Milo Group | Government Affairs | Strategic Counsel | Advocacy & Results | OUR TEAM
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OUR TEAM

Our team of professionals boasts decades of experience in business, politics, and advocacy. We unlock doors for our clients by utilizing our deep understanding of the ever-evolving business landscape and our long-held relationships with policy-makers.

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Michael Colbruno

Partner

Michael Colbruno is a partner in The Milo Group of California. He began his career as a journalist and news editor, before moving on to jobs at all levels of government, and eventually, a successful career in the private sector.

 

For eleven years, Mr. Colbruno served as Vice President of Government Affairs for Clear Channel Outdoor/Northern California. He handled all interactions with government officials at the local, state, and federal level, as well as managing staff, leading development teams, implementing new digital technology strategies, procuring land use entitlements, overseeing legal and public affairs budgets, managing litigation and spearheading community outreach efforts. In his eleven years, he never lost a vote before a government body.

 

Prior to Clear Channel, Mr. Colbruno worked in local and state government as a legislative director and chief-of- staff in the San Francisco Mayor’s office, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and California State Assembly. He was in charge of all legislative activities and interacted between various levels of government. He handled media, staff relations, budget issues, public policy and staffed various committees, as well as serving as the liaison between the San Francisco Mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors. He has regularly served as a delegate at both state and national Democratic Party Conventions.

 

He was appointed by three mayors to serve on the Oakland Planning Commission and was selected to oversee the re-zoning effort in Oakland. In 2013, he was unanimously approved to serve as a member of the Oakland Port Commission, where he serves as Vice President. He has also served as the chair of committees overseeing water quality and public art.

 

In the non-profit world, he has served as chair of the Chabot Space & Science Center, Equality California Board of Directors, founder of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra Corporate Counsel and chair of OakPAC. He was named the “Corporate Citizen of the Year” by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. He is currently a board member of the Merola Opera Program in San Francisco, a Founding Board member of the UC Theatre in Berkeley and the Opera Parallèle Advisory Board.

 

Along with historian Dennis Evanosky, he is co-author of the book “Lives of the Dead” (Stellar Media Group, 2015) and a contributor to “Street Art and the War on Terror” (Rebellion, U.K., 2007).

 

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John Gooding

Partner

John Gooding has owned and operated small businesses his whole career. Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, schooled at Brown University and the University of Pittsburgh, John has lived and worked in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and for the past 27 years in California. In the 1980s and 90s he was President of The GUS Team, LLC.The The, which became Emeryville’s fifth largest company and had business all over California and in Massachusetts. Currently John is owner or co-owner of several consulting and public advocacy firms: Quadric Group, Inc., TransitCommunities, Inc., and the Milo Group of California, Inc.

 

John’s lifelong interests in business, education, and public affairs have been recognized. Several years ago, Alameda County School Superintendent Sheila Jordan presented John with the prestigious “Friend of Education” award. The San Leandro Chamber named John Gooding “Business Person of the Year” in 2009. In the spring of 2010, John was honored along with Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner and Congresswoman Barbara Lee for “work in advancing social equality for all” by the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club.

 

John is President of the Emery Education foundation, Chair of OakPAC, Chair of Government Affairs for the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, Chair of One Voice (Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s PAC), President of the Board of ECAP (Emeryville Community Action Program), a board trustee on the National Equity Project (formerly BayCES), a board member of the Berkeley Film Foundation, and past Chair of the Emeryville Chamber of Commerce.

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NARA DAHLBACKA

Government Relations

Nara comes to the Milo Group after successfully managing the June 2016 re-election campaign for Jane Parker, Chair of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. For the last six years, she worked in research and advocacy for a local land use attorney; bringing clients and projects before local government bodies and agencies. She spent two years at the San Francisco Committee on Jobs as External Affairs Manager and Research Analyst. From 2004-2008 she worked on; managed; and ran several campaigns for ballot measures and candidates in Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco.

 

Nara grew up in Oakland in a family deeply involved in East Bay politics. Her parents Rena Rickles and Glen Dahlbacka have both served in elected office as well as leadership roles in community organizations, and instilled in her a strong desire to “act locally.” Nara served as Councilmember Linda Maio’s appointee to the Berkeley Commission on the Status of Women and the Anti Trafficking Task Force and was Mayor Bates’ appointee to the Animal Care Commission.

 

She has an interest in Theatre as well, earning her BA in Dramatic Arts from UC Santa Barbara and her MFA in Playwrighting from San Francisco State University. She has directed over a dozen plays and had plays read at SFSU, SF Z Space GreenHouse festival, Santa Barbara Playfest, and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as well as winning multiple awards and fellowships at UCSB and SFSU.

 

She is thrilled to come on board and get the chance to come home to the Bay Area and hopes to serve her community and make art in addition to her work at the Milo Group.

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ALISTAIR MCELWEE

Operations

Alistair provides operational support to John and Michael. His experience includes 17 years in operations at The GUS Team, LLC. and two years of oncology nursing at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. Alistair’s education reflects his interests in politics, policy, and healthcare. He studied political science at UC Berkeley before a post graduate degree in public administration in San Francisco. More recently Alistair’s interest in healthcare led him to an advanced nursing degree.

 

Alistair has participated as a volunteer for various political campaigns in Emeryville and for statewide offices since 1986.

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NICOLE DRAKE

Operations Manager

Nicole joins the Milo Group with project management, public policy, legislative, advocacy, research, and organizing experience.  Most recently, she was part of Alameda Point Redevelopers, LLC, the development team working on a 280,000 sf adaptive reuse project of an old Alameda Naval Air Station building.  During her time with Alameda Point Redevelopers, Nicole helped usher the project through the entitlement process and coordinated the design, engineering, and construction teams.

 

Prior to that, Nicole was the Legislative Aide to Berkeley Vice-Mayor and Councilmember Linda Maio, District 1, for nearly 7 years.  She also served as an elected-member on the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board from 2008-2012 and as an appointed-member to Berkeley’s Housing Advisory Commission for two years.  Before working to better Berkeley, Nicole was Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson’s, District 5, Community Coordinator.  Her extensive experience in local government honed her public and legislative affairs, advocacy, policy development, and communications skills that she now brings to bear with the Milo Group.

 

Nicole grew up in Ohio and has called Berkeley home since 2002.  She received her BA in Public Policy from Occidental College in Los Angeles.  Upon her graduation, she coordinated a survey team analyzing Los Angeles’ Living Wage Ordinance while working for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.

 

Nicole and her husband, Ryan Lau, reside in West Berkeley, along with their loving vizslas, hungarian hunting dogs.  She enjoys finding time to cook and practice mindfulness.  She is very excited to be part of the Milo Group team.