Washington Government Relations Group Renames Award for Trailblazing Reginald "Reg" Gilliam

August 14, 2012

Leadership and Excellence winner

Washington Government Relations Group Renames Award for Trailblazing Reginald "Reg" Gilliam

Gaithersburg, Md., August 14, 2012  — The nation's oldest organization for African-American government relations professionals, the Washington Government Relations Group (WGRG) has renamed its Atlas awards for lobbying and lifetime achievement for Reginald "Reg" Gilliam, a widely respected and trailblazing government relations professional.

In a universal sign of respect and admiration, WGRG membership voted unanimously to rename the award after Mr. Gilliam, who passed away unexpectedly in March at the age of 67. The newly named awards were presented at the Third Annual Tin Cup Awards Dinner at the La Maison Française - French Embassy in Washington, DC.

"Renaming the Atlas Award on behalf of our colleague and friend was an extraordinary way to recognize an extraordinary person. Sodexo was truly fortunate to have benefitted from Reg’s leadership, sense of fairness and expertise that were hallmarks of his remarkable and distinguished career," said Robert Stern, senior vice president and general counsel for Sodexo. "On behalf of Sodexo, I want to thank WGRG for recognizing our colleague in this way."

"Reg meant so much to so many in the governmental relations arena and was certainly deserving of the renaming," said Danielle McBeth, Vice President of WGRG. "We were honored to do it."

WGRG has also extended Reg's Washington Post Legacy Guest Book page http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/washingtonpost/guestbook.aspx?n=reginald-gilliam&pid=157355414&cid=full so that people can continue to share their thoughts and memories of Mr. Gilliam.

Mr. Gilliam was the son of a Pullman railroad car porter who served as commissioner of the U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission during the Carter administration, was a co-founder of the Harvard Black Law Student Association and served as its first chairman. On Capitol Hill, he worked for then-Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) as legislative counsel in 1975. During the mid-1980s, he served as New York State’s director of commercial transportation under Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) before becoming chief of staff for Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio) a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In 1993, Mr. Gilliam joined the lobbying firm Hill and Knowlton, where his clients included the city of Cleveland and the Republic of Botswana. He was senior managing director at Hill and Knowlton before joining Sodexo in 2002. He helped establish the firm’s government affairs office and was a senior vice president at the time of his death.

"As a trailblazer and adventurer, Reg taught me that when taking the road less traveled, achievement is not determined by where you begin or end, it is about the journey – who you meet; who you point in the right direction; who you help along the way -- and, all the other stuff in the middle," said Anita Estell, WGRG Member and Shareholder, Polsinelli Shughart who delivered the Awards Dinner tribute for Gilliam. "As an academic, voracious reader and lover of literature, Reg taught me that the beginning and ending of a story have their place, but the meat, the magic of the manuscript is in the middle, where the plot thickens and the story unfolds with highs and lows that rivet our imaginations and capture our attention."

Gilliam was honored in 1998 with a lifetime achievement award from the Harvard Black Law Association, and WGRG presented him with its President's Award for Leadership and Excellence in 2011.

The Washington Government Relations Group (WGRG) is a non-partisan, independent, volunteer association founded to enrich the careers and leadership abilities of African-American government relations professionals. WGRG members represent corporations, financial institutions, law firms, trade associations and non-profit organizations on a broad range of policy areas in the state, federal, and international arenas.

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