Once a country and western disc jockey, John Ashford is now Chairman and CEO of The Hawthorn Group, L.C., the international public affairs and public relations firm he founded nearly 30 years ago.

Drawing on communications and public affairs experience gained in hundreds of successful candidate and corporate campaigns, Ashford now provides senior counsel to Hawthorn clients across the country and around the world.

Recognized experts in crisis management, the firm is best known for its work in the energy, electric utility, healthcare, and consumer products industries.

Raised in a small farm community, Ashford first appeared on the political scene in his native Missouri.

When he was only 26 years old, the Kansas City Star had already called him a “political kingmaker.” After staff work on Capitol Hill for members of the U.S. House and Senate, Ashford spent a decade with the legendary political consultant Matt Reese.

Together they worked in more than 200 campaigns around the world and pioneered the adaptation of political grassroots techniques to serve Fortune 500 companies.

Attending Missouri Valley College, where his father was a Hall-of-Fame football coach, John instead studied classics and ancient Greek, earning a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. He received his Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants, The National Press Club, The Harvard Club, The International Churchill Society, the American Guild of Organists and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

He and his wife, Ivy Whitlatch, live in Alexandria, VA. He has two children, a son, 21 and a daughter, 20.