By Rhashad Pittman
Throughout his long, illustrious and successful career as a political consultant, Grant Gillham has built a reputation for providing excellent client service by simply building relationships.
Over the years Gillham has taken some of the the most prominent politicians in California and strengthened their connection with voters.
For Fortune 500 corporations, he has done the same, connecting them with communities that they have long tried to reach but remained out of their grasp, particularly Latino and African American communities.
His work over the past three decades has led to governors reaching office, U.S. Congressmen getting elected, and companies expanding their clientele.
On the other end, communities have benefited just the same, through free workshops and services for area businesses, scholarships for students, and new job opportunities for local residents.
“The goal is to create a collaborative partnership,” said Gillham in a recent interview. “The collaborative, partnership process is a two-way street.”
Gillham’s fingerprints stretch throughout California as well as across the country and even overseas. He has worked with the California and U.S. Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, National Council of La Raza, Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, the state and national African American Chambers of Commerce, and organized labor.
Establishing coalitions with communities can save companies from making costly mistakes in how they invest their resources to sell products and services, Gillham noted. “You can’t just put your product on TV,” he said. “You have to have your message resonate with the community you interact with.”
His work and influence can be found throughout Stockton, where he has established coalitions with local Latino community and business leaders, including the San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He has also provided services for Stockton Unified School District.
Beginning his political career as a legislative aide, Gillham went on to work for several prominent legislators as chief of staff, communications director and policy director.
Throughout his career, Gillham has worked for some of the biggest names in California politics, including former Gov. Pete Wilson and former Assembly Speaker Willie L. Brown, as well as past Republican Assembly leader Pat Nolan and Senate leader Rob Hurtt. Other clients included U.S. congressmen James E. Rogan and Tom Campbell.
The Edwardsville, Illinois, native established his consulting business in 2001 after years of honing his political skills in the California State Legislature and under the tutelage of legendary California political consultant Joe Shumate.
Gillham’s firm, Grant David Gillham Inc., is designed to manage the strategic planning and government relations programs of Fortune 500 companies based throughout the country.
Gillham’s firm has represented an endless number of corporations and organizations.
Over the years, his client list has included such marquee companies and organizations such as: the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Bombardier, California Building Industry Association, Food4Less, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, Israeli Chemical Corporation, Personal Watercraft Industry Association, Verizon and Wal-Mart.
“They have to be a good company, or organization, that makes good products or provides good services that people want and need,” he said.
The former U.S. Air Force pilot attributes his consulting success largely to his political background, which has provided the knowledge and skills needed to successfully guide companies through regulatory hurdles, sway public perception, and establish relationships with key government agency officials.
Building Coalitions in Stockton
The relationships that he has cultivated over the years in Stockton and throughout the rest of San Joaquin County may pay dividends for the region in the coming months near future. Gillham is currently working with a manufacturing company that is looking to open a facility in the Stockton area.
The project would could mean potentially hundreds of construction and full-time jobs for the community, Gillham said. Once the project is finalized, Gillham’s firm will make the details of the project and company public.
Initially, the company leaders were considering establishing a new facility in the Bay Area, but Gillham persuaded them to take a closer look at Stockton and the benefits it offers, such as lower costs, a smoother regulatory process and ideal location for distribution.
Gillham was also familiar with local civic leaders and community leaders in Stockton because of previous coalitions involving local organizations.
“The synergy has just been fabulous,” Gillham said. “It’s a really positive marriage that will last a long time. Everyone is working hard to build on San Joaquin County’s successes.”