Amber Cassady

Amber is a national security policy expert who leverages broad federal agency expertise, spanning the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST), to develop and execute federal advocacy strategies.  Amber drives agency engagement across the federal S&T enterprise, including basic and applied defense research, defense health research, and emerging technologies and innovation. Amber creates and protects vital S&T research programs through authorization and appropriations legislation. As a leader in the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR), Amber identifies and advocates for community-wide defense S&T priorities on behalf of Lewis-Burke clients. 

Issue Areas: Defense, national security, defense health, manufacturing, technology, and international affairs 

Additional Experience: Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Amber worked as a Research Assistant at the Bertelsmann Foundation, a transatlantic think tank where she covered European Union-U.S. policies in artificial intelligence, technology, manufacturing, and the future of work.  She also interned with the Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal and gained international diplomatic experience in the Embassy’s politics and economics section.  Amber worked as an Education Outreach Assistant at the Center for European Studies, at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. 

Vital Statistics: Amber received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from UNC (Go Heels!). She earned a B.A. in Global Studies, a B.A. in Contemporary European Studies, and a minor in Spanish. She also earned an M.A. in Political Science, during which she studied at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, and was awarded two Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) scholarships by the U.S. Department of Education for her study of Portuguese.   

Amber leans into her role as a go-to foodie at Lewis-Burke and enjoys giving restaurant recommendations (fine dining to dives) across the DMV.  


Emily Durham

Emily Durham provides relevant research and timely tracking of congressional and federal agency activities crucial to Lewis-Burke clients.  Her work focuses on policies impacting higher education, defense, and workforce development.  Emily draws on her passion for education policy and previous experience working in higher education government relations to provide clients with valuable insights.

Issue Expertise: Education policy, defense-workforce development policy, STEM education, cybersecurity, and manufacturing.

Additional Experience: Emily’s love for higher education policy flourished when she worked as Lewis-Burke’s Legislative Research Intern during the summer of 2019.  During her internship, Emily contributed to client projects across numerous federal programs, which led to a new interest in the defense sector.  In addition to her time at Lewis-Burke, Emily worked in the Office of Governmental Relations at Florida State University, where she monitored legislation, developed documents for legislators and faculty, and gained valuable education policy knowledge from the perspective of a higher education institution.

Vital Statistics: Proudly born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Emily graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science.  While she chose to pursue her degree at Florida State, Emily grew up cheering on Georgia Tech and the University of North Carolina athletics.  When Emily isn’t working, she enjoys visiting D.C.’s historical sights and museums as well as attending concerts, theater performances, and Washington Nationals baseball games.

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.

Laura Uttley

Laura Uttley develops and executes comprehensive advocacy strategies that resonate with congressional and federal agency audiences. In close consultation with clients, she leverages experiences gained on Capitol Hill, with federal agencies, and in academia to advance client priorities across a diverse issue portfolio.

As the firm’s lead for defense health and biosecurity issues, Laura has broad federal agency expertise, including the Department of Defense (DOD), the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), among others. The breadth of this knowledge benefits clients’ interagency priorities and promotes multi-pronged approaches to achieving federal funding goals.  Laura couples her agency expertise with legislative advocacy to successfully promote client interests in authorization and appropriations legislation.

Issue Expertise: Defense and national security, biodefense, global health security, appropriations, and social and behavioral sciences.

Additional ExperienceLaura mentors graduate and undergraduate students through American University’s Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute, sharing her professional experiences and expertise to further students’ theoretical and practical understanding of lobbying and public policy.  She is a Co-Founder and Member of the State Society of Rhode Island. Laura gained additional government relations experience in Congress and the Department of Defense through appointments in the Offices of Congressman James Langevin, Senator Jack Reed, and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.

Vital Statistics: Laura attended American University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration.  Born and raised in Jamestown, Rhode Island, Laura enjoys traveling to her hometown to spend time at the beach in the summer.

Bill Ruch

Bill Ruch is Lewis-Burke’s leading expert in industrial transformation and commercialization, a complex area that involves assisting clients as they forge public-private partnerships and pursue regional economic development initiatives.  Bill’s diverse portfolio covers federal interests across the research and development spectrum, from the social and behavioral sciences and STEM education models to the transition of applied technologies from lab to market and advancement of workforce development strategies.  His day-to-day can include providing in-depth analysis on federal trends, targeted advocacy on Capitol Hill and at federal agencies, and coalition building with relevant stakeholders to bolster messaging.

Over time, Bill has also leveraged his personal interest in criminal justice to strengthen the firm’s capabilities in domestic security.  Through these efforts, Bill works closely with clients, federal agencies, and congressional leaders to ensure our nation’s officers and first responders have access to technologies and evidence-based processes to effectively protect and serve.

Issue Expertise: Economic development, technology transfer, criminal justice, homeland security, cybersecurity, social and behavioral sciences, appropriations, and STEM education.

Additional Experience: Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Bill accrued valuable state and local government experience at the Michigan House of Representatives and was involved in various political campaigns.

Vital Statistics: Bill is a proud land-grant graduate, having attended Michigan State University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Pre-Law. When he’s not spending time at Lewis-Burke, Bill can be found bragging about his Spartans’ victories and discussing various TV shows, movies, and local DC happenings.  Outside of work, Bill enjoys distance running and American League baseball.