Upland Strategies is a full service Public Affairs firm, offering strategic Government Affairs and Public Relations consulting to companies, trade associations, and non-profit organizations. We partner with our clients to develop individually-tailored action plans to achieve success in the legislative arena.

What happens in the Nation’s Capital can have a direct impact on your business, your employees, and your bottom line. We’ll help you engage at the highest levels of government, building relationships with elected officials and key decision makers; educating lawmakers about your business; and ultimately, delivering successful outcomes.



  • Legislative advocacy and strategy development
  • Issue management
  • Identifying key stakeholders and potential champions
  • Executive branch engagement
  • Hearing preparation and monitoring
  • Development of advocacy materials


  • PAC management: We have experience and proven results managing and growing the Political Action Committees for multiple Fortune 500 companies
  • Relationship building
  • Targeted executive and employee engagement



  • Reputation enhancement on Capitol Hill and in your community
  • Coordination of fly-ins
  • Message development
  • Speechwriting
  • Media relations

T.J. Birkel, President

T.J. Birkel has over a decade of experience in government, politics, and public affairs and offers knowledgeable and highly personalized representation in the Nation's Capital.

Most recently, T.J. served for two years as Director of Federal Government Affairs for Mastercard. In this role he helped manage the company’s relations with Congress and the Executive Branch, and managed Mastercard’s Political Action Committee (PAC). Prior to Mastercard, he served in a similar role for Darden Restaurants, leading the company’s day-to-day interaction and lobbying efforts with House and Senate offices and managing the PAC. In total, he has more than six years of experience working in Government Affairs for two of the nation’s largest and most well-known companies.

Before joining the private sector, T.J. was a Legislative Assistant and Speechwriter for former U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE). Prior to working in Johanns’ Senate office, T.J. served as the Political Director on the successful Johanns for Senate campaign, overseeing the campaign’s grassroots program. Earlier, T.J. served for three years in the office of former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), handling the agriculture, energy and environment portfolio for the Senator.

Birkel is a native of Lincoln, NE and currently resides in Arlington, VA with his wife and son.