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Darrell L. Conner

Government Affairs Counselor
+1.202.661.6220
Fax +1.202.778.9100

Mr. Conner is a government affairs counselor in the Public Policy and Law practice group at K&L Gates, one of the largest policy groups in the United States.  He has nearly 25 years of experience working with Congress and the executive branch, experience that he leverages to provide advice to clients on effectively managing their government and regulatory affairs, in particular helping clients by create alignment between their objectives and government policies.

Mr. Conner’s practice focuses on federal government relations, with a substantive focus on transportation (with a specialty in maritime), energy and resource management.  He represents clients on a range of matters, including:

  • Matters relating to domestic and international shipping;
  • Programs relating to military sealift, including the Maritime Security Program;
  • Management of federal fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act;
  • Regulation of motor vehicles, including light and medium-duty trailers;
  • Policies relating to domestic energy, including specifically transportation of energy;
  • Programs related to transportation infrastructure;
  • Issues involving port development and maritime security;
  • Development of international trade agreements and implementing legislation; and
  • Securing federal appropriations and federal program funding.

Mr. Conner has extensive legislative experience in general public policy analysis and planning, strategic counseling, and coalition management and coordination.  He also assists clients in incorporating public policy into their strategic planning, integrating public relations into their legal and advocacy activities, and legislative drafting.
His principal representations include fishermen and other fishery stakeholders, cargo and passenger vessel operators, a ship classification society, transportation product manufacturers and service providers, energy companies, and a leading coalition of U.S. maritime interests.

He has worked with the Department of Transportation (including the office of the Secretary, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Maritime Administration), the Department of Commerce (specifically, the office of the Secretary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Marine Fisheries Service), the Department of Homeland Security (U.S. Coast Guard), and the Department of Defense.

Mr. Conner is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Propeller Club of the United States and is a past president of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the International Propeller Club.

Mr. Conner served as a staff assistant for the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries of the U.S. House of Representatives under its ranking member, Congressman Bob Davis (R-MI).

Speaking Engagements

  • “Maritime Sector Opportunities,” Arctic Development Conference, Washington, D.C., October 6, 2015
  • “The Jones Act Under Attack,” Mid-Atlantic Waterways Conference, Portsmouth, VA, April 21, 2015
  • “State of the Jones Act,” The American Waterways Operators Spring Convention, April 14, 2015
  • “Government Affairs Update,” National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Convention, New Orleans, LA, February 11, 2015
  • “America’s Energy Renaissance – Imports to Exports: How U.S. Policy is Evolving as America Becomes More Energy Independent,” International Oil & Gas Seminar, Houston, TX, October 21, 2014
  • “The Jones Act: A Commercial and Public Policy Success,” The International Propeller Club of the United States Convention, Louisville, KY, October 16, 2014
  • “Crude by Water – Jones Act Shipping,” Argus North American Crude Transportation Summit, June 3, 2014
  • “State of the Jones Act,” Shipbuilders Council of America Annual Meeting, May 2, 2014
  • “State of the Jones Act,” The American Waterways Operators Spring Convention, April 1, 2014
  • “State of the Jones Act,” Western Dredging Association, Eastern Chapter Annual Meeting, Virginia Beach, VA, October 15, 2013
  • “America’s Energy Renaissance: Changing Energy Transportation Dynamics in the U.S.,” Connecticut Maritime Association Shipping 2013, March 20, 2013
  • “Regulatory Update,” National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Convention, Charleston, SC, February 20, 2013
  • “Carrying It To Congress,” National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Convention, Fort Worth, TX, February 9, 2012
  • “American Maritime Partnership,” Western Dredging Association, Eastern Chapter Annual Meeting, Virginia Beach, VA, October 12, 2011
  • “Perspectives on Connecting with Policymakers,” American Association of Port Authorities 2011 Public Relations Seminar: Communicating the Importance of Infrastructure Investment, Savannah, GA, June 22, 2011
  • “Regulatory Update,” National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Convention, Albuquerque, NM, February 24, 2011
  • “Anti-establishment Sentiment and the Rise in Populism,” Keynote Address, Environmental Defense Fund Oceans Program Retreat, Galveston, TX, October 7, 2010
  • “Regulatory Update,” National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Convention, Reno, NV, February 4, 2010
  • “Carrying It To Congress,” National Association of Trailer Manufacturers Convention, Charleston, SC, February 28, 2009
  • “The U.S. Presidency and Maritime Policy - Election 2008 Preview,” The International Propeller Club of the United States Convention, Athens, Greece, October 3, 2007
  • “Marine Highways and Maritime Security: Challenges and Opportunities in American Shipping’s New Era of Revitalization,” U.S. Maritime Industry National Town Meeting, Washington, DC, September 14, 2007

