Mercury Public Affairs has landed veteran communications strategist Juan Melli, the founder of BlueJersey.com and one of the most intellectually advantaged people in New Jersey politics
Melli, who will join Mercury as a Vice President, most recently served as communications manager for the City of Hoboken under Mayor Dawn Zimmer.
“We are thrilled to welcome Juan to Mercury,” said Mercury partner Michael Soliman. “As a respected and experienced communications expert, Juan will be a tremendous asset to our team and provide best-in-class service to our clients.”
Soliman is U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s top political advisor who enjoys strong relationships with traditional Hudson County insiders like Brian Stack, Nicholas Sacco and Richard Turner. The addition of Melli offers Mercury a chance to extend those relationships to powerhouses of new generation of Democratic players who have moved to Hudson over the last fifteen years.
How smart is Melli? In 2008, he got his Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University, where he wrote his doctoral thesis on computer modeling of fish-like swimming and control and gait-generation for fish-like bodies.
Melli launched BlueJersey in 2005 and as one of the pioneers of new media in New Jersey, he quickly emerged as an influential leader among progressive Democrats. PoliticsNJ.com named him Politician of the Year in 2006 for his ability to set up a grass-roots network and for his talent at understanding tough issues and the boiling them down into points that were easily grasped by the more mortal rest of us.
He later earned a #17 ranking on the New Jersey politics power list and became the associate editor and columnist for PolitickerNJ.com in 2008. (Full disclosure: I hired him.)
Later, Melli joined the re-election campaign of Gov. Jon Corzine as the Director of New Media.
At Mercury, Melli joins a bi-partisan public strategy firm that includes Michael DuHaime, a nationally-known Republican strategist who has worked for President George W. Bush, Gov. Chris Christie and the Republican National Committee.
“Juan managed communications under the most extreme conditions during Hurricane Sandy in Hoboken and built the strongest municipal social media presence in the state,” said DuHaime. “He is a creative problem-solver whose expansive and proven communications expertise will strengthen our public relations and digital capabilities.”
Mercury’s New Jersey team also includes Mo Butler, who is U.S. Senator Cory Booker’s top political advisor and a former chief of staff to the Mayor of Newark.
“As a long-time trusted advisor to Mayor Dawn Zimmer and new media director for a gubernatorial campaign, Juan has the political experience and instincts to create winning strategies,” said Butler.
Mercury is a part of the Omnicom Public Relations Group, and provides services in the areas of federal government relations, international affairs, digital influence, public opinion research, media strategy and a bipartisan grassroots mobilization network in all 50 states.