Dennis Cook is a nationally-respected and highly sought-after political campaign strategist. For over 20 years, Mr. Cook has worked with political candidates, grassroots organizations and elected officials from all over the United States.
In 2007, Mr. Cook founded Strive Strategies. And since its establishment, Strive Strategies has continued to deliver accurate results, driving the firm to be an acknowledged frontrunner in the communications industry. Cook, along with the Strive team, work passionately to ensure accuracy and efficiency in executing public relations and public affairs campaigns while assisting in creative development, production services, and media placement for clientele.
In 2017, Mr. Cook managed alderman-at-large Richard Irvin’s campaign for Mayor of Aurora, Illinois – the state’s second largest city. Upon his historic election, Mayor-elect Irvin appointed Mr. Cook as co-chairman of his transition team. And on May 9, 2017, Mr. Irvin was sworn in as the 57th Mayor of Aurora – becoming the city’s first black mayor since its incorporation in 1834.
In 2015, Mr. Cook was elected by his peers as Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation (YRNF), the oldest and largest political youth organization in the U.S. Under Mr. Cook’s leadership as Chairman (2015-2017), the organization operated with a budget that was cash-flow positive, and thousands of volunteers were deployed across the country to assist political campaigns and candidates at every level. And during the 2016 Presidential campaign, Mr. Cook delivered a nationally-televised speech at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Mr. Cook’s strategic expertise developed from his vast experience working in state politics in Illinois. Driven from a young age, he worked on behalf of several state legislative candidates in southwest suburban Chicago. As his passion for political activism grew, he moved forward to involvement in larger races, including the 2002 Illinois Attorney General Campaign which was one of the closest statewide elections in recent Illinois history. Soon after, he coordinated the former Kane County Board Chairman’s campaign in 2004 and managed the Aurora City Councilman’s Mayoral efforts the following year. In the 2006 cycle, he focused on the statewide primary campaigns for Lt. Governor and Treasurer, serving in senior staff roles in both efforts.
Mr. Cook executed his skills in strategic planning after he waged a successful campaign for his high school’s school board in 2003. He served as its chairman for nearly six of his eight years on the board. As President of Consolidated District 230 Board of Education, Mr. Cook oversaw the seventh largest high school district in the State of Illinois, presiding over a budget of over $140 million and more than 1,000 employees. During his time in office, he was instrumental in leading the Board from a $3 million deficit to a $4 million surplus in less than 3 years, while improving the quality of education. Additionally, Mr. Cook earned more than 55,000 votes in the 6-way primary as a candidate nominated for Lt. Governor in 2010.
Before starting Strive Strategies, Mr. Cook served as the manager of government and regulatory affairs for Illinois American Water, the Illinois subsidiary of the largest private water company provider in the country.
Mr. Cook is a graduate of The Ohio State University, where he earned a degree in political science.
Anthony Sisk joined Strive Strategies as Manager of Business Operations in 2019 and brings over a decade of private sector business experience, as well as political campaign experience. Upon earning his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from Lewis University in 2008, Mr. Sisk immediately joined a private real estate development company as a Project Manager. Mr. Sisk was tasked with overseeing the due diligence, entitlement, and overall development of residential and commercial communities. This also included the planning, zoning, financial and political feasibility analysis, and project marketing of these large-scale developments. Mr. Sisk was also accountable for preparation of schedules and budgeting, marketing materials, project contract bidding, approving final contracts, and investor prospectuses.
In 2012, Mr. Sisk started a licensed and bonded financial organization specializing in financing, loan portfolio acquisition, and the servicing of a multi-million-dollar loan portfolio that covered various markets and industries throughout the United States.
Since 2012, Mr. Sisk helped acquire, build, and manage a multi-million-dollar real estate portfolio consisting of a mix of 100+ residential and commercial properties with seven-figure rental income annually.
In 2015, Mr. Sisk took part in acquiring one of Chicago's most well established and popular local ice cream/restaurant chains. This multi-million-dollar deal included the purchase of all prime real estate associated with these businesses. This acquisition was highlighted in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s, as well as local news outlets.
