Davis is a 20-year veteran of the firm and high-profile public affairs campaigns in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas— Hill+Knowlton Strategies is elevating Merrill Davis, a 23-year veteran of the H+K family of companies and a highly skilled public affairs and communications strategist, to lead its office in Austin, Texas.

“For two decades, and numerous legislative and election cycles, Merrill has built a reputation for providing sound public affairs and strategic communications counsel to clients in Texas and beyond, particularly in the energy and health sectors,” said Beth Balsam, H+K U.S. president and CEO. “We’re fortunate to have a proven leader, with deep knowledge of our people, our clients and the Austin and Texas landscapes, stepping in as 2016 gets underway.”

Davis started her career in the Austin office of Public Strategies, now part of the H+K family, playing a role in some of the highest-profile public affairs campaigns in Texas. Over the years, she has handled multi-million dollar public affairs campaigns and complicated issues management projects across multiple legislative sessions, in addition to corporate reputation and communication engagements. She did her undergraduate work in political science and policy studies at Rice University, and attended the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Having supported the growth of the company and our clients for so long, in Austin and throughout Texas, I’m pleased to be able to hit the ground running,” Davis said.“The industry has evolved over my time here, and our approach has become more research-infused, data-driven and content-forward, but one constant has been the caliber of our people. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the brightest minds in the business, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to help chart the path ahead for this incredible team.”

Davis takes over the role from Allison Knaupe, also a 20-year firm veteran, who announced her decision at the beginning of the year to step down to spend more time with her family.

“It’s fitting that the one thing prompting Allison to move on to her next chapter is the one thing to which she’s even more fiercely loyal than the firm and her colleagues: Her family,” Balsam said. “We appreciate all of Allison’s many contributions, at Public Strategies and then at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and are proud to call her our newest H+K alumna.”

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