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Our Team

Allison Lee, Chief Executive Officer

Allison Lee’s expertise is rooted in her 25 years of government service at the local, state and federal levels. Her external government affairs expertise is based on years of navigating several Executive Administrations of different political affiliations, changes in key legislative Leaderships as well as significant positions in journalism, major market book publishing and non-profit and trade association administration. Allison’s understanding of government functions at all levels, coupled with years of direct experience in the media, uniquely positions her to advance the complex legislative, public policy and public relations needs of her clients. She is known for her tireless advocacy, commitment to detail and professional credibility.

Prior to starting her own practice in Albany, Allison was an original founding partner in one of Albany’s most successful lobbying firms where she was responsible for managing many of the firm’s most high profile clients. Allison has held key staff positions with the New York State Assembly, the United States House of Representatives and has served two New York State mayors in key economic development capacities. In 1998 she was appointed by then U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary – and current New York State Governor – Andrew Cuomo, as his Acting Secretary’s Representative for New York and New Jersey.

Allison may be best known for her work in the telecommunications and high technology arenas, but is equally proficient with large corporate client interests as she is with small not for profit advocacy and developing and implementing targeted campaigns designed to address highly complicated government challenges and achieve the desired outcomes for those she represents.

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Dan Vardaro, Director of Operations

Dan Vardaro brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with him to ASA. Prior to joining ASA, Dan served as the Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff for Senator Jeff Klein, former New York State Senate Coalition Co-Leader and Leader of the Independent Democratic Conference.

In his role, Dan oversaw the daily operations for the Conference, legislative grants for Senator Klein, and provided general support to the Chief of Staff. In addition to these responsibilities, Dan was also a constant participant in numerous high level legislative and strategy meetings.

He possesses a proven track record in administrative and political fields, including as a Bill Jacketing Clerk in Journal Clerk's Office in the New York State Senate. He received his Bachelors in History and Politics from Southern Vermont College.

Daniel Cain, Vice President

Dan brings a decade of experience in New York State politics to his role as Vice President. Previously holding the title of Director of Legislative Affairs at ASA, Dan has worked closely with every client and has gained experience on a broad range of issues. Dan will continue to work closely with the Legislative Director to ensure all client issues and legislation are being closely monitored and clients are kept updated in real time.

Before coming to ASA, Daniel was a Senior Regional Coordinator at the NYS Assembly Majority Office of Communications and Information Services where he consulted new and marginal Assembly Members on a broad range of issues, while assisting them with constituent outreach, press strategy and communications. He also served as Campaign Coordinator for the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee where he ran political campaigns for incumbent and hopeful Assembly candidates across the state.

Eric Henderson, Vice President of Health Policy

Eric J. Henderson has rapidly become one of Albany’s most experienced new health care hands. Most recently, Eric served as the Deputy Director for the Division of Long Term Care in the Office of Health Insurance Programs. In that capacity, he worked closely with division staff and assisted in the regulation, oversight, and modernization of long term care.

Prior to working within the Division of Long Term Care, Eric served as the Director of Health Care Policy at Cordo & Co., one of Albany’s leading legal and consulting firms. In that role, Eric performed research and analysis and advocacy on behalf of some of the most dynamic healthcare entities in New York State including 1199 SEIU, CVS/Caremark, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HealthPlus, and Advocate Community Partners, the second largest Performing Provider System in New York State’s DSRIP program. Before working with Cordo & Co., Eric was the Senior Compliance Lead at Capital District Physician’s Health Plan (CDPHP), ensuring quality care was provided to the Capital Region’s highest need population during the formation and launch of Governor Cuomo’s landmark Medicaid Redesign Team (MRT). Working closely with Medical Affairs senior staff and Legal Counsel, Eric helped ensure that CDPHP was meeting the goals of the Triple Aim of Medicaid Redesign, working closely with the CEO on all aspects of the organization.

Eric is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany, and was named to City and State’s “40 Under 40” in 2015.

Jill Scalzo, Director of Legislative Affairs

Jill possesses both a depth and breadth of knowledge surrounding the legislative, executive and political spheres of state-level government. Before coming to ASA, Jill was the Deputy Director of Scheduling in the NYS Executive Chamber. In this capacity, she coordinated daily and long-term logistics for the Governor surrounding his scheduling, invitations and travel.