Additional Information

Publications
  • NHTSA Issues Guidance of Civil Penalty Considerations, Tracks, May/June 2016
  • 2015: A Year of Success for NATM in Washington, D.C., Tracks, March/April 2016
  • House of Representatives Approves Tandem Delivery Policy, Tracks, January/February 2016
  • Congress Inches Forward on Highway Bill Extension, Tracks, September/October 2015
  • NHTSA Hosts “Retooling Recalls” Symposium, Tracks, July/August 2015
  • NHTSA’s Aggressive Enforcement Activities Continue, Tracks, May/June 2015
  • Washington D.C. Transportation Policy Leaders, Tracks, March/April 2015
  • Changing Landscape in 2015 Following Federal Elections – Implications for NATM and Its Members, Tracks, January/February 2015
  • NATM Leads Industry Engagement on Tire Tariffs, Tracks, November/December 2014
  • Participants React to NATM Hill Day and Trailer Roundup, Tracks, July/August 2014
  • Get to Know Trailer Industry Champions, Tracks, May/June 2014
  • Government Affairs Update: A Look Back at Successes and Ahead to Opportunities, Tracks, March/April 2014
  • Can Congress Pass a Transportation Bill in 2014?, Tracks, January/February 2014
  • Congress Returns from Recess to Tackle Major Issues, Tracks, October/November 2013
  • Mid-year Legislative and Regulatory Update, Tracks, August/September 2013
  • NATM Convention Showcases Impact of Government Affairs Program, Tracks, April/May 2013
  • The Dawn of the 113th Congress, Tracks, February/March 2013
  • The Era of Divided Government Continues, Tracks, December 2012/January 2013
  • ’Fiscal Cliff’ Looms over Policymakers, Tracks, October/November 2012
  • What’s the Next Act in Health Care? Supreme Court Upholds Individual Mandate in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Tracks, August/September 2012
  • NATM Carries its Message to Congress and Beyond: Pro-Active Engagement in 2011 Positions Association for Continued Success in 2012, Tracks, June/July 2012
  • Driving the Government Relations Agenda Forward, Tracks, February/March 2012
  • Driving Slowly Towards a NHTSA Bill, Tracks, October/November 2011
  • Government Relations as a Team Sport, Tracks Special Edition: Trailer Dealer Issue, Fall 2011
  • NHTSA and EPA Drive Fuel Economy Standards Forward, Tracks, August/September 2011
  • NATM Board Carries Industry’s Voice to Washington, DC, Tracks, June/July 2011
  • Washington’s Tax Reform Debate: Be Prepared, Be Involved, Tracks, April/May 2011
  • New Congress Brings New Priorities – Budget and Fiscal Austerity Dominate Debate, Above Board K&L Gates Maritime Newsletter, Spring 2011
  • Iran Sanctions, Above Board K&L Gates Maritime Newsletter, Spring 2011
  • A Commitment to Safety – Making NATM’s Compliance Verification An Asset in Washington, DC, Tracks Special Edition: Trailer Dealer Issue, Spring 2011
  • Believe the System in Washington, DC is Broken? Think Again., Tracks, February/March 2011
  • A Mid-Term Change of Course, Tracks, December 2010/January 2011
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Winter 2010
  • Winds of Change, Again, in Washington, Tracks, October/November 2010
  • NATM Engages Congress on Vehicle Safety Legislation, Tracks, August/September 2010
  • Auto Industry Faces New Regulatory Environment as the U.S. Government Accelerates Debate on Vehicle Safety, K&L Gates Global Government Solutions 2010: Mid-Year Outlook, July 2010
  • Liner Shipping Competition Rules Receive Attention Worldwide, K&L Gates Global Government Solutions 2010: Mid-Year Outlook, July 2010
  • Vehicle Safety Efforts Accelerate in Washington, Tracks, June/July 2010
  • Toyota Recall May Accelerate Industry Regulation, Tracks, April/May 2010
  • A View from Washington – Continued Political and Economic Uncertainty Abounds, Tracks, February/March 2010
  • Health Care Debate Sucks Oxygen From Congressional Air, Tracks, December 2009/January 2010
  • SBA Dealer Floor Plan Financing Pilot Program Experiencing Growing Pains, Tracks, October/November 2009
  • Government Affairs Update, Tracks, August/September 2009
  • The Economy, Stupid, Tracks, April/May 2009
  • … And they’re off: New Leadership Takes Reins, Focuses on New Priorities, Tracks, February/March 2009
  • Prepared for Change, Tracks, December 2008/January 2009
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Winter 2010
