We are an Austin-Based Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Firm

Public Affairs.
Strategic Communications.
Crisis Management.

The Mach 1 Group is a nationally-recognized, award-winning Austin-based firm serving organizations and individuals whose interests are in the public realm. We are a certified Historically Underutilized Business (HUB), being 100 percent female-founded and -owned.

Our goal is swift and excellent service to clients who require expert communications counsel to achieve their business goals.

Whether defense or offense, the Mach 1 team has decades of experience successfully navigating media attention, crisis response, reputation management, branding, legislative and regulatory initiatives, and campaigns.

In the age of the 24-hour news cycle, communications experts at your leadership table are a must. Contact our team today to see how we can serve you.

Public Affairs & Media

Whether playing offense or defense on a legislative or regulatory issue, we draw on decades of experience in campaigns and government to build the winning game plan for smart organizations.

Crisis & Reputation Management

On good days, we help inoculate against a potential reputation crisis. On bad days, we parachute in to handle some of the toughest crises organizations can face, managing and mitigating reputational assaults, stabilizing and rebuilding.

Executive Positioning & Thought Leadership

Executive positioning, thought leadership, speech preparation and media relations are in high demand for C-level corporate leaders. Those skills have never been more of an asset than they are today as organizations communicate across multiple platforms and need effective brand& mission ambassadors.

Public Opinion Research

How does your key audience feel about your mission and your goals? Step 1 to successful campaigns and communications efforts is doing the homework.

Events

Building a newsworthy and effective event – whether live or virtual – is both an art and a science. From large-scale campaign events to capitol press conferences, wise organizations invest in projecting the message that matches their goals.

Media Training

Practice, practice, practice. That’s what makes effective communicators, candidates and mission ambassadors.

Katherine McLane

Katherine McLane

Founder & CEO

Katherine McLane, named 2013 PR Professional of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America, is a leading communications, crisis, and public affairs expert. She leads media training sessions for a host of clients and individuals and has been quoted extensively in national, niche, and regional media and is known for her above-and-beyond, results-focused service to clients.

McLane founded and leads The Mach 1 Group in Austin to offer strategic communications, media and public affairs counsel to industry, for-profit and nonprofit groups, influencing public opinion in support of the strategic objectives of global brands and organizations.

Under McLane’s direction, Mach 1 has successfully advanced some of today’s most closely followed legislative causes, managed major media crises for some of America’s best-known brands, and rebranded leading nonprofits. Tesla, the LIVESTRONG Foundation, the American Beverage Association and Pelotonia are among the clients Mach 1 has been proud to serve.

Before founding Mach 1, as Vice President for Communications & External Affairs for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, McLane served as the organization’s chief communications and crisis management architect during years of global media attention surrounding its founder, and successfully steered a course that kept the Foundation’s vital mission front and center.

McLane served as press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Margaret Spellings in 2006 and 2007, promoting President Bush’s signature bipartisan education law, No Child Left Behind. She led crisis communications and rapid response for the Department and created successful strategies to promote the Education Department’s policies and practices.

From 2003 to 2006, she served as a key member of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign team and communications staff. As Deputy Communications Director and Deputy Press Secretary, she shaped the Governor’s public outreach efforts and led media relations in the areas of education, military affairs, homeland security, federal relations, emergency response, and the environment.

McLane’s career began in Austin, Texas, at Public Strategies, Inc., a public affairs and crisis communications firm, where she produced and consulted on comprehensive campaign plans for leading technology, transportation, and entertainment industry clients.

McLane is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University and she and her family live in Austin, Texas.

Jimmy Orr

Digital Practice Lead

Longtime digital media and communications expert Jimmy Orr leads Mach 1’s digital practice, building highly effective online campaigns and profiles for our clients. Orr’s experience includes leading digital strategy for the White House, for one of the nation’s largest news organizations, and for the most influential sports personalities in the country.

At the White House, Orr directed all digital efforts and created content that became viral – before the dawn of social media. His groundbreaking “Barney Cam” videos – designed specifically to humanize the White House – not only generated tremendous earned media but became a holiday tradition for two administrations.

His daily “Ask the White House” program was the first interactive political program of its kind allowing citizens across the U.S. to the White House to interact with administration officials.

He elevated this format while directing digital strategy for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and received accolades for his “Ask Governor Schwarzenegger” series that was lauded as an “unprecedented live webcast” by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. The weekly online video conversation between California citizens and Schwarzenegger was a forerunner to the Facebook Live conversations you see today – and this was back in 2006.

