Connected Players.
Strategic Approach.
Real Results.

About Venn Strategies

Connected Players.
Strategic Approach.
Real Results.

About Venn Strategies

Connected Players.
Strategic Approach.
Real Results.

About Venn Strategies

Welcome to
Venn Strategies

Venn Strategies is a nationally recognized, full-service government relations and public affairs firm. Our track record of success is a function of our broad array of working relationships, our strategic expertise and our impeccable reputation across the policy and political spectrum.

Named as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America by Inc. Magazine, Venn offers its clients a wide range of deliverables focused on advocacy, issue management, coalition management and strategic advisory services. Specializing in critical infrastructure, health, oversight, and tax and financial services to name a few, our firm strikes a critical balance, providing the depth and breadth of a major political powerhouse, combined with the personal attention and engagement that only a principal-driven boutique can offer.

Luther Pendragon Logo

Our reach now crosses the Atlantic with UK’s Luther Pendragon.

With operations in London and Brussels, our partnership with Luther helps our clients all across Western Europe

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McAllister & Quinn Logo

Venn is happy to announce that we have entered into a partnership with McAllister & Quinn for grant writing services! Boasting the largest network of over 250 grant writing consultants. McAllister & Quinn offers a consortium of writers, subject matter experts, former agency officials, and Federal program officers to help meet a broad range of client needs.

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As top political strategists, policy analysts, and communications experts, our principals and staff—comprised of former top aides of the White House, Congress, State Houses, renowned advocacy groups, and Fortune 500 corporations—are respected and recognized as leaders in our fields. Led by one of 2022’s Most Influential People in Policy, per the Washingtonian, Stephanie Silverman and Venn’s expertise gives us the ability to offer our clients a clear window into the workings of Washington, as well as the proper tools to effectively navigate this critical environment and define a path to victory.

Our Practice Areas

At Venn, we constantly endeavor to expand our advocacy and never limit our scope of work. Most of our current client work, however, can be categorized in to four main practice areas – Health, Tax & Financial Services, Critical Infrastructure and Oversight & Investigations. Each requiring their own unique insights and specific approaches, our specialties cover impactful fields and complex issue areas.

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Health

Each component of our country’s health care system presents remarkable opportunities to improve and extend human health. Venn Strategies seeks to navigate the dynamic political and regulatory climate to maximize these opportunities on behalf of our clients, no matter how challenging.

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Tax & Financial Services

In an ever-changing political landscape, the Tax and Financial Services Group at Venn Strategies, chaired by Venn principal Melissa Francis, offers clients comprehensive government affairs services to better navigate this environment.

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Critical Infrastructure

Venn Strategies' Critical Infrastructure practice works hand-in-hand with clients to engage key stakeholders and government officials to advance policies, regulations, programs and funding that support the development of efficient, cost-effective, secure and sustainable technologies and infrastructures.

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Oversight & Investigations

The Oversight team, chaired by Venn executive vice president Emilia DiSanto, specializes in providing strategic advice and counsel on Congressional and Executive Branch oversight and investigations that pose significant, reputational risk to individuals and organizations.

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Our Team

Venn Strategies is made up of a bipartisan team of experienced, insightful and passionate professionals. Our team incorporates strategic minds from government and industry, each bringing diverse and creative perspectives to our clients’ goals.

