We Are ColdSpark.
Just days after completing his studies at George Washington University, Mark Harris was on the ballot in Pennsylvania, ousting an incumbent state House member in the primary and standing for election at the age of 22. Mark Harris went on to become one of the most sought-after consultants in Pennsylvania, guiding big and small campaigns across the nation, including Marc Rubio’s super PAC and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey’s reelection victory in Pennsylvania – the most expensive Senate race in U.S. history.
In 2011, Mark co-founded ColdSpark in his native Pittsburgh, where he presides over a growing cast of office characters. Mark is a numbers-driven political analyst, who can be seen burning the midnight oil pouring over the latest poll numbers. When he’s not hopelessly rooting for his Pittsburgh Pirates, Mark is a national strategist, ad maker, and grassroots expert.
Mark lives in Mt. Lebanon with his wife, Krista, and their two children, Abigail and Davin.
Mike is a founding partner at ColdSpark, providing strategic and communications counsel to elected officials, candidates for public office, trade associations, advocacy groups, non-profit organizations, and Fortune 500 companies.
His client list is a who’s who of some of our nation’s leading politicians and thought leaders, including Reps. Tim Murphy, Scott Perry, and Pennsylvania Speaker Mike Turzai.
Politics PA twice rated Mike as a “top operative” in 2012 and 2014. Mike is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants. He was elected delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Mike is committed to the Pittsburgh community, serving as a board member for the AMD3 Foundation, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Board of Trustees, Jack Heinz Society, Central Catholic High School, the Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy, and the major gifts committee of The Pittsburgh Promise.
A graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, Mike resides in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh with his wife, Angela, and their daughter, Eleanor.
Nachama SoloveichikVice President
A Washington, D.C. professional who has spent more than decade in politics, Nachama Soloveichik runs ColdSpark’s D.C. office, where she is well-known for her communications expertise.
She has counseled numerous Senate and congressional campaigns, as well as political and non-profit groups across the country. Her creative and merciless mail pieces have won political awards, and her writing has been published in a range of publications, including Washington Post, The Hill, National Review Online, Politico, and The Federalist. Before joining ColdSpark, Nachama was communications director for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey on Capitol Hill.
A graduate of Yeshiva University and the University of Chicago, she describes herself as a reluctant runner and avid traveler who has logged 27 countries and 39 states. Nachama lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Menachem. They have no dogs and never will.
Michelle RupertChief Operating Officer
Michelle Rupert joined ColdSpark as chief operating officer after running one of the most complex jobs around: managing a company that services western Pennsylvania’s increasingly vibrant film industry.
Before that, she was chief operating officer for Conservation Consultants, a non-profit devoted to energy conservation throughout the region with a focus on reducing the high “energy burden” for Pennsylvania residents with low incomes.
Ready for a new challenge, she came to ColdSpark in December of 2017, where she quickly took charge of managing a squad of talented political, graphics, and communications professionals. As COO, Michelle’s talents include an exceptional B.S. radar and a no-nonsense flair for problem solving.
Born in Fulda, Germany, she came to the United States as a youngster, the daughter of an American serviceman and a German mother. She attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania where she majored in political science, pre-law, and German. She also attended several leadership programs, including the prestigious Anne B. Anstine Excellence in Public Service Series.
Michelle lives in the Brookline section of Pittsburgh. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, fishing, reading and spontaneous travel to foreign lands.
Dennis RoddySenior Advisor
Dennis Roddy comes to ColdSpark after a four-decade career in journalism, a four-year stint as a special assistant to the governor of Pennsylvania, and a year of alarming his Democratic siblings by getting Republicans elected.
A native of Johnstown, PA, he worked his way through college photographing weddings, working at weekly newspapers, and making pizza at a corner shop. As a journalist, he covered natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes, unnatural disasters such as conventions and elections, and everything else from the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the troubles in Harrisburg.
He joins ColdSpark as a senior advisor, providing messaging expertise, cutting-edge creativity and writing skills that have won him a slew of local, state, and national journalism awards.
He lives in Mt. Lebanon with his wife, Joyce. His hobbies include reading, photography, and frightening people with that stick he’s holding.
Ryan KotarGraphic Designer
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Ryan attended Robert Morris University, where he won several design awards. Ryan honed his graphic design skills at Pittsburgh’s Applebox Studios. At ColdSpark, Ryan presided over the creation of award-winning designs, from company logos to political direct mail. In his free time, Ryan works on building his video editing chops.
