Lobbying World

• Blank Rome hired Matthew J. Thomas as a partner in the firm’s maritime, international trade and public contracts group. He comes from Reed Smith, but has also worked as a lobbyist at Troutman Sanders and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. He also served as the assistant general counsel for international affairs at the Federal Maritime Commission. Thomas “guides international businesses in their dealings with the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, and Transportation, as well as independent regulatory agencies and Congress,” the firm says.

• Sidley Austin hired Kwaku Akowuah as counsel in the firm’s appellate group in Washington. Before that, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and worked in the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, where he offered advice to federal agencies about interpreting laws and answered questions about constitutional separation of powers.

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• Pollsters Tony Fabrizio and Bob Ward have joined Mercury, a strategic communications firm, to direct its polling department. The two founded their own research consultancy, Fabrizio Ward, and managed opinion research, strategic consulting, polling services and crisis management for Fortune 500 companies, trade groups, political campaigns and nonprofits. Fabrizio was the chief pollster and strategist for the presidential run of former Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.). Ward also worked on that campaign, as well as serving as the strategic information officer for the Republican National Committee.

• Richard Sorian, a former staffer at D.C.’s healthcare exchange, has joined FleishmanHillard as a partner and senior vice president. He served as a communications director for the District of Columbia’s Health Benefit Exchange Authority and, before that, was the assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services.

• American Bridge 21st Century hired Gwen Rocco as its senior communications adviser. She worked on the Virginia gubernatorial campaign of Terry McAuliffe and as the communications director for the Obama campaign’s North Carolina state-level efforts.

• Adam Wagner has become the director of business communications at DDC Advocacy. Before that, he worked at SevenTwenty Strategies and at Direct Impact, the grassroots arm of the international public affairs firm Burson-Marsteller.