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Stephanie E. Silverman

Chief Executive Officer

Erik Olson

President

Melissa Francis

Principal and Tax & Financial Services Group Chair

Elizabeth Lee

Principal and Health Care Group Chair

Noelle Montaño

Principal

Emilia DiSanto

Executive Vice President

Christopher Fox

Senior Vice President

Michael Spira

Senior Vice President

Ben Steinberg

Executive Vice President and Critical Infrastructure Group Co-Chair

Kevin Dowling

Senior Vice President

Matt Scott

Vice President

Michelle Seger

Vice President

Elise Tollefson

Vice President

Shanta Whitaker

Senior Vice President

Diandra Brennan

Assistant Vice President

Doug MacGillivray

Vice President

Claire Onyechi

Vice President & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Co-chair

Basil Kondos

Director of Finance

Renee Carter-White

Senior Manager of Operations

Jakara Eason

Assistant Vice President

Niaz Siasi

Assistant Vice President

Emma Bishop

Vice President & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Co-chair

Kelsey Stapp

Senior Associate

Buck Tharrington

Assistant Vice President

Ellyn Needel

Associate

Carly Good

Assistant Vice President

Bennett Resnik

Senior Vice President

Allison Everton

Senior Associate

Tyler Lazenby

Associate

Teagan Poleykett

Associate

Samuel Goodstein

Executive Vice President

Malik Ross

Senior Associate

Macrae Sharp

Associate

Kyle Amitay

Associate

Kristen Constantine

Vice President

Kiya Jenkins

Administrative Assistant

Kate Marks

Senior Vice President

Justin Livesey

Assistant Vice President

John Richter

Vice President

Garrett Lukken

Senior Associate

Dominic Levings

Senior Associate

Audrey Sims

Associate

Andy Sigmon

Vice President

Adrienne Hallums

Client Service Associate

Arianna Palmer

Programs & Events Associate

Jon Pyatt

Executive Vice President

Preeyanka Rao

Associate

Charlie Lemke-Bell

Client Services Associate

Emily Sabrosky

Programs & Events Associate

Nadia Forougi

Associate

Isabella Nielsen

Client Services Associate

In the News View All News

06 November 2023

An EV slowdown? Battery makers are cool with that.

ENERGYWIRE | The news that big auto companies like General Motors and Ford Motor are slowing their electric vehicle rollouts has one group a bit relieved: battery-makers.

This nascent U.S. industry has received $58 billion of investment in the year since the Inflation Reduction Act became law, according to Jay Turner, a professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts who maintains an EV-investment database. That’s far more than any other part of the EV ecosystem. People in the industry say they could use a break from this red-hot streak to catch their breath.

“A slower pace of demand for battery materials is actually positive for the effort to build up a secure supply chain outside of China,” said Ben Steinberg, a spokesperson for the Battery Materials & Technology Coalition, a trade group for members of the supply chain.

The battery industry’s relief stands in contrast to others who have reason to fear even the perception that demand for EVs is receding.

That group includes President Joe Biden, who is highlighting last year’s Inflation Reduction Act and its provisions to build a wide-scale domestic EV industry as a reason for voters to hand him reelection in 2024. Another is the mining industry, which is vulnerable to a swoon in EV interest.

“It’s incredibly important, critical, to maintain support for dramatic growth in EV manufacturing and continued support for demand, which is what the IRA has been doing,” said Albert Gore, the executive director of the Zero Emissions Transportation Association (ZETA), a trade group of EV-related companies.

But the battery industry is grateful for a pause as it races to build from scratch a system of great complexity. The ecosystem of makers of powders and films and foils will, even under the best of circumstances, take years to make the products that automakers need.

“It allows a bit of breathing room for new production to come online at a normal speed that allows project developers to better control cost. Building things domestically at break-neck speed inevitably means higher costs,” Steinberg said.

Slowing the EV train, even just a bit, may also be a welcome dose of reality, said Celina Mikolajczak, the chief battery technology officer of Lyten, an early-stage battery materials maker.

“Even if these guys are scaling back their plans, they are scaling them back to the reality of what can be done,” she said, “rather than what everyone in the world would like to be done.”

EVs both brake and go
In the last weeks, three big American automakers — Ford, General Motors and Tesla — have made it clear that demand for EVs is wavering.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, whose company makes only EVs, worried on a call with investors that high interest rates would keep customers away. And the legacy automakers have both retrenched.

Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, said last month that the company would delay building a battery factory and would slow-walk $12 billion in EV investments. GM dropped its goal of producing 400,000 EVs annually by next year and delayed the rollout of some high-profile new electric models, like the Chevrolet Blazer SUV and Silverado pickup truck. It also scrapped a partnership with Japan’s Honda to make low-cost EVs.

But other automakers are going full speed ahead. Toyota last week added a massive $8 billion investment to build its battery factory in North Carolina, more than doubling its projected spending. BMW and Volvo, foreign automakers with plants in the U.S., said their EV divisions are generating strong sales.

It is a confusing and contradictory picture. A problem that automakers can’t ignore is that EVs are piling up at dealerships unsold.

“We’ve kind of plateaued in the early adopters, the people who are … committed to owning and driving an EV,” said Jim Appleton, president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers. “That first 10 percent was the easy 10 percent. The next 90 percent is going to be hard-fought.”

But at the same time, EV sales are breaking record after record.

In the quarter that ended Sept. 30, national EV sales reached nearly 8 percent of all new cars sold, according to Cox Automotive. In California, the country’s EV capital, zero-emission vehicles make up 27 percent of auto sales, according to the California Energy Commission.

“There’s a lot of swirling dynamics around EVs,” said ZETA’s Gore, who is the son of the vice president under former President Bill Clinton. “I think it’s really important to make sure that folks are really paying attention to the larger trend and not over-magnifying any one data point.”

Even GM’s CEO Mary Barra while breaking the news of GM’s slowing EV investment, cautioned against reading too much into it.

