Lori McClung

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

As chief executive officer of ACS, Lori directs strategic communication planning, government relations and advocacy efforts, policy analysis and strategy development for ACS clients.

ACS is one of the only female and minority owned consulting firms in Ohio and has gained a national reputation for not only its communication and strategy development expertise but also a deep understanding of policy and advocacy, especially for organizations within the early childhood and K-12 education sectors. In 2011, the northeast Ohio small business chamber of commerce, Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), named ACS a “Ten Under 10” award winner. This COSE award is given annually to 10 small businesses with 10 employees or fewer to honor their ability to innovate, grow and reach ambitious goals. In 2015, ACS received a Platinum Award in the Communication Plan category of the MarCom Awards and was named a Weatherhead 100 Upstart Winner as one of the fastest-growing companies in Northeast Ohio.

Lori has nearly 25 years of experience in media, public policy, and advocacy. During those years, she successfully advocated on various education, health and human services, and economic issues at the federal, state, and local levels.

Before starting her own company in 2004, Lori served in staff and leadership positions with the Federation for Community Planning, Public/Private Ventures, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, and the Center for Community Solutions.

For four years, Lori was the campaign director for a statewide early care and education campaign, groundWork™. She was responsible for the overall strategy, coordination, planning, fundraising, hiring of staff and lobbying for the entire campaign.

During the campaign, several thousand Ohioans were recruited to raise awareness among elected officials and the media about the importance of providing high quality education and care for all children birth through age six. That successful advocacy effort raised nearly $300 million in the state fiscal year 2006-2007 state budget for early care and education in Ohio, and $200 million more in the state fiscal year 2008-2009 budget.

For three years, Lori was the Director of the Government Affairs Department for the largest school district in Ohio – the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. In her role as Director, Lori successfully lobbied on issues related to federal E-rate, No Child Left Behind, school facilities, teacher recruitment/retention and other issues of critical importance to public schools. As the lobbyist for the school district, she successfully lobbied to halt proposed rule changes by the Federal Communications Commission that would have cut $70 million in educational technology funding, and secured $6 million in capital funding for the school district.

In 2005, she was selected to be a national training fellow for the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI). In that capacity she traveled across the country, training individuals and organizations about the importance of lobbying and how to lobby, and educating them about the legal dos and don’ts of lobbying.

Lori began her career as a newspaper reporter for several daily newspapers. She also served as a press secretary for Congressman David Mann in Cincinnati.

In addition to her professional commitments, Lori currently serves on the board of The St. Luke’s Foundation. She previously served on the boards of:

  • The Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest, a national organization;
  • Education Voters of Ohio;
  • The Cleveland Rape Crisis Center;
  • The Cleveland Public Library;
  • The Greater Cleveland Media Development Corporation; and
  • Parents for Public Schools, a national organization.

Lori earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a Certificate in Journalism from the University of Cincinnati. Lori received a “Friend of Public Education” award from the Ohio Federation of Teachers in 2005, and in 2002, she received an award from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center for her outstanding volunteer work. Lori and her husband live in Cleveland, Ohio.