- John HartChairman
John Hart is the Founder and CEO of Mars Hill Strategies, a public relations and public affairs firm.
As former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn’s long-time Communication’s Director, Hart developed a reputation as one of the most effective public relations experts in the business. He remains a go-to source for the nation’s top reporters, producers and thought leaders. Hart crafted the language of many national reform initiatives related to the budget, health care and other areas. Hart’s public relations efforts helped establish Coburn as a national figure. In 2013, Time magazine named Coburn one of the world’s 100 most influential people with a tribute essay authored by then-President Barack Obama.
An award-winning writer, Hart wrote two highly-reviewed books with Coburn and has helped clients craft and place hundreds of op-eds in the nation’s top outlets including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, RealClearPolitics and many others.
Hart has also appeared as a guest commentator on leading cable and radio outlets including on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, Sirius XM and his pieces have been published at outlets including Politico, Forbes, National Review, the Hill and many others. He has been a guest speaker at Harvard University, the University of Michigan and the Silicon Harlem initiative in New York.
In his free time, Hart enjoys spending time with his wife, Kimberly and four children, writing and recording music and maintaining his 62-acre farm just outside of Washington, DC.
- Bridgett WagnerVice Chair
Bridgett Wagner, one of the conservative movement’s best-known and well-connected leaders, is senior vice president for Policy Promotion at The Heritage Foundation.
Wagner oversees the leading think tank’s Coalition Relations, Lectures and Seminars, Young Leaders, and Strategic Outreach programs, among other duties. All are focused on spreading conservative principles, policies, and ideas among allies, public audiences, interns and young professionals, and new audiences.
Her responsibilities also include advising and consulting with fellow leaders in the private and public sectors.
Wagner previously was Heritage’s director of coalition relations since 1998, a position in which she drew respect for motivating, supporting, encouraging, counseling, and otherwise helping to build a vital network of conservative think tanks and issue-based organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
Wagner, who was promoted to vice president of external relations in May 2016, joined Heritage in 1981 as a research assistant and speechwriter for Ed Feulner, the think tank’s longtime president.
Her other roles at Heritage include director of development, director of business relations, and director of events for the think tank’s 25th anniversary “Leadership for America” campaign. As head of coalition relations, Wagner served as Heritage’s liaison to policy organizations, experts and activists at the state, national, and international levels. She advised other think tanks on ways to advance their policy prescriptions and built support for Heritage’s policy research agenda “beyond the Beltway.”
She organized Heritage’s annual Resource Bank meeting, a gathering of hundreds of conservative groups from across the nation and around the world to meet and discuss strategy. She also oversaw publication of Heritage’s quarterly magazine, The Insider.
Wagner’s work growing and strengthening the conservative movement, and her success at building diverse coalitions around key policy initiatives, were recognized internally with Heritage’s President’s Award. The State Policy Network presented her with its Roe Award for achievements that advanced the free market philosophy, and the National Taxpayer Union presented her with its Happy Warrior for Taxpayer Freedom Award.
Outside Heritage, Wagner serves as a trustee at the University of Dallas and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. She is a director of the State Policy Network, the Foundation for Government Accountability and the Steamboat Institute. She is a member of the advisory boards of Docs4Patient Care Foundation, Talent Market, and the National Civic Arts Society. She is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and the Philadelphia Society.
Wagner, originally from Richardson, Texas, holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Dallas. She and her husband, Steve, live in Washington, D.C.
- Seth MetcalfSecretary & Treasurer
Seth Metcalf currently serves as CFO for Bold Penguin, a highly-efficient commercial insurance exchange that connects businesses, agents, and carriers to match the right quote in record time.
Mr. Metcalf previously served as Deputy Treasurer & Executive Counsel for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel from 2011 through 2017. While at the Ohio Treasurer’s office, Mr. Metcalf oversaw the office’s core functions (accounting, custody, debt management, investments, legal, STABLE accounts, revenue management and local government fiscal education) that include $20B+ USD investment portfolios, $11B+ USD debt portfolio, $216B USD domestic and international custody portfolios and annual cash movements exceeding $60B USD. Mr. Metcalf is proud to have helped launch the OhioCheckbook.com financial transparency initiative; STAR Ohio Plus aggregated bank deposit program for Ohio local governments; STABLE Account for individuals with disabilities; the Ohio Market Access Program to provide for efficient capital markets access to Ohio municipal issuers; and the Ohio Pooled Collateral Program, which simultaneously provides greater safety, reduced administration, increased transparency and greater income opportunity for Ohio public deposits.
