Erik Smith, Partner

  • Grew up on a tobacco farm in house built by great-grandfather
  • Appeared in commercial for first John Madden Football video game
  • “Captained” a Swan Boat on Boston Public Garden for a summer

Erik Smith advises corporations, non-profits and individuals on the development, planning and implementation of comprehensive communications strategies. Most often, these engagements deal with complex situations such as crisis, litigation, legislative challenge, regulatory change, leadership transition and public policy advocacy in such diverse industries as health care, energy, financial services, consumer products, agriculture and the non-profit sector.

As the founder of Blue Engine Message & Media in 2006, Erik built a leading DC-based crisis communications and public affairs agency recognized by PR News as a “Top Place to Work.” In 2018, Erik engineered a merger with JDA Frontline to create Seven Letter.

Prior to entering private practice in 2005, Erik worked for more than a decade as a lead strategist and counselor to Senators, Congressmen and party committees. In addition to his experience as a press strategist, spokesman and media trainer, Erik has an expertise in crisis communications, most notably as Communications Director for the House Democratic Leader shaping congressional communications strategy in the days after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks on the U.S. Capitol. While working on Capitol Hill, Erik was regularly recognized by Roll Call newspaper as one of the 50 most powerful staff people in Congress.

In 2008 and 2012, Erik was a senior advisor for advertising and message development to the Obama-Biden presidential campaign where he designed, developed and placed television, radio and print advertising as part of a team that, according to The New York Times, ‘unleashed an advertising campaign of a scale and complexity unrivaled in the television era.’ Erik produced high-profile special events for the Obama campaign, including the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions and the historic 30-minute network television broadcast seen by more than 35 million viewers in October 2008. Erik also served as Creative Director for the 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inauguration Committees. Most recently, Erik served as Creative Director for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

A veteran of national, statewide and congressional campaigns, Erik has been a featured speaker at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, The Annenberg Public Policy Center at The University of Pennsylvania, The Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, the American Bar Association and the Foundation Nationale des Sciences Politiques in Paris.

Erik is a founding board member of both Organizing for Action and Business Forward and serves as a delegate to the China-US Exchange Program cosponsored by the Center for America Progress. A frequent guest on cable and radio news programs, Erik has appeared on CNN, FOX News Channel, NPR and others.

Erik works in the Seven Letter Washington, D.C. office.