Former Department of Business and Professional Regulation Chief of Staff Thomas Philpot is joining GrayRobinson’s National Alcohol Beverage Practice as a shareholder.
“Thomas is a consummate professional, and we consider him a pivotal addition to our Nationwide Alcohol Industry Group,” said GrayRobinson shareholder and Regulated Products Section Chair Richard Blau. “As the recent past president of the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators, Thomas is recognized and respected across the country by industry members and regulators alike.”
At GrayRobinson, Philpot will use his understanding of regulations to help clients identify pathways for regulatory compliance, pursue policy changes, and establish connections with public officials.
“In my years as a regulator, I respected the depth of preparation and proficiency that GrayRobinson’s team consistently invested in their representation of client interests, and I appreciated the candor and enthusiasm that accompanied their commitment to achieving client objectives on many complex matters,” Philpot said. “I share these values, and I am honored to bring my experience to such a high-caliber team of professionals who are striving every day to find solutions and deliver results for clients facing regulatory challenges at all levels of government.”
Philpot was DBPR’s Chief of Staff for nearly all of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first term. During that time, he led the regulatory policy initiatives and daily operations of the agency in the licensure and regulation of more than 1.4 million businesses and professionals across more than 30 occupational fields. He was also working in the department as it implemented Florida’s most comprehensive occupational licensing reform package with the passage of the Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act in 2020.
Philpot also served four years as the director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco during a period of substantial growth in Florida’s alcoholic beverage industry. As director, Philpot administered a series of advancements in the Florida beverage law and the operations of the division, including expanding retail premises options for breweries and on-site sales privileges for craft distilleries, extending authorized alcohol delivery channels, increasing the cap on temporary alcoholic beverage permits, reforming excise taxes on passenger vessels and certain beverage products, clarifying special license requirements for caterers and food service establishments, and introducing new license types and other amendments of law that have shaped Florida’s current regulatory system for these products.
In 2021, he was elected national president of NCSLA, representing the conference’s 46 state and local member jurisdictions and supporting multi-state collaboration on regulatory policy and related matters involving multiple state jurisdictions. Philpot was the conference’s first president elected from Florida in nearly 40 years and only the third since the organization’s establishment following the repeal of Prohibition.
Philpot is a member of The Florida Bar. He is a graduate of Class 3 of Leadership Florida Connect, Class V of the Florida Gubernatorial Fellows, and Class 51 of the Florida Criminal Justice Executive Institute Chief Executive Seminar. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Florida and his law degree from Florida State University, where he served as President of the Moot Court Team.