One of Kathy’s first major lobbying success was the adoption of major revisions to the City of Los Angeles’ existing ordinance that regulated the outdoor advertising industry. As a representative of then Gannett Outdoor, Kathy effectively advocated for specific changes such as height limitations and structure placement that were deemed acceptable to the interests of her company, an active coalition of community and neighborhood leaders as well as to the majority members of the City Council.
While serving as the Manager of Community Relations for the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC), now the MTA, Kathy successfully designed and implemented a strategy to expedite the approval of numerous engineering design projects for Segment Tow of the Red Line Subway (Vermont Corridor). Kathy assembled and managed a team of LACTC engineers to provide routine briefings to City electd officials and implemented a successful strategy to address complex construction issues before they became problems in impacted communities. Kathy’s efforts ensured that the required City Council approvals kept pace with the technical design process schedule and avoid cost overruns. Additionally, this strategy provided advanced opportunities for LACTC staff to productively meet with City staff, project stakeholders and, most importantly, mitigated construction impacts to residents and merchants contiguous to the subway corridor.
Following his election to the Los Angeles City Council in 2001, City Councilman Tom LaBonge named Kathy as his Chief of Staff. During her tenure, Kathy managed an operating budget of $1.8 million and a staff of 18. As the Councilman’s closest advisor, Kathy directed legislative policy, managed intergovernmental relations, constituent service delivery and budget for numerous General City Purpose community development projects.
Kathy departed the City Council office to assume the position of Director of Government Relations for MWH, Inc., an international wet infrastructure engineering firm. While based in the company’s downtown Los Angeles office, Kathy designed and implemented executive level client relations and business development strategies to increase market share in Los Angeles, Atlanta and St. Louis. Her most notable strategy was the creation of several collaborative teaming relationships between her company and local, small, minority and women-owned enterprises for the purpose of collectively pursuing numerous municipal engineering projects. These relationships position the teams favorable with local decision makers and municipal staff while strengthening each company’s corporate brand and competitive advantage. Additionally, Kathy collaborated with the City of Atlanta staff and an MWH team to develop a construction job training program for selected unemployed and under employed residents of the Atlanta metropolitan area.
During 2007, while working for MWH, Kathy took a sabbatical to accept Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s request that she serve as his interim general manager for the Department of Cultural Affairs. Her task was to provide bridge leadership of the department until the arrival of the permanent GM. Although a short-term assignment, Mayor Villaraigosa tasked Kathy with completing several critical and time-sensitive organization and operational assignments that included interviewing and recommending to the Cultural Affairs Department Board of Commissioners a candidate for the position of Assistant General Manager as well as resolving two complicated and sensitive personnel matters. Upon her departure, Kathy’s accomplishment earned a special recognition, including a commendation from the Mayor and the Cultural Affairs Board of Commission.
Kathy’s most recent City service was as an Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. With a budget of $25 million and a staff of 14, she directed the delivery of Department products and services to support local economic development and managed implementation of strategies to achieve increased supplier diversity. Among her achievements, Kathy developed and oversaw the Department’s sponsorship of a Business Roundtable intended to gather information from minority and women-owned professional services firms, vendor and minority business network representatives that could be incorporated into the Department’s existing procurement practices thereby increasing participation from the small business sector. This undertaking was detailed in a comprehensive report presented to and approved by the LADWP Board of Commissioners during January 2010.
While at LADWP, Kathy also developed and supervised implementation of the Department’s Jobs Opportunity Training Program (JOTP). Through this Board of Commissioners’ workforce development initiative, young people, unemployed, underemployed, veterans and disabled persons were affording job training opportunities directly associated with Department managed water and power engineering and construction capital projects. Kathy worked closely with her colleagues, the Mayor’s office, numerous elected officials, the Workforce Investment Board, local business networks, universities, labor and other significant stakeholders to ensure program relevance and proposed goal attainment.
Prior to joining arnie berghoff & associates, Kathy managed marketing and business development for an international, minority-owned water and waste water engineering firm. She directed client relations, strategic team building, Request for Proposal development, executed all M/WBE outreach activities, lead interview preparation and designed community relations investment programs for selected markets. Among her achievements was the preparation of a community relations and small business development program for a $4.5 million dollar municipal procurement. Her plan received the highest score, in response to the RFP criterion, above all of the other proposals submitted.
In 2013, Kathy was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Board of engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists. During 2015, her colleagues elected her to serve as President of the Board and she is presently a member of the Board. Kathy is involved in Board outreach to encourage licensure among aspiring engineers and regularly works with Board staff on matters relating to vendor procurement.
