Terry Sullivan would prefer to be well-known for his mountaineering expeditions or captaining his boat long-distances offshore, but his two decades spent as a leader in politics and public affairs have distracted from his efforts to attain notoriety in those more interesting fields.
Sullivan has played a senior strategic role in over 100 campaigns, including better than two dozen US Senate, Gubernatorial and Presidential campaigns. He has advised Republican candidates at every level, having been in some of the toughest political battles and emerging victorious. Over his career he has worked for some of the biggest names in politics, including Jesse Helms, Jim DeMint, Mitt Romney, Trey Gowdy and Marco Rubio, for whom he served as Campaign Manager on his presidential campaign.
Sullivan is a founding partner of the public affairs firm Firehouse Strategies, where he advises Fortune 500 companies and trade associations on how best to deliver their message in a targeted and effective fashion. He has built and run multiple award-winning communications and media firms over the years, including TV, digital and print.
Sullivan has a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Wilmington, and has served as an adjunct professor at George Washington Graduate School of Political Management and as a featured speaker at numerous universities including Harvard and NYU. He serves on the board of ClearPath, a conservative clean energy advocacy group. He has appeared as an expert on numerous major and cable networks, as well as in major news publications ranging from The New York Times to National Review.
Sullivan currently lives in Washington, DC where he hones his crisis management skills serving in his most impressive job: That of full-time single dad, raising his teenage daughter McKenna.
Alex Conant is a communications and media expert best-known for his work as the Communications Director for Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. A trusted Rubio advisor for over five years, he served as Sen. Rubio’s press secretary in the Senate before leading communications for his presidential bid and serving as a senior advisor on his Senate re-election campaign. As the presidential campaign’s Communications Director, he played a large role in shaping the Rubio campaign’s message and media strategy, and was the campaign’s senior spokesman.
Conant has worked on every national election over the last 15 years, previously serving as Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Communication Director during his 2012 presidential campaign and as a senior advisor on Sen. Joni Ernst’s successful 2014 Iowa senatorial campaign. Conant also served as the national press secretary for the Republican National Committee during the 2008 presidential campaign and as a White House spokesman during President George W. Bush’s second term.
Conant is a political contributor for CBS News and regularly appears on FOX News, CNN, CNN International, MSNBC and CNBC to discuss politics and communications. He is a sought-after speaker on American politics and public relations: Since Rubio’s presidential campaign ended, he’s traveled to Africa, Australia and Europe for speaking engagements.
He received his bachelor’s and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was the editor-in-chief of the student daily, The Badger Herald.
Will Holley is a veteran of fifteen years of political campaigns, governmental service, and public affairs consulting. Most recently, he served as an attorney and senior staffer on Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign where he was the chief advisor on delegate strategy and allocation rules. Prior to that, Holley spent five years working as a public affairs consultant to companies and associations ranging from Fortune 50 to startups, and across industries including tech, gaming, financial services, and telecommunications, among others. In that role, Holley worked on every aspect of public affairs campaigns, including survey research, coalition building and management, grassroots/grasstops engagement, paid media production and placement, digital/social media strategy, and earned media. He dealt with governmental entities ranging from State Public Utilities Commissions and Attorneys General, to Congress, to Executive branch agencies such as FTC, DOJ, and FCC, as well as international authorities.
Holley began his career in the Office of the Press Secretary in George W. Bush’s White House, leaving the administration to manage a congressional race in West Virginia. From there, he became Press Secretary to Congressman Scott Garrett before being recruited back to the campaign trail as South Carolina Communications Director for Governor Mitt Romney’s first bid for the Republican nomination. Returning to Washington, Holley was Press Secretary for Citizens United throughout the course of its landmark First Amendment case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Holley holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and a J.D. from Georgetown University.
Matt Terrill has extensive experience working for political campaigns, state party political organizations, leadership PAC’s, national political party committees, and several leading national political figures.