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Fall 2010
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Summer 2010
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Spring 2010
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Winter 2009
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Fall 2009
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Summer 2009
  • Legislative Outlook: 111th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Spring 2009
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Winter 2008
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Fall 2008
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Summer 2008
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, Second Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Spring 2008
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Winter 2007
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Fall 2007
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Summer 2007
  • Legislative Outlook: 110th Congress, First Session, The Propeller Club Quarterly, Spring 2007
Maritime
  • Assisting a major cruise shipping company obtain legislation permitting the company to operate U.S.-flag ships in coastwise service, creating thousands of American jobs and generating millions of dollars in economic activity.
  • Helping a major tanker operator obtain legislation permitting long-term participation in the Maritime Security Program for its U.S.-flag tankers.
  • Representing the largest U.S. maritime coalition in history in successfully defending the maritime cabotage laws.
  • Assisting a major cruise line obtain legal authority, through legislation and regulation, that permits increased flexibility in hiring of certain crew on board its U.S.-flag vessels.
  • Advising a major container shipping company and a major tank vessel operator regarding their U.S.-flag operations and related Department of Defense sealift capabilities.
  • Represented maritime clients in successfully persuading Congress to appropriate funding for the Title XI shipbuilding loan guarantee program.
  • Assisted in the development and enactment of a multi-year, multi-million dollar program for dual use military-commercial sealift capability with the U.S. Transportation Command.
  • Worked closely with maritime regulatory agency to obtain necessary approvals for the transfers of Maritime Security Program agreements to major container shipping company.
  • Advising a major ship classification society on various public policy matters.
Energy
  • Advising a U.S. offshore energy company on legislative and regulatory matters related to production of oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf of the U.S.
  • Counseling maritime companies and associations on impacts of increased crude oil and natural gas production in the U.S.
  • Assisted coalition in obtaining legislation permitting the export of Alaska North Slope crude oil.
Transportation
  • Assisted a major Class I railroad in obtaining approximately $4 million that was earmarked for the development and deployment of positive train control systems designed to improve safety and security, as well as productivity, for rail operations.
  • Counseling to major rail supplier regarding legislative and regulatory efforts to increase the use of technologies such as communications-based train control systems and electronically-controlled pneumatic braking systems.
  • Serving as primary outside government relations advisor to trailer manufacturing trade organization.
Fisheries
  • Helping a West Coast fisherman’s association defeat legislative efforts to grant harvesting quota shares to fish processors and to obtain language regarding ongoing efforts to rationalize the fishery.
  • Representing a major conservation organization on efforts to improve fisheries management and conservation provisions, including specifically the implementation of catch share programs.
  • Assisting conservation interests in defeating legislative initiatives in appropriations and authorizing bills that could result in overfishing or overcapitalizing in U.S. fisheries.
  • Providing policy and political advice to fishermen and conservation organizations regarding fisheries management and conservation measures, including specifically measures contained in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.