WASHINGTON: Blue Engine + JDA has named Brendan Buck, onetime communications counselor for former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI), as a partner.
Buck is starting in the newly created position effective immediately.
Because the firm uses a partnership model, Buck is not reporting directly to anyone. However, its four founding partners, Erik Smith, David Di Martino, Allison Clear Fastow, and Trevor Francis, are responsible for the overall business management of the company.
Buck will not have a set number of direct reports, but instead will work with client teams drawing on staff and resources from across the firm.
After a career spent almost entirely in the political world, Buck said he was ready "to step outside of the circus."
"I’ve had a quite a run I think," Buck said describing why he joined Blue Engine + JDA. "Government service is what I’ve been doing almost my entire career. Going from the center of the political world, there just aren’t a whole lot of other places you can go outside of that and elevate up a level."
Buck said he’ll be helping Blue Engine + JDA clients communicate effectively in and outside Washington.
"I think there is a lot of wasted energy in Washington in general...with folks doing activity that doesn’t really move the needle," he said. "They are not really understanding the audiences or understanding how their messages will resonate. I think I have a pretty fresh perspective about what sells, what doesn’t, and what is a waste of time."
Buck led Ryan’s communications operation for four years, directing messaging and political strategy for the speaker, as well as the broader House Republican leadership team. Previously, he spent eight months as VP of communications for trade association America's Health Insurance Plans.
Dating back to 2008, Buck held roles in politics, including as press secretary for House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and as an aide to Reps. Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA) Tom Price (R-GA), and Greg Walden (R-OR).
Buck has also worked for the Romney for President campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Blue Engine + JDA bills itself as a bipartisan communications and public affairs firm. It was formed last October when Blue Engine Message & Media acquired JDA Frontline.