R.D. Sewald | Co-founder & Principal
The co-founder of Sewald Hanfling, RD Sewald works with Josh Hanfling to chart the course for the firm and to ensure every client engagement has the bold, strategic and outcomes-driven approach that has defined Sewald’s 30 years in state and local government. RD’s deep connections in the community and his vision for the possible are key factors in the results he consistently delivers for clients. From efforts to modernize and restructure regional cooperation to support some of Colorado’s most prized community assets to fostering business environments that allow new businesses to thrive and positioning Colorado as a national and global leader for the future economy, RD has led some of the firm’s most impactful engagements. His skills navigating complex political and regulatory environments led 5280 to include him among the Power List’s Rising Stars.
When it came time to look to the future, Adams County officials looked to RD’s expertise and vision as they sought FAA approval for Spaceport Colorado. In August of 2018, with the issuance of its operators license, Colorado became one of only 11th facilities of its kind, setting the stage for continued growth of the robust aerospace industry in Colorado. In 2013, RD was instrumental in the firm’s efforts on behalf of Uber and creating a regulatory environment that allowed the growing business to operate and create jobs for thousands of Coloradans. These successes on behalf of clients come from RD’s understanding of Colorado’s long history of leading the way for the nation through the community’s frontier spirit and his experience navigating complex regulatory environments. RD also understands the value of some of Colorado’s most loved institutions and the need to ensure they have the foundations to grow into the future. In 2018, he worked with the Denver City Council to create the Metropolitan Football Stadium District, navigating the political and financial challenges of crafting the District that includes all or part of the seven counties in the Denver metropolitan area and establishes long-term strategies for the management and growth of the home of the Denver Broncos.
RD’s ability to craft effective strategies that deliver results for Sewald Hanfling clients and his leadership of the firm’s growth is built on his decades of experience inside local and state government. Prior to founding Sewald Hanfling in 2012, he was the Senior Strategic Advisor and Director of Government Affairs for Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper. Drawing on his skills bridging divides between stakeholders and building consensus, RD served as one of the Governor’s primary relationship managers among state and local elected officials, government agencies, community boards and a wide range of stakeholders. RD’s trusted position representing Governor Hickenlooper in the community was a continuation of the role he previously served in as then Mayor Hickenlooper’s Council Liaison where he was responsible for all contracts and ordinances going through Denver City Council, monitored and evaluated legislative actions for the administration and was responsible for the administration’s legislative team. During his time in the Mayor’s office, RD was the Mayor’s lead on the zoning rewrite and redesign, setting the foundation for Denver’s balanced and robust growth.
Sewald has more than 20 years of experience in state and local government with an emphasis on public policy and political management. 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.
Outside of the office, boardroom and capitol, RD is an active member of the community and makes giving back to the community part of every week. He serves as the varsity lacrosse coach at Denver East High School and as a volunteer lacrosse with Cherry Creek Youth Sports. RD has served as Board of Trustee of The Denver Academy and on dozens of planning committees, boards and non-profit organizations in his community. RD lives in Denver with his wife Abigail and the two have three sons.
JoshUA Hanfling | Co-founder & Principal
Josh Hanfling is a co-founder of Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs. During his 27 years in Denver, Josh has worked with officials and stakeholders in a range of industries, including real estate and construction, telecommunications, technology and software, disruptive businesses, professional sports, retail, financial services, restaurants, private equity, non-profits, and more. Josh delivers results for his clients. He secured the approval of a $1.8 billion, 34-year public/private partnership remodel of the Great Hall at the Denver International Airport; led Uber’s successful effort in obtaining licensing to operate legally in Colorado; and ensured his clients’ perspectives were heard in the crafting of state regulations for the marijuana industry. In addition to these achievements, Josh has successfully navigated real estate, zoning, and licensing issues, such as ensuring Century Link was given the opportunity to compete in the Denver market.
Josh’s passion for Denver drives his work. As an active supporter of the community, he feels fortunate to have called Colorado his home for almost three decades. Outside of work, Josh frequently donates time and resources to Denver non-profits, political organizations, and candidates. He currently serves on the boards of the Foundation for the Denver Fire Department, AMP the Cause, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, the South Kent School, and the Mohamed S. Farsi Foundation. Additionally, he is the chairman of the board for the Denver Health Foundation and Imagination Library Denver. Josh also organizes the Denver Public Safety Luncheon and the Denver Rustlers each year and ran for the Colorado State House of Representatives in 2008.
