Headquartered in Washington, D.C. with additional associates located in California and Illinois, Smith Dawson & Andrews offers clients in-depth knowledge and a record of success in a variety of practice areas. SDA began with a focus on transportation and has broadened its expertise and array of services over the years to become an efficient and effective full-service public affairs firm.

Our Areas of Expertise

• Economic Development
• Education and Workforce Development
• Energy and the Environment
• Ethics
• Federal Funding
• Healthcare
• International Trade and Customs
• Public Safety and Security
• State and Local Government
• Transportation
• Water Resources

Economic Development

SDA advises state, city and local governments on how to use federal programs, including grants, loans and tax incentives, to promote economic development through investment in transportation, infrastructure, housing, energy conservation, new technologies and job training. SDA works with clients to leverage federal programs with local resources and private capital to maximize project investment and promote job growth and business expansion in today's challenging economy.

Clients have included large and small cities, counties and regional organizations developing affordable housing programs, mixed use economic development projects, new start rail transit projects, bus rapid transit projects, intermodal facilities, new municipal aqueduct and sewer systems and creative plans to best utilize urban green space and reinvigorate downtown corridors.

Education and Workforce Development

Educational institutions of all levels and businesses, nonprofits, associations and groups with a direct interest in education and workforce development seek SDA's advice on obtaining federal support for their programs so they can deliver the highest quality education and training services. We work regularly with Congressional committees and the Departments of Education, Labor, the Small Business Administration and the National Science Foundation, and also with federal entities less traditionally viewed as providing support for education.

SDA promotes client's curriculum, develops strategies to increase brand recognition, helps to influence policy decisions and seeks additional funding from foundations and the private sector for major new educational centers and projects that run the gamut from retrofitting schools with green technology to building a new library for a city.

Energy and the Environment

For more than twenty years, SDA professionals have worked on environmental issues in the Congress and with various federal departments and agencies. SDA also works on the energy related causes of climate change with the Department of Energy and the Department of Transportation. Over the last decade, we've expanded our work in the energy field to encompass energy efficiency, energy education, renewable energy and the nexus among transportation choices, climate change and energy policy.

SDA helps clients draft, submit and advocate for environmental and energy legislation, secure funding for major programs, shape climate change policy, determine the impact of proposed legislation on the climate, understand and comply with federal environmental regulations and develop complex strategies that mobilize government, the private sector and constituent groups to protect the environment in a fiscally responsible manner.


Campaign finance, ethics and election laws are governed by complex laws and regulations. As a lobbying firm, we are required to understand and implement these laws and regulations every day and bring years of experience to advising clients on these issues.

We provide analysis to our clients on lobbying disclosure rules and forms, including the design and implementation of internal compliance guides for entities registering for federal lobbying activities. SDA also has experience in the areas of legislative branch ethics codes and the regulation of political activity. We regularly monitor court decisions and Federal Election Commission (FEC) actions and Advisory Opinions (AO) to provide our clients the most up-to-date information in the field.

SDA professionals have worked in volunteer capacities for the National Campaign for Fair Elections and conducted training on ethics compliance. In addition, everyone at SDA hones their own understanding through regular seminars, conferences and coursework.

Federal Funding

The members of SDA’s team of solution-oriented professionals have firsthand experience in developing positive results through the legislative, administrative, grant and procurement processes. This arena is too vast and complex for any one citizen or client to master. Clients need additional expertise to adequately navigate the complicated procedures and substantive requirements for federal funding.

SDA maintains strong ties at the federal level with both the legislative and executive branches and understands the federal budget, appropriations and grants processes. For more than 30 years, we have met the needs of a wide range of clients, advocating for their needs on a case-by-case basis—securing legislative or regulatory action, maximizing opportunities offered by the appropriations and re-authorization processes, or participating in unique occasions like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Our track record is evidence of our success. We have helped clients secure funding for important local projects that have benefited thousands of citizens. In light of changes to the appropriations process and diminishing funding, SDA is focused on protecting federal programs of primary importance to clients and matching their priority projects with other funding opportunities.


Our experience in healthcare policy and budget matters has helped us secure funding for client's facilities, medical research and outreach programs. We educate government officials about particular drugs and procedures, address drug reimbursement issues and secure Section 330 Public Health Service Act grants. SDA’s broad portfolio of clients has included generic and brand name pharmaceutical makers, health care clinics, university research centers, nursing associations and hospitals.

International Trade and Customs

Representing businesses and associations involved in international trade, customs regulation, trade facilitation and imports and exports, our active practice includes duty suspensions, trade and tariff provisions, Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) approvals and amendments to the Foreign-Trade Zone Act. Following passage of the Recovery Act in 2009, we immersed ourselves in the 'Buy America' provisions, working with trade associations and businesses to understand the ramifications and influence the regulations that govern it.

Public Safety and Security

Governments and businesses working in the field of public safety and security call upon SDA to help them create or expand innovative law enforcement programs in the areas of alternative sentencing, gender re-entry, public school security, correctional facility mental health programs, emergency communications, transportation security and COPS grants for new technologies

SDA professionals are familiar with the congressional authorizing committees for Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programs as well as with the officials at both agencies that administer these programs. Our background in technology, the emergency management industry and local, state and federal governance makes SDA a highly effective advocate for both emergency responders and business clients looking to develop customized strategies for increasing their business with state and local governments.

State and Local Government

Working with local, county and state governments, regional authorities, and coalitions of governmental entities with multiple funding and policy needs is at the heart of our expertise. We draft legislation, monitor changes in federal regulations and policies, interact with associations, attend hearings and seek opportunities for clients in order to protect their operations and interests.

Our professionals are experts on a wide range of issues of importance to state and local government including economic development, environmental restoration, provision of social services, transportation and water and sewer infrastructure. SDA has been involved with and/or provided legislative strategy and counsel to a number of national coalitions and organizations representing state and local governments.


Transportation is a major focus at SDA. Our staff has worked on transportation programs, policy and funding for infrastructure, research and development for decades. SDA professionals have influenced every major transportation debate in Congress over the last 35 years.

SDA has experience in the U.S. Department of Transportation and each of its modal agencies and knowledge of its role in development of transportation policy and administration of regulations. We also have a long history of working with state and local transportation agencies and authorities and are active participants in the major trade associations in the field. SDA has represented, and today numbers among its clients, some of the largest and most complex transportation entities in the country. Current transportation clients run the gamut from airports and transit organizations to private vendors and associations.

SDA has extensive experience in helping our clients deal successfully with the demands of moving goods and people efficiently while concurrently addressing monumental safety and security concerns and important environmental issues. We are knowledgeable about the federal statutes and rules and regulations that govern transportation in general and transportation operations in particular. SDA’s involvement in transportation remains a high priority for the firm and its clients.

Water Resources

SDA works on a variety of water supply and wastewater treatment issues, encompassing legislation, regulatory matters, funding for infrastructure projects and wetland conservation and management. Our experienced team has been involved in the reauthorization and passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and the Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Acts and other water quality legislation.

We've worked with the Congressional authorization and appropriation committees that oversee water and sewer infrastructure and agencies involved in water issues. Clients have included businesses that manufacture and supply materials for water infrastructure projects, city and county water authorities and a variety of local governments and entities.

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