Meet the team
Chad Heywood, Partner
Chad Heywood provides clients strategic public affairs advice on issue advocacy, crisis communications, and general strategic consulting. An expert in grassroots advocacy, and data targeting, Heywood has led campaigns at every political level.
Prior to founding Criterion Public Affairs, Chad was Executive Director of the Arizona Republican Party. During his tenure the Republican Party in Arizona has won every statewide office, won back Arizona’s Republican majority in the US House, strengthened its relationship with Arizona’s diverse ethnic communities, led the nation in the use of data and technology, and doubled its previous fundraising numbers. The Arizona Capitol Times nominated Chad for top political operative in 2014 and 2015.
Prior to his involvement in politics, Chad worked as a sales and marketing professional, training sales teams in direct sales, and presenting at marketing and trade shows. Chad took his leadership and persuasion experience into the field of politics where he began his career as a Congressional staffer and director of outreach for then-Representative Jeff Flake. Chad has managed and consulted on numerous federal, state, local, and issue campaigns, as well as serving as an elected grassroots chairman in the Republican Party. In addition to his public affairs work, Chad is involved in guest teaching, career coaching/mentoring, and public speaking throughout the state of Arizona.
Chad is a community connector involved in education, business, and non-profit work. He has served on the board of EduPrizeSchools.
Jon Seaton, Partner
Jon Seaton is a partner with Camelback Strategy Group, a full service political consulting and public affairs firm. Jon strives to provide clients with focused and personalized strategic counsel, direct voter contact, and campaign management.
Jon has extensive campaign and grassroots experience across the country. Jon’s work has included several stints as a regional political director with trade associations ranging from Associated Builders and Contractors, National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Association of REALTORS®.
Jon’s background is in grassroots politics, having worked for various campaigns and trade associations over the last 20 years. Most recently, Jon has worked in Arizona as a senior advisor to the Arizona Republican Party, the chief strategist for the Independent Expenditure effort on behalf of Senator John McCain’s 2016 re-election, and providing hands on grassroots and strategic counsel to numerous corporate grassroots and public affairs clients.
Jon worked for Senator John McCain’s Presidential Campaign, filling a variety of roles including National Field Director, Iowa Caucus Director, and, ultimately, Regional Campaign Manager for Ohio and Pennsylvania. As a RCM, Jon ran a regional office and oversaw all grassroots activities, communication strategies, finance events and candidate travel in these two battleground states.
Jon also served as Associate Director of Political Affairs in the George W. Bush White House. In this role, Jon was the chief liaison between the White House and all Republican campaigns, state party’s and elected officials within his 13-state region. In this role, Jon was the point person for all Presidential and senior administration travel into his region, which included writing political briefings and working with all relevant elected officials.
Jon is a 1997 graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Born and raised in Berkeley, CA, he now lives in Alexandria, VA with his wife, Kristina Seppala and their daughters, Annabelle Marie and Gabrielle Lynn.
Matt Kenney, Vice President
Matt Kenney serves as Camelback Strategy Group’s Vice President. As a senior member of Camelback’s leadership team, Kenney leads Camelbacks sprawling field operation and provide hands-on consulting to Camelback’s political clients.
A top operative in Arizona, Kenney brings the experience gained through his work at the AZGOP, as well as his honorable service in the United States Army, to Camelback’s clients.
Before entering politics, Matt served as an infantry officer in the United States Army and is an Iraq War Veteran. He was honorably discharged as a Captain after serving 6 years. He earned his bachelors and law degree from ASU. He also holds professional certificates in Public Policy Development and International Relations Theory.
Matt has big plans for Camelback Strategy group. “We are building a strong and enduring place for campaigns and conservative causes to get exceptional strategic advice and grassroots advocacy. And we are just getting started,” said Kenney.
Matt lives in Phoenix with his wife, Brittany, and their two daughters, Eden and Rowen. “They are my life,” says Kenney.
Matthew Pagano, Field Director
Matthew Pagano serves as Field Director at Camelback Strategy Group.
Matt is a seasoned political professional with a deep background in campaigns, elections, and public advocacy across the country. He has served as Political Director, Victory Director and Executive Director roles spanning Virginia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Iowa, Nevada and Arizona. He has worked with state Republican Parties, Political Action Committees and state and national party committees as a manager and senior-level staffer.
Over the last five election cycles, Matt has established a proven background of running cutting edge field and voter contact programs, often specializing in high-performing programs that needed to be stood up and implemented quickly, with very little lead time. Programs that he has founded and run have helped flip or hold multiple legislative chambers in several states.
Matt worked as the U.S. House of Representatives as Outreach Director. And most recently, he served as the Arizona State Director for the Republican National Committee during the 2018 cycle. This was the first cycle in which Arizona had a full and robust field program; Matt oversaw the implementation of this multi-million dollar effort in a heavily targeted, increasingly competitive environment.
Matt enjoys hiking, fishing, kayaking and camping in the outdoors in his free time.
Brandon Michael Urness, Senior Account Manager
Brandon Michael Urness is a Senior Account Manager at Camelback Strategy Group where he advocates for corporate and non-profit clients.
Prior to joining Camelback Strategy Group, Brandon worked at the Arizona Republican Party and served a two year ecclesiastical mission in Mongolia. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University where he studied Political Science, interned for U.S Congress and the Arizona Supreme Court. In 2018 he was awarded a Title VIII Grant from the Department of State to study Ukrainian language. In 2019 Brandon served as an official International Election Observer in Kiev for the Ukrainian Presidential election and taught intensive Ukrainian language at ASU’s Melikian Center Critical Languages Institute.
Jared Gorshe, Data Director
Jared Gorshe, a native Arizonan, is a grassroots coalition builder and political data consultant. His efforts have been instrumental in the success of numerous Republican-led efforts by providing individualized, insightful data-driven campaign strategy and messaging.
While living in Flagstaff, Jared became an integral part of Republican Party discourse, taking on community organizing and grassroots activism in Rural Arizona. As Vice-Chairman of the Coconino County Republican Party, he worked closely with local Republicans and politicians to organize and win crucial elections.
In 2014 Jared was a field organizer for the Tobin for Congress Campaign and worked on several Arizona State House and Senate races. After moving back to Phoenix in 2016, Jared deployed to Iowa for the Republican Presidential Primary caucuses. He went on to manage a congressional campaign in Arizona’s First Congressional District and then joined Arizona Grassroots Action. After the election, Jared worked for Governor Ducey in the Office of Boards and Commissions. Most recently, he worked as the Data Director on numerous projects including No on Prop 127 and other Republican campaigns.
Jared Gorshe is a proud Northern Arizona University graduate, with degrees in Political science, Criminal Justice and an MPA. Jared is a former member of the Arizona Board of Regents. He was appointed by Governor Ducey in 2015 as the Student Regent and served as the Board’s Assistant Treasurer.