Most recently, during the 2016 election cycle, Matt worked as a consultant to the Republican Party of Florida, where he managed a multi-million-dollar effort that produced 9 million voter contacts for Senator Marco Rubio’s successful re-election campaign, promoted early voting and Senator Rubio’s message through a targeted direct mail operation, and assisted Republican candidates across Florida.
Prior to Matt’s involvement with the Republican Party of Florida, he served as Chief of Staff to the Marco Rubio for President campaign. In that role, he assisted in managing a national staff of over 100 members and a complex multi-million-dollar enterprise.
Leading up to Matt’s involvement with Senator Rubio’s presidential bid, he worked for the Senator as the Political Director for the Reclaim America Leadership PAC. As Political Director, Matt coordinated logistics and political operations associated with Senator Rubio’s efforts to elect Conservatives to the United States Senate.
In 2011, Matt worked on Chairman Reince Priebus’s successful campaign for Chairman of the Republican National Committee and went on to serve as Special Assistant to Chairman Priebus at the RNC in Washington, DC.
While at the RNC, Matt also helped coordinate the Party’s political operations for targeted House, Senate, and Gubernatorial races within the Midwest during the 2014 election cycle, an historic year when Republicans won majorities in both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
A native of Wisconsin, Matt worked for the Republican Party of Wisconsin during the 2008 election cycle and has worked for over a dozen political campaigns in the Badger State.
Matt is a graduate of Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. He currently resides in Washington, DC.
Senior Vice President
Brooke Sammon brings a wide range of communications experience with her to Firehouse, after having worked in the House and Senate, on two presidential campaigns, and for one of the largest trade associations in the U.S.
She most recently managed communications campaigns for issues like energy, tax reform, trade and foreign affairs for the American Petroleum Institute, which represents over 600 corporate members. She served as press secretary for Senator Marco Rubio during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle, and before that was on the communications staff in his Senate office. She also worked on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 and was a press secretary for two House members.
Sammon is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Senior Strategist & Managing Director
Dave Vermillion is a strategic communications professional with over two decades of experience advising organizations across the spectrum of industries during transformative moments. Vermillion specializes in public affairs, issues management, and crisis communications as he helps senior leaders navigate complex regulatory environments, shape public opinion, and influence the behavior of their most important stakeholders. He has led sensitive campaigns for the world’s most admired brands during their defining moments.
Prior to joining Firehouse, Vermillion held senior leadership roles within several global communications consultancies, advising clients on strategies to protect and enhance reputation and brand equity. He served as Executive Vice President and leader of Edelman’s public affairs practice in New York, he was Vice Chairman of Burson-Marsteller’s U.S. public affairs practice, and he was Managing Director of Teneo and Kekst. In each of these roles, Vermillion led diverse, high performing teams in the development and execution of sophisticated, high stakes communications campaigns.
Vermillion’s efforts on behalf of the American Chemistry Council to promote plastic recycling led to landmark environmental legislation in New York City. The campaign was recognized with a Silver Sabre from the Holmes Group for “Best Campaign on Behalf of an Association” in 2008. In 2005, Vermillion played a central role in the landslide reelection campaign of New York City Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, the third woman elected to citywide office in New York City history.
Vermillion’s career began in New York City politics and lobbying. He was Senior Vice President of Sheinkopf Ltd., a political and public affairs consultancy based in New York City. At Sheinkopf, he served as a key strategist and creative director on a variety of sensitive communications campaigns including political campaigns in Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Italy, the Dominican Republic and seven U.S. states. He has produced over 150 television and radio commercials.
Vermillion holds a Master’s degree in strategic communications from Columbia University and a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Fairfield University. He is a graduate of Regis High School in Manhattan.
John E. Ross
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
John E. Ross comes to Firehouse Strategies with nearly three decades of financial and operations experience in Washington, DC.
Before joining Firehouse, he worked for the U.S. House of Representatives for fifteen years and served as the Finance Director for over 40 House Members, Committees, and Leadership offices. Over the past six years, he has also provided financial and business operations consulting services to over a dozen companies in the DC Metro area.
