Strategy Group Key Employees
The professionals at The Strategy Group for Media are in the business of winning elections. Our clients win because we have the campaign-tested experience and creative edge that makes the difference.
The Strategy Group for Media is comprised of award winning writers, directors, editors and media buyers.
We help our clients win elections because we have the campaign-tested experience and creative edge that makes the difference.
From national campaigns to local races, Strategy Group for Media team members have been involved in nearly every aspect of political campaigns. We have been involved in campaigns for President, U.S. Senate, Congress and statewide races. Our team has managed federal and state campaigns and directed state political party committees. We have devised strategy for judicial candidates and directed state legislative caucus programs. The Strategy Group for Media has proven experience that delivers winning results.
Rex Elsass is the founder of The Strategy Group for Media and serves as C.E.O. of the company. Rex is the visionary and driving force leading The Strategy Group for Media from its foundation as a political consulting firm, to its creation as a full-service post-production house and media buying company serving clients across the nation. Rex has produced thousands of ads, including many national award winners in creative excellence.
Rex has inspired and directed The Strategy Group for Media team to become a leader in creative media production, efficient media buying, and client service. Today, The Strategy Group for Media ranks as one of the top GOP media firms in America.
An accomplished director, producer, and political strategist, Rex has been a candidate, officeholder, Republican Party leader, campaign manager, and public affairs professional. He formerly served as Executive Director of the Ohio Republican Party and has managed both local and statewide elections.
Rex and his wife Laurie have three sons, Reid, Carter, and Evan.
Elsass earned his B.A. degree in Radio and TV Production and Performance from Ashland University.
Rob Phillips is President for The Strategy Group Companies and provides both operational and strategic leadership. Rob has been involved in many successful consulting and professional service firms around the country and most recently served as an executive with a well-known public relations firm in Miami. He is a client focused professional insisting on services dedicated on client success.
Rob’s experience includes in depth knowledge in management and scaling businesses. He is a merger, acquisition and operational professional with experience on both the buy and sell side. As a C-level executive he has successfully built firms and increased revenues and profits while expanding geographic footprints. Rob has worked in many professional service industries including business consulting, technology & e-commerce, engineering and public relations.
Rob and his wife Lisa have two sons, Rob and Jake and a wonderful daughter-in-law Hannah.
Rob has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management (Summa Cum Laude) from Franklin University.
Brian J. Berry
Brian J. Berry is Chief Creative Officer for The Strategy Group for Media.
An award-winning television, radio, and web copywriter, Brian J. Berry works with clients to develop creative ad campaigns that communicate who they are, what they believe, and why they’re the best choice for voters.
The creative team of The Strategy Group for Media has been recognized for producing the best political advertising in America and the firm has posted a winning record of over 80%.
An experienced campaign professional, Brian has served as executive director of a state political party, managed two statewide races for governor and U.S. Senator, was Southwestern regional political director for the Republican National Committee, and served as regional political director on two presidential campaigns.
Brian serves on the board of directors of Citizens United, which won a landmark freedom of speech case in the United States Supreme Court in 2010.
Brian has also conducted democracy-building programs for the International Republican Institute in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, and the West Bank and Gaza.
Brian earned a B.A. in International Studies from American University and resides in Austin, where he directs the Texas office of The Strategy Group for Media.
Scott Schweitzer serves as Chief Operating Officer of The Strategy Group for Media.
Scott has been with The Strategy Group for Media since 2000 and oversees the financial aspects of the firm. Scott also directs message and media plans in winning candidate campaigns for statewide offices, Congress, legislative caucuses, ballot issues, and third party organizations.
Prior to joining The Strategy Group for Media, he worked in Washington, D.C. on grassroots lobbying strategies and public policy issues. Returning to Ohio, Scott served as Executive Director of a successful issue advocacy organization and managed and worked on numerous races.
In 2011, Scott received one of the most prestigious honors in politics, as he was named a ³Rising Star² by Campaigns & Elections Magazine.
Scott graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, with a degree in Political Science.
Besides political media, Scott¹s interests include finance and technology policy, playing drums, and traveling with his wife and daughters. Additionally, Scott is available for color commentary on English Premier
League football matches.
