Blue Engine Message & Media Adds Amber McDowell & Catherine Lavelle to Team


Washington, DC —  Blue Engine Message & Media is pleased to announce that Amber McDowell, former Communications Director for U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, has joined the DC-based strategic communications firm. An accomplished writer, editor and former journalist, Amber joins the firm’s senior strategists in helping corporations, non-profits, coalitions and national trade associations create, develop and implement successful public affairs and crisis communications campaigns.

Prior to her work with Senator Landrieu’s office, Amber served as a Speechwriter and Press Secretary for Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen and later U.S. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico.  Her experience also includes non-profit advocacy as Director of State Communications for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.  A Tennessee native, Amber began her career as a political reporter for the Associated Press in Nashville.

“Amber’s expertise developing and implementing public policy communications plans combined with her experience as a journalist will ensure that Blue Engine continues to offer thoughtful and impactful counsel to our clients,” said Erik Smith, founder of Blue Engine Message & Media.

During her time on Capitol Hill, Amber developed comprehensive communications plans for state and national audiences on a wide range of leading policy issues including U.S. energy production, coastal restoration, disaster preparedness and response and small business development. In 2012, she led the communications effort for the successful passage of the RESTORE Act, legislation introduced by Senator Landrieu that directs Clean Water Act fines from the 2010 BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill back to the Gulf Coast. The RESTORE Act represents the largest single investment in environmental restoration in U.S. history.

The firm has also brought on Catherine Lavelle from the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee and the 2012 Obama-Biden presidential campaign to serve as Operations Manager.  Throughout her career, Catherine has developed skills ranging from day-to-day operations, budget management, staff management, media logistics, and high-level political operational planning.

Prior to joining the Obama-Biden campaign in September 2012, Catherine served as Media Logistics Manager for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

Blue Engine also announced that Allison Clear Fastow has been made a Partner.  In her four years with Blue Engine, Allison has led team efforts developing and executing strategic communications plans for corporations, nonprofits and national advocacy groups.  Allison has grown the firm’s nonprofit practice, and led crisis communications for a Fortune 500 company and one of the nation’s top ten nonprofits.  Her work is distinguished by her particular expertise in communicating the value of social innovation and social entrepreneurship to public policy audiences.