Kathy is a graduate of Occidental College and holds a Certificate in Public Policy Analysis from the Claremont Graduate School. She is a former Coro Fellow, served as a Congressional intern for United States Congressman Don Edwards, and was a Legislative Intern for former State Legislator and Congressman Alan D. Wheat. Kathy has received numerous commendations for public service, public policy engagement and community investment. She lives in Pasadena, California and is the proud mother of her son, Brandon Carleton Irish.
Strategy Development and Implementation
Complex Project Management
Municipal Government Affairs Specialist
Crisis management expert
Provide customized consultant services to public and private agencies and companies. Service offerings include marketing, business development, proposal development, strategic public and government affairs, program and project development, project management and program evaluation. Current clients included Fortune 500 technology companies, energy and infrastructure engineering firms, waste management companies, an international infrastructure construction contractor, and multi-media companies.
Respected member of the public affairs professional community with extensive experience developing and implementing detailed political strategies for corporate clients designed to help them win contracts to deliver high-profile public sector projects in the City and County of Los Angeles. Advise clients on local government affairs and the legislative process. Prepare them and attend with them, meetings with elected officials, executive staff, business networks, special interest groups and others as identified. Develop briefing materials and related collaterals that highlight client capabilities and differentiating expertise for distribution to target officials and key influencers. Counsel and prepare clients to appear before elected officials and department commissions, engage with executive staff, and make presentations to special interest groups.
Directed and supported strategic business development activities in target markets. Supervised proposal development and associated preparations for project team interviews. Managed engagements with small, minority and women-owned business, structured teaming strategies and agreements. Also, managed developed company’s marketing materials.
Directed the delivery of Department and services to support local economic development. Managed implementation of strategies to achieve increased supplier diversity. Supervised the management of the Department’s youth job training programs. Supervised a staff of 14 and managed a budget of $15 million.
Developed and managed implementation of executive level client relations initiatives and business development strategies to differentiate MWH in the Southern California marketplace and increase market. Also, developed customized job training and community outreach programs for municipal clients for the company in target markets including Los Angeles, California and Atlanta, Georgia.
Directed legislative policy, intergovernmental relations, and managed District constituent service delivery for the Fourth Council District. Directed execution of all special initiatives, programs and projects, associated budgets and personnel deployment. Supervised a staff of 18, including contract staff and supplemental interns. Controlled an office budget of $1.2 million.
Allocated resources and managed completion of selected water, energy projects and related tasks of priority to the General Manager. Developed the Department’s Economic Development Policy that was officially approved by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. Also, created and implemented outreach strategies to advance public awareness regarding water conversation, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.
Created and managed implementation of the District’s local and state government outreach strategies and initiatives to build and enhance understanding of groundwater resource management among policy makers, key thought leaders and water industry stakeholders.
Designed and staffed department infrastructure to implement community affairs and marketing programs to meet target sales goals in the Western United States and Canada. Hired, trained and supervised 30 community affairs professional staff and managed a market area budget of $1.05 million.
Developed customized community relations programs and initiatives to support the Studio’s Master Plan Development Program in Burbank, West Hollywood, and Santa Clarita, California. Managed corporate workforce diversity program, annually and successfully trained 25 multi-cultural participants. Also, managed the Studio’s corporate philanthropic and signature marketing and branding initiatives.
Successfully expedited complex engineering and construction plans for the $350 million Metro urban subway system tunnel construction project. Effectively collaborated with the City of Los Angeles Transportation Department to create a construction mitigation program to manage impacts to business and residents neighboring selected construction activities. Also, served as a primary contact for media relations regarding milestone activities regarding the Commissions rail transportation construction program.
Developed regional transportation policies for incorporation into the State of California’s Regional Transportation Plan. Also, selected to serve on a special team responsible for the preparation of priority research studies, white papers and briefing documents for use by Association policy makers and elected officials within the SCAG region.
Successfully executed a political strategy that influenced the Los Angeles City Council’s adoption of an ordinance favorable to the outdoor advertising industry. The outcome ensured continuance of $30 million advertising revenues for the company. Also, implemented the company’s philanthropic and community relations activities for the company’s Southern California region.
Past President and current member, Board of Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists, State of California
Commendation - United States House of Representatives, Office of Congressman Don Edwards
Resolution, State of Missouri House of Representatives, Office of State Representative Alan D. Wheat
Several Certificates of Recognition and Appreciation - Los Angeles City Council
Certificate of Policy Public Policy Analysis, Claremont Graduate School
CORO Foundation Fellowship in Public Affairs
Certificate of Achievement, Dimensional Management Training
Bachelor of Arts, Occidental College
United States House of Representatives, Office of Congressman Don Edwards
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland