In days of old, a farmer planted his crops in the spring, tended them through the summer and harvested in the fall with a well deserved winter break. But growing seasons have changed – and so have the seasons of politics. That’s the analogy that a busy Brad Chism gives to explain his political consulting firm, Zata|3. He says politics is a year round business that just gets busier every election cycle. “There’s always a candidacy or a ballot measure that we’re working on,” Chism tells us from his Fondren Building office. Along with business partner Chad Gosselink who runs the Washington, D.C. office, Chism’s firm provides what he calls “direct voter contact.” With targeted messages, often by phone, telephone town hall, direct mail and some online polling, Zata|3 gives candidates much needed data to help them shape and refine their aim. And he is a fan of the molding effect government has on our society. “(I believe) public policy matters,” Chism tells us. “We’ve (all) been the beneficiaries of government programs that have given us the opportunity to better ourselves.” He says Zata|3 believes there is a role for government in society. “Business and political consulting is about helping to select the best people to fill those jobs.”
Zata|3 has been in business since 2005 after Chism, a political science graduate from Millsaps, tired of his previous vocation. Already familiar with government and community service in the private sector, the north Mississippi native says the firm’s first major campaign was that of Senator Ben Nelson in Nebraska. Fast forward to 2011, where the firm played a key role in the No On 26 campaign, a bipartisan effort that Chism says they are very proud of. “That was an unprecedented advancement in women’s rights,” he says. “It showed a lot of people the whole concept of reproductive rights is very complex.” It also earned the firm a prestigious slate of awards, most recently eight of their 23 at the American Association of Political Consultants “Pollies”. Zata|3 was honored more than any other firm and Chism says it reveals something about his firm: “we’re the best at what we do.” They received more awards than any other firm in the area of direct telephone voter contact. Those honors should keep their phones ringing – to make other phones ring. “Because of the Citizens United Case, there’s more unregulated money in politics than ever before,” he says. While Zata|3 is gearing up for November elections, the firm still must tackle primaries for congressional and local races, as well as numerous ballot measures.
And so we wondered, how does a major player in the world of politics find its way to Fondren? Chism says that’s simple. “It’s hip, it’s funky and it’s the only place I can leave, and in a four minute walk, get sushi, seafood or salsa (lessons).” He says there’s another big plus to having Zata|3 call Fondren home. “We have people come in from all over the country to meet with us, some who come for weeks at a time. They all appreciate the warmth, the hospitality and the diversity of Fondren.”