been co-host for seven years of the radio and TV shows “Danger Zone” about terrorism; has appeared multiple times on “60 Minutes”; has appeared on every major network to give analysis on matters of terrorism; has been featured in four TV documentaries aired on the Military Channel, the Discovery Channel, A&E TV, and PBS; and has written dozens of editorial and opinion pieces for various U.S. newspapers.
Cowan is a successful entrepreneur who has founded small companies which provided specialized services and support to the U.S. Government in the areas of homeland security, intelligence, and military special operations.
Director of Government Affairs
Miriam Harmer, a veteran of four presidential campaigns, has spent the majority of her professional career with the United States House of Representatives and Senate. As a Hill staffer, Miriam was a Research Assistant for the Joint Economics Committee and a Legislative Assistant for Representative Rob Bishop, where she covered judiciary, health, education, and NASA issues.
After graduating from law school at the University of Utah, Miriam returned to the Hill where she was a Counsel for Senator Bob Bennett. Most recently, Miriam served as a Legislative Counsel for Senator Mike Lee, where she advised him in his position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
As the Director of Government Affairs at Policy Impact Communications, Miriam develops strategies for our clients’ success at every level of government. She also oversees the implementation of these strategies to ensure that our clients’ priorities are met.
Prior to her time on the Hill, Miriam clerked in the office of Utah’s Attorney General and the Oldaker Law Group. She was admitted to the Utah Bar in 2008.
Director of Public Relations
Denet Grampp brings over 10 years experience in communications, sales and marketing to the Policy Impact team. As director of public relations, she works as a liaison with clients to develop strategic communications campaigns that meet their individual needs. Collaborating with the design team to integrate a comprehensive marketing and public relations plan, she uses her AP writing skills not only to pitch and place effective press releases but also to develop and edit web content and collateral pieces with coherent messaging compatible with the brand.
Her background includes extensive experience in media relations’ management for major regional and international trade shows including the International Sportsmen’s Expo and the Utah International Auto Expo. As part of the executive team at Policy Impact, Denet worked to develop and execute a successful International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) campaign that garnered over $4 million in earned media value with top tier media outlets including Fox & Friends, Wall Street Journal and NPR.
Prior to entering public relations, Denet received numerous sales awards including Top Listing Agent and Most Units Sold, placing first in production in a real estate brokerage with over 150 agents. For regional homebuilders, she worked as sales manager for Alpine Homes and as director of sales for Hawkins Homes & Communities.
Denet holds a BA in communications with an emphasis in public relations from Brigham Young University. While at BYU she was awarded the Faculty Award of Merit for her accomplishments.
|The Hon. Ernest J. Istook, Jr.
The immense breadth of Istook's policy experience and insights comes from 25 years in local, state, and federal elected office, including 14 years as U.S. Congressman for the 5th District of Oklahoma. That breadth enables him to find connections that others overlook.
Add to that 15 years in active practice of law, 6 years as a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, 5 years as a political reporter and countless TV and radio appearances. Plus a multitude of written articles and podcasts, stints as a talk radio host and as a fill-in for several of America's most popular radio hosts. Istook also was selected to teach as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics in 2010.
He won the Republican nomination for Governor of Oklahoma in 2006, leaving the Congress to make that race.
Istook maintains relationships with his former colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served 14 years on the Appropriations Committee, which covered essentially the entire federal government and an unlimited number of issues.
He chaired subcommittees with jurisdiction over all spending for transportation (road, air, rail and transit), for the White House and Executive Office of the President, Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, Customs Service, General Services Administration, Office of Management and Budget, Office of Personnel Management, the Secret Service, and the original Office of Homeland Security, plus overseeing the U.S. Postal Service.
Istook also served on the subcommittees for National Defense, Military Construction, Homeland Security, Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, National Labor Relations Board, National Institutes of Health, and more. He also was an original member when the House established its Homeland Security Committee.
He has led a trade mission to China, led a post-war delegation to Baghdad, inspected nuclear storage facilities in Russia, participated in military exercises, visited refugee camps in Bosnia and Albania, met with heads of state in Israel, Mexico, Taiwan and Syria plus other national leaders across the globe.
Native to Fort Worth, Texas, Istook moved to Oklahoma shortly after he graduated from Baylor University. His law degree is from Oklahoma City University. The grandson of Hungarian immigrants, he is the first college graduate in his family tree.
His experience as a city councilman, state legislator, library system chairman and head of a state agency keep Istook mindful of the multi-level nature and relationships of America.
Istook and his wife, Judy, have five adult children and 14 grandchildren and are active in church work. His community activities have included the Boy Scouts of America, which he served several years as a scoutmaster. For his volunteer work he received the Silver Beaver Award, the highest award bestowed by Scouting's councils.
Penny Lee is a seasoned political and communications strategist with over 20 years of experience. She has worked extensively with the executive branch, as well as elected officials in both houses of Congress, State Government, and in the private sector. Lee is a regular commentator on the political process, campaigns, and elections for US News and World Report, and is quoted consistently in the New York Times, Washington Post, Rollcall, AND Politico. She also appears regularly as an analyst on CNN, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Channel and MSNBC.
Lee is presently a Senior Advisor at Venn Strategies, LLC, having served as the firm’s President for the past four years. She has provided strategic positioning, guidance, crisis communications advice and political strategy direction to clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to non-profits.
From 2007-2008, Lee served as the top communications and political advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Over her extensive public affairs career, she has served as the Executive Director of the Democratic Governors Association (where she oversaw 38 statewide elections and helped Democratic governors regain the majority of statehouses for the first time in more than a decade), Communications Director for Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, and as a member of the senior staff of the Democratic National Committee. Lee has also been consistently retained as a private consultant to charitable and Democratic party interests, and has served on the Advisory Board for Bloomberg Government.
She holds a BA with a double major in journalism and political science from Baylor University.
Sr. Account Executive
John-Michael Davis is an effective communications professional bringing a host of cutting-edge skills in new media management and viral marketing to the Policy Impact team. Well versed in traditional public relations, John-Michael has emerged as a leading strategist in online initiatives, business development, campaign management, messaging and analytics.
With a degree in Public Relations from Towson University, John-Michael offers a fresh and exciting dynamic to the company's holistic approach to communications.
- William H. Nixon, Chairman and CEO
- William D. Hansen, President and Director
- Ambassador Richard Carlson, Director
- The Hon. William L. Nixon, Director
- Benjamin May, Esq., COO and General Counsel
- Maj. Gen. Timothy R. Larsen (Ret.), Executive Vice President
- William V. Cowan, Executive Vice President
- Miriam Harmer, Director of Government Affairs
- Denet Grampp, Director of Public Relations
- The Hon. Ernest J. Istook, Jr., Senior Adviser
- Penny Lee, Senior Adviser
- John-Michael Davis, Sr. Account Executive