R.D. Sewald – Co-founder and Principal
Prior to founding Sewald Hanfling in 2012, RD Sewald was the Senior Strategic Advisor and Director of Government Affairs for Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper. Sewald served as one of the Governor’s primary relationship managers with respect to state and local elected officials, government agencies, community boards, community stakeholders, private stakeholders, county commissioners, Mayor’s offices and city legislative affairs. He helped to ensure that the Governor and the administration’s legislation and policy priorities received attention at the state and local level. He was responsible for maintaining the executive office’s relationship with the state legislature as well as outreach to various community organizations including local elected officials, labor and union groups.
Sewald has more than 20 years of experience in state and local government with an emphasis on public policy and political management. Prior to joining the Governor’s office, Sewald was Director of Legislative Services and City Council Liaison for then-Denver Mayor Hickenlooper. In this role he monitored and evaluated legislative actions for the administration and was responsible for the administration’s legislative team that included neighborhoods, boards and commissions and state and local legislative affairs.
Before his mayoral appointment, Sewald was the Director of Government and Community Affairs for the Denver Auditor’s Office, appointed by Auditor Dennis Gallagher. He also was the Deputy Director of Denver’s Planning Department and Zoning Enforcement for the Webb Administration and worked as Director of Neighborhood Inspection Services from 1998 to 2002.
Sewald’s political experience includes work on several campaigns, including Roy Romer for Colorado Governor in 1994, Wellington Webb for Denver Mayor in 1995, Denis Gallagher for Denver Auditor in 2003, Hickenlooper for Denver Mayor in 2007 and Hickenlooper for Colorado Governor in 2010 and 2014. In 2014 Sewald was tapped as Political Director for Latino Outreach for the state and ran the “Get Out The Vote” effort in the last 60 days of the campaign.
Josh Hanfling – Co-founder and Principal
Hanfling has been active in the Colorado political, business and non-profit communities since 1993. Prior to co-founding Sewald Hanfling, Hanfling served as the founding CEO of an international foundation focused on health, education and culture. Prior to that, he was CEO of Qube Visual, a Denver based sign and Graphics Company, which he founded in 2001 and sold in 2012. He stepped down as CEO to run for the Colorado State House in 2008.
Since moving to Denver from Washington D.C. in 1992, Hanfling has been active with a number of non-profits, political organizations and committees. Hanfling was involved at a high level with John Hickenlooper’s run for Mayor and Governor and Michael Hancock’s race for Mayor. He serves on the boards of the Denver Justice Council, Friends of the Denver Fire Department, The Denver Health Foundation and Democrats for Education Reform. Past boards include The Denver Hospice, National Jewish Health, Concerts for Kids, The American Transplant Foundation and a number of other community organizations.
Hanfling founded his first business, a wood recycling company, while in college and has built or revitalized a number of companies since that time. He is the founder of www.setameeting.com and has been involved in many other companies in Colorado, Washington DC and London.
Named the Honorary Consul General to Colorado for the Kingdom of Morocco and a former member of the Clinton Global Initiative, Hanfling was named one of Denver’s 25th most powerful people by 5280 Magazine, elected to the 40 under 40 by the Denver Business Journal, named one of Colorado’s “Hottest Politicos” by Face the State, voted one of Denver’s ‘Movers & Shakers” by the Colorado Statesman and one of Colorado’s top philanthropists by Colorado Company Magazine.
Hanfling spent 2012 living and working in London to focus on the global work of the foundation while working with a private equity firm based there.
Hanfling grew up in Washington, DC and has a BS in management with a major in Entrepreneurial Studies from Babson College.
Brittany Morris Saunders – President of Local Affairs
Brittany Morris Saunders is president of local affairs at Sewald Hanfling. Prior to joining the firm, Morris Saunders was senior vice president for economic development at the Downtown Denver Partnership where she directed business building efforts, housing, retail, public policy, marketing and communications operations. She was appointed by Mayor Michael Hancock to the Denver Planning Board where she served from 2010 to 2016 and she is the vice chair of the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School Board. Prior to joining DDP, she was the economic development director for Commerce City where she created the city’s first-ever economic development strategic plan. Before entering government, Morris Saunders was senior vice president at CRL Associates.
Morris Saunders is a Colorado native and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a graduate degree in political science from theUniversity of Colorado at Denver. She lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.
Wes Friednash – Local Affairs Associate
Wes Friednash joined Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs as Associate for Local and Municipal Affairs in 2016 working with cities across Colorado. At Sewald Hanfling, Friednash is responsible for supporting the Lobbying and Strategic Communications teams. Prior to joining Sewald Hanfling, Friednash completed a year-long internship with the City of Denver at Denver International Airport (DEN). While there, Friednash supported the communications and marketing teams on campaigns including the Hotel Transit Center Project, employee events, the brand launch, and social media campaigns. Additionally, he supported the executive and senior staff in all areas of airport management.
Friednash is an active member of the community, serving on two young professional committees. He serves on the YP4Kids board, a young professional group that supports the non-profit, Invest In Kids, as the professional development chair. Friednash also participates in Mile High Young Professionals and serves on the communications committee. He also interned for the Denver Broncos.
Friednash is a graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a native of Denver. In his free time, you can find him avidly cheering on the Broncos and Buffs, practicing photography, and enjoying the Colorado outdoors.
Sami Davis – State Affairs Associate
Sami Davis joined Sewald Hanfling as an Associate for State and Local Affairs. Prior to joining Sewald Hanfling, Davis served as the caucus director for the Colorado Senate Majority Office. While there, she was an active leader on the Senate Majority Staff, charged with overseeing legislative aides and interns as well as outreach and office operations. She was responsible for coordinating marketing efforts for the Senate Majority events.
Her knowledge of policy, the legislative process and building relationships with legislators are a clear and direct benefit to Sewald Hanfling’s diverse clients. Her experience spans public engagement, managing complex stakeholder relationships, and working with decision makers. She is well-versed in corporate communications, public relations, and event management.
Davis, a Colorado native, earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Colorado, Denver. Upon graduating college, she began her career as an associate at Novitas Communications, where she worked on media relations, corporate communication, and issue management. She lives in Denver.
Michelle Garcia-Hernandez – Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Michelle Garcia-Hernandez serves as Sewald Hanfling’s Executive Assistant and Office Manager. For two years, she has kept our office running, managing our operations and always attentively welcoming and supporting our clients.
While working full time and raising a family, Garcia-Hernandez is committed to being a role model for her daughter. She is continuing her education at Arapahoe community college and is pursing her associates degree. She plans to continue towards a bachelors degree in the coming years.
A Denver native, Garcia-Hernandez, spent seventeen years in Florida, happily returning home to Colorado with her thirteen year old daughter.