K Street Shake-Up at Quinn Gillespie

Big gun leaves powerhouse firm working to sooth clients.

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Longtime powerhouse PR and lobbying firm Quinn Gillespie Associates is losing one of its top Democratic guns, Manuel Ortiz, who is jumping to Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, we hear.

It's the buzz on K Street because Ortiz is a rare Hispanic lobbyist and was just named one of Washingtonian's "Top 40 Powerbrokers Under 40." The magazine said of Ortiz: "Corporate clients such as Sony, MetLife, Microsoft, and EADS rely on this Democratic strategist to get results. Ortiz has had a piece of every major legislative battle of the past two years, including the health-care and Wall Street reform bills and the stimulus package."

He represents Visa, prompting firm boss Jack Quinn to work the phones to make sure clients stay on after Ortiz leaves. Visa, however, may be lost because Ortiz's wife works for the credit card firm.

A Quinn Gillespie official wished Ortiz well. "He wanted to grow, and we let him go." The insider assured Whispers that the firm won't be hurt. "He'll be missed but we'll be fine."

Some K Street sources say that Ortiz will have a better chance to expand his book of clients and earnings than he did with Quinn Gillespie.

"Manny brings an unparalleled energy to client service and has more than a decade of experience in the lobbying arena," said Al Mottur, managing partner of Brownstein's Washington office. "He is tireless in his devotion to his clients and to building political relationships. And unlike many, he is never afraid to use his political capital. We are tremendously excited about Manny's talents, energy, relationships, and leadership, and look forward to immediately integrating him into our D.C. team."

In his departure email, Ortiz took the high road:

"It is with a heavy heart that I write to notify you of my departure from Quinn Gillespie effective close of business tomorrow.

"I did not come to this decision lightly, in fact, it was very difficult. Upon my arrival close to a decade ago, I was fortunate to join a very talented collection of people led by Ed and Jack to form the first truly bipartisan firm on K Street. In the years that followed, we were not only very successful but we had a blast working together. Conservatives and progressives working together with a common purpose to serve clients by providing strategic vision, analysis and problem solving.

"But most of all, I want you to know that I leave here with fond memories of all the friendships I have developed with all of our fabulous colleagues. This collection of excellent people is what truly makes this firm great.

"While I believe now is the time for me to seek out a new challenge, I want to thank Jack and Ed for the opportunity to work at such a fantastic firm. I want to especially thank Jack for his leadership, mentoring and support. But most of all, thank him for his friendship. I have learned so much from you during my years of dedicated service to the firm and I am very proud of all that we have accomplished together. I hope our bond will stay strong for many years to come. Thank you, Manny Ortiz."

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