Personnel note: Tim Stapleton joins Gunster lobbying team

Carrie Bradburn/CAPEHART
The former FMA CEO will work as a government affairs consultant in Gunster's Tallahassee and West Palm Beach offices.

Gunster’s lobbying team is heading into the Legislative Session with a new member.

The firm announced Monday that Tim Stapleton is coming aboard as a government affairs consultant working out of the firm’s Tallahassee and West Palm Beach offices.

Stapleton joins the firm with more than 25 years of experience at the intersection of health care policy, politics and business.

As former CEO of the Florida Medical Association, a job he held through early September, Stapleton has unique expertise in advising health care industry clients on an array of public policy issues.

Before rising to CEO, Stapleton led the FMA’s multimillion-dollar public affairs operation.

As such, he is well-versed in spearheading governmental affairs and political operations for large, statewide professional associations, as well as counseling clients in identifying priorities, developing strategic plans and building key relationships to advance their business goals.

U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, a medical doctor who represents Florida’s 2nd Congressional District of Florida, said Stapleton “has that rare combination of political savvy, strategic thinking and a deep understanding of public policy issues that make him a tremendous asset to any organization that he works with. His deep background and understanding of healthcare policy and operations is difficult to duplicate.”

Gunster, one of the oldest and largest full-service business law firms in the state, also announced the addition of Tom Sawyer as an of counsel attorney in its Real Estate and Environment & Land Use practices. He will work out of the firm’s Stuart and West Palm Beach offices.

For the past eight years, Sawyer has worked in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of the General Counsel as Deputy General Counsel for Public Lands. Before that, he spent 25 years in private practice in Stuart.

Sawyer advises clients on all aspects of real property acquisition, development, financing, leasing and environmental permitting, while maintaining a watchful eye over environmental justice issues. Also, Sawyer has been as a title agent since the mid-1980s with deep roots in the title insurance business.

“Sawyer and Stapleton are both true experts in their field and immensely passionate about tackling the most complex matters for our clients,” said Bill Perry, Gunster’s managing shareholder.

“Having individuals with specialized skills in governmental policy across multiple industries is a valuable addition to our firm’s growing talent arsenal, and brings a unique, competitive edge to our firm’s services and capabilities. We look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the new year and beyond.”

Sawyer and Stapleton join the firm after a significant growth year in which the ranks of Gunster attorneys and consultants grew by nearly 20%. This expansion touched most of its 11 offices and included growth in the firm’s key practice areas with expansion in some niche areas as well, including health care, eDiscovery, family office and land use.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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