Major Drone Lobbying Team Joins Firm’s New Emerging Tech Unit

An unmanned systems lobbying team in Washington has joined McGuireWoods Consulting LLC (MWC). MWC, a subsidiary of law firm McGuireWoods LLP, is a public affairs firm offering government relations, strategic communications and grassroots advocacy, and infrastructure and economic development services.

Senior advisor Michael Drobac, an advocate for laws and policies to promote growth in technology, particularly the drone industry, will lead the firm’s new emerging technologies team.

Joining him as senior advisor and a partner in the law firm is former associate deputy attorney general Gregory Walden, an authority on aviation law and government ethics who served as chief counsel with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Also joining are senior vice president Amanda Armistead and assistant vice president Casey Duggan.

All four have come from the Washington office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

“Michael, Greg, Amanda and Casey are at the vanguard of the regulatory and policy issues confronting next-generation technologies, particularly concerning unmanned aerial vehicles,” states MWC’s president and CEO, L.F. Payne Jr., a former five-term congressman from Virginia.

Drobac assists clients in the telecommunications and technology sectors and advocates for their policy objectives before Congress and federal agencies. He previously led government affairs for Netflix and the Online Publishers Association and had a senior role with Barry Diller’s IAC/Interactive Corp. At Netflix, he established the company’s Washington office and advocated before Congress and federal agencies on issues such as net neutrality, interconnection access, privacy, accessibility issues and taxation. Before entering the private sector, he served for a decade in the offices of U.S. Sens. Gordon Smith of Oregon, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Norm Coleman of Minnesota.

Walden represents aviation industry clients in matters before the U.S. Department of Transportation, the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He served as an FAA lawyer, as well as associate counsel to President George H.W. Bush and ethics counsel for the transition team of President George W. Bush. He also has served on the Interstate Commerce Commission and advises presidential appointees, members of Congress, companies and individuals on government ethics issues.

Armistead represents clients before Congress and federal agencies to advance legislative and regulatory policies that reflect the impact of emerging technologies and a changing economy. Before she joined the team, she played a critical role in the successful campaign to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank while she worked for a Washington firm led by former House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt. She also worked on a Democratic presidential campaign.

Duggan previously served in the office of House Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, where she managed constituent relations. She also completed a fellowship with former Rep. Renee Ellmers, where she focused on media and communications.

“Michael, Greg, Amanda and Casey have unmatched experience as policy advisors and advocates for clients known for extending the boundaries of innovation. They add an important dimension to our federal practice,” says Frank Donatelli, leader of the practice and former Reagan administration director of political and intergovernmental affairs.


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