A.J. JohnstonAccount Executive
A.J. Johnston comes to ColdSpark after a life as a musician and a scholar of the Middle East. He has experience in politics from his work with Tom Smith’s upset win in the Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania, to his role as a key player in Guy Reschenthaler’s successful bid to win back Pennsylvania’s 37th Senate district after a decade of Democratic incumbency. Along with work as a political advisor to Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai, A.J. holds a degree in international affairs from Slippery Rock University and recently returned from the Middle East where he was a Gilman Scholar with the U.S. Department of State.
Laurel StrongoskyGraphic Designer
Laurel is the rare graphic designer who can design a beautiful logo, build a web site, and harvest and process venison. Laurel grew up in Greene County, PA, where the high schools often cancel classes on the first day of deer season.
She started her design career in the oil and gas industry working in print and digital to create advertising campaigns for small and big companies breaking ground in the Marcellus/Utica shale regions. Laurel continues to work in the agency world with ColdSpark by creating brand identities, websites, and digital advertisements.
An honors graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, Laurel spent many hours as a volunteer at Studio 224, a student-led design agency that worked for clients and causes on and off campus. She lives in Carnegie, and is a board member of AIGA Pittsburgh, the professional association for design.
Shawn BoylanOffice Manager
Shawn Boylan comes to ColdSpark after a varied career, including a stint with the storied William J. Green & Associates agency. His background is in financial and business planning, as well as accounting and administrative operations. Shawn is the most important person in the office, managing ColdSpark’s finances, human resources, and technology services.
Colton FedellProject Manager
Colton Fedell comes to ColdSpark after graduating from Slippery Rock University where he dual majored in business administration and American politics.
Colton started at ColdSpark as an intern and quickly impressed his supervisors with a combination of hard work and street-level knowledge of how politics works. In college, he was chairman of the College Republicans and a member of the Slippery Rock University President’s Academy.
Prior to joining ColdSpark, Colton was the key organizer for Aaron Bernstine’s upset win for state House in the 10th District in Beaver, Lawrence, and Butler Counties, and also served as deputy campaign manager in the 2016 reelection campaign of state House Speaker Mike Turzai.
An avid golfer, Colton also enjoys travel and is a big Penguins fan.
Ashleigh KazmeraskiExecutive Assistant
From Pittsburgh to Capitol Hill and back, Ashleigh brings nearly a decade of experience to ColdSpark, from politics and the public sector, to nonprofit and media. Beginning her career in Washington, D.C., Ashleigh served as the executive assistant and scheduler to U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy, where she effectively managed scheduling and day-to-day operations for one of the busiest legislators in Congress. After leaving the Beltway, Ashleigh returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh and continued her work with the Congressman’s office, providing constituent services for the 18th district of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining ColdSpark in 2017, Ashleigh worked for the Pittsburgh region’s foremost civic leadership organization, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, where she supported fundraising efforts and investor relations, and assisted with the production of a Sunday morning business-affairs television program on WPXI-TV. A graduate of Washington & Jefferson College (go Presidents!), Ashleigh lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh with her soon-to-be husband, Keith.
Emily ContiGraphic Designer
After a political season freelancing with ColdSpark and producing some of our most vibrant design work, Emily Conti boomeranged back into the office as a full-time graphic designer. A native of Westmoreland County, Emily graduated from California University of Pennsylvania with a degree in graphic design, with minors in communications and women’s studies.
After a year of working at the O2 Digital agency designing web sites and apps, she now focuses on turning out attention-grabbing direct mail and print designs for our clients.
Active in the volunteer community, she gears her efforts toward a philosophy of “design for good,” often invoking her favorite quote by Mohandas Gandhi: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Emily has done design work with Light of Life Rescue Mission, Project to End Human Trafficking, and photo-journalist, Maranie Rae, in effort to help shed light on social issues in our community.
Jake VeryProject Manager
Jake Very comes to ColdSpark after planning less dangerous undertakings than political campaigns. Operating from the South Side of Pittburgh, Jake arranged hikes, mountain climbing, rock climbing and whitewater rafting. In search of a bumpier ride, he joined ColdSpark where he is a project manager for several political campaigns.
A native of Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Jake graduated from St. Vincent College where he majored in business management with minors in entrepreneurship and operational excellence.
Jake soon plans to relocate to the North Hills in August of this year, after he marries his fiancée Chrissy. In his spare time, Jake enjoys rock climbing, standup paddle boarding, and chasing his dog, Bear.