Merribel S. Ayres, Principal, 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.
In addition to Lighthouse’s lobbying and coalition practices, 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, design and deploy communication campaigns, integrate business operations with government affairs/regulatory initiatives, and manage internal conflicts over competing business and policy goals.
Ms. Ayres’ expertise in federal/state political matters, combined with in-depth experience in communications and stakeholder management, enables her to provide a critical perspective for Corporate Boards, both as an adviser and Director. Her Board service has focused on political risk management, corporate strategy, external affairs and sustainability strategies.
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.
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. 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 served on the Board of Directors of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), a Michigan-based electric and gas utility for nine years (2004—2013). She is currently a Board Member of the United States Energy Association (USEA). She was previously a Director at Alliance Resources, LP, and 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.