Retiring Tennessee state representative and former Majority Leader Gerald McCormick has joined The Ingram Group, founder Tom Ingram announced on Monday. Mr. McCormick will provide general consulting services with an emphasis on expanding state government relations practices for the Nashville and Washington based boutique strategic consulting firm which was founded over 35 years ago.
Rep. McCormick announced at a late date that he was not seeking re-election, saying his employer was requiring that he move to Nashville. State Democrats filed suit, while questioning the validity of the late withdrawal.
The lawsuit was dismissed and former state GOP Chairman Robin Smith is on the Republican ticket for House District 26.
Garrett Johnson, outgoing deputy director of legislation for Governor Bill Haslam, also joined the group and will work alongside his former boss, Mr. McCormick.
A U.S. Army veteran, Mr. McCormick was a member of the Tennessee General Assembly from 2004 until his retirement this year. In that capacity he served in a number of leadership positions, including his roles as House Majority Leader and as chairman of the Budget Subcommittee of House Finance, Ways and Means. During Governor Haslam’s two terms, Rep. McCormick carried much of Governor Haslam’s legislation in the House including Tennessee Promise, which made tuition and fees free for the first two years of college for any Tennessee resident.
“We’re very fortunate to add Gerald to our team. No one knowsTennessee politics or the ever changing legislature like he does,” said Mr. Ingram.
“Gerald grew up in Memphis, lived in and represented Chattanooga and served the state as Majority Leader. His statewide scope and expertise will help serve and build our business in incredible ways. Even more, Gerald is a great guy that our clients will benefit from working with, as well as enjoygetting to know.”
Mr. Johnson brings expertise in both the executive and legislative branches of government. In addition to his role on Haslam’s legislative team, Mr. Johnson served three legislative sessions in then-House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick’s office as his policy and research analyst. Mr. Johnson also served stints with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as well as the Tennessee Attorney General’s office.
“Reuniting Gerald and Garrett as a team puts The Ingram Group in the position of having one of the strongest teams on the Hill,” said Mr. Ingram of the duo. “We will be well-situated to navigate the legislature’s landscape and best serve our client base.”
“Garrett is highly respected by all who have worked with him for his determination, work ethic and integrity. We’re pleased to welcome him to the team.”
Mr. Ingram returned to The Ingram Group in 2009 after serving seven years as chief of staff to Senator Lamar Alexander and as staff director of the Senate Republican Conference. A former reporter for the Nashville Tennessean, Mr. Ingram has been at the epicenter of politics and government – in Tennessee and Washington – for more than three decades. In addition to being a part of all of Sen. Alexander’s campaigns and serving as Governor Alexander’s deputy and chief of staff, Ingram also oversaw winning political campaigns for Sen. Fred Thompson, Governor Don Sundquist, Sen. Bob Corker and Governor Bill Haslam.
The Ingram Group focuses on strategic practice areas in general corporate strategy, government relations, communications strategy, crisis management and political consulting. The team is made up of prominent consultants including former journalists; former Congressional Chiefs of Staff; several former local, state and federal officials; and experienced business executives.
In recent weeks, the group merged with Poe Consulting, bringing political strategist and communications expert Alexia Poe in house, as well as added Dean Rice, the former chief of staff to Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, to the team in East Tennessee
Both Mr. McCormick and Mr. Johnson will be based out of the Group’s Nashville offices which are housed in the First Tennessee building at 511 Union St. in Nashville. The Washington offices are located at 1310 G Street NW, Suite 230.