December 16, 2016

After 30 years, KSE rebrands to reflect broad expertise

Stefan Hard / Staff Photo

Employees and partnes of Lionine Public Policy work in "The Lion's Den" space within the Montpelier lobbying firm's new offices at One Blanchard Court, formerly occupied by First in Fitness. The firm, founded in 1987, has not only just moved over from its former State Street offices, it has rebranded itself as Lionine Public Affairs, doing away with its original moniker, KSE Partners.

MONTPELIER — After 30 years in business, a Montpelier lobbying firm is getting a makeover of sorts.

KSE Partners, the firm started by Steve Kimbell and Robert Sherman, is now Leonine Public Affairs.

The company is rebranding itself to better reflect its scope of expertise.

Alex MacLean, one of the firm’s partners, said Leonine, which means lion-like, “brings to mind a bold, action-oriented firm.”

MacLean said the KSE name had served its purpose, but now sounded too “old school,” too much like a law firm.

She said Leonine is a dynamic name that better fits the firm’s current stable of client services.

MacLean said they came up with the name with the help of Tenth Crow Creative, a Burlington marketing firm.

She said Tenth Crow interviewed a number of KSE employees, as well as clients, to come up with the appropriate name.

MacLean said the rebranding mirrors the changes that have taken place since the firm was founded in 1987.

“The rebranding process came about for several reasons, but primarily because when the firm was started in the late ‘80s it was solely a government relations firm, and since then, we have grown tremendously and added several lines of businesses,” said MacLean, the firm’s president of public relations.

Over the years, the firm has added public relations, tax analysis for the wireless and telecom industry, and FOCUS — a 50-state tracking service.

The latter service tracks legislation in all 50 states for a variety of national clients, including Toyota, AT&T and Google.

In the public relations arena, she said the firm’s focus over the last year has been on renewable energy, because in Vermont it’s “an area of conflict, so there’s a need for public relations.”

While the change in administration in Montpelier will likely increase the demand for services, especially lobbying, MacLean said that will ultimately depend on the agenda of incoming Gov. Phil Scott.

Leonine has 30 employees, with offices in Montpelier, Washington D.C. and Minnesota.

Scott Mackey, who heads the wireless economic and tax analysis division, is also the firm’s managing partner. Leonine’s other partners are: Leif Johnson, Todd Bailey, Clare Buckley, Alex MacLean, Nick Sherman, and Chuck Storrow.

Steve Kimbell and Bob Sherman, both of whom worked for former governor Madeleine Kunin, started the practice in 1987 after leaving government service. Kevin Ellis joined the firm later as a partner. All three partners have left the firm in recent years.

Leonine recently moved its headquarters to One Blanchard Court in Montpelier.


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