GCSAA hires Helland as director of congressional, federal affairs

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America has hired Robert Helland as director, congressional and federal affairs in an effort to increase industry advocacy efforts amongst policymakers. Helland, who served as GCSAA's Washington-based federal lobbyist from the law firm of Reed Smith LLC for the past 10 years, will work full time out of the Washington, D.C., area.

Helland will work directly for Chava McKeel, GCSAA director of government affairs, to strengthen GCSAA's communication with policymakers in Washington, D.C. He will also support the integration of the association's lobbying efforts with the Grassroots Ambassadors program, which seeks to link superintendents directly with their federal legislators. 

“Helland will serve as an expert resource for the association as it continues to address various current legislative and regulatory issues, such as implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers' Clean Water Rule, which expands federal regulation of surface waters protected under the Clean Water Act,” according to a news release.

He will also continue to help organize and enhance the annual National Golf Day event. 

"We are fortunate to have someone with Bob's background and expertise join the association to add important member value and help take our advocacy efforts to the next level," GCSAA CEO Rhett Evans said in the release. "It is critical that we have a consistent presence on Capitol Hill and in Washington, D.C., to directly promote the benefits of the golf industry, which annually delivers $69 billion in economic impact and more than 2 million jobs."

GCSAA is increasing its advocacy efforts as part of a long-term strategic plan for government affairs.

“[He] has established relationships with Congressional and agency officials that will be valuable to the golf industry,” the news release stated. “He worked in the U.S. Senate on transportation and environmental policy issues for former New Jersey Sen. and Gov. Jon Corzine (2001-2005). Since then, he has spent a decade as a federal lobbyist representing trade association, manufacturing, municipal and non-profit clients.”

Helland holds an undergraduate degree from Trenton State College (now known as The College of New Jersey) and a J.D. degree from Widener University Law School in Pennsylvania. He has authored more than 100 articles on legal, regulatory and legislative issues, including several on behalf of GCSAA.

From its headquarters in Lawrence, Kan., the association provides education, information and representation to nearly 18,000 members in more than 78 countries. The association's mission is to serve its members, advance their profession and enhance the enjoyment, growth and vitality of the game of golf. 

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