Merribel S. Ayres, President, of Lighthouse Consulting Group, LLC, has been a leader in the Washington business and political communities for three decades. Ms. Ayres founded Lighthouse in 1996 with the objective of providing knowledge-based government and public affairs services to clients focused on energy and environmental policy issues. The firm’s international client base has grown to also include agriculture, insurance and financial interests.
Prior to establishing Lighthouse, Ms. Ayres was CEO of the National Independent Energy Producers where she played a leading role in framing the national debate over increased competition in the electric power industry. Previously, she had been the Director of Government Affairs for Champion International, a major forest products company.
A prominent expert on energy issues, Ms. Ayres has testified before Congress and appeared before numerous industry and public policy forums. She has been quoted and profiled by national newspapers and leading industry publications, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Roll Call, National Journal, The Energy Daily, and Association Management Magazine.
She also served as a press and public affairs officer for the National Commission on Air Quality and as a staff member to the late Congressman William R. Cotter, a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Ms. Ayres began her career in journalism as a staff reporter at The Hartford Courant (CT), and as a contributing reporter to the New York Times, Connecticut Section.
Ms. Ayres serves on the Board of Directors of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), a Michigan-based electric and gas utility. She is also a Board Member of the United States Energy Association (USEA). Her professional affiliations include: The Aspen Institute’s Energy Forum, the Edison Electric Institute and Eurelectric (the European Union of the Electricity Industry).
In addition to Lighthouse’s lobbying practice, Ms. Ayres provides high level advisory and strategic management services to CEOs and senior executives. She helps these clients navigate relationships with key internal and external stakeholders, integrate business operations with government affairs initiatives, and manage internal conflicts over competing business and policy objectives.
She is currently a member of the National Press Club, the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, and the Dean’s Alumni Leadership Council of the Harvard Kennedy School. She was previously a member of the Advisory Council of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Ms. Ayres is an honors graduate of Bryn Mawr College, holds a post-graduate degree from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and received advanced leadership training at the Harvard Kennedy School.