about us

The Mallard Group, LLC is a full service association services and government relations firm specializing in interaction with decision makers at all levels of local, state and federal government. We know that government policies and actions can affect changes to your business, non-profit, trade association or municipality at a moment’s notice, and we pride ourselves on keeping our clients ahead of the curve. Reaction, while necessary at times, comes second to proactive involvement with government. Let us present your message to decision makers and educate government representatives about your needs and abilities.  We maintain subject matter experts in the fields of Congressional Relations, Governmental Affairs and Association Management to best suit the needs of our clients and develop teams of experts specifically to address client challenges and goals.  Our specialties include government and legislative affairs, business consulting, policymaker education and outreach, legislative tracking and drafting, association management, interaction with Members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate and Administration, as well as Members of the Texas State House, State Senate and Texas executive offices.

The Mallard Group, LLC is a team of consisting of proactive problem solvers. Each member of our team has extensive political and public policy experience, and our unique relationships provide clients with unparalleled insight into the workings of the highest levels of the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch, including federal departments and regulatory agencies. Our professionals are recognized for their strategic and direct counsel, distinctive style, comprehensive tact, proactive determination, discretion, and most importantly, their ability to get the job done.

With offices in both Texas and Washington, D.C., we are able to provide consistent, personalized service to our clients by offering a genuine presence when and where we are needed. We pride ourselves on being attentive to our clients in a timely manner and have the flexibility to represent our clients in a variety of capacities on a moment’s notice.

We believe that our clients are what drive us, and we have distinguished ourselves by working only for clients who promote worthy causes. By taking the high road and doing what is right, we have developed stellar reputations throughout both the private and public sectors; a strategy that has proven successful for our clients.

The Mallard Group was formed in 2007 when Walt Smith left federal public service and took his love for assisting people to the private sector. Prior to leaving Washington, Mr. Smith worked on Capitol Hill for members of the Texas Delegation, Appropriations and Agriculture Committee Members from Texas, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and served as a liaison between USDA and other federal water agencies and departments. Since beginning his private practice, Mr. Smith has had the fortune to work with clients ranging from trade associations and public universities, to chambers of commerce and foreign governments. The size and scope of these clients and their priorities have varied greatly from small businesses looking to change a specific bill provision, to countries developing stronger relationships with the U.S.  However, one common thread has connected each of them, personalized service, which directly impacted their priorities and goals.

Walt Smith, Founder/President

Walt Smith has nearly two decades of experience working in both the government and government-relations field representing various clients before Congress, the administration, and state and local governments. He has worked with major land grant universities, national scientific societies, agricultural policy professionals, national trade associations, a top 50 law firm, chambers of commerce, municipalities and private businesses. This dedication to customer service on behalf of clients and subject matter expertise, coupled with his relationships with policymakers earned Mr. Smith the designation as the number 17 “Rising Star” on the 2013 by Capitol Insider.

Before entering the private sector, Mr. Smith worked in both the Legislative and Executive Branches of the federal government. He began his career on Capitol Hill intern, later moving on to the House Agriculture Committee, under the leadership of then-Chairman, Larry Combest of Texas. After working for the Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Bill Barrett, until his retirement, he represented the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA) on environmental policy issues before leaving to serve as a Congressional Liaison at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In this role, Mr. Smith led negotiations of provisions related to everything from water, conservation and agriculture program assistance, to research and nutrition during the passage and implementation of the 2002 Farm Bill. Mr. Smith then headed back to Capitol Hill to work for the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. As the Appropriations Associate for Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX), then-Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Walt served as the Chairman’s liaison to the Committee for almost five years. Mr. Smith was the primary staffer for multiple issues including the Corp of Engineers, energy, transportation, natural resources, agriculture, environment, trade, taxes, finance and small business. It was during this time Mr. Smith gained a reputation within the delegation as a subject matter expert in the realm of appropriations and worked directly with many local governments and communities to identify, pursue, and achieve outcomes to their benefit. Specifically, Mr. Smith served the Chairman as his liaison working on issues of the highest importance related to crisis management including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Walt left public service in 2006 and founded The Mallard Group, LLC, a full service federal relations firm.

Maintaining strong relationships in Washington and Austin, Mr. Smith has become a trusted advisor on issues related to agriculture and water on both a personal and professional level. He currently serves on a number of advisory committees for Members of Congress and the Texas Legislature.

Walt has been actively involved in many charitable groups and organizations in both Texas and Washington. A resident of Dripping Springs, he serves in organizations such as the Lions Club, the DS Wildgame Dinner, and the DSISD Education Foundation Board of Directors.  He has also served as executive office in the past for a number of groups including the Texas State Society of Washington, the National Capitol Texas A&M Club, the Black Tie and Boots Inaugural Ball and the Taste of The South Charity Gala.