“I want to emphasize that our EV momentum is building. We see it in everything from cell production, to manufacturing, to software,” she said during a call with investors in October.

A dreaded slowdown label
Under these murky circumstances, a slowdown — or even the perception of a slowdown — could have far-reaching consequences.

One is political. Biden has wrapped much of his economic and climate-change agenda around building an industrial ecosystem for electric vehicles, and if the market for EVs is chilling, it could call his decisions into question.

The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday about whether the Biden administration is concerned that an EV or battery slowdown could derail its climate agenda.

The Republican front-runner and former President Donald Trump has called the move to EVs “a transition to hell.” And Republican strategists have said that the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, many of which are targeted toward EVs, could be undermined if a Republican wins the White House.

Another consequence is economic, especially for mining firms that are in the early stages of building out new mines for critical EV minerals, like lithium, graphite and nickel.

Some mining leaders said that with extraordinarily long time horizons — it can take a decade or longer to get a mine into production — a slowdown could have long-term consequences.

“The industry is desperate for new mines and supply chains to be built to help scale the critical minerals, [stabilize] the price, and keep the price of the battery on its present falling trend,” said Simon Moores, the CEO of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a United Kingdom-based battery materials data and intelligence provider, in an email.

“The biggest thing a slow down in rate of growth will impact is funding,” he said. “If the funding slows the industry falls back into the same problems it had in the last phase of growth.”

Pause that refreshes
Meanwhile, some in the battery supply chain are welcoming the prospect of a break to get organized after receiving a torrent of dollars.

“The fact that the demand is down means OK, maybe we can take a breath for a minute,” said Lyten’s Mikolajczak.

The issue, she said, is that supply relationships are being formed, and contracts sought, in the absence of actual product. “The supply chain to support the number of gigawatts [of batteries] that people are talking about, it doesn’t really exist yet,” she said.

Critical suppliers are flooded with requests, Mikolajczak said. This includes equipment makers — those who make the machines that make the components — and those who make the components themselves. She added that some customers who have locked in contracts might see the product they are buying in two years, but those who haven’t might wait three to five years.

That sentiment is shared by some in the mining industry, which has the task of organizing a new global supply chain of raw materials and handoffs to the companies who will refine them.

A pause in the “velocity of demand … means we have some time to focus on building up domestic battery manufacturing and secure supply of raw materials like nickel from our own reserves and allies like Australia, Canada, South Korea, Chile and Japan,” said Todd Malan, the chief external affairs officer for Talon Metals.

The company has primary U.S. operations in Tamarack, Minn., where it is proceeding on a nickel mining joint venture with Rio Tinto.

Last week, Talon finalized a $115 million grant from the Biden administration to build a nickel-processing plant in North Dakota. The facility, which is slated to source nickel from the company’s proposed mine in Minnesota, has an offtake partnership with Tesla.

“A little breathing room for investment, permitting and construction of the secure battery supply chain outside China is constructive,” said Malan.

Atop this new battery supply chain are big factories directly linked to automakers. Many are alliances between automakers and South Korean battery fabricators.

For example, SK On, the battery division of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, is partnering with Ford to build battery factories in Tennessee and Kentucky and supplying batteries to Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee. And the battery arm of Korea’s LG Electronics is working with GM on factories in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan and with Honda in Ohio. Korean automaker Hyundai is partnering with both SK and LG as it builds battery plants in Georgia.

Still another class of big fish are automakers who are building their own mammoth factories, such as Toyota in North Carolina, as well as Tesla, which is expanding its battery factory in Nevada.

Below these sits a constellation of suppliers that are making factories of varying size to create established and cutting-edge materials.

Much of the momentum comes in the form of federal support. The Biden administration, through the Department of Energy, is playing a hefty role in funding younger and riskier ventures it deems necessary to build out a full supply chain. The funds come from the bipartisan infrastructure law passed two years ago.

“In the past year alone, DOE’s Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains (MESC) has invested in a portfolio of over $1.72 billion in projects that extract and process lithium, graphite and other battery materials, manufacture components, and demonstrate new approaches, including manufacturing components from recycled materials,” said DOE spokesperson Samah Shaiq in an email. DOE says the private sector has funded these same projects to the tune of $3.3 billion.

And the Biden administration has no intention of slowing down.

“MESC intends to build on this momentum by investing in approximately $3.5 billion of projects across the battery supply chain next year,” Shaiq concluded.

In this superheated crescendo of activity, Mikolajczak said, the battery industry doesn’t mind taking a moment.

She said, “If the automakers slow their roll, we say, ‘Great, do it, guys.'”

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