For Kyle Nevins ’98, working in Congress for 10 years was much like earning a graduate degree in federal government affairs, and since 2015 he’s been putting that expertise to use in a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm he started with three former colleagues.
Q: What have you been up to since graduating from DA?
A: Following DA, I graduated from Duke in 2002 and moved to Washington, D.C., in search of a job in politics. I landed an entry-level position with then-House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and spent six years on his staff before joining then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia for four years. In 2013, I left the Hill and government employment to join a mid-sized government affairs (a.k.a. lobbying) firm.
Most importantly, I met my wife, Kristan (a Texan), in Washington, and we married in August of 2008. Not surprisingly, five DA graduates were groomsmen at our wedding: William Kimbrell ’98, Adam Lang ’98, Ben Lehman ’98, Jason Sholtz ’99 and my brother, Patrick ’03. Kristan and I are the parents of two boys, Eli (2) and Curtis (4 months), and live in the Palisades neighborhood of D.C.
Q: What are you doing now?
A: In January of 2015, I started my own lobbying firm with three friends and former colleagues, called Harbinger Strategies. We’ve been open for just over two years and love the entrepreneurship of self-employment.
I also serve on the Board of Advisors at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. I’m clearly no academic, but it does afford me an opportunity to provide the school and its students with a practitioner’s perspective.
Q: Why do you do what you do?
A: Because I’m only employable in D.C. That’s partly a bad joke, but mostly rooted in fact. Working in Congress is much like earning a graduate degree. It prepares one for a very specific industry — in my case, federal government affairs — and there are very few places in the country to practice federal government affairs. Thankfully, I happen to enjoy this city.
Q: What DA experiences influenced you or helped you get where you are today?
A: I have relied more heavily than anything else throughout my career on my writing skills and critical analysis ability. Those were both stressed and honed at DA, and I have the faculty, past and present, to thank. Though every English and history teacher influenced me greatly along the way, the late Robert Mulgrew likely had the greatest impact.
Q: What are your interests away from work?
A: Most of our non-work hours are spent chasing little ones, so I can’t say we take much advantage of the culture this city has to offer. But we do like to travel, catch an occasional Nats game (even with Ulku-Steiner and Tim McKenna), and spend time on the golf course. Sadly, playing baseball and basketball are no longer a part of my daily routine, much to the dismay, I’m sure, of coaches Reg and Adair.
My younger brother, Patrick ’03, recently moved to the area, and he is often at the house riling up our boys and otherwise offering plenty of entertainment.
Q: What’s on the horizon for you?
A: Though Kristan and I are adopted residents of D.C., our boys are actual Washingtonians, and we look forward to raising them here over the long term. Back in North Carolina, my parents have retired and have recently sold our family home in Chapel Hill. They’re now in the process of moving to South Carolina, so we may not be down quite as much. But, my older sister, Kristen, and her family are still in Durham, as are many DA friends (and Duke basketball), so we have plenty of reason to return.