March 7, 2015

As deputy staff director for the House Rules Committee under Chairman Pete Sessions, Towner French, 36, helped to make countless determinations about how various bills should proceed on the House floor. Last month, French, who spent 15 years on the Hill, took his deep understanding of the legislative process—and his insights into the House Republican leadership—to Capitol Counsel, a fast-rising K Street lobby shop with clients including Walmart, ExxonMobil, and JPMorgan Chase. Born in Washington and raised in nearby Germantown, Maryland, French tells me that growing up in the metro area had an impact on him. “I got indoctrinated in more political talk out of the gate than most others would,” he says. As a principal at Capitol Counsel, French will begin with a focus on health care, but he adds that he intends to play the field. “It’s always been pretty fun for me to do a vast variety of work.”

—Lucia Graves