She possesses a demonstrated track record in the legislative and political arena, including as a Legislative Specialist for the Massachusetts Teachers Association. She covered legislative priorities, interfaced with recommended candidates and ensured state compliance. She received her Bachelors in Political Science from SUNY Geneseo.

Justin Birzon, Vice President for Policy and Regulation

Justin offers a rich diversity of experience and keen ability to navigate the legislative process, having worked for several prominent committees in both houses of the Legislature. Justin’s broad experience includes serving as Counsel on Judiciary, Energy, Housing, Cities, and Election Law issues.

As Counsel for the Assembly Judiciary Committee, Justin advised the Majority Conference on issues concerning civil practice, real property actions and consumer protection. Justin has worked for both sides of the aisle in the Senate, having served as Counsel to the Chair of Energy & Telecommunications Committee and ultimately serving as a counsel to members of the Independent Democratic Conference and the Senate Democratic Conference on Housing, Election, Judiciary, and Cities related matters.

Justin also brings legal experience from his time in civil practice. He began his career representing corporate and institutional interests, and developed his own practice around bankruptcy, commercial, and general civil law. He has established business entities and negotiated asset transfers in the sale of secured interests as well as intellectual property interests. In addition to spending time in the New York State courts, Justin is admitted to practice in the Northern District of New York.

With a LLM in Environmental Law and a passion for environmental issues, Justin has served as an editor of “The New York Environmental Lawyer,” a publication of New York State Bar Association, for over 10 years.

Mike O’Leary, Senior Vice President

Mike offers a seasoned hand at navigating the legislative and State administrative processes, and employs his solid advocacy skills to our clients’ advantage. Mike started working in the New York State Senate in 2007, and most recently served as Deputy Counsel to the NYS Senate Democratic Conference, where he was responsible for briefing the Conference on a daily basis on all major public policy initiatives, as well as parliamentary procedure and strategy. This position allowed him to develop an expertise in a myriad of diverse issues and build close relationships on the Senate floor. Mike also served as Senate Parliamentarian, Floor Counsel, and Team Leader for Public Protection for the Senate Democratic Conference when they held the Majority from 2008 – 2010.

After working in the Senate, Mike served as Assistant Comptroller for Intergovernmental & Community Affairs to New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, where he led the Comptroller’s government relations and community outreach efforts and served as one of Comptroller DiNapoli’s senior advisors on many of the State’s most pressing fiscal and policy issues.

Mike holds a B.A. from Hamilton College, and a J.D. from Albany Law School. He is admitted to practice law in the State of New York, Third Department.

Paul Zuber, Vice President

Paul brings the knowledge and unique insight of more than two decade’s worth of experience working both in key positions within the New York State Legislature and as a pivotal and successful advocate for such high-profile clients as Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, MGM, Empire Resorts/Resorts World Catskills, and the New York State Laborers.

In 2010 Paul joined Albany Strategic Advisors as a Vice President working with many of the firm’s top clients on a range of legislative issues. Utilizing his contacts and experiences, Paul guides our clients through a multitude of complex issue areas relating to alcoholic beverage control, racing and wagering, MWBE compliance and enforcement, and labor relations.

After Paul earned his JD from the University of Maryland, he joined the New York State Senate Majority Counsel/Program staff. During the next seven years, Paul became a highly respected advisor to the Majority Leader and key members of the Senate Conference. His portfolio included: alcohol and beverage control; NYS fiscal policy; Senate representation in on-going Budget negotiations with the Assembly and the Executive. Paul then spent seven years as the Director of Legislative Affairs for Powers & Company where he managed and provided strategic advice for all the firm’s legislative and state procurement clients.

Throughout his professional career Paul has worked closely with members of the New York State Black, Latino and Asian Caucus on such important issues as the NYS Minority and Women Owned Business program, just one of the many important caucus priorities. New and continuing clients benefit from the combination of Paul’s results-oriented approach and tremendous experience providing bi-partisan New York State government relations.

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Albany Strategic Advisors
111 Washington Avenue, 2nd floor, Albany, NY 12210