Ed Walz (Former Staff) Vice President
Ed Walz leads a communications team responsible for First Focus’ media relations, social media outreach, and other public communications. Ed and his team also work with the organization’s policy staff to develop First Focus’ issue briefs, reports, and other materials, and to integrate communications with the organization’s advocacy strategy. And they coordinate with the First Focus policy team to support the advocacy efforts of First Focus’ state partners.
Ed has been quoted in the Washington Post and on CBS Radio News, among other national and regional news outlets. His work has generated news coverage in The New York Times, USA Today, the Associated Press, McClatchy News, POLITICO, The Hill, Roll Call, Congressional Quarterly, and a range of regional and trade news outlets all over the country.
Before joining the First Focus team in November, 2011, Ed worked as a Vice President at Spitfire Strategies, a national consulting firm offering communications and strategy counsel and support to nonprofits and philanthropies. At Spitfire, Ed led a messaging project that helped state-based advocates from coast to coast strengthen children’s health coverage policy and covered more than 1.3 million uninsured kids. He regularly presented on topics ranging from advocacy communications and message development to communications planning and effective writing. He also led a research effort that informed the development of Spitfire’s Just Enough Planning Guide.
For fifteen years, Ed worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, serving three senior lawmakers, leaving the Hill as Legislative Director for then-Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH-13). As a policy staffer, Ed drafted and successfully advanced federal legislation on issues ranging from food safety to family tax policy. He also coordinated with business and human services advocates to secure Federal Communications Commission designation of the telephone dialing prefix 2-1-1 for social services referrals. And he worked with a bipartisan, bicameral team of legislators and staff to win House floor passage of legislation authorizing the importation of safe, affordable, effective medicine from Canada and other allied nations. Ed also worked as a constituent liaison in a congressional district office, leading the planning and execution of large-scale public events that drew significant media attention.
Ed has served as a guest lecturer on topics ranging from message development and communications strategy to effective advocacy. He has taught sessions for undergraduate and graduate programs at the George Washington University School of Public Health, American University's Center for Congressional & Presidential Studies, and the George Mason University Department of Communications.
Ed was raised in southeastern Wisconsin, where his family owned a small restaurant business. He started a small philanthropy in partnership with a Wisconsin community foundation, and he has been an active volunteer in the Washington, D.C., area.