Denise is a nationally recognized policy expert with more than three decades of experience in regulatory law, tax, trade, energy, environment, food, and agriculture with extensive trade association and coalition management at the state and federal levels.
As a partner at Michael Best Strategies, Denise builds teams to effectively implement policy advocacy strategies to advance client interests. Prior to joining Strategies, Denise served as a principal at the Washington, D.C. office of a full-service, bipartisan public affairs firm, where she concentrated on policy advocacy in the areas of tax, energy, environment, and food policy.
She was previously the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. In that role, she managed efforts to transform the association into one of the world’s leading energy trade associations, and led it through the largest growth periods in the wind industries history. She also established the American Clean Skies Foundation, and as CEO, directed the nonprofit charitable organization in its mission to educate and advocate the use of natural gas as part of a sustainable energy future along with its natural partnership with renewables like wind and solar energy.
In 1997, Governor Frank Keating appointed Denise to commissioner and chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and she ran two successful state-wide campaigns (1998 and 2004). As a commissioner, she was responsible for the regulation of energy production and transmission, electric utilities, gasoline stations and all storage tanks, telecommunications, and environmental and agricultural activities. She led the effort to deregulate telecommunications in Oklahoma, the second state in the nation, led efforts to significantly increase of high-speed internet access, led the regulators in Southwest Power Pool to reform it, from just a regional electric reliability organization, to also oversee regional transmission as a FERC approved utility.
Prior to being appointed to the commission, Denise served as president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a national trade association representing all oil and gas producers in the United States. During her tenure she led the effort to get tax relief for oil and gas producers, lift the oil export ban on Alaskan crude as well worked with Congress to the last effort to regulate the Waters of the US. She also was the founding partner of a Washington, D.C. firm specializing in tax, trade, and energy issues, and played a major role in the 1986 Tax Reform Act.
For nine years, Denise was a key advisor to David L. Boren (D-OK) and served as the senator’s legal counsel and Finance Committee aide. She began her career as Assistant for Energy and Natural Resources for Oklahoma Governor David L. Boren.