The American Idea Foundation is fortunate to have a team of committed, talented professionals helping to achieve its mission of expanding opportunity through the promotion of evidence-based public policies.
Andrew “Andy” Speth is the Executive Director of the American Idea Foundation. He was former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s longest serving aide, starting with Ryan’s first campaign for Congress in 1998 to his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019.
From October 2015 to January 2019, Andy worked as Speaker Ryan’s Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff and was instrumental in helping lead one of the most productive Congresses in modern history. Over a 17-year period, from 1999 to 2015, he served as Chief of Staff of Ryan’s congressional office managing the Washington, D.C. and district offices, as well as supervising legislative, political, communications, and campaign strategies.
During the 2012 Presidential campaign, Andy served as the Vice-Presidential nominee’s Senior Advisor and was Speaker Ryan’s campaign manager for 8 of his 10 races. Prior to working in the House of Representatives, from 1991 to 1998, he was Chief of Staff to a State Representative and a State Senator in the Wisconsin State Legislature.
Andy is a veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom having served two tours of duty with the U.S. Air Force Reserves and Wisconsin Air National Guard from 2002 to 2013. He earned the rank of Master Sergeant (E-7) in 10 years. He is native of Janesville, Wisconsin and earned his BA in Political Science in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He and his wife Katy, have been married for 28 years and have five children: Thomas, Monica, Samuel, Tobias and Liberty.
Jonathan Burks serves on the American Idea Foundation’s Board of Directors. Jonathan is a policy and political professional with two decades experience at the highest levels of public service. In 2019, he started JWB Advisors, a boutique advisory firm focused on providing timely insights into Washington policy making.
Prior to his move to the private sector, he served as the chief of staff to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, where he managed a team of over 40 staff and served as the Speaker’s principal adviser on policy, strategy, and management. Jonathan also advised Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on budget and appropriations issues, served as policy director of the House Budget Committee, director of legislative affairs at the Securities and Exchange Commission, senior advisor (chief of staff) to the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, and policy advisor in the transition office of the newly created Director of National Intelligence.
In 2012, Jonathan was the deputy policy director on the 2012 Romney for President campaign. Early in his career, he served for four years at the White House including two years as the youngest White House commissioned officer then serving. During his time at the White House, he served as Vice President Cheney’s staff secretary, associate staff secretary to President Bush, and special assistant to the President for policy in the Chief of Staff’s office.
Burks has a M.A. from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University. He lives with his wife and son in Alexandria, Virginia.
AshLee serves on the American Idea Foundation’s Board of Directors and is the founder of Granite Peak Communications, a strategic public relations firm. Previously, she served as a senior adviser and chief spokesperson for U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Prior to the Speaker’s office, AshLee was a top aide to Senate leadership, overseeing communications for Chairman John Thune and the Republican Conference, the public relations arm for all Senate Republicans. She was also a press aide on the influential Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
AshLee served as national spokesperson for Governor Scott Walker’s presidential campaign and got her start in public service in the executive branch at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. She was born, raised, and educated in Montana and is an avid outdoorsman.
Kevin Seifert is a senior advisor at the American Idea Foundation. Since 2008, Kevin has served in senior legislative and communications roles for members of the U.S. House of Representatives and successfully managed a host of Republican political organizations. In 2015, Kevin created Team Ryan, Speaker Paul Ryan’s national political organization, and served as its Executive Director until 2019.
He previously served as a Campaign Manager, Communications Director, and the Chief of Staff of Ryan’s Washington, DC office. Kevin started his career on Capitol Hill as a caseworker and legislative assistant for Wisconsin Congressman Tom Petri.
He is pursuing a Masters of Policy Management from Georgetown University and received his Bachelor of Arts from Marquette University majoring in Political Science and Economics. Kevin is also a graduate of the Les Aspin Center for Government and The Fund for American Studies.
Casey Higgins serves on the Board of Directors for the American Idea Foundation and is currently a senior policy advisor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
Casey has nearly a decade of experience serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, most recently in the Office of the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as Assistant to the Speaker for Policy and Trade Counsel. She was also employed at the U.S. House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee and as a legislative assistant.
Casey began her Capitol Hill career while in law school, serving as a law clerk to the House Committee on the Budget. and served as a law clerk to Federal Election Commission Commissioner Donald F. McGahn II, the Republican National Lawyers Association and a lobbying firm. She has a Juris Doctorate from Catholic University and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Derrick Dockery serves on the American Idea Foundation’s Board of Directors and is the co-founder of Yellow Ribbons United, an organization dedicated to raising resources for service members and their families, providing support and increasing awareness of issues affecting retired and active duty military personnel.
Derrick previously served as the business and intergovernmental coalitions director for Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and the communications and coalitions director for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Derrick has a Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin.
Jake Kastan serves on the Board of Directors of the American Idea Foundation and is a Vice President at Peterson Partners. Prior to joining Peterson Partners, Jake worked as the Political Director for Speaker Paul Ryan in Washington DC. He was Paul Ryan’s personal aide during the 2012 presidential election and began his career working for Mitt Romney in Boston, MA.
Jake received an MBA from the Georgetown McDonough School of Business and a B.S. from Tufts University.
Susan Jacobson is the Director of Administration at the American Idea Foundation. In 2005, Susan was hired by Speaker Ryan to manage his campaign office and since that time, has managed all funds, banking, and reporting operations for his re-election campaign. Susan directed the finance, treasury, and compliance functions for Speaker Ryan’s Congressional campaign as it raised millions of dollars each election cycle.
Susan is a leader in her community, volunteering with a host of organizations in the Janesville area. She was elected and served 9 years on the Janesville Board of Education, two years as Board President, and also has served for over 15 years on the Board of Directors for HealthNet of Rock County, a free health clinic for uninsured community members. Susan was born and raised in Wisconsin, has been married to husband Rick for over 45 years, and has 3 children and 8 grandchildren.
Tricia Stoneking is the Director of Operations at the American Idea Foundation. She has nearly two decades of experience working in fast-paced Congressional offices and on political campaigns. Tricia most recently served as a Senior Advisor to Bryan Steil’s successful Congressional campaign and was the Director of Scheduling and Office Operations for Speaker Paul Ryan from 2003 to 2019. As Speaker Ryan’s Director of Scheduling, she juggled a constant stream of requests and demands with poise and efficiency while being the primary liaison with national and local law enforcement agencies.
Tricia is an active volunteer at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School and serving on their Public Relations Board and Principal’s Advisory Committee. She has also spent a decade as the Executive Director of the Alpha Sigma Alumnae Association, providing leadership training and professional guidance to collegiate women and recent graduates. Tricia is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she earned a BA in Sociology and a minor in Human Resources and Political Science. Her most important jobs are being a loving wife to her husband Joel and mother to their three children: Kate, Eli, and Claire.