While all of you know Ann Spagnuolo, our office manager, you may not know that this month Ann will celebrate her thirty-year anniversary at our firm. “Ann has been an integral part of our team for decades. Our clients, legislative staff, and our team members know what a key role she plays in ensuring our operations are running smoothly each day. On behalf of myself, MLC President Tim Ward, and the entire MLC family, we thank Ann for her years of dedication and hard work,” said MLC Vice President Brendan Ringlever.
Since she first joined, not only has MLC changed, but so have the legislature. I posed some questions to Ann to find out more about her thirty-years here at MLC:
1. What was different when you first started at MLC?
MLC has grown significantly since I was hired on June 20, 1988. At that time, it was only the three original partners, Tom Cleary, Fritz Benson and Mike Busch, and myself. Tom’s kids would work in the office part-time to help, or we hired an intern. Even with the help, the pace was slower, as we didn’t have fax machines, cell phones, Internet, or social media. All work was done in-person, during meetings, or by phone calls. Those early years I sat at my desk with a typewriter as they had only recently purchased an Apple computer for the office (this was a big deal).When a memo was needed I had to use the shorthand skills I learned in high school and take dictation.One thing I have always valued about MLC is since the firm began it has been known as a hardworking and honest firm. That is one constant that remains true thirty-years later!
2. Who are the clients that were with the firm or joined your first year that we still proudly work with?
3. How has the pace of lobbying changed since you joined MLC?
The pace of lobbying has changed dramatically since I started. With term limits we are consistently working to establish relationships with legislators and staff. However, when I started term limits weren’t in place and there were legislators that remained in office for many years. With cell phones and email, we are always available for clients and legislators, work goes where we go. Also, since we have grown over the years we offer more services to our clients, including fundraising events with our clients and caucus members and members of the leadership teams, in addition to client informative events on the upcoming elections and the budgets. These all help our clients get to know the legislators and the legislators get to know our clients. No matter how busy we get, our goal when I started, and what continues today, is that our clients remain our highest priority.
4. How have your interactions with legislative staff changed?
I work more closely with legislator’s offices today on scheduling meetings and building relationships. I want to be a source of information when they have questions or need help. They are the key to getting important meetings scheduled for our lobbyists and clients. Relationships are key as some staff stays around the legislature, even with term limits, since new legislators will often hire experienced staff. The relationships that are formed will continue even if they work for a different legislator.
“A funny thing I learned several years ago from Fritz and Mike was when the partners were discussing applicants for the job I interviewed for, Tom was concerned that I was too young and wouldn’t stay long-term. Ha! Thirty years later Tom’s concern was unwarranted,” said Ann. Next time you’re in our office, please help us congratulate Ann on thirty-years of hard work and dedication on behalf of our clients.
Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.