Sierra Cato

Sierra Cato is a principal at Lewis-Burke Associates LLC. As a skilled advisor and strategist in the energy policy practice, Sierra helps clients advance legislative priorities in Congress, protect their interests, secure federal funding, navigate challenges in the political landscape, and raise their profile in Washington. Prior to joining Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, Sierra served as a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Executive Secretariat at the United States Department of Energy (DOE) where she oversaw the Department’s response to high level communications and policy actions from the White House related to energy policy and national security. She also spearheaded legislative reform efforts across DOE and supported the Secretary of Energy as Acting Staff Secretary where she led cross-agency coordination, preparation, and finalization of briefing materials for his domestic and international engagements. In addition, Sierra received a Secretary’s Appreciation Award for exceeding expectations in the strategy and creation of the Department of Energy Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office in September 2019.

Issue Expertise: Energy Sciences, Physical Sciences, Applied Sciences, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Fossil Energy, Nuclear Security and Nonproliferation, Nuclear Energy, DOE National Laboratories, Research and Development, Transportation, Appropriations, Artificial Intelligence, Technology Transitions, Grid Resilience and Modernization, Cybersecurity, Workforce Development and STEM

Additional Experience: During her career, Sierra gained sound knowledge of the inner workings of Congress while serving in various positions in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, including the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. During her time in the Senate, Sierra was Co-Chair of the Community Service Committee for the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus. In addition to a strong appreciation for service, Sierra values the importance of building strong relationships and working in a bipartisan manner. 

Vital Statistics: Sierra earned her Bachelor of Science in Applied Sociology at North Carolina State University. She received her Juris Doctor from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. Sierra was born and raised in Whiteville, North Carolina. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time outdoors.


Griffin Reinecke

Griffin is a passionate advocate for science and technology policy. An expert in space, energy, and transportation issues, he leverages his experience working on Capitol Hill and relationships with congressional staff to provide Lewis-Burke clients with insight on potential congressional action and upcoming federal funding opportunities.

Issue areas: Civil space research and policy, fundamental and applied energy research and development, environmental research, transportation and infrastructure, and aeronautics.

Additional Experience: Prior to joining Lewis-Burke Associates, Griffin worked on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, where he served on the full committee and more recently on Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee. During his time on the Committee, he developed an in-depth knowledge of space and science policy issues while building relationships with key stakeholders at relevant agencies, in academia, and industry. Griffin also worked as an intern in the office of Ron Wyden.

Vital Statistics: Griffin was born and raised in Bend, Oregon and earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and sustainability from the University of Michigan. When not supporting Michigan athletics, Griffin spends his free time outdoors skiing, hiking, or playing golf.


Finding New Sources of Funding for a University Project

Lewis-Burke worked closely with a major university cyber infrastructure project that was coming to the end of its initial 10-year funding.

Lewis-Burke developed a strategy to raise the profile of the project across its home agency, as well as other federal funding agencies and the research community at large.  Following initial implementation of this strategy, the project has been praised throughout a number of discipline areas at its home funding agency and has become a model of best practice in its field.

Following the implementation of the Lewis-Burke advocacy strategy, the project was invited to submit a non-competitive renewal proposal. Building on this initial success, Lewis-Burke has worked with the university to raise the profile of the project to solidify core funding and to engage on new funding opportunities at other agencies to ensure sustainability of the project.


Establishing Support for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Test Centers

Working on behalf of a university client, Lewis-Burke successfully crafted and executed a lobbying strategy to integrate an established Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Flight Test Center (FTC) into the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Flight Test Site program through the FAA Reauthorization Act extension.

Leveraging understanding of the FAA reauthorization process and extensive knowledge of the university’s capabilities, Lewis-Burke drafted an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Act, and developed a proposal for congressional delegation staff to use when discussing the request with Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee staff.

The legislative proposal demonstrated the importance of the UAS FTC in the FAA Flight Test Site program, including its historical impact on and relationship with the FAA and UAS research, development, test and evaluation. Lewis-Burke complemented the lobbying strategy with outreach to the FAA to ensure effective implementation of the amendment. While the comprehensive reauthorization of the FAA was delayed, Lewis-Burke leveraged existing support for adoption of the UAS FTC amendment into the FAA authorization extension bill. The FAA extension, including the UAS FTC amendment, was signed into law in July 2016, integrating the university’s UAS FTC into the FAA Flight Test Site program.


Influencing Safety Standards in Aviation

Lewis-Burke advised and crafted a strategy that achieved a scientific society's desire to increase oversight and implementation of technically-informed safety standards following several highly-publicized airline crashes.

Prior to these incidents, Lewis-Burke recommended the Society establish internal mechanisms that, with the firm’s guidance, translated technical concerns into policy-oriented recommendations for federal decisionmakers.

