Katherine McLane, Founder, The MACH 1 Group

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 has been quoted extensively in national, niche and regional media and is known for her aggressive, 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 non-profit groups, influencing public opinion in support of the strategic objectives of global brands and organizations. Under McLane’s direction, the firm has successfully rebranded well-known non-profits, managed major media crises for some of America’s best-known brands and created campaigns that supported legislative and regulatory victories for clients.

As a Senior Advisor for Washington D.C.-based strategic communications firm LEVICK, McLane also contributes to global and national public affairs campaigns and consults on high profile crisis communications projects.

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 mission front and center.

Katherine served as press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Margaret Spellings in 2006 and 2007, promoting President Bush’s signature bi-partisan 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 lead media relations in the areas of education, military affairs, homeland security, federal relations, emergency response and the environment.

Katherine’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.

Katherine is a proud graduate of Texas A&M University and she lives in Austin, Texas.


Frank Ward, Vice President and Director of Client Services, The MACH 1 Group

Frank Ward has more than a dozen years of combined experience in government, politics, public affairs, and strategic communications. Frank specializes in media relations, political analysis, research, and speechwriting. Frank serves as Vice President and Director of Client Services for The Mach 1 Group, a strategic communications firm headquartered in Austin.

Most recently a Vice President with LEVICK—a global public relations firm—immediately preceding that, Frank served as the Director of Client Services for The Mach 1 Group.

Frank previously served as a Vice President at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, formerly Public Strategies, Inc., where he focused on both corporate and public affairs, helping to manage high-priority concerns for one of the world’s top management consulting companies.

Frank was also part of a seasoned client services team providing strategic counsel, research, media monitoring, messaging, and more, for an enterprise Forbes named one of “America’s 25 Most Inspiring Companies.”

Earlier in his career, he served as Communications Director in the Office of Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro, managing press, speechwriting, and other important communications responsibilities for this longtime chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Prior to that, Frank was Special Assistant to Bijan R. Kian, a member of the Board of Directors at the Export-Import Bank of the United States. In this capacity, he worked closely with U.S. Embassies in the Middle East and the Caucasus to plan business development missions, designed to sustain and create U.S. jobs and revenue.

Frank was a Speechwriter in the Office of U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, a Research Assistant/Fact Checker in The White House Office of Speechwriting during the George W. Bush administration, and an Executive Assistant to the CFO of the Republican National Committee during the lead-up to and following the 2004 presidential election. He has a wide variety of political campaign experience, having previously served as a volunteer on many local, state, and national campaigns.

Frank holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Denison University and a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University.


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