Mr. Metcalf also previously assisted clients as a tax and bond attorney with the international law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, L.L.P. (now Squire Patton Boggs), during which he represented banks, Fortune 500 companies and governmental entities in financial restructurings, mergers and acquisitions and global tax strategy. Mr. Metcalf graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University, holds a J.D. from Cornell University Law School, and is a Certified Treasury Professional. Mr. Metcalf previously served as a trustee for each of the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and the Ohio Deferred Compensation Plan.
- James KempAt Large
Jimmy Kemp is President of the Jack Kemp Foundation, which he established in 2009. Its mission is to develop, engage and recognize exceptional leaders who champion the American idea, beginning with the premise that the condition of your birth shouldn’t determine the outcome of your life.
Mr. Kemp co-founded and is the Managing Partner of Kemp Partners, a strategic consulting firm based in Washington DC. Established in 2002, Kemp Partners provides government relations and corporate affairs services to a diverse clientele. Mr. Kemp has represented Fortune 500 companies as well as burgeoning firms before Congress, the White House and several federal agencies.
He is also Executive Vice President of Group 47, a digital data storage company which is bringing to market a new archival media called DOTS (Digital Optical Technology System). DOTS enables digital files to be stored in easily readable form for over 100 years, even under conditions of benign neglect.
Mr. Kemp spent eight seasons as a quarterback in the Canadian Football League, finishing his career in 2001 with the Toronto Argonauts.
Mr. Kemp was the founding Board Chairman for Hope Community Charter School, located in northeast Washington DC. The school serves 735 pre-k through grade 8 students and has been operating since September 2005. Mr. Kemp is a graduate of Wake Forest University. He and his wife, Susan, have four boys and reside in Washington DC.
- Lisa B. NelsonAt Large
Lisa B. Nelson is the CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets and federalism. ALEC counts nearly one-quarter of all state legislators and hundreds of business leaders and entrepreneurs as members of the 42 year-old organization. Together, ALEC members discuss policy and develop real plans of action to protect hardworking taxpayers and create effective, efficient and accountable state governments.
With expertise in strategic planning and crisis management spanning her entire career, Lisa successfully led several coalition-based efforts in the financial services, technology, content and communications industries at both the state and federal levels. With three decades of legislative strategy experience, she is considered a leader in understanding the need for grassroots and third party support to underpin an effective advocacy agenda.
From 2005 to 2013, Lisa led Government Relations for Visa, the world’s largest payment technology company. With oversight over the United States, Canada, Latin America and Asia, Lisa’s connections are unparalleled. With issues ranging from technology based data security to banking and payment issues, Lisa directed the strategy behind a successful global government relations agenda with all branches of government as well as oversight of community and state relations across the United States.
Prior to joining Visa, Lisa was Senior Vice President of External Relations at AOL Time Warner, where she oversaw relationships with all external organizations within the political and policy sphere including party committees, advocacy groups, think tanks and coalitions. She managed a team of both federal and state policy lobbyists for AOL and Time Warner from 1998 to 2005.
Additionally, Lisa served as Public Affairs Liaison for the U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, from 1995 to 1998. Prior to joining the Speaker’s office, she was Executive Director of GOPAC, the Education and Training Center of the 21st Century. In 1994, Lisa led the campaign effort for the first Republican Congressional Majority in more than 40 years.
Lisa serves on several boards including Meridian International and the Business-Government Relations Council, an organization for government relations leaders in fortune 500 companies. Lisa also represented the United States Government in Hungary while observing the political/election process with the International Republican Institute. And, while at National Review magazine, she founded the National Review Institute and organized international delegations of business leaders to Asia and Eastern Europe to meet political, economic and cultural leaders.
Lisa is a political science and international relations graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. She and her husband David live in McLean, Virginia and have two adult children, Sam Creed and Britton Elizabeth.
