The Southern Group expands into North Carolina

Kevin Wilkinson 2024 Color copy
The largest lobby shop in the Southeast is already in Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. Now it's ready to be a Tar Heel.

The Southern Group, the largest lobbying team in the Southeast, is expanding its operations to include North Carolina.

The lobby shop has tapped North Carolina lobbying veteran Kevin Wilkinson to lead its expansion in the Tar Heel State.

Wilkinson often lands on lists naming the most powerful lobbyists in North Carolina, and has extensive experience working in and around Raleigh politics. Southern Group leadership described Wilkinson as someone who has chops not just on politics or policy, but both. He has worked in government roles as well as his work as a lobbyist for various top-performing private-sector clients.

“The Southern Group team is all about winning for clients, and are simply the best at what we do,” said Rachel Cone, managing partner of The Southern Group’s Tallahassee Office and head of the firm’s expansion efforts. “We believe Kevin embodies that same ethos, which is why we are thrilled to set up shop with him in a very critical state.”

The Southern Group identified an opportunity in North Carolina, particularly through its access to the booming Research Triangle in the Raleigh/Durham and Chapel Hill area. It’s home to three major universities, including North Carolina State, Duke, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Here, the Southern Group has access to any number of clients in the higher education, college sports, tech, startup, automotive and communication spaces, among others.

Outside the capital city and surrounding areas, North Carolina is home to a variety of different types of communities, from mountain towns to coastal enclaves. Combined, the state attracts residents, businesses and tourists from across the globe.

“I’m thrilled to plant The Southern Group flag in Raleigh and look forward to building the top lobbying firm in our state. It’s my goal to create a new kind of lobbying shop in Raleigh; one that offers a one-stop turnkey solution for any client that has broad needs throughout the executive and legislative branches of government,” Wilkinson said.

“The Southern Group pioneered this approach in other states, and now we’ll have that same capability in North Carolina.”

North Carolina has the third largest economy in the Southeast, which is about half the size of Florida’s and only slightly smaller than neighboring Georgia.

The Southern Group’s presence in the Tar Heel State will add to the firm’s already robust presence, including more than 50 lobbyists in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama.

About 25 years old, the Southern Group strives to be an innovator and leader in the lobbying industry and has amassed a client base of more than 500 businesses and organizations.

The firm plans to aggressively grow its new team in North Carolina and expects to have more announcements in the coming months.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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