Andrew Cates (CLO) literally wrote the book that governs state politics. He is the author of Texas Ethics Laws Annotated (www.andrewcates.com/shop), the first and only complete legal annotation of campaign finance and lobby laws in Texas, now in the 5th edition. Cates is also a contributing author for the Texas Legislative Law Handbook (2nd edition available at www.txlegelaw.com). Andrew now uses his unparalleled understating of the rules to give startups an edge.
Cates is a startup entrepreneur as well. He founded and is the CEO of Sine Die Solutions, a software platform that transforms the advocacy and civic engagement process for state-level political organizations.
Andrew continues to work with clients including associations, corporations, and nonprofits in industries with broad interests nationally and in his home state of Texas. Cates provides legal counsel as Owner of Cates Legal Group PLLC to candidates, political action committees and nonprofits in local, state, and federal election and campaign law.
In the years leading up to this practice, Andrew spent three years at the Texas Capitol working for various state representatives and clerking the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence, lobbied for solar energy and healthcare clients, and worked in various areas of the law including mergers & acquisitions, healthcare, criminal prosecution, and criminal defense.
Cates is a Founding Member and Board Member for the State Bar of Texas Legislative & Campaign Law Section, where he spearheaded the petition to create the nation’s first legal specialization in Legislative & Campaign Law.
West McKee (CEO) wants your idea to grow, and he knows that the deck is often stacked against us. West is a successful political consultant and entrepreneur. He built a national network by running more than 45 political campaigns across the country before putting down roots in Austin.
Political contacts, colleagues, and friends would turn to West when they ran into government regulatory issues. Knowing the inside political game, he helped resolve their obstacles so their businesses could grow.
Through his own experience of owning and operating startups in communications and consumer automotive, it was apparent that companies like his needed an ally to help navigate and even utilize government regulations. So he built a team of former government insiders he knew could best protect and optimize regulations for the startup community.
McKee is known nationally for leading races from Governor to city government, including running current U.S. Senator Martha McSally’s successful 2014 & 2016 congressional campaigns.
A lifelong learner, West has an overactive fascination with new technologies and out-of-left-field projects.
West lives with his awesome wife in Austin, Texas.
Dustin Cox (CSO) is a ferocious researcher. For years he kept house committees untangled from government regulations. Now in the private sector, Dustin has proven his ability to find opportunities and avoid disasters.
Cox has raised 60 million in government funding for his clients. He has guided companies through crisis situations and eliminates business-killing legislation. On one incredible occasion, he created a governmental department to stabilize an entire industry.
Dustin completed his MBA at Texas State University so he may better understand our clients’ needs and connect them with governmental opportunities.
It is an understatement to say Dustin believes in a good education. He currently serves as Chairman of the Texas Charter School Association Conference Committee as well as on the board of the Wesley School in Austin. He cut his teeth in the Texas Legislature as committee clerk for the Texas House Committee on Public Education. He later clerked for the Director of External Relations for one of Texas’ largest charter school operators, Harmony Public Schools.
Dustin and his wife, Regina live in Austin, TX with their two children Leighton (7), and Graham (5) and dog, Hank Sinatra. The family enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, biking the greenbelt, and enjoying Zilker park. They frequent the third coast often with trips to the beach, and offshore fishing trips and extended family in Corpus Christi.
Chris J. Sanchez (COO) is a longtime legislative professional with decades of experience in statehouses and nationally. During this time, he built roadmaps to success in the most senior levels of government, including with the former Chairman of the prestigious Sunset Advisory Commission and a two-time House Appropriations subcommittee Chairman.
Following the 2017 session, he transitioned his knowledge of the legislative process, relationships, and skill set into the private sector and started the well-known Apex Public Affairs, a full-service government relations firm.
Sanchez was key in developing BRIEF in 2020 as a Founder and Senior Partner. His knowledge of the inner workings of state agencies has made him the go-to-guy when you need to decode the operational details of the state bureaucracy. Now he uses his skills to benefit the startup community rather than politicians. During his career, Sanchez successfully passed legislation related to state taxes, emerging technology, and heavily regulated industries.
Chris J. Sanchez is a 2006 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.