In 2018, Mr. Sisk joined Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s re-election campaign as a South Suburban Regional Field Manager & Intern Coordinator. He was tasked with the recruitment, hiring, training, and managing of all employees, interns, and volunteers in the region. He coordinated campaign messaging, literature, canvassing, petitioning and other forms of outreach in the South Suburban areas of Illinois for Governor Bruce Rauner, State./Legislative Candidates, Local GOP Candidates, and Local GOP groups. In addition, Mr. Sisk assisted in scheduling and staffing events.
Mr. Sisk annually helps raise money through fundraising and donations to support the American Diabetes Association, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, Light the Night Walk, as well as other charitable causes and fundraising activities. Mr. Sisk has also been active in political fundraising over the last decade.
Jack is a talented professional advocate with nation-wide expertise developed over a 20 year career immersed in the policy, political, and procedural arenas.
He previously served as the Senior Director of Federal Government Relations for the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), where his adeptness at building enduring relationships with elected officials, congressional and agency staff, and a diverse stakeholder community consistently produced favorable outcomes for the profession.
Having worked to influence healthcare law at all stages since 2001, Jack also chaired the Patient’s Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA), a coalition of health care trade associations representing over one million allied health providers reimbursed through Medicare Part B and served on the steering committees of the Northern Virginia Health Policy Forum, and Coalition for Patient’s Rights.
Prior to becoming a nationally recognized healthcare advocate, Jack served U.S. Representative Jerry Weller (IL) as senior policy advisor, coordinating Mr. Weller’s leadership initiatives as Majority Deputy Whip and senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and was his Staff Director of the House Policy Committee Subcommittee on Technology. Prior to joining Congressman Weller, Jack served on the professional staff of the Committee on Ways and Means under Chairman Bill Thomas (CA).
Jack’s passion for our democratic process and all things political drive his work for Republican candidates across the spectrum. In Washington, DC, Jack worked closely with senior congressional staff, serving as Executive Director of Congressman Weller’s leadership PAC, and liaison to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s executive team. In the States, Jack has worked for candidates in nearly every state, from volunteer field-work to managing high-level campaigns.
An active citizen, Jack is a member of the Knights of Columbus; served on the board of the Illinois State Society; Secretary of the Young Republican National Federation; the Alexandria City Public Schools Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Advisory Committee; is an Honorary Citizen of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, a Kentucky Colonel, and lectures on policy and federal elections at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL.
Joseph Pinion III is the Co-founder and Chair of The Conservative Color Coalition, an organization dedicated to promoting conservative engagement among ethnic, racial, and religious minority groups.
A Republican strategist and conservative analyst, Joseph provides regular political commentary on FOX News Channel, HLN, & MSNBC and serves as a National Spokesman for republicEN.org, an organization dedicated to promoting free market solutions to Climate Change.
With over 10 years of political experience, Joseph is currently the New York State Leader for Stand Up Republic Inc. Previously, he worked on the 2016 Presidential Campaign of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, before serving on the New York Leadership Team for Ohio Governor John Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign.
As a senior advisor for The Urban Specialists, and a founding Board Member for The Listen First Project, Joseph is committed to cultivating bi-partisan engagement to promote economic empowerment and cultural change.
Joseph also serves as Managing Partner for the consulting and holding firm PEI, where he brings an extensive background in public health policy and business development. Previously, he served as the Director of Youth Development for the MHHC Foundation and as Aide to Verona Greenland, the former President of the Community Health Center Association of New York State (CHACANYS).
Joseph is a Colgate University alum, where he majored in English and was a two year Varsity letterman in Football for the Colgate Raiders. He currently resides in New York with his dog, a rescue named Wobbles.
Matt Prochaska is the Director of Operations for Strive Strategies and brings 10 years of political campaign and marketing experience. He has an extensive background in party politics, being the past Secretary for his local party, the previous Executive Director for the Illinois Federation of Young Republicans, and worked for the Republican National Committee for the 2012 Republican National Convention.
