Ben Norris 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Knox Kimberly Triadvocates Knox Kimberly Leads Lobbying Firm with Integrity & Passion for Arizona’s Economy Knox Kimberly is an advocate for Arizona’s economic development. He went into government relations work to fulfill a lifelong dream of getting involved in politics and today leads the preeminent lobbying and government relations firm in the state, Triadvocates. While the partners are seldom splashed across the front page of the newspaper, they have played a crucial role in bringing industry and economic development to the Valley, representing clients like Intel, eBay, Vanguard Health Systems and Frito Lay. Kimberly isn’t a man drawn to the spotlight. “We will never be nominated for leading actor,” Kimberly said. “It’s our clients who choose to invest in our state, and our driving policy to help make that happen is a tremendous satisfaction. But at the end of the day, it’s our clients who carry out the accomplishments and they are the ones who should be front and center.” Triadvocates focuses on government relations at the local, state and federal level, working to navigate government on behalf of their clients. The impact isn’t lost on Kimberly, who knows a good lobbyist must always consider how his work could affect the public as a whole. “After a quarter of a century in the field it is evident to me the only assets that really matter are integrity and passion,” Kimberly said. “To enjoy long-term success in this field, you must be a person of your word and must truly believe in what you advocate. I know that every member of my team shares and practices that belief every day.” A New Kind of Firm Needs an Innovative Business Model Kimberly honed his skills in government relations with Streich Lang and Quarles & Brady following the merger of the two firms. While his practice was doing quite well, Kimberly and fellow attorney Barbara Meaney wanted a different kind of business model, one that embraced talent from a wide spectrum of backgrounds. “We believed we really had an opportunity to grow something,” Kimberly said. “But to do that we had to have a different structure. A law firm is limiting in that it is impossible to treat non-lawyers as full and equal partners.” Triadvocates launched in 2002 as a wholly owned enterprise of Quarles & Brady. Last year, the six partners bought out Quarles & Brady, making it a completely independently owned and operated firm. Of the six partners, three are non-lawyers. “In lobbying and public affairs, non-lawyers with their varied backgrounds and disciplines bring an awful lot to the table,” Kimberly said. “We had the opportunity to attract top talent from areas other than the legal field, people who had the commitment to quality and integrity, but just happened to come from different backgrounds.” Kimberly describes partner Mike Gardner as a recovering politician. Gardner served three terms in the Arizona legislature and is a former chief of staff for a Senate President. He brings perspective on the operation of the legislative branch and is widely considered among the state’s most skilled and trusted lobbyists. Partner John Kelly has a distinguished record in technology and education, and has played a crucial role in keeping the tech industry going strong in Arizona. Kelly worked on Capitol Hill and launched Arizona’s information technology agency before moving on to Intel Corp., where he led communications and government affairs before joining Triadvocates. Julie Rees joined the firm in 2004 with a background in urban planning and local government, having served as chief of staff to a large city mayor. Her prior work in the public realm makes Rees the go-to partner for issues related to policy development in the areas of transportation, land use and finance. The other three partners, Knox included, have experience working as attorneys and use their advocacy skills to build relationships at all levels of government. Barbara Meaney co-founded Triadvocates in 2002 and has earned a reputation as one of the most effective lobbyists in Arizona. The Arizona Capitol Times recently named Meaney one of the top women lobbyists in the state. Her experience in lobbying and the legal realm has helped make Triadvocates a trusted lobbying firm with a record of delivering meaningful results. Jennifer Woods also uses her experience as a lawyer to make an impact in the lobbying world. She currently represents clients from a wide range of companies, large and small, and has built a reputation as a trusted advisor to procurement officials throughout state and local government. Woods spent five years working as a litigator, including procurement cases, before joining Triadvocates. Administrator Patti Alderson has been with the group since the beginning. She worked with Arizona Senator Jon Kyl when he was in private practice and spent several years as a member of his staff after he was elected to Congress. Alderson and Assistant Administrator Trudy Buel are the hub of the firm’s administration. The Three Lines of Business Keeping focus on what the firm does best is important to Kimberly, who says Triadvocates keeps its sights narrowed on three areas in serving its market-leading array of more than sixty clients. Policy and Advocacy: This area is led by Barbara Meaney and Mike Gardner, who lobby before the Arizona legislature and state agencies to advocate passing or defeating legislation on behalf of clients. Ryan Harper and Kimberly are also heavily engaged in these efforts, often joined by other team members. Triadvocates has been a leader in advocating policies that have resulted in billions of dollars of capital investment in our state. Government Marketing: John Kelly and Jenn Woods head up this division, which serves clients who sell their products and services to governmental entities. Elise Piatt works alongside Kelly and Woods in this area, which Kimberly thinks of as matchmaking: identifying public needs and matching client offerings to meet those needs. Triadvocates approaches these efforts with considerable rigor and has helped its clients win numerous government contracts. Economic Development: Julie Rees and Kimberly lead the economic development initiatives, working to bring projects to the state that will have a lasting positive impact on Arizona’s economy. Triadvocates helps companies bring business projects from concept to reality by navigating the many layers of government. One recent project includes a state-of-the-art Frito Lay facility in Casa Grande, the first food manufacturing plant in the United States to earn LEED Gold status for sustainability. Invested in Arizona Kimberly refers to himself as a semi-native. Born in Chicago, he moved here from Albuquerque in 1963. After earning his undergraduate degree at Arizona State University, Kimberly attended law school at UCLA, but always knew he would return to Arizona to practice law. An internship with former Arizona Congressman John Rhodes would change Kimberly’s life and set him on the path toward a career in government relations. In 1978, Kimberly went to Washington, D.C. to intern with Rhodes. That’s when he met a fellow intern named Debbie. The pair hit it off and married in 1980. Today, Kimberly credits Rhodes as one of the most important mentors in his life. “Mr. Rhodes was more than just a third father to us by giving us the opportunity to meet,” Kimberly said. “He was a model of what I think we are missing from our politics today and that is civility, decorum and the ability to work across the aisle to accomplish goals.” Kimberly also credits Kent Stevens, the former Quarles & Brady Managing Partner, as a mentor who worked hand in hand with Kimberly to guide the launch and development of Triadvocates, and who honed Kimberly’s management talent. The attributes he learned early in life from Rhodes and later from Stevens are what Kimberly strives for every day with his practice. Of course, when it comes to some of the most difficult and contentious issues, those qualities are tested. “Sometimes it is very difficult to remain centered, especially when frustrated with those who place personal interest above public interest,” Kimberly said. “But it is important to take the high road and be respectful toward those who have been elected by the people. Most elected officials are sincerely trying to do their best and make sacrifices to serve in public office.”
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