Rick Tyler serves as Senior Vice President of The Strategy Group for Media.
Prior to joining The Strategy Group Companies, Rick served as President of Foundry Road Strategies, a political, strategic, and communications consulting firm. Rick also served as senior advisor to Winning Our Future Super PAC, a pro-Newt Gingrich for President group. As a member of the senior leadership team, Rick provided strategic advice on all aspects of the effort to help Newt Gingrich secure the Republican nomination for President. Rick also acted as the group’s chief spokesman. Prior to joining the PAC, Rick was a key member of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s team for more than a decade serving as Gingrich’s spokesman.
Rick was the Founding Director of Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), a not-for-profit organization and served as Chairman of ReAL Action, the citizen-activist arm of ReAL. Both organizations are dedicated to preserving America’s Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the pillars of American civilization: faith, family, freedom, and free-enterprise.
Rick has lead political education and training programs for state and local incumbents and challengers as well as political activists helping candidates and organizations to maximize the effectiveness of their message. As a candidate trainer for GOPAC, Rick, for more than ten years, trained hundreds of candidates, their staffs, and volunteers to lead successful campaigns for elected office in 26 different states. He also trains candidates at the Leadership Institute.
Rick has been invited to speak about his political insights by many conservative groups, committees and state legislative caucuses. He was a guest lecturer at both the Institute for Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and the Robert J. Dole Institute for Politics at the University of Kansas.
A gifted communicator, Rick has been heard on numerous radio shows and has appeared hundreds of times on national television shows including Fox News; CNN; MSNBC; CBS News; NBC News; ABC News; PBS; CNBC; CBN; Bloomberg News; and Al Jazeera.
Rick is a contributing author to the New York Times Best Seller Real Change: From the World that Fails to the World that Works by Newt Gingrich. He was the project manager for Speaker Gingrich’s book on healthcare called Saving Lives and Saving Money.
Rick lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.
Billy Linville serves as Executive Vice President of Global Public Affairs for the The Strategy Group Company. Prior to joining Billy has served as a corporate and political strategist, providing guidance, management and media relations to Fortune 500 companies and political candidates across the country. Most recently as Vice President of Public Affairs at AT&T (November 2006 – June 2013), Billy led all public affairs activity for the company in the eastern half of the United States and all International. Managing a team of more than 25 employees and multiple consultants in the US and Brussels, he helped direct legislative, regulatory and issue strategies; guided media relations and messaging for all public policy matters; and leveraged the Citizenship and Reputation of AT&T.
Billy began his career as a legislative aide and campaign manager for former US Congressman Phil Sharp of Indiana. For more than ten years, Billy served as a political consultant for clients that included Georgia Governor Roy Barnes, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, US Senator Mary Landrieu, US Senator Zell Miller and others. He also served as a strategist and campaign manager for Harrah’s Entertainment.
Billy sits on the Boards of CIFAL Atlanta, a United Nations international training center for government authorities and civil society leaders, and the Bowen Institute of Political Participation at Ball State University. His favorite hobbies include traveling, reading, and baseball. Billy and his wife, Sherry, reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mark Trbovich is Senior Vice President for Brick Editorial, The Strategy Company’s post-production branch. In addition, he is a post-production Senior Editor utilizing Avid DS Nitris and Avid Media Composer.
Mark has over 22 years of experience in post-production – working with numerous ad agencies and corporate clients.
Mark has served Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Senator John Boozman, and U.S. Senator Rand Paul – as well as international, national, and local clients such as Toyota, Victoria’s Secret, McDonald’s, OhioHealth, Cooper Tire, and countless others.
Mark’s political ads have made a winning difference for clients and have been recognized for creative excellence by national ad organizations.
Mark graduated from The Ohio State University in 1991, and he and his wife Natalie live in the small town of New California, Ohio where they are proud parents of their two young children, Eli and Lily.
Alex Tornero is the Creative Director at The Strategy Group for Media – crafting message strategies, leading the ad development process from concept through execution, and ensuring clear, effective, and creative advertisements for our clients.
