ADS works across industry to identify issues that matter to our members and wider sectors, building awareness in Government and acting as a trusted source of timely and accurate information. Our stakeholder relationships with Government Departments, in Parliament and with the UK’s devolved administrations are managed by our expert Public Affairs team and is headed up by Thom Rawlinson.

2020 was a difficult period for many ADS members with global travel halted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation which led the majority of our public affairs work last year. Maintaining the profile of our sectors and political support and understanding for our members remain a priority issue for the team in 2021, to help ensure a rapid restart and economic recovery for members.

Thom says further of their priorities:

Working with stakeholders virtually over the past year has enabled the team to react to the ever-changing world we live in however we welcome the return of in-person events and the team will continue to plan a busy meeting programme with politicians, supporting industry events such as DSEI, and SpaceComm Expo and also attending Political Party Conferences to represent our four sectors.

The Public Affairs team helps supports the work on the ADS Brexit Hub and represent member views to the UK and Government stakeholders on the future relationship with the EU. The environment and climate change is another area of focus.

With COP26 due to be held in Glasgow later this year, we will continue to progress work on net zero aviation and wider sustainability issues across all four sectors, particularly messages on technology and UK industrial opportunities. We will also be engaging with partners on defence sustainability and climate change.

Joining Thom in the Public Affairs team this year is Poppy Pow and Sam Sears. Find out more about them.

Meet the team

Thom Rawlinson – Public Affairs Manager

Thom was recently promoted to become the new Public Affairs Manager at ADS after three years in the ADS Public Affairs Team.

In this new role, Thom leads the ADS public affairs programme to enhance the profile and image of ADS and our sectors with Ministers, MPs, advisers, officials and other influencers.

This involves developing and implementing engagement plans on ADS key campaigns and policy priorities. Before working at ADS Thom has worked in a variety of public affairs roles for universities and charities and also worked for a Shadow Secretary of State in Parliament as a placement year in university.

Poppy Pow – Public Affairs Adviser

Poppy started her role at ADS having worked for former MP, Heidi Allen, in a role that dealt with issues ranging from Brexit to district trout supply.

She gained a Masters with Distinction in International Security, following an undergraduate degree where she spent time studying in Ontario, Canada.

In her spare time she volunteers as Chair of a Board of Trustees for a local children’s charity, enjoys watching football, rugby, and tennis, and likes spending time outdoors with family, friends, and dogs.

She is enjoying learning about ADS sectors and is keen to meet members in person when restrictions allow.

Sam Sears – Public Affairs Adviser

Before starting at ADS Sam spent two years in parliament working for the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns and his PPS, Glyn Davies.

Highlights of his time in parliament include successfully campaigning during the 2019 General Election and repatriating constituents stranded abroad during the Coronavirus pandemic.

He studied International Politics and Strategic Studies at Aberystwyth where he gained First Class Honors and an academic scholarship.

He is a keen traveller having taken a gap year in a Kibbutz in Israel and teaching English in Cambodia and Laos. He is excited to work with and represent member companies.