Prochaska’s ability to assess complex situations and identify appropriate solutions underscores his ability to gain meaningful insight and follow up with thorough analysis. He is particularly skilled at finding "outside the box" solutions and forging consensus among people with diverging ideas and opinions.
Prochaska brings Strive Strategies the practical experience of being a candidate and an elected official, Kendall County Board Member. Prior to joining Strive Strategies, he worked as a marketing consultant. He holds a BA in Political Science and Religious Studies from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.
Jesus Solorio has over 15 years of experience in campaign, government, banking, and non-profit. Most recently, he worked as Senior Outreach Director for the Illinois Republican Party where he led initiatives to increase Republican participation in Chicago and Cook County. In addition to serving as Treasurer on the Chicago Young Republican Board, Solorio serves as Chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Illinois.
Solorio first entered politics in 2014 where he served as Deputy Director for Latino Outreach for then-candidate Bruce Rauner; in 2016, he served as Coalitions Director for Senator Mark Kirk’s re-election campaign; and as Campaign Manager for State Representative candidate Jillian Rose Bernas.
Jesus has worked in advancing policy and legislative initiatives in education, workforce development, and immigration on the State and National levels.
Brian Oster has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing and is the creative director at Strive managing their dynamic campaign materials which help win elections. He hopes to help candidates tell a more creative and interactive story with their political campaigns by creating websites, digital ads, television spots, and print media that are a combination of engaging, disruptive, and educational. He loves to find what is unique about each voter, whether 18 or 95, and tell a story that will move them toward participation, toward support. In the 2016-2017 election season, Brian helped Strive candidates win four out of five elections.
After graduating from Augustana College with a B.A. in Marketing and Public Administration, Brian immediately joined the mayoral election team in his hometown of Warrenville as the communications director, helping her to win re-election. Since then, he has been involved in several grassroots movements, and served on the board of several nonprofit organizations in his community, including serving as Vice Chair of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce. His political roots go all the way back to 5th grade, when he won the Citizenship Award of the Year. When he isn’t working to help Strive candidates tell stories about why they are running and the truth behind their passion, Brian is working as creative director and president of OC Creative, where he and his award-winning team of creative vigilantes make magic happen every day.
Scott McPherson has over twenty-six years of public affairs, government relations, issue management, and media relations experience. He currently oversees grassroots issue management efforts in 13 states for Altria Corporate Services, and directs public affairs and media relations for Commuter Advertising, LLC. McPherson has provided strategic counsel to a wide variety of corporations and trade associations including McDonnell-Douglas, BP Amoco, U.S. Steel, The Nuclear Energy Institute, and The American Trucking Association. Most recently, he served as the Acting Communications Director for the Regional Transportation Authority of Northeastern Illinois.
McPherson was Regional Political Director for the Republican National Committee where he supervised political activity in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of Bush/Quayle ‘88 in Minnesota, and as a Field Operative for the campaign in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Before joining Bush/Quayle, McPherson was a Field Director for the Minnesota Republican Party from 1985 to 1987 and a Staff Assistant to Congressman Arlan Stangeland from 1983 to 1985.
McPherson, a Chicago native, holds a Master of Science in Communication degree from Northwestern University, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science degree from St. Cloud State University. He resides in LaGrange, Illinois.
Tobin Howard joined Strive Strategies Group in 2018 as a Senior Digital Designer. Respected and nationally-recognized for his work, Tobin is a two-time Emmy-Award-Winning designer. Prior to joining Strive Strategies, Tobin spent the last 10 years with the National Football League (NFL) as their Senior Art Director.
Throughout his career, Tobin has also worked with several other high-profile clients: the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Best Buy, Victoria’s Secret, Florsheim Shoes and Eli Lilly to only name a few. And his art and design work have been seen by hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
In his spare time, Tobin enjoys teaching and mentoring the next generation of designers.
Known nation-wide for her creative approach to organizing Republicans, Dana has spent over two decades calling voters to action. Dana got an early start, climbing the leadership ladder of youth politics by helping to build and guide young voter organizations in Illinois and Rhode Island, staffing several campaigns along the way before finally making her home in Utah.
