As Governmental Affairs and Economic Development Advisor at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, Josh Blades successfully steers a diverse roster of clients through the turbulent waters of Alabama politics. But his complex career started with a simple decision and the gumption to make it happen.
How long have you been in your position? Six years. The firm has been a great platform for our government affairs practice. As the largest law firm in the state and one of the largest in the Southeast, we are able to offer our clients subject-matter expertise on a wide range of issues.
What first got you interested in governmental affairs work? When I was a senior in college, I decided that I wanted to work for the Governor [Bob Riley]. I did not know anyone in the Governor’s administration, so I just walked up the stairs of the Capitol and asked the first person I could find for a job. The kind lady in the Chief-of-Staff’s office fought back a snicker before she sent me down to visit the intern coordinator. After my internship, I was offered a job as the Governor’s Personal Aide and went on to be the Governor’s Campaign Spokesman and then Deputy Chief of Staff. After the end of that administration, I served as the Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the House. Having experience in both the executive and legislative branches prepared me well for serving in a government affairs role.
What are your primary roles and duties in your position? My partner, Dave Stewart, and I represent clients who need help navigating Alabama state government. The bread and butter of our practice is working with the legislature and executive branch agencies. We help our clients develop strategies and then implement, block and amend legislation or regulations that could impact their business or their members.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job? We are fortunate to have a wide array of top-notch clients, which means that we are able to work on a broad range of issues. As such, we get to learn about a lot of industries. Also, contrary to popular belief, there are some great people in the political world.
Power Player “I have been very fortunate to be listed on the Yellowhammer News’ ‘Power and Influence 40’ list for the last few years.”