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Associated Industries Announces New Political Team

July 8, 2003

Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) has retained The Windsor Group, a Tallahassee consulting firm, to run the association’s political operations unit.

The Windsor Group was founded by Barney Bishop, a former executive director of the Democratic Party of Florida, who has spent 25 years in the state’s capital building a stellar reputation as a lobbyist and political expert for both political parties. He was recently appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to the Board of Trustees of Florida A&M University. Bishop has been a political and lobbying consultant to AIF for four years. Doug Bailey, The Windsor Group’s executive vice president, ran AIF’s reapportionment project in 2002, and played a major role on the association’s 2002 election team.

 “Barney Bishop and Doug Bailey are being brought in to upgrade, modernize, and take to the next level the premier business political operations program in Florida that was started 30 years ago,” according to Jon L. Shebel, AIF’s president & CEO, who led AIF into the political arena in 1973, which was the first time a business group in Florida had established a political organization.

“The Windsor Group is favorably positioned to step in and contribute immediately to the association's political operations,” said Bishop. “I think we all feel that this collaboration will provide an immense boost to the political success of the state’s business community.”

Shebel explained that The Windsor Group team would be able to expand on the framework started by AIF in 1973 with the creation of the state’s first political action committee for the business community. The Windsor Group will continue to provide governmental affairs and political-operations services to AIF and its members, and will also contribute to the association’s data collection, analysis, and dissemination effort, which is the premier program of its kind in the nation.

“AIF was the first statewide association to realize that success in governmental affairs required an expansion into the political arena,” said Shebel. “The political action committee was the first step. Since 1973 AIF has built the state’s premier political operations unit, and now Barney and Doug will take us to the next level.” 

Associated Industries of Florida is a statewide employers association representing 11,000 businesses that range from large multinational corporations to small family-owned enterprises.  AIF is commonly known as “The Voice of Florida Business.”