With a career spanning both houses of Congress, a presidential campaign, and managing political races around the country, Minnesota native Jim Weber brought a wealth of experience when he and Bernie Merritt decided to start a business together in 1994. Relying on their campaign organizing backgrounds, Jim and Bernie based their company's founding principle on the unique perspective that “local” interests can affect public policy and started one of the first grassroots consultancies in Washington. Over the years, they added other practice areas to make it a full-service public affairs firm. Today, Jim still gets excited to help navigate a client through the ever-mucky waters of finely tuning a message that will resonate with policy makers.
As Northeast Political Director for Jack Kemp’s 1988 Presidential campaign, Bernie Merritt traveled a lot of miles and met a lot of people on the campaign trail and witnessed first-hand that “all politics are local.” Following a stint in the Office of the Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, he leaned on his entrepreneurial spirit to team up with Jim Weber and turned his network of campaign operatives into a grassroots consultancy business that today is still one of the most prolific and effective political operative networks in the country.
Phil Armstrong is the founder and managing partner of PCA & Company, Inc. Throughout his 30+ year career in politics, government, public affairs, corporate communications and advertising, Phil has gained a national reputation as a leading counselor and strategist on political advocacy, issue management and public policy communications at the local, state and federal level.
Phil has deep, hands-on expertise devising and leading client programs in the areas of corporate and brand positioning, marketing strategy, public affairs and crisis communications. Phil spent more than two decades of his career in Washington, and has managed political and policy communications programs for corporate, trade association and NGO clients on legislative, regulatory and international trade issues. He has been a registered lobbyist, political consultant and government official.
His clients have included Fortune 500 companies such as Allstate, DuPont, UPS, Northrop Grumman, Whirlpool, Unilever, Pfizer and Mercedes-Benz; many trade associations, including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association; and several federal government agencies. Phil’s category experience includes construction, financial services, technology, consumer packaged goods, automotive, telecommunications, energy and the environment, health care and manufacturing.
Phil has received numerous professional awards for his work, including the Silver Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America and the Gold Sabre from the Holmes Report.
Phil was previously Chief Operating Officer for Zeno Group, a Daniel J. Edelman company, where he founded the Washington, DC office and started the corporate and public affairs practice of the firm. Phil was responsible for financial and personnel management of the firm’s four domestic offices, strategic planning, new business development and client service.
He led teams and directed programs for several of the firm’s largest clients, including Pfizer, TD Ameritrade, Evenflo, AstraZeneca, Kia Motors, Sears, Fonterra, and Allstate.
Prior to Zeno Group, Phil was executive vice president and national corporate and public affairs practice leader for Euro RSCG Magnet, a division of Havas. Previously, he was managing partner at Earle Palmer Brown, a national advertising and public relations agency, leading offices in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.
Earlier in his career, Phil was senior vice president and group director in the Washington office of Hill and Knowlton Inc., where he led the firm’s grassroots and state and local public affairs practice. Following H&K, he was senior vice president at The Jefferson Group, a national public affairs and government relations firm.
Phil started his career in politics and served as a political appointee in the executive branch of the federal government as a speechwriter and press secretary in the Department of Defense, as well as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for the Department of Education.
Phil received a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Iowa. He has been a guest lecturer at the American University School of Public Affairs and a member of the Counselors Academy of the Public Relations Society of America.
Having previously worked as Chief of Staff to a Commerce Secretary and Deputy White House Press Secretary under President George H.W. Bush, Claire Buchan Parker is a veteran strategic communications professional that draws on her experience of high-pressure, political stakes to understand what it takes to get results for clients in Washington. Today, Claire is the principal of CB Communications, a firm that delivers strategic counsel and public relations programs to companies and individuals. The firm specializes in public affairs strategy, crisis communications, issues management, media training, executive positioning, legal public relations and media relations.
Over the last 19 years, Lee has been bringing digital strategy ideas and solutions to life for clients including Bristol Myer Squibbs, John Deere, Hitachi, FEMA, Department of the Interior, Stratford University and USA Rice Federation. Lee takes his web development, social media and content marketing experience with his attention to user experience to provide thought leadership and measurable digital strategies. Lee is certified in Google Analytics and Hubspot's inbound marketing methodology. He has served on the The American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC) Website Advisory Committee. Lee holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Greenville College.
A frequent consultant to Weber Merritt, Bonnie Lieb is a public relations and marketing communications strategist. Prior to starting her own agency, she was a senior vice president at Ketchum for many years in their Philadelphia office before starting their technology practice in Washington, DC. Today, she provides business marketing communication and public relations services to clients that have included Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Marriott. She waves her Philadelphia-native flag proudly!
After working on Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign as a Coalitions Coordinator, David joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a federal sub-contractor. Shortly thereafter David joined Weber Merritt, where he assists with social media communication efforts, campaign research and development and field campaign operations. David graduated from James Madison University in 2012 with a degree in Communications Studies.
Katie has gained extensive communications experience working across the political spectrum, including time spent on Capitol Hill with Dutch Ruppersberger’s office, working with the nation’s largest labor union, and managing an array of clients for the Smoot Tewes Group. At Weber Merritt, Katie assists clients with field operations and press outreach. She recently graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Government and Politics.
As Founder/CEO of The Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute, Doris Dozier Crenshaw has over 50 years of community activist experience.
In 1977, Doris joined the Carter White House Domestic Policy staff for the Small and Minority Business Issue Division, then moved on to serve as Deputy Director for the 1980 South East Region Carter Presidential Campaign. In the early 1980s, she was Special Assistant to Rev. Jesse Jackson and also served as his Mobilization Director for his Special Projects.
In 1985, Doris was asked by Mrs. Coretta Scott King to serve as Director of Mobilization for the First National holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2008, Doris Crenshaw founded the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute, SYLDI. SYLDI was created to address educational policy issues affecting her community.
Over the years, Mrs. Crenshaw has been recognized and awarded various accolades from organizations around the country, such as, the Montgomery Improvement Association’s “Spirit of Humanity” Award (2005); the Perennial Strategy Group’s “Civil Rights Icon Award” (2008); and “the Alabama Shining Star Award” from Congresswoman Terry Sewell (2012); her most recent honor was to have life works read into the 2015 United States Congressional Record.
The political bug first hit Christy when she served in the press office of former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder from her home state of Colorado and continued with joining her last Congressional Campaign in 1994 before coming to DC for the Clinton/Gore re-elect in 1996. Her communications career continued with positions at global PR agencies and small boutique firms and as the head of communications for the NFL Players Association’s marketing arm before joining Weber Merritt. Christy has provided communications and media relations strategy for a multitude of clients and has positioned individuals, companies, products, organizations, associations and legislative issues in front of national, regional and local media outlets for more than 20 years.