Dana’s efficiency in developing and executing complex, volunteer-driven voter-engagement initiatives is a great asset to candidates running in Utah’s high-touch elections, where winning campaigns must unite grassroots advocates and organized party infrastructure successfully.
Dana’s sharply-honed field knowledge has been employed to help secure victories for Republicans of all stripes in Salt Lake Co. (Utah’s largest), including countless municipal officers, the Honorable Mia Love, and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch.
In addition to candidates, fundraisers, and GOP organizations, Dana’s expertise is sought after by groups interested in engaging socially active conservatives, women and younger voters especially.
From the first day she arrived in Washington, DC to assist her local congressman, Heather Wolf has gotten results. Cutting her teeth in the office of Representative Todd Platts, Heather’s ability to navigate the corridors of power in DC enabled her to succeed on the staff of President George W. Bush, where she served as an appointee in the Office of Counsel to the President and the Office of Presidential Correspondence (The White House.)
Her commitment to principled leadership compelled her to join U.S. Senator John McCain’s campaign for president, coordinating the many varied components required of a national race for the southern United States, in addition to working on policy briefings for Senator McCain.
Heather’s policy background, ability to maneuver multi-tiered issues, and attention to detail were on display during a stint as a senior security analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton.
Returning to her Pennsylvania roots, Heather drew upon her varied experiences to launch a growing project management consultancy where she has created finance programs and developed events for Maggie’s List, Women’s Campaign Fund, and Empowering a Billion Women by 2020.
Having been bitten by the campaign bug early on, Heather has campaigned across the country, managing races for U.S. Senate and numerous Pennsylvania officials, and she works to mentor and develop young conservative women seeking political office.
Chris Ford joined the Strive Strategies team in 2012. Chris has been involved in Republican politics since 2008, serving on Republican campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. In 2008 and 2009, Ford worked on numerous campaigns for the Connecticut State House of Representatives and State Senate, including the successful campaign of Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), a special election decided by a mere 78 votes. In 2009, he began working for the Senate campaign of former Connecticut Congressmen Col. Robert R. Simmons (USA, Ret.) as a Field Representative covering Connecticut’s First congressional district. Following the Simmons for Senate Campaign, Ford moved on to become statewide Field Director for the Oz Griebel for Governor campaign in the 2010 Connecticut Republican primary.
Ford holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Southern Connecticut State University, with a focus in international relations, and a Master of Education Degree in Evaluation and Measurement from Kent State University in Kent, OH. His focus at Kent State included quantitative research methods and analysis, as well as advanced training in measurement and test theory.
Mark Vargas joined the Strive Strategies team as an adviser in 2018 where he focuses on strategic communications and business strategy. His work as a tech entrepreneur has been featured in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and the Daily Herald, and in March of 2016, the Huffington Post highlighted him as leading one of the most innovative tech companies in the U.S.
From 2014-2016, Mr. Vargas was a principal at a government and public affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. where he advised high profile political leaders, government officials, business executives, companies and trade associations on issue advocacy and message development, crisis preparedness and management, media training, media relations and government affairs.
Prior to that, Mr. Vargas was Vice President of a boutique health care consulting firm where he focused on government affairs as well as coordinating the company’s initiative – Stronger2gether – a Washington, D.C.-based program and public-private partnership under the Executive Office of the Mayor aimed at improving birth outcomes and lowering the infant mortality rate by utilizing predictive health analytics. Mr. Vargas also served as the spokesperson for this initiative and testified frequently as an expert witness before the Committee on Health and Human Services.
From 2007-2010, Mr. Vargas served as a civilian adviser in Iraq within the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 2009 he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medal, and in 2010 he was awarded the Under Secretary of Defense Financial Management Team Award for Financial Management Innovations in a Combat Zone. His civilian service at the Pentagon included 14 trips to Baghdad and expanded across two presidential administrations.
Mr. Vargas is a regular panelist and guest speaker on issues including entrepreneurship, technology and innovation, and U.S. foreign policy. A dedicated writer, he is also a contributor to the Washington Examiner.
Mr. Vargas earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Judson University where he served as student body president.