Matthew Paxton was selected to be the President of the Shipbuilders Council of America in 2007. In this capacity he leads the team in advocating for a robust U.S. shipyard industrial base. With five years of legislative and policy experience in the United States Senate, Matthew has a strong focus on the legislative process, including the appropriations and authorizations committees of Congress.
Matthew is also a lawyer, focusing on maritime law and environmental issues.
Previously, Matthew served as Senior Counsel on Maritime, Oceans and Atmosphere for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Prior to joining the Commerce Committee, he served as Legislative Director for Senator Ted Stevens from 2004 until 2005. From 2001 to 2004, Matthew was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Stevens.
Matthew earned his B.A. degree in Political Science from the University of Washington in 1997 and his J.D. degree from Willamette University College of Law in 2001. He is admitted to practice law in Washington State.
Paula Zorensky has served as one of Shipbuilders Council of America’s Senior Defense Advisors since 2017 following her return to the organization. Paula started her career with the Shipbuilders Council in 2010 and served as the Government Relations Coordinator until 2014.
In between her work with SCA, Paula served as an analyst at Bloomberg Government, where she furthered her knowledge and understanding of Congressional legislative processes, including committee activity, procedural maneuvers and floor considerations. Additionally, Paula worked for a public relations and consulting firm and spearheaded many strategic initiatives to support grassroots and governmental affairs advocacy on the federal and state level.
Paula earned her B.A. degree in Political Science and Business Economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010.
Senior Defense Advisor
Joe O’Conor joined Shipbuilders Council of America as a Senior Defense Advisor in 2017 and spearheads SCA’s Workforce Development Committee and ship repair initiatives including the National Ship Repair Industry Conference.
Captain O’Conor retired from the Navy after serving a wide range of duty assignments. He commanded USS O’Bannon (DD-987), he was Pre-commissioning Executive Officer of USS Monterey (CG 61) and served on numerous other ships and staffs across his career.
Additionally, he served several tours in Washington DC including on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff in the Pentagon as well as a Congressional Liaison Officer for the Navy on Capitol Hill.
After retiring from the Navy, he transitioned to the civilian world and joined Earl Industries LLC as Director, Florida Operations. He was instrumental in the growth and profitability of the company’s ship repair operation in Mayport. He became the General Manager, General Dynamics NASSCO Mayport after the purchase of Earl Industries by General Dynamics in August 2012. He successfully made the transition from working for a small business to one of the largest defense firms in the country.
He was a founding member of the Jacksonville Area Ship Repair Association (JASRA) an organization of over 60 companies. In 2014, he was appointed by Governor Scott to the Board of Directors of Veterans Florida, an organization working to make Florida the most Veteran Friendly state in the country.
Captain O’Conor USN (Ret) holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the US Naval Academy and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from George Washington University. Additionally, he earned a Master’s Degree in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington D.C.
Government Relations Manager
With a long track record of facilitating connections, Davis Gaddy provides his bridge-building skills to clients. While at the Chamber of Commerce, Davis organized and oversaw fly-in briefings between state and local chambers and U.S. Chamber policy experts. In addition, he managed the outreach system that built coalitions and broad-based support to advance the Chamber’s legislative agenda. Davis now uses these alliance-forming talents to advance clients’ interests.
Recognizing that communications strategies are essential to organizations’ success, Davis draws on his experience in list management, content design development, grassroots outreach, issue promotion, policy research and written advocacy to help our clients deliver their messages with clarity and tactical effectiveness.
Davis’s work and insight helps our attorneys and other professionals advise on government-related issues at the local, state and federal level. With such coordination, our team can best address our clients’ public affairs challenges and partner with them to craft effective and often creative strategies.