Alex uses his artistic talent to write, storyboard, direct, and produce television, radio, and web advertisements that stand out visually and rhetorically. His work has gained national recognition from major news outlets and has received multiple awards though his creative vision, direction, and development of ads and videos. In 2013, Alex was named a “Rising Star” in national politics by Campaigns & Elections magazine.
He has produced hundreds of successful advertisements for candidates and organizations such as Ohio Governor John Kasich, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, and Family Research Council.
Alex has over a decade of experience in campaigns and politics, having worked for Ohio House of Representatives, the Ohio Bush/Cheney campaign, and Ken Blackwell’s race for governor in Ohio, where he served as Southwest Field Director.
Alex is active in local and state grassroots efforts and serves on the board of directors for Citizens for Community Values, Created Equal, and Ohio Right to Life PAC.
Alex graduated from Capital University in 2006, earning a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Political Science. He lives in Worthington, Ohio with his wife, Sarah, and daughter, Vivian. Alex is diehard Cleveland Indians baseball fan on a quest to visit every Major League ballpark.
John Hancock serves as Senior Vice President of The Strategy Group Research Division. John’s research and political experience spans three decades in grassroots and electoral politics. He is a former state legislator, was the GOP nominee for Missouri Secretary of State in 1992 and 1996, and served as executive director for the Missouri Republican Party from 1997 to 2003. Under his leadership, Missouri Republicans have made historic progress. Since 1997, the state GOP has gained seats in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, won historic majorities in the State House and State Senate, and recaptured the Governor’s office. Recently, Hancock has served as chief strategist and research consultant for numerous local, statewide, and national campaigns.
Prior to joining The Strategy Group Companies, Hancock founded Public Pulse Research, which became a nationally recognized candidate and issue research firm serving dozens of clients in 32 states.
Hancock has worked in the public relations and governmental affairs industry since 1993 for a number of corporate clients. He also served as producer of special events, including working with national and local non-profit groups such as: Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Pujols Family Foundation, Teen Challenge, and Wings of Hope.
In 2013, Hancock was awarded the “Order of Attainment” by the Pi Kappa Delta College Debate Fraternity as a member of the Collegiate Debate Hall of Fame.
Hancock is also a frequent radio host on KMOX-AM 1120 in St. Louis, where he co-hosts the Hancock & Kelley program, a bi-partisan political insider talk show.
Hancock has been married to his wife and business partner, Georgann, for 21 years. They are the parents of John, Jr., a freshman at the University of Missouri and Mary Kathryn, a high school sophomore. Hancock is a nationally-renowned ragtime pianist and composer, having performed concerts and lectures across the country. His music has been recorded by himself and others.
Pamela Hashem currently serves as Senior Vice President of State Public Affairs for The Strategy Group Government and Public Affairs Division — representing such clients as; Halliburton, American Electric Power, EWI, Sunoco Logistics, and IGS Energy Services.
Prior to founding The Strategy Group Government & Public Affairs Division, Pamela founded PRH Consulting Group, LLC. A national political fundraising firm based in Columbus, Ohio, Pamela served as CEO and President of PRH since 2003. Pamela has a reputation for results driven, professional, and ethical fundraising. Pamela has a distinct approach to helping clients reach their fundraising goals. Pamela’s approach is rooted in the belief that there are two clients in the fundraising equation: the candidate and the donor — both equally valued in the PRH business model. In the world of political fundraising, this is a unique idea but one that has enabled PRH to successfully meet the campaign goals of clients from the local and national levels.
Her approach to political fundraising is paramount to Pamela’s success in the industry and how she has been able to raise more than $60 million for her corporate and political clients. Pamela’s background and experience make her uniquely qualified to develop fundraising strategies and execute them.
More than just a fundraiser, Pamela has a comprehensive understanding of a wide variety of complex policy issues and is an expert on the political climate both in Ohio and around the country. For that reason, Pamela was handpicked to fold the Public Affairs division of PRH into The Strategy Group Government & Public Affairs Division.