- Ron CraneIdaho Treasurer 1999-2019
2019 SFOF Past Chair
Ron G. Crane was born in Nampa, Idaho. He is a graduate of Nampa Christian High School and later graduated from college with an Associate’s Degree. He received an honorary doctorate from Ohio Christian University in 2008. He served as a member in the Idaho National Guard from 1971 — 1977, receiving recognition as Idaho’s Soldier of the Year in 1975.
Ron served as Idaho's State Treasurer for 20 years becoming one of the nation's longest serving State Treasurers. As state treasurer Mr. Crane was responsible for management of both the state and local government investment pools with a daily balance in excess of $3.2 billion dollars. He directed receipt of all state monies, the accounting and disbursement of public funds, and invested general account and pooled agency cash in various fixed income securities to produce significant new non-tax revenue for the State of Idaho. He has overseen issuance of instruments of state debt and paid all warrants issued by the State Controller’s Office. He also directed the investments of the Idaho Millennium Fund and the Idaho Millennium Permanent Endowment Fund.
The Treasurer also served as the unclaimed property administrator for the State of Idaho. He was president of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) in 2011.
As Treasurer, Mr. Crane was a member of the State Board of Canvassers, administrator of the Local Government Investment Pool , custodian of Idaho Endowment Funds, custodian of Worker’s Compensation security deposits made by insurance companies, administrator of the Underground Storage Tank Upgrade Assistance Account, and was an ex-officio advisor to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. He was chairman of the College Savings Plan advisory board, Chairman of the Idaho Bond Bank Authority and Chairman of the Idaho Credit Rating Enhancement Committee . He received a national award from the US Small Business Administration for innovative programs that provide capital to Idaho small businesses by founding the Prime Rate Loan Program know as ” Idaho Prime “.
Prior to his election as Treasurer in 1998, Mr. Crane served 16 years in the Idaho House of Representatives. While there, he chaired the House State Affairs Committee for 4 years and the Business Committee for 7 years. He also served as co-chairman of the Interim Committee on Electrical Restructuring. During his public service, he received the Guardian of Small Business Award from NFIB and the Legislative Champion of the Family Award.
Mr. Crane started his own successful business, Crane Alarm Service, in 1979. Today, Crane Alarm is one of the oldest and largest alarm companies in Idaho. He is a member of the Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho Chambers of Commerce, was a founding member of the Lifeline Crisis Pregnancy Center, and served on the board of trustees for Nampa Christian Schools.
Mr. Crane has been married to his wife, Cheryl, since 1969. They have six children, four girls and two boys, and nine grandchildren. The Cranes reside in Nampa, Idaho.
- Derek KreifelsPresident
Derek Kreifels is the founding President of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF).
As President of SFOF he is charged with leading the national organization and collaborating with like-minded state officials to promote fiscally responsible, free market principles to better impact state and federal financial policy. Kreifels is charged with ensuring that SFOF’s fiscal, operational, fundraising, marketing, and communication strategies are effectively implemented.
Kreifels spent five years as Assistant State Treasurer of Kansas. As Assistant State Treasurer he also served as chief of staff - an agency head and deputy to a statewide elected official. He managed all aspects of the Treasurer’s office including scheduling, policy development, legislative, budgeting and personnel.
Kreifels was accountable for an office which processed over $21B annually which is comprised of 42 employees with an annual budget of over $3.5M. He worked with the State Treasurer to create new programs and modernize existing ones to reach out to a diverse set of Kansans with a wide variety of financial education initiatives. He was responsible for identifying innovative ways to help return unclaimed property to Kansans.
Kreifels played an integral role in working with the Kansas 529 Learning Quest program and program manager to develop annual marketing plan which includes television, radio, newsprint, collateral material and other borderless marketing initiatives.
Kreifels continuously sought out ways to increase the use of technology in the office to reduce costs. He directed Emergency Preparedness Operations planning and training for the agency with exposure to FEMA, the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Kansas Department of Emergency Management.
Kreifels has spent the last 25 years encouraging, advising and working along side various federal, state, and local leaders. Before working for the public sector, Kreifels spent several years in banking.
He attended Kansas State University, received his undergraduate degree from Wichita State University, and his Masters from Friends University in Wichita, Kansas. He lends his leadership to several boards and non-profits. He and his wife Melanie recently traveled to a remote part of Ghana, Africa, on a mission trip to attend the grand opening of a school. He and Melanie live in the Kansas City area.