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After spending the last 4-5 years pushing toll roads on San Antonio in earnest, ex-Greater Chamber President, Joe Krier, will return to work for toll road law firm extraordinaire, Bracewell & Giuliani. The firm is the sole legal firm for Cintra, who has the development rights to build 5-6 segments of the Trans Texas Corridor, TTC-35, the first being SH 130 segments 5 & 6.
Chamber-ex Krier takes new job
By David Hendricks
Ten months after departing as president and chief executive of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Joe Krier is back on a payroll, returning to a law firm he served early in his career.
Krier will head the new Public Issues Management Group at Houston-based Bracewell & Giuliani. Working from the law firm’s San Antonio office, Krier said he will continue where he left off after two decades at the helm of the chamber, giving advice to businesses.
“Corporate America has figured out it must do business with the federal, state and local governments every day,” Krier said in an interview at his new downtown offices. “Whether directly regulated or regulated through your customers and clients, it is important to how government and the public feels about you.”
Krier said his main job is to offer advice to senior management at large corporations “to get from you are to where you want to be ….. to get across the goal line.” That could involve polling, public relations, lobbying or work with regulatory challenges or corporate transactions.
While at the chamber, Krier headed a 36-member staff with a $4 million annual budget. At Bracewell & Giuliani, he will work with 30 lawyers in the San Antonio office and 430 total in offices in Houston, Austin, Dallas and six other cities.
Similar services are offered to corporate clients by Texas firms, including Public Strategies Inc. of Austin, founded by San Antonio native Jack Martin, and San Antonio-based The Loeffler Group, founded by former U.S. Rep. Tom Loeffler. The Loeffler Group, which specializes in lobbying, is affiliated with the law firm of Loeffler Tuggey Pauerstein Rosenthal.
J. Tullos Wells, managing partner of Bracewell & Giuliani’s San Antonio office, said Krier’s new group has the advantages of lawyer-client confidentiality privileges and the worldwide research of the Bracewell & Giuliani firm.
While the law firm will not conduct services like public relations and polling directly, it will hire outside companies for those purposes and serve as a central coordination point for corporate campaigns and projects.
“Joe Krier has worked at the intersection of business, government and public issues for 20-plus years and will significantly enhance our ability to deliver these capabilities,” Wells said.
Although Bracewell & Giuliani’s Public Issues Management Group will be positioned to serve Texas corporations, it will concentrate on the Interstate 35 corridor and issues that affect the corridor. Krier noted the international corporate partnerships bidding on highway construction as examples.
Krier will work closely with Scott Segal and former East Texas congressman Jim Chapman, who co-chair the law firm’s 16-professional government relations practice, and Milam Mabry, who is transferring from the firm’s Washington office to Austin to work on legislative and public policy matters.
Former New York Mayor and ex-presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani became a name partner for the law firm in 2005 and adds a public policy role at the law firm, Wells noted.
After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin and its law school, Krier worked from 1971 to 1973 in Houston for what then was called Bracewell & Patterson. He moved to San Antonio to practice law for a dozen years before taking the top job at the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.
While at the chamber, Krier was twice elected chairman of the Metro 8, representing Texas’s eight largest chambers of commerce. The chamber was involved in setting strategies for military base-closing rounds and finding funding for the Alamodome and AT&T Center. It also helped start several industry institutions, including the San Antonio Technology Accelerator Initiative, during Krier’s tenure.
Business leaders said Krier was a good fit for the position.
“Joe’s group will offer clients invaluable insight into the direction of public policy issues, from economic development to infrastructure to tax,” said Jim Greenwood, government relations vice president at San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp. “I doubt there are many issues Joe does not have a good grasp of.”
Tom Frost, chairman emeritus of Cullen/Frost Bankers Inc., said: “It’s valuable to have this counseling. It’s a growing area. Business executives are focused on pricing and holding down costs, but they need someone to tell them what is happening in the world. ….. I’m tickled to death that Joe Krier is working for this community again. He’s good at it.”