GrayRobinson has made two hires to its alcohol regulation team.
The firm announced that former Director of the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s Office of Industry and State Outreach Susan Evans and former Executive Director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Brig. Gen. Bentley Nettles have joined the firm’s National Alcohol Beverage Practice.
The industry veterans each bring more than three decades of experience working in the alcohol beverage regulatory sector with a keen understanding of state and federal alcohol beverage policy and rulemaking standards.
“We are pleased to announce Susan Evans and General Bentley Nettles have joined forces with our National Alcohol Beverage Practice to address the regulatory needs for our clients,” said GrayRobinson Regulated Products Section Chair Richard Blau. “Both Sue and Gen. Nettles have an impressive background and extensive relationships and are highly regarded in this esoteric area of law. Sue’s regulatory experience and industry relationships combined with General Nettles’ deep experience in the mechanics, logistics, and policy objectives that define the regulator-industry member relationship will be immensely valuable to our clients.”
Evans will work as an alcohol beverage consultant in GrayRobinson’s Washington, D.C., office, where she will use her experience working with federal agencies to provide the firm’s clients valuable insight on matters such as federal alcohol labeling, licensing, trade practice and other regulatory compliance responsibilities.
“I’m excited to continue sharing my knowledge of the federal alcohol beverage regulations and to further assist alcohol industry members nationwide,” Evans said. “I’ve long respected the attorneys and advisors at GrayRobinson, and I’m thrilled to join the National Alcohol Beverage Team.”
At TTB, Evans led efforts to enhance relationships with industry members and state government counterparts through education and communication. She began her federal career at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, transitioning from working in the field to ATF’s headquarters D.C., where she worked as director of the alcohol labeling office.
When TTB was created in 2003, she was appointed the first assistant administrator of headquarters operations, overseeing the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division, Scientific Services Division, Regulations and Rulings Division, and International Affairs Division. She later became TTB’s first executive liaison for industry and state matters, serving as an advocate and educator for industry members and state regulators.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Grove City College.
Nettles joins GrayRobinson as an alcohol beverage consultant in the Key West office. He will work with clients on matters involving retail, hospitality, state alcohol labeling, licensing, trade practice and other regulatory compliance responsibilities, with a special focus on Texas regulation and compliance.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the nationally recognized alcohol beverage practice at GrayRobinson,” Nettles said. “Texas is the second largest alcohol beverage market in the United States and home to more than 59,000 alcohol license businesses. Having served within the alcohol beverage space in Texas for many years, I understand what it takes for those in the industry faced with regulatory compliance challenges to navigate their way through the process. I look forward to taking this knowledge and the knowledge of the stellar GrayRobinson team to create innovative opportunities for clients.”
Nettles previously served as director of TABC, successfully implementing several historic legislative improvements during his tenure. Nettles also led the consolidation of multiple license and permit types, helped develop new standards simplifying the process for malt beverage manufacturers to enter the industry, and implemented efficiencies in policy and rulemaking to improve transparency and ensure stakeholder participation.
Nettles received his master’s degree in homeland security from the Naval Postgraduate School, his law degree from the South Texas College of Law Houston, and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M University. He is licensed to practice law in Texas and Louisiana.
He served in the Texas Army National Guard and did a military fellowship in national security policy at Tufts University.
During his service with the Texas Army National Guard, Nettles received the Legion of Merit, Double Bronze Star Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and Double Stars Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal.