Florida’s largest lobbying firm, The Southern Group, moves into NC 

Longtime lobbyist Kevin Wilkinson will lead the new Raleigh office

Kevin Wilkinson is joining The Southern Group for its expansion into North Carolina. (Photo courtesy The Southern Group)

RALEIGH — The Southern Group, the largest lobbying firm in the Southeast, is expanding into North Carolina.  

“This expansion is proof that The Southern Group’s influence and reach are growing rapidly,” Paul Bradshaw, chairman and founder, said in a news release. “As our footprint grows, so does our ability to serve clients throughout the region.” 

With a deep experience in policy and administrative law, Bradshaw started the company 25 years ago in 1999. Between 1986 and 1990, Bradshaw served under former Florida Gov. Bob Martinez in top cabinet aide and policy positions. 

Kevin Wilkinson, a seasoned North Carolina lobbyist, will lead the new office in Raleigh. 

“The Southern Group is a strong brand throughout the southeast,” Wilkinson said in a statement to North State Journal. “The firm’s innovative approach to providing turnkey client solutions coupled with my deep knowledge of North Carolina’s political process is a recipe for success. 

“My goal is to build a strong presence in North Carolina and grow into one of the leading lobbying shops in the state.” Wilkinson is well-known in North Carolina as a top lobbyist in both politics and policy.  

Before joining The Southern Group in the new North Carolina office in Raleigh, he was the senior vice president of Government Affairs for EQV Strategic. 

From 2016 to 2019, he held positions in North Carolina’s public education sector, serving as chief of staff and legislative director to the N.C. State Superintendent at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.  

“Kevin knows how this state works and knows how to get things done,” said Sen. Robert Bryan, for whom Wilkinson once served as a policy adviser. “His knowledge of the issues and his influence in the General Assembly and around the state are well-known and well-respected.” 

Additionally, Wilkinson, a North Carolina native, has served as executive director of external affairs at UNC Pembroke, where he played a key role in formulating and garnering backing for the institution’s policy objectives and programs.  

With the strategic addition of North Carolina, The Southern Group will have 11 offices throughout the Southeast — it currently has five offices in Florida and one each in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.  

Fourth quarter reports for 2023 put The Southern Group as the top-earning firm in Florida with a total of $8.52 million. The firm’s legislative lobbying arm’s portion was $4.79 million. 

Clients include Florida’s biggest name, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and national brands like Apple, Darden Restaurants and IBM, as well as financial giants like Wells Fargo and Fidelity Investments.

About A.P. Dillon 1294 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_