About Us

Consulting, Advocacy, Relationships, Execution and Service. These are the principal elements of O’Connor CARES Solutions that create a strong foundation on which to build client success. Creating a partnership in advocacy and execution to meet today’s challenges and assure future success is the business and promise of O’Connor CARES Solutions.

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Kevin's Portrait

Our Founder

Kevin O’Connor,
Founder & CEO

Kevin started his career differently than most.  Few products of Washington & Lee University learned to make life and death decisions while trying to subdue out of control fires, pulling victims from horrific accidents and providing life-saving emergency medical care.

A biopic in The Hill newspaper entitled “Ex Fire Fighter Still Answering the Call” traces O’Connor’s career from a young fire fighter to an effective advocate at the local and state levels, to his ultimate rise in becoming one of organized labor’s most effective and respected federal lobbyists and political strategists in Washington, DC.


When I headed FEMA, I could always rely on Kevin for appropriate counsel and support. As two former fire fighters, we knew what needed to be done for those impacted by disasters and for the men and women responding in harm’s way. From increasing grant funding for SAFER and AFG to improving USAR response capabilities to working on communications, wild land, EMS and other response issues, we partnered to improve the fire service and the federal government’s preparedness and response to any and all disasters.

R. David Paulison
Former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),

While Kevin and I may differ on our partisan politics, our work as advocates for public safety was always bi-partisan. Our success allocating broadband spectrum for our first responders is one of my proudest victorys and we surprised a lot of folks working so well together….

Scott W. Reed
Senior Political Strategist, US Chamber of Commerce

Kevin has been a trusted friend and confidante for over 20 years. His service and insight on the board while we were growing First Mariner Bank was invaluable. In recent years, he’s helped me expand indoor soccer and boost the Baltimore Blast, the sport’s oldest and most successful franchise. Our trip to Israel to bolster economic development in Maryland was like no other. We were a great cheerleading and promotional team—me the CEO business guy and Kevin the union thug. But, it worked!

Edwin F. Hale
Chairman and CEO, Baltimore Blast Past Chairman, CEO, Baltimore Bancorp and First Mariner Bank

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    In the News

    • Fire Politics: 2019: From Communications to Congress

      Kevin O’Connor evaluates the opportunities and challenges ahead in 2019. As we are only newly into 2019, it’s a good time to review some of the opportunities and challenges facing the fire service in the new year. Embracing FirstNet It has been nearly eight years since the fire service secured bandwidth 14 (D-Block) and the

      February 1, 2019
    • Fire Politics: The Problems & Politics of Plastic

      Kevin O’Connor explains why firefighters can’t ignore the dangers posed by certain building materials—and the lobbyists pushing for them. When firefighters think of politics and advocacy, they envision Congressional debates on fire service grant programs, training, regulations, or battles at the state and local levels on budgeting, funding priorities, and staffing. They don’t realize that

      December 1, 2018
    • Fire Politics: Protecting Your Future

      Kevin O’Connor underscores the need to manage pension plans for the firefighter, not political correctness. When someone raises their hand and takes an oath to become a firefighter or EMS professional, they knowingly assume the risks associated with one of the nation’s most dangerous professions. Very few young firefighters think about the future in terms

      October 1, 2018
    • Fire Politics: Reflecting on Success

      Kevin O’Connor shares that Fire Service Caucus members have had great success—but the work continues. The recent 30th annual Congressional Fire Services Caucus dinner provided an opportunity to reflect on the collective success of the American fire service. Then and now As a young firefighter, I attended the very first dinner. At that time, I honestly

      June 1, 2018
    • Fire Politics: We Can’t Be Used as Pawns

      Kevin O’Connor underscores that fire safety must remain a top priority as organizations try to align themselves with firefighters. The imagery of firefighters is a valuable commodity for anyone trying to sell a product, advance an issue or even influence politicians. We are coveted coalition partners with interests ranging from climate change to wireless carriers.

      April 1, 2018
    • Fire Politics: Politics as Usual …

      Kevin O’Connor explains why unnecessary Congressional maneuvering left the fire service in a state of uncertainty for six months. The continuing pit of partisan politics, the arcane rules governing Congress, and schoolyard-style feuds between the House and Senate condemn Washington to continued dysfunction. Last year the “Nine Sisters”—an Inside-the-Beltway colloquialism for the major fire service

      February 1, 2018
    • Fire Politics: I Am Pro-Choice

      Kevin O’Connor encourages departments to evaluate their communications options. Communications—both mission-critical voice and data—are crucial components for fireground safety and efficient operations. For decades, we have lobbied, begged and cajoled to secure inter- and intra-operability. And now a moment of choice is upon us. This summer, FirstNet selected AT&T as its partner to build out

      December 1, 2017
    • Ex-firefighter still answering the call

      KEVIN BOGARDUS – 01/26/09 05:59 PM EST Kevin O’Connor represents more than 290,000 firefighters in Washington. And while he wears a suit and tie on Capitol Hill — like most lobbyists — when he makes his case to lawmakers, he speaks from experience. A former Baltimore County firefighter and the son of a fire chief,

      November 2, 2017
    • Fire Politics: The Fight for AFG/SAFER

      Kevin O’Connor says we are facing an epic battle to protect a program that has benefited so many fire departments. An iconic commercial aired in the aftermath of 9/11 that portrayed a group of soot-stained firefighters running a legislative body. The theme was that the firefighter-legislators made decisions predicated solely on doing what was right.

      October 1, 2017
    • Fire Politics: Sizing Up the New Administration & Congress

      Kevin O’Connor reviews how our new leaders are prioritizing the fire service. It’s been six months since the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump and the start of the 115th Congress. It’s time to evaluate how our new leaders are treating the fire service. Funding review The president began his term promising to eliminate or cut

      August 1, 2017