Starting at Powell Tate in Washington, D.C., Neel has worked in high profile public relations and communications positions for the Walt Disney Company and Virginia Baseball Club, LLC (a group that worked to return Major League Baseball to the national capital area). Also a seasoned campaign professional, Neel worked on issue and candidate campaigns in Iowa, Texas, Virginia, Connecticut, and Washington state.
After settling in Oregon, Neel served eight years as the Executive Director of the Democratic Party of Oregon. Under Neel’s leadership, Oregon Democrats took over both chambers of the state legislature, all statewide offices and secured and defended 6 of 7 congressional seats. Pender was elected by his peers as President of the National Association of Democratic Executive Directors in 2006.
In 2007, Neel became Vice President of New Villages Group Ltd., a purpose-oriented investment and asset management group. With broad responsibilities, including: branding, strategic communications, community outreach, project management, and financial oversight, Neel credits the experience as earning an ‘organic’ MBA with deep insight into market pressures and regulatory challenges faced by start-ups and the broader business community.
Neel joined Senator Ron Wyden’s staff as the State Director of Business Outreach and Field Operations in 2014. Neel regularly interacted with CEOs and principals of Oregon’s leading businesses and organizations on issues such as taxes, trade and health care.
In both his public and private sector roles, Neel has invoked proactive strategies to build and leverage partnerships, enact persuasive communications and outreach initiatives, and navigate successfully federal, state, and local legislative processes.
Neel is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and lives in Portland with his wife Keely and three children – John, Lila and Sarah.