Session IV: How the Changing Political Landscape Will Impact Your Company
Government Relations expert discussed how political changes in the United States and Europe will impact the optics and photonics industry. The US perspective provided an overview of the priorities of the Trump Administration and U.S. Congress. The EU perspective included an overview of the recent and upcoming elections in France and Germany and the impact of Brexit on funding and large scale collaboration projects. Participants learned of the impacts of these changes and how to discuss policy decisions with your policymakers.
Laura Kolton, Senior Government Relations Director, OSA, USA
Laura Geer Kolton is the senior government relations director at the Optical Society. In this capacity, she is responsible for implementing the advocacy agenda for OSA which includes managing the National Photonics Initiative (NPI), a multi-society US based initiative which focuses on raising awareness and driving US funding to optics and photonics programs. In addition, she manages the newly launched International Photonics Advocacy Coalition (IPAC). IPAC is a global initiative that serves to unite the optics and photonics community around public policy platforms that transcend borders, offer opportunities for collaboration and benefit the industry worldwide.
Prior to coming to OSA, she was the manager for education policy at the American Chemical Society and helped lead the STEM coalition and its efforts to fund Math and Science Partnerships at the Department of Education and National Science Foundation. Laura spent a decade on Capitol Hill, including as legislative director for Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.). In addition, she worked in the offices of Rep. John Tierney (D-Mass.), Rep. William H. Clay (D-Mo.) and for the late Rep. George E. Brown (D-Calif.) who chaired the House Science Committee.
Laura is a graduate of the University of Maine and received her MBA from George Washington University.
Benno van der Laan , Director, Transatlantic and Latin America, Interel Group
Benno van der Laan heads up the Washington DC office of Interel. In cooperation with Interel’s offices in Europe, Benno and Interel’s DC office provide European government relations and public affairs services to clients based in North America.
Benno started his career in Brussels in 1991 and over the years has designed and executed numerous advocacy campaigns in many policy areas, including environment, energy, chemicals and trade. In 2001 Benno opened the firm’s EU affairs office in Washington, DC.
Benno has also worked in the European Commission. In addition to his native Dutch, he speaks English, French, Portuguese and German.
, Principal, The Podesta Group
Established in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than two decades, Beth provides strategic and political guidance to Podesta Group clients based in or doing business in California, as well as those clients both domestic and international who are interested in doing business in California. A recognized leader in technology policy, she offers expert counsel on issues related to clean technology, information technology, biotechnology and aerospace. She also serves as the firm's nexus in Sacramento.
In Beth’s years of experience in public policy, she has held positions in local, state and federal governments. She served on Capitol Hill as staff counsel for the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and she was appointed to the science, space and technology cluster of the 1992 Clinton presidential transition team. Beth also led the external relations organization for the NASA Ames Research Center, a top aeronautical and computational research laboratory in Mountain View, CA.