Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association announces changes in its Washington DC office

zilian Sugarcane Industry Association announces changes in its Washington DC office


The Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) announced today the appointment of David Thomas as its new Chief Lobbyist and Leticia Phillips as the organization’s Representative for North America, both based at UNICA’s Washington, D.C. office. They replace Joel Velasco, who left UNICA in January to become Senior Vice-President for External Relations at California Biotech Company Amyris.

A seasoned strategist with almost two decades of experience in the Washington public policy arena, Thomas is a former Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for Vice-President Al Gore and Director of Congressional Relations at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). More recently, he served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. As a Senior Strategist with Washington lobbying firm Mehlman, Vogel, Castanetti, Thomas was directly involved with UNICA’s 2010 campaign against U.S. tariffs on imported ethanol.

In her continuing role overseeing Institutional and Government Affairs for North America since 2008, Phillips will now lead UNICA’s efforts as its Representative for North America on a variety of fronts in which UNICA is currently engaged.

“We’re very pleased to have Leticia and David leading our work in the U.S., especially in a year that is shaping up as potentially very significant as we push forward with our global objective to build open markets for clean, renewable biofuels,” said UNICA’s President and CEO Marcos Jank.

“I am honored to give continuity to the work UNICA has developed in the U.S. over the past two and a half years and I look forward to working with David and the UNICA team towards the ultimate goal of lifting the U.S. tariff on sugarcane ethanol once and for all,” said Phillips.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the UNICA team in Washington. After 30 long years, the time is finally right to make a change in U.S. ethanol policy. There is growing momentum among policy makers to make this change and I look forward to working with them to bring cheaper and cleaner sugarcane ethanol to consumers in the United States this year,” concluded Thomas.

Carolina Lessa will remain in her role as coordinator of communications and media relations efforts in North America. UNICA’s international presence is led from its office in Brussels by the organization’s Head for International Affairs and Senior Advisor to the President for International Affairs, Géraldine Kutas.

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