WASHINGTON, April 5, 2023 __ SMI, a leading government affairs firm, has promoted two of its top energy and defense policy specialists as it strengthens its advocacy on behalf of advanced technology companies and research universities.

Samm Gillard, who came on board as a director in January and previously served as technology development and supply chain manager for the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies and Manufacturing Energy and Supply Chains Offices, has been elevated to vice president.

“Samm has quickly established himself as a key part of our energy team,” said SMI CEO Bill McCann. “SMI’s energy storage team, including Patrick Davis and Drew Ronneberg, has emerged as a go-to for help with federal engagement.”

Aarzu Maknojia, who has been appointed director, joined SMI as an analyst in June 2019 and was promoted to associate in August 2021. She has played an instrumental role in expanding the firm’s expertise on industrial base issues and semiconductor manufacturing, keeping clients informed about new opportunities under the CHIPS Act.

“Aarzu’s deep understanding of the federal market and the defense industrial base — especially microelectronics — have made her a tremendous asset to her clients and the firm,” said SMI COO Ken Wetzel. “Her thoughtful approach to the work and strong leadership skills will continue to ensure success in her new role as an SMI director.”

Founded in 1993, SMI has been the premier choice in Washington for companies, universities, nonprofits, and industry associations for federal marketing and lobbying services focused on national security, defense, clean energy, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and research and development.