Active in Ohio politics for fifteen years, Pamela has cultivated a rolodex of relationships among Ohio’s Fortune 500 companies and elected officials – having represented national fundraising programs in Ohio for: Republican Presidential candidates John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, national republican party committees, members of Congress, candidates for statewide office, and Supreme Court Justices.
Pamela also served as the Director of Government Relations for the Ohio State Medical Association where she lobbied state and federal executive and legislative bodies on healthcare issues.
Pamela holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Wright State University.
Brian Osborne serves as the Senior Vice President for The Strategy Group Phones Division.
Before serving as Senior Vice President, Brian was the Chief Operating Officer at The Strategy Group Phones Division. Prior to working at The Strategy Group Companies, Brian was the Chief Operating Officer of Front Porch Strategies, an award-winning political voter contact firm.
Osborne is a veteran political operator having worked with hundreds of political campaigns, issue advocacy organizations, and government officials across North America over the last several years.
In 2011, Brian was selected as a recipient for the Aristotle Dream Team Award for voter contact. This award recognizes elite political talent within their field in the United States and across the globe.
Osborne has a B.A. in Communications from The Ohio State University and resides in Columbus, Ohio.
Benjamin Yoho serves as Vice President of Political Affairs for The Strategy Group Companies.
Benjamin has worked on political campaigns since 2005, with his primary focus being voter targeting and grassroots organization.
In 2012, Benjamin served as the Executive Director of the Ohio House Republican Organizational Campaign Committee (OHROC). In addition to recruiting candidates and making sure they qualify for the ballot, Benjamin and the OHROC team worked to implement district specific campaign plans in every house race and managed staffers in 25 races. The OHROC team was successful in winning all primary challenges of incumbent members and maintained the majority for the Republican Caucus. The team at OHROC raised over $10 million and made over 1.9 million grassroots voter contacts.
In 2010, Benjamin worked as the Field Director for OHROC. That year, the Republican Caucus gained 13 seats – taking the majority despite being outspent 2 to 1 by Democrats.
During the 2008 Presidential Election, Benjamin worked for the Ohio Republican party as the Columbiana County Victory Director. McCain won Columbiana County, a democrat leaning county, with 52.6% of the vote. Columbiana was also one of only four counties in Ohio to have net gains over President Bush’s 2004 totals.
That year, Benjamin served as the Field Director for Congressman Bob Latta in a special election. Congressman Latta won a hotly contested primary election where he was outspent by nearly $500,000 in special interest money. Benjamin continued his work for Congressman Latta during the 2008 primary election, serving as his Campaign Manager. Latta won a three way primary, receiving 74% of the vote.
Benjamin began his career in political campaigns in 2005 serving as former Congressman Bob Ney’s grassroots coordinator. He grew up in St. Clairsville, Ohio and currently resides in Columbus, Ohio. He holds a B.A. from Ohio Dominican University, where he majored in Political Science.
Benjamin’s hobbies include golf, reading, and following his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ryan Rodgers serves as the Vice President of the Strategy Group Companies. He provides operational support to the five different companies under SGC. Ryan works closely with other Strategy Group Company Division Executives to implement current business development and future business plans for the firm.
Ryan’s start in politics and business began as a marketing and production associate for a local radio show which led to positions in communications on a presidential, and congressional campaign. During his time gaining campaign experience, he began working for a small business where he focused on management and development. Ryan has served on and led multiple different organizations, including a policy group for young adults in Boston.
When Ryan is not working he can be found at the gym, playing soccer, or riding his motorcycle.
Laurie Elsass has served The Strategy Group for Media since 2000 and is responsible for enhancing client and associate relations. She plans, coordinates, and hosts both large and small events for the firm – marketing and building The Strategy Group for Media brand and image.
Laurie spent nine years serving Ohio Governors George Voinovich and Bob Taft as their chief lobbyist for economic development, international trade, housing, technology, and travel and tourism issues.
Laurie was a fundraiser for Bob Taft’s successful 1990 campaign for Secretary of State and also served for five years at the Republican National Committee in various capacities.
A proven political fundraiser, Laurie Elsass received a B.A. in Communications from the University of Virginia, where she spent her final year in school as a radio news reporter for WINA, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Rex and Laurie are currently raising three young Republicans in Dublin, Ohio.