This foresight enabled the Society to ready its expertise in the event of future safety deficiencies becoming public. In the aftermath of the airline crashes, the federal agency responsible for certifying the safety of the aircraft and reviewing the accidents conducted investigations that were either opaque or incomplete. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives began a series of high-profile investigative hearings that sought to uncover the cause of the accidents and promote remedies. Lewis-Burke provided steady counsel to the Society on effectively engaging decision-makers to effect policy changes while avoiding accusations of capitalizing on two major tragedies.

Through Lewis-Burke’s relationships on Capitol Hill and understanding of the policy domain, the firm was able to secure a leading member of the Society as a witness in one of the concluding congressional investigative hearings. The member’s testimony was instrumental in highlighting key technical areas lacking sufficient safety oversight, elevating the Society’s profile as a leading voice in relevant technical domains, and positioning it to offer policy recommendations on this and related topics.


Amanda Bruno

Amanda advises Lewis-Burke clients on federal activities that impact education, immigration, economic development, and workforce policy. She provides strategic guidance on upcoming research opportunities and potential congressional action in these key areas. Amanda’s previous work in the higher education community brings an important perspective to Lewis-Burke.

Issue Expertise: Education policy, workforce issues, immigration, engineering, emerging technologies, transportation policy, economic development, and international affairs.

Additional Experience: Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Amanda served as a Government Affairs Associate in The Ohio State University’s Office of Federal Relations in Washington, D.C., where she handled a portfolio that included higher education issues and administrative functions. She also previously interned at The Capitol Initiatives Group, a boutique lobbying firm representing not-for-profit organizations, trade associations, and businesses.

Vital Statistics: A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Amanda graduated summa cum laude from Miami University with bachelor degrees in Political Science and International Studies and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University.  As a lover of history, she spends her days off taking in D.C.’s historical sights and museums.  Amanda enjoys reading, taking fitness classes, watching college football, and cheering on Cleveland’s professional sports teams.


Victoria Haber

Victoria Haber tracks legislation and federal opportunities for Lewis-Burke clients across the agriculture, biological sciences, and economic development portfolios.  Specifically, Victoria monitors emerging opportunities within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Small Business Association (SBA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Victoria’s previous coursework and experience working on Capitol Hill has shaped her knowledge of the federal government as well as her economic and agricultural portfolio.

Issue Areas: Agriculture, biological sciences, the arts and humanities, broadband/wireless, and economic development.

Additional Experience:  Victoria was an intern with a member of the Ohio delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives, starting her career in Washington, DC.  Throughout her internship, she developed a knowledge of economic development and agricultural policy as well as a commitment to advocating for these issues.  Most recently, Victoria supported the Ohio Recreation and Parks Department with budget management and engaging with community stakeholders.

Vital Statistics: Victoria was born and raised in Ohio and completed her undergraduate degree at Ohio State University, where she studied economics and public affairs and graduated magna cum laude.  In her free time, she enjoys exploring the Smithsonian museums and DC memorials, traveling to new places, and cheering on Cleveland sports teams (even when there is little to cheer for).


Nick Saab

Nick leads Lewis-Burke’s space practice and leverages his deep expertise in space policy to provide clients with current and anticipated trends and opportunities across the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) portfolio of human exploration and scientific research missions, as well as at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Department of Defense (DOD).  Space has always been a passion for Nick, and at the outset of his professional career, he co-founded and managed advocacy operations for a non-profit aimed at raising awareness and support for increasing NASA’s budget.  He maintains strong bipartisan relationships on Capitol Hill and works successfully with congressional committees, personal offices, and agency and White House offices to advance client priorities.

Nick also leads the firm’s portfolio of transportation and infrastructure issues, providing expertise to clients on Department of Transportation-wide priorities and guidance on targeted agency engagement.  He gained experience on these issues while at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), where he focused on policy, legislation, and grassroots advocacy relating to transportation, infrastructure, and STEM issues.  Nick also provides guidance and insight to the firm’s clients on research priorities and direction of Department of Energy (DOE), basic research in the Office of Science and Applied research across DOE, including renewable energy, grid modernization, and others.

Issue Expertise: Appropriations and budget issues, national security space and civilian space research and policy, human spaceflight, astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, earth science and environmental research, aeronautics, transportation and infrastructure R&D, renewable energy and energy efficiency, U.S. electric grid modernization and security, and large scientific research facilities and aeronautics.

Additional Experience:  Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Nick honed his advocacy skills as a Public Affairs Specialist with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) where he managed a portfolio that included NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Energy (DOE).  Nick gained policy experience on Capitol Hill interning in the U.S. House of Representatives and then as the legislative director of a non-profit focused on NASA and U.S. space policy.

Vital Statistics: Nick was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and earned a degree in political science from the University of Minnesota. A Midwesterner through-and-through, Nick enjoys fried cheese curds, snowstorms, and spending time with his wife, their two sons, and dog.