Missouri Times Magazine - Spring 2019

Page 22

Missouri Times The


Missouri Times The

Publishing missouritimes.com

Rich Chrismer

BY GREGG KELLER If Missouri politics were the film industry, Rich Chrismer might hold a record for the most un-credited roles. Present at most political occurrences of import in the state over the last twenty years, he prefers to shine the spotlight on his clients. This old-school professionalism has earned him the trust of the many who seek his communications counsel and mastery of message development. A twenty-year communications veteran, Chrismer has built a wildly successful public relations consultancy. His firm, Seen Read Heard, a name that stems from the polling question, represents Fortune 500s, CEOs, start-ups, issue campaigns, candidates and more. Seen Read Heard reached the ten-year milestone in March. Chrismer’s mentor Senator Jim Talent said he is “one of a short list of PR professionals whose advice and counsel is in constant demand from business and political leaders who need strong relationships with the media, outstanding social media platforms, cool and effective advice in a crisis, and purposeful, powerful communications programs.”

Shawn Furey

BY KATE CASAS I first met Shawn Furey when he was chief of staff to then Senator Eric Schmitt and I was a new lobbyist. As a new lobbyist, Shawn was always open to giving me advice when I asked, gently telling me when I was about to make a mistake and encouraging me when something went right. It was soon after he left Schmitt’s office to join the Axiom Strategies team that I learned he had not just been doing those things for me but that he was one of the most trusted advisors among many of Missouri’s politicos and a truly talented strategist. To this day, if there is something big happening in Missouri politics or policy, you can be confident that he is involved. I now have the privilege to work with Shawn daily in his role as a Senior Vice President at Home State Health. Shawn not only knows everything there is to know about delivering high quality health care in the most efficient way to Missouri’s citizens, he has a breadth of experience and a track record of success that is unparalleled.

Jeff Roe, my generation’s Karl Rove, has called him “the best communicator in the country west of the Mississippi.” On a personal level, Chrismer is intellectually curious and creative with a wide range of interests outside of politics that make him better at his job. He will continue to be an influential communications force in Missouri and beyond for years to come.

Gateway Government Relations

Giddens Group

When looking for lobbying firms, there are always the basics that you look for. Is the firm strategic? Are they effective? Do they have the requisite relationships to shepherd complex (and sometimes not so complex) legislation to enactment? Gateway Government relations checks all those boxes easily.


The dynamic duo that is “The Giddens Group” is undoubtedly a force in Missouri politics. Nancy and Shannon have formed strong relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle. They care about people and don’t give a damn about the letter behind their name. They shoot from the hip and they shoot straight. It’s that straightforward honesty and integrity that has made this group successful over the last 13 years. They fight like they don’t know how to lose. They do not quit. If a committee hearing runs long or if either chamber stays in session all night, they do not leave. They have danced the dance of Missouri politics long enough to know bad things happen when you look away. You must be present. They love what they do, and their passion is unwavering. They have a lot of fun doing what they love. You have to admire that. The other thing worth noting is they believe in their clients and won’t take on just anyone with a checkbook. They truly put themselves into their work and believe in the issues they are fighting for and the people impacted by those issues. Every client is their only client, if that makes sense. This association wouldn’t have been able to lead four veto overrides in one session without the unwavering dedication and relentless efforts of Nancy and Shannon. Their work ethic is unparalleled; perhaps that’s because they both grew up on cattle farms.



But what sets them apart and why should they be on this list? The answer in my mind is simple: Irl Scissors and Sarah Wood Martin. I’ve known them both for years and consider them to be great friends and experts in their field. In many ways, the only real thing that a lobbyist brings to the table is their reputation. With 30 years of combined experience, Irl and Sarah bring exactly the kind of reputation that you want to be affiliated with in Jefferson City. They are relentless in their advocacy for their clients, yet they understand when to raise the profile of an issue and when to work behind the scenes. They are recognized by their peers as well as legislators that they can both provide trusted information as well as be trusted with information. They have been involved in some of the highest profile legislative battles in the Capitol, but also know how to handle the everyday tasks that clients require. Their diverse client list also demonstrates that they can manage any issue at any level of government no matter the complexity. And, if those reasons aren’t enough, they know where to get the best Mexican food in Jefferson City

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