PSS Winter '13


Potomac Fever

by Jessica Evangelista Balduzzi ’05

Will Cox ’06

FIRST JOB: Staff Assistant, Former Congressman Robert Simmons (R-CT)

CURRENT JOB: Senior Associate, Hickey & Associates, LLC

For Will Cox ’06, the 2012 election cycle was an interesting one. “For the first time in eight years, I sat on the sidelines,” he explains. For good reason. The former Republican Capitol Hill staffer and political operative is now a senior associate at Hickey & Associates, a global site selection and public incentive management company, a role in which Cox must remain non-partisan.

Since joining the niche firm in 2011, Cox has been assisting big name clients like Bank of America and Lockheed Martin select the best locations to expand, relocate or consolidate, all while achieving vital public/private partnerships to help grow and sustain his clients’ businesses.

It’s a welcome change from his days on the Hill. “I don’t miss the campaign lifestyle,” he says. While most of his former Republican colleagues are looking for their next campaign gig, Cox is comfortable in his newly renovated office space. “But I do miss the competitiveness of it.”

Cox caught his first bout of “Potomac Fever” during the Colleges’ Washington, D.C. semester. “We were there in the midst of the 2004 presidential race, and my boss at the time, former Congressman Rob Simmons was facing a difficult re-election campaign.” While most of the Congressman’s staff members were back home campaigning, Cox was left to cover the fort in D.C. “It was just me and the chief of staff,” he says. “I had to learn my way around the Hill very quickly.”

Cox joined his colleagues on the ground in Connecticut, his home state, for the final two weeks of the race. When his candidate won with 54 percent of the vote, Cox knew his work had paid off. “Election day was and always is a challenge. Win or lose, it’s a culmination of a tremendous amount of work among a group of people that at the end of the day leads to victory or defeat based on variables that are largely out of anyone’s control. The win was a thrilling experience that helped me believe in the democratic process.”

Just days after graduating from the Colleges in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Cox packed his bags and headed back to Washington. Simmons was facing yet another difficult re-election and the campaign needed him. “Working on a campaign for a second time with a candidate that you know and believe in is a great opportunity that does not always happen in politics,” he explains.

Despite a well-executed campaign, Simmons came 83 votes shy of a win. “Losing in the situation where you really believe the candidate is the best representative for his or her constituency is a real let down,” reflects Cox.

Undaunted, the political insider wanted more. In 2008 Cox became political director for Congressional-hopeful Chris Myers’ bid in New Jersey. It was another grueling campaign. “We worked at least 16 hours a day every single day of the week,” he says. As Myers’ political director, Cox shouldered immense responsibility. “I set up and maintained his entire office on my own. There’s a lot more to that job than meets the eye. And because I had experience in Washington and Myers didn’t, I had an integral role in shaping his outlook on the issues. I really helped to build a potential member of Congress from the ground up.”

When Myers lost his congressional bid, it was Cox’s cue to take a back seat to politics. Using his network of people he’d met along the campaign trail, he secured a job as a program specialist at Lockheed Martin. There, he spent the next three years working on issues of government affairs. Lockheed Martin then provided him with a platform to land a position with Hickey & Associates.

What’s next for Cox? For now, he’s enjoying life as a young Washingtonian, living on Capitol Hill with fellow HWS graduates, Mike Ferrraguto ’06, associate director at Ocean Atlantic, a commercial real estate company, and Teddy Tanzer ’10, a research analyst at American Crossroads, the Super PAC cofounded by Karl Rove.

As for politics? He’s comfortable sitting on the sidelines.


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