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April 26, 2010
Dennis Wharton
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Ornelas to Join NAB as Executive VP, Chief Strategy Officer

WASHINGTON -- NAB announced the hiring today of Christopher Ornelas as executive vice president and chief strategy officer. Ornelas, who will join NAB on May 10, will report to NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith.

"Chris Ornelas is a proven leader for whom I have enormous respect," said Smith. "His deep understanding of Washington and telecommunications policy will serve radio and television broadcasters well, and I am thrilled to have him join our team."

Ornelas most recently served in the Washington offices of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck (BHFS), focusing his practice on telecommunications and technology policy. In this role, Ornelas advocated on behalf of wireline, cable, wireless and satellite operators on matters before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Congress.

Prior to joining BHFS, Ornelas was chief counsel on communications and technology policy in Smith's U.S. Senate office, overseeing all matters relating to communications, media, entertainment and technology before the Senate Commerce Committee. In that role, he developed and advanced multiple legislative initiatives on a wide array of communications and technology issues and advised the Senator on legislation that considered digital content protection, media ownership, spectrum allocation, broadband deployment and regulation, and telecommunications reform.

Ornelas's career also includes nearly a decade in the Washington offices of law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, where he represented broadcast clients on policy, regulatory and transactional matters before the FCC. In this capacity Ornelas licensed some of the first HD Radio stations in U.S. and assisted several broadcasters with regulatory matters surrounding the transition to digital and high-definition television.

"I'm honored to join such an extraordinary organization during such a pivotal time in Washington for broadcasters," said Ornelas. "There are a multitude of pressing issues facing free and local broadcasters today that present real challenges for our industry. I look forward to hitting the ground running."

Ornelas earned a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at The American University and a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric and Communications Studies from the University of Virginia. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Maria, and their four year old son.

About NAB
The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America's broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at


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