Andy Ballard serves as the Director of Political Affairs – New Business and Marketing for The Strategy Group Companies.
Andy began his political career by working on his great aunt’s campaign for Danville Township Clerk at the age of 11. He has served on various local, state, and federal campaigns in both paid and volunteer capacities.
In 2007, Andy served as a Victory Marshal for the RNC in Ohio’s fifth congressional district special general election to replace deceased Congressman Paul Gillmor. Congressman Bob Latta went on to win with a landslide victory. One of Andy’s main duties was recruiting and training volunteers to make calls to turn out Republican voters.
Andy served as Volunteer Coordinator on the Hal Valeche for Congress (FL-16) campaign in 2008. The campaign’s volunteer phone bank, which he supervised, made over 30,000 phone calls to voters. Later in 2008, he coordinated phone banks for Republican candidates in 6 hotly contested campaigns for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. All six candidates won their elections, helping give Republicans the largest majority in state history.
Andy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Ohio University. He is a former member of both the Central and Executive Committees of the Belmont County Republican Party. He is a member of the Ohio Federation of Young Republicans and currently serves as the National Committeeman. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, barbeque, and rooting for both the University of Illinois Fighting Illini and Chicago Bears.
An experienced operative in political communication, Nathan Slonaker serves as the Director of Political Affairs for The Strategy Group Companies.
Nathan Slonaker previously worked in the creative department at The Strategy Group for Media where he wrote, directed, and produced TV, radio, and web advertisements that drove messages, captured attentions, and won elections.
Working in politics for over 10 years, Nathan uses his experience to craft the stories and messages that rise above the typical rhetoric to connect clients with their targeted audiences in new and compelling ways.
Prior to joining The Strategy Group for Media, Nathan worked in the Ohio House of Representatives as the Director of the Speaker’s Office, where he engaged with members and candidates to help them achieve their political and policy goals.
Nathan has been a part of numerous international exchanges for government and politics; most recently traveling to South Sudan where he taught governance classes to the National Assembly staff.
Nathan graduated from Capital University with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics. In his spare time, you might find Nathan reading up on foreign affairs or cheering on his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes and Cleveland Indians.
As Director of Photography, Scott Myers has been providing creative solutions for clients over the past 20 years.
Specializing in high-definition digital cinematography, his experienced eye and attention to detail have consistently drawn praise from clients and associates alike.
Clients include Victoria’s Secret, Nationwide Insurance, Resource Interactive, and numerous advertising agencies.
Scott contributed to the successful campaigns of U.S. Senator Rand Paul, U.S. Senator John Boozman, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and many high-ranking members of the United States Congress.
Other creative credits include a feature-length documentary about comic creator Jeff Smith called The Cartoonist, an award-winning short film entitled After, and Aidan5, a nationally recognized web series.
Scott is a summa cum laude graduate of Miami University, and now resides in Hilliard with his wife, Steffanie, and their two children, Jordan and Joshua.
Phil Weldele joined The Strategy Group for Media in 2012 as a Creative Writer and Producer for Television, Radio, and Web advertising.
Phil began his foray into politics with King Strategic Communications, where he conceived, developed, and oversaw the production of hundreds of Direct Mail campaigns for 20 State Senate candidates in Ohio, New York, and Nevada. Phil’s efforts during the 2010 election resulted in 100% victories in Ohio, including unseating 2 incumbent candidates.
Prior to working at King Strategic Communications, Phil enjoyed a successful 6 year career in television as Creative Director for Al Burton Productions; a boutique production company in Hollywood, CA. Al Burton Productions is responsible for such hit shows as Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, and Win Ben Stein’s Money.
Phil graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Communications with a B.S. in Communications and a double minor in Psychology and Film.
Outside of work, Phil is dedicated to raising awareness (and money) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society ever since his brother (now a cancer survivor) was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Phil’s love of television and film extend outside of work, as well. At Heritage Christian Church in Westerville, OH., Phil directs and runs cameras for the weekly services. Phil also enjoys amateur photography, singing, and trying to play piano. When he is not directing church sermons, he is a backup vocalist with his church’s worship band and choir.
