Senior Director, 5G and External Affairs
Robert Blair is Senior Director for 5G and External Affairs for Microsoft Corporation, where he works with partners to develop and achieve Microsoft’s policies on 5G and other advanced technologies.
Before joining Microsoft, Mr. Blair served in the federal executive and legislative branches for more than two decades. Most recently he was the Director of Policy and Strategic Planning at the Department of Commerce, where he led policy development and execution, including initiatives for advanced technology, telecommunications and national security.
Mr. Blair previously was the United States Special Representative for International Telecommunications Policy and Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff of the White House. Before the White House, Mr. Blair was the Associate Director for Defense Programs at the Office of Management and Budget, overseeing $1.3 trillion of defense, veterans, development and foreign policy programs. Mr. Blair served 14 years on the staff of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, leading two subcommittees as staff director, and began his service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Central African Republic.
Mr. Blair is a graduate of Cornell University, Tufts University, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He has received the Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State, and the Decoration for Distinguished Civilian Service from the Department of the Army.
Corporate Vice President of Government Relations
Jonathan Hoganson is Corporate Vice President, Government Relations and Regulatory Affairs at AMD and has responsibility for developing the corporate strategy and leading the company’s key interactions with officials in the U.S. government. Jon manages the government relations team and has oversight for the federal, state and local lobbying efforts in the U.S., managing outside consultants, AMD’s PAC and supporting the company’s joint research efforts with federal agencies.
Prior to joining AMD in 2020, he was with Micron Technology, Inc. and served as Managing Director, Government Affairs for both national and international efforts and before that was a Principal with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc. A veteran of many political campaigns, Jon also served as the Policy Director for the House Democratic Caucus for then Chairman Rahm Emanuel.
Associate Vice President for Federal Relations
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Julia Jester began at AAU in January 2020. Her primary responsibilities as Associate Vice President for Federal Relations include policies and funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and research integrity. She shares responsibility for other higher education and research policy issues related to American innovation & competitiveness and scientific openness & security.
Before joining AAU, Julia served as the Congressional Liaison Officer at the U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau of the Department of Interior. Prior to USGS, she led the congressional affairs team at the National Science Foundation for several years. On Capitol Hill, she served as staff director of the Subcommittee on Technology of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and spent six years on the personal staff of Congressman Vernon Ehlers of Grand Rapids, MI.
Julia earned her doctorate in Applied Science and masters and bachelor’s in chemistry from the College of William and Mary.
Director R&D Budget and Policy Program
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Hourihan is the director of the R&D Budget and Policy Program for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), where he is a regular source of information and insight on past, present, and future science budgets for policymakers and the science community. He is a frequent speaker on these topics before academic, industry, government, and international audiences, and his analyses have been featured in major media including the Wall Street Journal, Nature, The Atlantic, Forbes, The Hill, Politico, Scientific American, Eos, Vox, Bloomberg, and elsewhere. He has served in his current position since 2011.
Prior to joining AAAS, he served as a clean energy policy analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF). While at ITIF, he tracked federal energy R&D investments and innovation activities, and authored several white papers and policy briefs exploring the role of innovation in solving the nation’s energy and climate challenges. Previously, he served as Jan Schori Fellow at the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, a coalition of energy firms and utilities working to engage policymakers for market-based solutions to sustainable energy development and climate change.
As a student, he interned with the AAAS Center for Science, Technology and Congress, now the Office of Government Relations. He earned a masters degree in public policy with a focus on science and technology policy at George Mason University, and a B.A. in journalism from Ithaca College.
Director of Government Affairs
Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA)
Stewart Barber is director of government affairs at SIA, where she works with Congress, the White House, and federal agencies to advance the industry’s policy priorities.
Before joining SIA, Barber served as senior vice president of government affairs at Corley Consulting, where she led congressional engagement on issues such as appropriations, trade, workforce, and supply chain. She also served as the executive director of the Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI), executing a comprehensive strategy to secure federal research funding and invest in innovation.
Barber previously worked as special assistant to the president and director of international initiatives and outreach for the Office of Economic Initiatives and Entrepreneurship (OEI) at the White House. She has also served in government roles as deputy assistant United States trade representative for intergovernmental and public engagement in the office of the United States Trade Representative and as legislative staff for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
Originally from Atlanta, Stewart received a B.A. in English and Government from Wofford College.