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MoakCasey Expands Advocacy Efforts with Addition of Public Education Policy Expert
Texas's leading public school consulting firm MoakCasey continues to grow its advocacy team by adding education policy expert Ben Melson.
Beginning in October, Melson will take on the role of director of advocacy at the consulting firm, which serves school district leaders and policymakers in school finance and accountability.
The company was acquired on July 1, 2022, by Dr. Buck Gilcrease, CEO; State Representative Dan Huberty (R-Humble), board member; Charles Clines, chairman of the board; Chris Huckabee, board member; and Charles Butt, investor. In addition, Leo Lopez, former associate commissioner and chief school finance officer for the Texas Education Agency, was added to the leadership team as chief financial officer in August. Legislative strategy expert Ginger Averitt, who will work directly with Melson, joined as director of advocacy in September.
“I am thrilled to join the MoakCasey team and work alongside Ginger to grow the advocacy arm of this long-revered consulting firm for school districts in Texas. Our combined expertise in public school policy will help to drive legislation favorable to our public-school partners, education and workforce clients to make positive changes for Texas school districts,” said Melson.
During the 84th Legislative Session, while working in State Rep. Dan Huberty’s (R-Humble) office, Melson led the development and passage of House Bill 4, which created Texas’ high-quality pre-kindergarten program. He also managed the House Committee on Public Education, working alongside some of the state’s most influential leaders. Ben continued his career at the Capitol as chief of staff for State Rep. Kevin Roberts (R-Houston) until 2017.
“Adding Ben to our team will ensure we can expand our efforts at the Capitol and build effective legislative and policy solutions for all of our clients. Ben’s entire career has been focused on public education, policy and advocacy. He has strong relationships with elected officials, education associations and lobbyists focused on public education. We are excited to welcome him to our growing firm,” said MoakCasey CEO Buck Gilcrease and MoakCasey board member Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Humble).
Following his time at the Capitol, Melson worked for the Greater Houston Partnership as public education manager, leading the business community's efforts on public school finance reform for 12 counties. He quickly transitioned to director of advocacy and vice president of strategy at the regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ben simultaneously worked as the chief of staff for the City of Houston’s Covid Czar. In 2021, he founded his consulting firm, Melson Strategies LLC.
“In addition to his great relationship with elected leaders and their staff, education leaders trust Ben because of his track record of asking great questions and gathering critical information in order to develop the strongest possible solutions," said Dr. Pam Wells, retired executive director of Region 4 Education Service Center.
MoakCasey serves as an independent source of high-quality, data-driven public education information that is instrumental to school district leaders and policymakers. The firm, in its 25th year, provides up-to-the minute research and analyses of issues impacting public school finance, accountability and assessment, economic development and other areas of education to help clients smoothly navigate the intricacies of the Texas Legislature.
For more information about the firm, visit www.moakcasey.com