Josh grew up in Washington, D.C. and has a B.S. in management with a major in entrepreneurial studies from Babson College. Prior to founding Sewald Hanfling, Josh was the founding CEO of the London-based Mohammed S. Farsi Foundation, an international foundation focused on global health, education and culture. Josh was named one of Denver’s 25 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; selected as one of Colorado’s top philanthropists by Colorado Company Magazine; and serves as the Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of Morocco for Colorado.
Brittany Morris Saunders | President of Local Affairs
Brittany Morris serves as the head of the local affairs division at Sewald Hanfling. She specializes in the representation of businesses, developers, corporations and non-profits before local governments, including cities, counties and special districts.
Prior to joining Sewald Hanfling, Brittany had been involved in Colorado and Denver politics for over 20 years, with experience in the private and public sectors. She was previously the Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Economic Development for the Downtown Denver Partnership, Director of Economic Development for the City of Commerce City, and Senior Vice President of CRL Associates, Inc.
With a passion for local government politics, Brittany enjoys working on projects and initiatives that have a direct impact on people’s lives, positively changing the course of Denver. She believes that through strategic investments in infrastructure, policies and programs, Denver has become a city of the rise.
In her personal time, she loves spending time with her husband and two sons. Together they enjoy hiking, camping and taking advantage of all Colorado has to offer.
Brittany graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from CU Boulder in 2002 and a Master of Arts in Political Science from CU Denver in 2007.
Sami Davis | Senior Associate for State Affairs
Ms. Davis is now going into her fifth session in the Colorado General Assembly. For the first two sessions, Ms. Davis served as the caucus director for the Colorado Senate Majority Office under the leadership of President Bill Cadman. 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.
After serving two years there, Ms. Davis was actively recruited to join a top public affairs firm in Denver, Sewald Hanfling Public Affairs. Because of her extensive knowledge of policy, the legislative process and deep relationships, Ms. Davis has successfully passed several key pieces of legislation impacting higher education, law enforcement, financial literacy and cannabis. She has been involved in, supported, defeated, or amended numerous bills. In addition to her highly successful lobbying experience she also excels in public engagement, managing complex stakeholder relationships, and working with decision makers. She is well-versed in corporate communications, public relations and event management.
Davis graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado Denver. Upon graduating, she began her career as an associate at Novitas Communications, where she worked on media relations, corporate communications and issue management. In her spare time, she enjoys anything involving sports and the Colorado outdoors.
Mariah Linton | Associate for State Affairs
Mariah Linton serves as an Associate for State Affairs at Sewald Hanfling. After completing an internship with the firm Mariah joined the team full-time, taking the lead on healthcare clients. Coming from a family of Colorado lobbyists, politics run in Mariah’s blood.
Mariah is passionate about representing her clients and fighting for causes that positively impact the future of Colorado. She represents Sewald Hanfling at several events and maintains working relationships with Colorado legislators for the benefit of her clients.
Mariah participates in philanthropic events benefiting St. Baldricks in raising money for children’s cancer research. She also takes part in several events throughout the year to benefit Alzheimer’s research.
A graduate from the University of Northern Colorado, Mariah graduated with a degree in Political Science and a double minor in Legal Studies and Sociology.
Mariel Snyder | Executive Assistant + Office Manager
Mariel Snyder joined Sewald Hanfling as Executive Assistant and Office Manager. She is responsible for supporting the team and maintaining the office.
Prior to joining Sewald Hanfling, Mariel worked as a Development Associate at BodeTree where she assisted senior team members in sales, as well as marketing projects and campaigns for multiple franchise brands. In addition, Mariel interned for the Starboard Group, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and U.S. Senate.
A graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Mariel graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Geological Sciences.
Alex silver | Executive Assistant
Alex Silver serves as an Executive Assistant at Sewald Hanfling. He is responsible for all executive/administrative duties for Josh Hanfling along with Social Media management.
Prior to beginning at Sewald Hanfling Alex worked at Thorn Run Partners, a federal policy consulting firm based in Washington D.C., where he acted as the Executive Assistant to the CEO of the health policy team. He moved to Denver in 2015 after working on a successful campaign for Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island’s current Governor.
Additionally, Alex interned for the U.S. House of Representatives prior to graduating for the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Business Administration and Spanish Language and Literature.