The SDA Team

The diverse team at Smith Dawson & Andrews brings insight and strategic thinking that comes only from decades of experience in the legislative, political and communications arenas. We provide premium service while adhering to the highest ethical standards. Our team approach takes advantage of each member's expertise to deliver comprehensive solutions and best-in-class results in an effective and collaborative manner.

Each member of SDA’s team is wholly committed to solving your problem and representing your best interests. While the political climate, current issues and party control may change, effective, personal representation does not. Over the past three decades, we have achieved results for our clients regardless of the party occupying the White House or in control of the Congress; we are fully bipartisan. Our experience and expertise in a wide variety of arenas provides you with a unique benefit. SDA is sought after for its highly personalized service, government and public policy experience and commitment to each client's success. We are always looking to bring added value to clients, helping them succeed by diversifying the services we can provide. From time to time, we form partnerships with companies and individuals that offer capabilities and solutions that complement but do not duplicate our own.


James P. Smith

Jim is the President of Smith Dawson & Andrews and serves as the firm's chief strategist. He oversees a diverse range of clients, with particular emphasis on business development, health care, technology, trade and transportation. Before co-founding SDA in 1981, Jim served in government and public affairs positions at the White House and in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Commerce and with the State of Illinois.

Involved in many key legislative battles on Capitol Hill, Jim has been active in every major transportation debate in Congress over the last 35 years. His knowledge of federal agency and congressional policy and practice, along with his long-term, bipartisan relationships with key decision makers, make Jim an effective advocate for client interests.

A native of Illinois, Jim is a Director and Officer of Home Star Financial Group and Home Star Bank, an independent privately held community bank serving Kankakee and Will Counties and a partner in Smith Development Corporation, which among other things, redeveloped the former State of Illinois Manteno Mental Health Center into the multi-business commercial center, Illinois Diversatech Campus.

Jim has held a number of positions in various civic, religious and nonprofit organizations in the Washington, D.C. area including Member of the Board of Trustees of Gonzaga College High School; President of the Board of Directors of the Barker Foundation, a non-profit adoption agency, and a Member of the Board of Trustees of the De Sales School of Theology.

Jim is a graduate of Colorado State University.

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Gregory B. Andrews

Greg joined Smith Dawson & Andrews in 1984. He came to the firm with an extensive background in public affairs, government service and political activity, and provides strategic client counsel and senior level advocacy to key legislators and government officials. Greg has worked successfully with clients for over two decades on budget and appropriations issues, numerous transportation, energy and health care authorization bills and on regulatory and policy issues with both the Congress and the administrative agencies. He specializes in transportation, aviation, water resources, homeland security, energy and health care issues.

From 1977 through 1980, Greg served in several roles in the U.S. Department of Transportation, including Congressional Liaison Officer in the Office of the Secretary, Special Assistant to the Federal Highway Administrator and as a member of the Secretary's Urban Highway Decision Group. Greg is active in a number of national associations in the aviation field, including the two major airport trade associations--the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA), as well as the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA), where he serves on the Public Affairs Committee.

Greg is a graduate of Mankato State University in Minnesota.

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Judith Burrell

Judith has over 30 years of experience in Washington D.C. and has worked with SDA in various capacities for much of the last 20 years.  She has served as assistant executive director of the United States Conference of Mayors, as a New York City Congressional lobbyist and as the first director of institutional advancement for Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York.  As a member of the senior management team for U.S. Department of Transportation in the Clinton Administration, she led negotiations on the conformity rules for the transportation and clean air laws that exist today.

Following her government service, Judith was Chief Marketing Officer for the Transportation Division of ACS Government Solutions, a Fortune-500 technology integrator for electronic toll collection, transit smart cards, commercial truck inspections and motor vehicle registration. 

Judith’s contacts on Capitol Hill and throughout major trade organizations and think tanks such as the National Association of Counties, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the American Public Transit Association, the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and others bring a strategic development focus and a rich stakeholder network to SDA’s clients.  She has an extensive background in the local regional approach to federal policy.

Judith is a graduate of Brown University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  

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Mary C. Cronin

Mary joined SDA in March 2010 after a career spanning federal, state and county government. Mary assists SDA clients with policy and funding goals related to K-12 education, higher education, tariffs and trade, and ways communities can benefit economically from investments in energy sustainability, transportation and infrastructure, housing and land use policies. Ms. Cronin also works with private sector companies on government procurement, particularly in the defense and technology sectors.

Most recently, she was Director of the bipartisan Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (NEMW), where she managed a number of Congressional task forces, coordinating common policy interests among more than 70 Members of Congress representing 18 Northeast and Midwestern states. Mary promoted policies and programs important to the manufacturing sector, brownfields clean-up, economic restoration, wastewater infrastructure financing, housing and assistance for low income families and underserved communities, fossil fuel and renewable energy technologies and transportation initiatives.

Prior to her service on Capitol Hill, Mary was Assistant Director of Government Relations for the Fairfax County (Virginia) Public Schools, the nation’s 12th-largest school system, and Legislative Director to the Assistant Majority Whip in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. 

Mary graduated from Saint Michael’s College, holds a Master of Science in Public Affairs from the University of Massachusetts, McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies, and a Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies from the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. Mary is a member of the Women in Government Relations and Women in International Trade professional societies. Mary is currently the vice-chair of the board of directors for the Northeast-Midwest Institute, which is a non-profit, non-partisan research, education, and policy organization based in Washington, DC.

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Robert Gaines

Bob joined Smith Dawson & Andrews in 1992 and represents cities, counties and public agencies throughout the United States on issues primarily relating to funding for municipal services and public projects, transportation, land use, endangered species and the environment.