Sean Ivory is a Motion Graphics Artist with over 20 years of post-production experience. He began his career as an editor after graduating from Bowling Green State University and soon became the post-production supervisor of a small marketing firm where his clients included Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, Dana Corporation, and NAPA Auto Parts.
After a short stint in Chicago as a freelance editor, Sean was given the opportunity to switch his focus to 3D Animation and an emerging field that would be called “motion graphics.” Using a unique blend of 3D animation and traditional 2D graphics, Sean has created motion graphics for clients in numerous industries.
Whether it is an entire graphic driven spot for Toyota or Goody’s Department Stores, or an end logo for Big Lots, Sean uses a variety of tools to create unique treatments that keep the clients “brand” and objectives in focus. In addition to spot work, Sean has created broadcast graphics for television shows as well as helping to design sets and provide art direction.
Additional clients that Sean has provided his motion graphics expertise include Victoria’s Secret, Express, JD Byrider, The Columbus Crew, Kroger, The Ohio State University, UPS, Ford, and The Ohio Lottery.
Sean has won “Pixie” awards and “Emmys” for the open of The Piano Guy on PBS and for the set design of the Ohio Lottery Cash Explosion program.
To create his unique blend of motion graphics, Sean utilizes Maya 3D software and the Adobe Creative Suite including After Effects, Photoshop, and Premiere.
Sean and his wife Heather live in Upper Arlington, Ohio, and when they are not working, they are probably looking at a wall to tear down somewhere in their house.
A Cincinnati native and graduate of Ohio University, Sean Amann has over 16 years experience in audio production ranging from music, television, radio, film, and corporate video.As a staff audio editor for over six years, Sean worked with several preeminent ad agencies and managed a video production department.
Sean became a freelancer in 2003 and has worked with most of the production companies in Columbus, Ohio. Sean’s creative audio input can be found in nearly every The Strategy Group for Media advertisement. His engineering, mixing, and field recording credits include non-political clients such as Blessid Union of Souls, Toyota, KFC, Victoria’s Secret, ESPN, Nickelodeon, Nationwide, Bayer, and Caterpillar.Sean understands both the technical and business side of his trade and formed Brick Audio in 2007.
Sean is an expert with his Pro Tools HD2 suite with mix to picture, which gives him the ability to use all his creative audio talents. Sean has over 28,000 sound effects, access to software synthesizers, a pool of voiceover talent, ISDN capability, and extensive music libraries (Killer Tracks and APM) to customize every ad project and sound design.
Mary Beth McCallion
Joining The Strategy Group for Media in 2009, Mary Beth McCallion serves as Office Manager. Mary Beth insures all visiting client needs are met and keeps the office running efficiently and smoothly.
Prior to The Strategy Group for Media, Mary Beth ran her own internet marketing business while raising her family – sharpening her ability to juggle multiple priorities and keeping each on schedule through their completion.
Mary Beth’s strong organizational and planning skills were developed through her work in Michigan’s Oakland County Health Department (OCHD) and Allen Resources in Ohio. At OCHD, Mary Beth coordinated and conducted student vision screenings at public schools in Oakland County. At Allen Resources, she made sales calls, followed-up on leads, handled customer inquires, and coordinated orders with suppliers.
Mary Beth and her husband, Bill, reside in Westerville, Ohio and are enjoying their empty nest with two sons graduated from college and their youngest studying at Ohio University.
Lee Stevens is the Special Assistant to the C.E.O and founder of The Strategy Group for Media. Lee provides logistical and administrative support to enable smooth operations and flawless client service.
Prior to joining The Strategy Group for Media, Lee was an Analyst with the Ohio Department of Insurance where he resolved issues between consumers and the insurance industry.
Originally from southeast Missouri, Lee became an Ohioan in 1985. When Lee isn’t in the office or on the road, he can be found officiating high school basketball, softball, and volleyball games. He also lends his skills to the Special Olympics.
Lee received a B.S. in Physical Education and Science from Missouri Southern in Joplin, Missouri.