Our team includes well respected leaders with strong bipartisan credentials.
The Honorable Ron Packard, Founding Partner
Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad, CA), has the distinction of winning election to Congress as one of only three write-in candidates in the Nation’s history. During his 18 years in the House of Representatives he served on the powerful Committee on Appropriations and was Chairman of the Appropriations Committee on Energy and Water. Packard also has extensive local government experience as a Mayor, City Councilman and School Board Trustee in San Diego County. He is a respected national voice on infrastructure, public works, energy and natural resources issues.
The Honorable Tony Coelho, Founding Partner
Tony Coelho (D-Modesto, CA) brings a national reputation as one of the top strategists of the Democratic Party, having served in the U.S. Congress as House Majority Whip (the third highest position in the House of Representatives), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and general chairman of Al Gore’s presidential campaign. Coelho is credited as the author, primary sponsor and leader of a bipartisan movement in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was signed into law by then President George Herbert Walker Bush. Following a career in politics, Coelho served as president and CEO of Wertheim Schroder Investment Services, which grew from $400 million to $4 billion in managed investments under his leadership. Currently, Coelho serves on the Board of Directors of publicly traded Warren Resources, Inc. and Service Corporation International. He is active in helping The Epilepsy Foundation of America and recently launched The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation at Loyola Marymount University.
David A. Herbst, Founding Partner
David A. Herbst is a public relations & government affairs veteran, having been a senior executive of one of the Nation’s Top 10 PR & Public Affairs firms. He has served as both a City of Los Angeles Commissioner and as a Los Angeles County Commissioner as well as chairman of two chambers of commerce in LA County. He was good friends with the late Maureen Reagan, eldest daughter of President Ronald Reagan and considers himself a “Reagan Republican.” He has attended State of the Union addresses by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. David was privileged to be in the House Gallery to witness firsthand the Joint Session of Congress Address by His Holiness Pope Francis in September 2015. In 2008, he was a member of the California Delegation to the Republican National Convention in support of late Senator John McCain.
Don Polese, Founder & Managing Partner
Don Polese has spent over three decades on Capitol Hill, both with leading Members of Congress and as a consultant to many significant California private and public entities. Through his long time service as District Chief of Staff to San Diego and Orange County Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Ron Packard, he worked especially closely within the annual budget and appropriations process. His decades of experience help clients obtain Federal funding. He also has developed many years of close relationships within key Federal agencies in DC and in California, including the Army Corps of Engineers, Interior, and Transportation, and has assisted in the procurement of Federal permits for a number major public and private projects throughout the Golden State. Don is married to Jane, a former Reagan White House political appointee and they have three children and two grandchildren. They have dedicated themselves to political and community life on both coasts.
Michael DiVirgilio, Senior Partner
Michael DiVirgilio served two terms as Mayor and councilman in the Southern California coastal city of Hermosa Beach. He is a federal and local government specialist. With two decades of experience, he has served under two well-respected and long-term members of congress. As the senior California staff member and District Director to Jane Harman, the Ranking Member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he led her California operations and a variety of other strategic initiatives. He began his career in government under the tutelage of former U.S. Ambassador and Congresswoman Diane Watson. He also has in depth national campaign experience, serving in volunteer leadership roles on the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. A trained mechanical engineer, Michael began his career in the manufacturing, technology and software industries.
Rick R. Olivarez, Senior Partner
Rick R. Olivarez has built one of Southern California’s most successful law firms – Olivarez Madruga Lemieux O’Neill – with over 30 attorneys. He is the firm’s founding and Managing Partner. As a Senior Partner of Vectis DC, Rick brings a unique perspective as the contract city attorney for three cities in Los Angeles County and as general counsel to several school districts. Olivarez has a multi-generational view of California politics as the grandson of the late Congressman Edward Roybal, the first Latino elected to the U.S. Congress from California since the 1880’s. Rick was recently a featured speaker at the annual National Association of Latino Elected and Appointment Officials (NALEO) conference where he presented on ethics and conflict of interest. He is a Board Member and Past President of the White Memorial Hospital Charitable Foundation and Board Member of Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce. A California native, Rick graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. He received his J.D. from the American University where he served as member of the school’s nationally ranked clinical law program.
Caroline Thompson, Senior Partner
Caroline Thompson is a Californian with intergovernmental expertise as well Capitol Hill experience. She specializes in federal appropriations—securing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal, state and local funding and grants for transportation, economic development, public works, energy, homeland security and non-profit funding. Previously, Caroline served as Director of Public Policy for a San Diego County Supervisor. She led government relations for San Diego’s North County Transit District. Prior to that she worked for public policy non-profits and on campaigns including the initial congressional bid by Representative Ander Crenshaw. Caroline also worked on the Hill for former U.S. Senator Connie Mack and the U.S. Congressional Joint Economic Committee. She received two Bachelor’s degrees from Flagler College and completed specialized program studies at Georgetown University and California State University San Marcos.