Mr. Ross began his career in Washington, DC working for Capitol City Brewing Company for 12 years where he served as Vice President for Administration and helped open the first brewpub in DC since Prohibition. While there he helped manage its growth from the one location in 1992 to five locations and over five hundred employees by 1997.
He attended Georgetown University where he studied American government and the philosophy of religion. He also holds a degree in Finance from George Mason University where he later served as an Adjunct Professor for Corporate Finance in Mason’s School of Management.
A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, he was raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In 1985 he served as a Page for Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. That experience kindled his life-long love of the Washington, DC area where he has now resided for over 31 years.
Matt Manda joined Firehouse Strategies after serving as the Director of Marketing and Communications for Media Group of America. While at MGA, Matt managed internal and external communications and media needs for one of the fastest growing social-first news and politics websites in the country, Independent Journal Review, including partnering with major national and global brands like Google, ABC News, Facebook, Rock the Vote and more.
Matt also worked with MGA’s full-service digital consulting firm, IMGE, providing communications strategy to political campaigns, issue and advocacy associations, and business clients. Prior to joining MGA, Manda was the Press Secretary for U.S. Representative Kevin Yoder, overseeing the Kansas Congressman’s press operations both in DC and in Kansas on important issues including appropriations, email privacy and electronic communications reform, agriculture, and veterans affairs.
Manda served as Political Director for Jerry Moran’s successful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate, managing a statewide staff of political operatives, volunteers, and campaign surrogates. In that role, Manda helped develop and execute the political and messaging strategy that helped Moran achieve victory both in the Primary and General Elections.
Manda’s previous political and communications experience also includes time as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Kansas Department of Labor, managing the Departments communication operations on behalf of the state’s Secretary of Labor, as well as working for a lobbying firm in Topeka on state and regional issues, and in the statehouse for the Kansas Senate Majority Leader.
Manda is a Lawrence, Kansas native and a graduate of the University of Kansas.
Will May joined Firehouse Strategies in September 2017 after internships in the offices of Congressman Phil Roe, Senator Richard Burr, Congressman Leonard Lance, and the Gula Graham Group. Prior to that, Will worked as an intern at the Virginia Headquarters of the 2012 Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign.
A native of Bethesda, Maryland, Will graduated with honors from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and International Affairs. While at Wake Forest, he was active with the Wake Forest College Republicans.
Alex Kuehler joined Firehouse Strategies after serving as a Legislative Correspondent to Congressman Bill Flores.
Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, Kuehler coordinated grassroots efforts for a statewide campaign in Missouri and served as a Regional Field Director for the Republican Party of Florida, leading the Party’s ground game in Southwest Florida on behalf of Senator Marco Rubio’s successful re-election campaign.
During the 2016 Republican Primary for President, Kuehler served as the Political Operations Manager for the Marco Rubio for President Campaign. In that role, Kuehler assisted in managing the Campaigns ballot access efforts and also helped organize rallies and events attended by Senator Rubio nationwide.
Kuehler is a graduate of Texas A&M University, College Station.
Nick Pasternak joins Firehouse Strategies after serving as Campaign Manager for the Bobby Cox for Statehouse campaign in Greenville, South Carolina.
In addition, Nick also served as Legislative Campaign Coordinator at First Tuesday Strategies, where he advised and assisted numerous State legislative campaigns across South Carolina during the 2018 election cycle. Prior to this, Nick served as Associate at First Tuesday, where he worked in issue advocacy, opposition research, and in assisting Republican campaigns from the Congressional to the local level.
In 2016, Nick joined the Marco Rubio for President campaign in South Carolina, where he served as intern, and later was promoted to the role of Intern Coordinator.
Nick is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Political Communication from American University.
Sarah Williams joins Firehouse Strategies as an Associate after completing internships at the Heritage Foundation, Republican National Committee, the United States House of Representatives Republican Conference, and the Office of Senator John McCain.
In 2016, Williams served as a Parliamentary Intern for the Office of the Right Honorable Boris Johnson, MP, in London, England.
Williams graduated with honors from The Catholic University of America.