In July 1995, Bob was appointed by President Clinton as Commissioner on the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). In addition, he has served on several governmental boards and commissions including the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance Task Force on Insurance Industry Taxes, the Iowa Governor's Task Force on Leaking Underground Storage Tanks and the City of Chicago Task Force on Infrastructure.

Bob received his law degree from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL and is a member of the Illinois Bar. He graduated from the University of Illinois and has done post-graduate study at The John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

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Brett Garson

Prior to joining SDA in 2007 as Senior Counsel, Brett worked for the American Road & Transportation Builder’s Association (ARTBA) and clerked in both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government. His familiarity with federal programs and understanding of emerging priorities on Capitol Hill, in the Departments and within the executive branch are very beneficial to SDA and its clients.

In addition to transportation, Brett’s expertise includes the budget process, economic development, international trade and customs issues, water, sewer and utility issues and campaign finance and ethics law. He also has a strong ability to analyze and communicate the impact of federal laws, regulations and pending legislation on client interests.

Brett is a graduate of the University of Michigan, graduated cum laude from American University-Washington College of Law and is a member of the Maryland and D.C. bars.

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Brian Hannigan

Brian has a broad public affairs background, with experience in public relations, government relations, grassroots advocacy and media relations in the public and private sectors. At SDA, Mr. Hannigan has focused on international trade, defense, and transportation issues.

Prior to joining Smith Dawson & Andrews in 2007, Brian served as a departmental deputy director in the administration of former Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner and as communications director for the Virginia Baseball Stadium Authority and the City of Alexandria, Virginia. As managing director in the Washington office of Hill & Knowlton Public Affairs, Brian successfully managed the grassroots advocacy campaign to enact the Credit Union Membership Access Act. Brian previously served as external relations director at PhRMA, a major trade association that represents leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, and as a consultant to Pfizer. Earlier in his career, Brian served as Appointments Secretary to the Governor of Illinois and as an international trade representative at the Illinois Department of Commerce.

Brian is a graduate of Saint Louis University.

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Jailyn Mayrant

Jailyn joined the firm in 2007 as an Administrative Assistant. Jailyn has a broad administrative background, having previously worked in the administrative field for both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Jailyn attended Frostburg State University in Maryland.

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Amy Williams Hughes

Amy has a diverse business background and manages the daily operations at Smith Dawson & Andrews. Prior to joining SDA in 2000, Amy worked as Payroll Administrator/Accountant at The Trane Company and Business Manager at Merrill Gardens Assisted Living Facility. She brings to the firm experience in accounting, payroll, human resource functions, marketing and information technology, as well as a strong administrative background.

Amy holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Kent State University in Ohio.

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Jerry Costello

Former Congressman Costello and SDA formed a strategic partnership in early 2013 after the Congressman decided not to run for re-election and retired from Congress.  During his 25 years as a Member of the United States House of Representatives, Mr. Costello served on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and on the Science Committee.  He was the Dean of the Illinois Congressional delegation and he was a senior leader on both Committees and was recognized as one of the most knowledgeable leaders on transportation issues in the Congress.

Congressman Costello has been recognized by his colleagues as “the patron saint of Scott Air Force Base” and is credited with saving Scott during rounds of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process from 1995 –2005. Scott AFB is the largest employer in Illinois south of Springfield and the fourth largest in the St. Louis region. Home to TRANSCOM and the Air Mobility Command (AMC), Costello led a two decade local effort to continually improve the base and keep it off of the base closure list through several rounds of BRAC.

Additionally, Congressman Costello has been recognized by a number of safety and public interest groups, trade associations and the business community for his leadership and accomplishments in transportation. Congressman Costello played a major role in helping to write legislation that shaped national policy for all modes of transportation over the last quarter of a century. He served as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Aviation Subcommittee, is credited with passing the strongest pilot training legislation in almost 50 years and moved Congress and the country much closer to replacing our antiquated air traffic control system with the multi-billion dollar Next Generation air traffic control system. In addition to his leadership in aviation, Congressman Costello served as the Ranking Member on the Water Resources Subcommittee and the Rail Subcommittee.

Mr. Costello is a graduate of Maryville College of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis, Missouri. He also holds two Honorary Doctor of Law degrees, one from Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri and one from McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois.

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Jayson Braude
Jayson joined SDA in 2017. A native Californian, Jayson moved to Washington, D.C. early in his career to gain experience in the U.S. Senate working on legislative correspondence and constituent services within the offices of former United States Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Most recently, Jayson worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as District Director for California Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán and Legislative Counsel to former California Congresswoman Janice Hahn. Not only does he bring a mix of experience in both the U.S. House and Senate with extensive ties to the California Congressional delegation, but he also clerked in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Jayson has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied political science and history. He received his law degree from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and is a member of the Washington Bar.

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Michael Bauman
Michael joined SDA in 2018 as an Associate. Michael works in support of all of the firm's clients. Prior to joining the firm, Michael served as an intern in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. He has also served as a summer research fellow at St. Lawrence University.

Michael has a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY, where he studied economics and government.

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Catherine Beal

After several years interning for SDA as an undergraduate, Catherine joined SDA in 2018 as an Associate. She works in support of several of SDA’s clients on issues including transportation and infrastructure, international trade and investments, economic development, federal grants and foundation funding.

Prior to joining SDA, Catherine earned a Bachelor of Arts cum laude in Political Science from Boston University, a Master of Science with Distinction in Social Research Methods at the University College London, and she gained experience in the legal field while interning for a London law firm. She is a native Washingtonian.

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