At the Los Angeles Times, Orr was in charge of transforming the traditional newsroom to a breaking-news digital operation. A member of the masthead as the Managing Editor, Digital, Orr’s efforts led to unprecedented highs in readership, engagement, and subsequent subscriptions. He led redesign efforts, social media strategy, video integration, and content creation.

Orr then partnered with longtime ESPN personality Woody Paige to create a digital sports show – which became the fastest growing digital show of its kind on Facebook. Leaving the program to run his wife’s successful mayoral campaign in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Orr rejoined the digital sports space after the election and advises digital sports superstar Clay Travis on his Outkick the Show program.

Mary Bell

Mary Love

Vice President of Communications

Mary Love is a public affairs expert with broad experience in political strategies, crisis communication, and social media management.

Before joining the Mach 1 Group in 2017, Love served as Director of Public Affairs and Special Projects for the Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), where she was recognized and commended for a variety of professional accomplishments.

At the height of oil prices in 2013, she served as the primary author of the Eagle Ford Shale Task Force Report to the Texas Legislature—a comprehensive, first-ever analysis of an oil and gas shale formation. These shale plays and the extraction techniques applied to them went on to change fossil fuel production throughout the world.

She also created and implemented the Chairman's renowned Texas Natural Gas Initiative and its corresponding Summit and Career Fair, which welcomed 4,000 attendees to Austin.

In 2015, Love founded the Texas Natural Gas Foundation (TXNG) along with State Rep. Jason Isaac (Dripping Springs), and Dr. Ken Morgan, Director of the Texas Christian University Energy Institute, and continues to serve as vice president of the Foundation. TXNG is recognized for its work on the Texas Energy Education Project, a science curriculum supplement for elementary and middle school students that focuses on the fundamentals of energy production.

Love, who was nominated for Outstanding Women in Texas Government in 2015, has represented executive state leadership at meetings and conferences both nationally and internationally. She was selected as an official delegate for Texas' 2016 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade Mission to the Philippines, Singapore, and Burma (Myanmar).

Prior to her service at the RRC, she served as the Marketing & Media Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Central Texas, and before that, earned her master's degree with honors in Strategic Communication at Texas State University, where she also created, produced, and hosted the university's first-ever student-produced television series.

Kim Cooper

Senior Strategist

Kim Cooper, Senior Strategist, is a strategic campaign professional with experience in taking corporate, political, and nonprofit campaigns from conception to execution, building a record of proven results for local, state, and national organizations. Ms. Cooper recently relocated to Austin after serving as Director of Communications for a national company based out of Mississippi, her home state. Cooper was a member of Hill+Knowlton Strategies/Public Strategies Inc.’s Consulting Practice Group in the firm’s Austin office, where she developed and executed public affairs campaign strategies for major national and global brands. Cooper began her career working at the Texas Capitol.
Rae

Rae Holliday

Senior Strategist

Rae Holliday is a communications expert whose 20 years of experience has taken her to five continents serving renowned organizations, institutions and companies. In 2013, she was named to PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 list as a person who is leading the charge for the next generation of communicators. Holliday is a savvy, battle-tested professional with world-class experience whose professional endeavors have earned national and international accolades, including a Silver Anvil Award, considered the public relations industry’s highest level of achievement.

Holliday began her career at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts where she spent more than a decade promoting the nation’s busiest arts facility and living Presidential memorial, which presents 2,000 performances and welcomes audiences of 20 million annually and also serves as a global leader in cultural diplomacy.

From 2008 to 2013, Holliday served as the Director of Communications & External Affairs for the LIVESTRONG Foundation, one of the most highly rated non-profit organizations in the United States. She built and executed a crisis communications and rapid response strategy to help the organization move beyond the controversy surrounding the cycling career of its founder, Lance Armstrong.

More recently, Holliday served as the Director of Executive Communications at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she worked collaboratively with University leadership and across schools and departments to deliver a consistent message that advanced UNC-Chapel Hill’s values, mission and strategic goals.

Holliday is a co-founder of The Mach 1 Group and currently serves as a strategist helping clients define their narratives, sharpen their brands and raise their profiles in order to proactively position them to thrive, innovate and lead for the years ahead.

Holliday is a proud alumna of North Carolina State University.

Brett Fey

Chief Operating Officer

Brett Fey is an operations expert with 30 years of experience managing teams big and small. His strengths in organizational planning, strategy and resourcing keep Mach 1 thriving.

Our Experience

News & Opinions