A husband and wife duo with deep ties to Frankfort has opened a lobbying, strategy, and public relations firm.
Democratic campaign consultant Jared Smith and former Jefferson Co. Public Schools lobbyist/ PR Professional Abby Piper started the joint venture together last month as Piper transitioned out of her role with the school system.
Piper has a background in public relations, she ran her own PR firm for nearly five years before lobbying full-time with MML&K and then joining the Jefferson County Public School system in July of 2018.
“The structures are really familiar, but we’re layering all that we have built over time,” Piper said. “As you get more experience you become more attuned to what you are really good at.
“That’s where it came about, is realizing, I was working at Jefferson County and loved that work. I was building some great systems and felt like there was so much more I could do beyond the walls of Jefferson County.”
Smith, who also owns his own political consulting and film business, said he and his wife both have talked about this joint-venture for some time. They agree that they complement each other well in the full-service lobbying, PR, and strategy space.
“I’m really excited to do this, I’ve wanted to do this since we met,” Smith said of opening the firm with his wife.
Smith has ties to Democratic politics, but the business is not set up around party lines. Piper is a registered independent but leans more conservative.
“Abby brings solid relationships with Republican lawmakers,” Smith said.
Piper and Smith are working to keep their business small, and their clients close.
“We’re not trying to be big,” Piper said. “We want to work with whoever gets elected. We want to make good policies. We want to keep a small book of clients that get a lot of attention from us.”
Piper said the other thing that sets them apart is their use of strategic systems that are not being used by other firms.
While Piper has most of the PR experience, Smith is no stranger to the work. A major moment for him came working with Boxcar PR during the funeral for Muhammad Ali. He was in charge of foreign and domestic VIPs, and his job became tense when trying to arrange for seating and entrance into the funeral for various heads of state, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the state of Qatar.
At the event, former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai refused to walk through the metal detectors to attend the funeral. Smith was able to avoid an international dilemma by letting Karzai skip the line, but having his delegation enter like everyone else.
Read more about the couple and their services at the link.