Craig Kathy

Kathy Burcher is Senior Director of Government Relations Craig Whitham is Vice President​, Business Services

Richmond, Va., August 17, 2022 – Advantus Strategies, a Richmond-based consultancy specializing in state and local government affairs focusing on government relations, business development and association management, has named two members to its senior leadership team.

Kathy Burcher, a veteran legislative advisor and former deputy secretary of education in the Northam administration, is Senior Director of Government Relations. Craig Whitham, whose 17 years of federal and state government experience includes a stint on Capitol Hill, is Vice President, Business Services.

“We are pleased to add these two dynamic and experienced professionals to our senior team,” said Daniel G. “Bud” Oakey, Founder and Chairman of Advantus since 1998. “Their wisdom and acumen in matters related to government affairs deepen our capacity to serve our clients and build on the foundations that we have laid over close to a quarter century. They represent the future of Advantus, and we’re excited to tap their talents and experience today and in the years to come.”

About Kathy Burcher

Burcher joined Advantus Strategies earlier this year, having most recently served in Governor Ralph Northam’s cabinet in the Virginia Department of Education where she led efforts to expand Virginia’s STEM education efforts and availability of CTE (Career and Technical Education). A former educator herself, she led the administration’s efforts to improve special education services provided through the Children’s Services Act and supported work to consolidate state agency oversight of early childhood education. She coordinated the commonwealth’s school-based pandemic response and communication strategies for the COVID-19 emergency.

An expert in appropriations and state budget development, public finance, public education, Medicaid, and retirement system matters, Burcher directed legislative activities at various education-focused associations, building a strong network of relationships to help bridge partisan divides and facilitate the passage of important legislation and regulatory outcomes. She worked with the K-12 transition workgroups for both Governor Bob McDonnell and Governor Ralph Northam. As an experienced and effective facilitator, she is skilled in board development, strategic planning, high-performance team building and change management.

Burcher has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Science from James Madison University where she serves on the Executive Advisory Committee for the College of Education. She also earned a Master’s degree in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University. She began her career working with Special Education students in Fairfax County and currently lives in Henrico County.

About Craig Whitham

As Vice President of Business Services, Whitham is responsible for all aspects of client success. He manages all client communications and develops strategies and solutions that bring the resources of the firm’s private sector clients to meet the needs of state and local government. In addition to client services, as Vice President, he has a range of administrative duties within Advantus, assisting the partners in managing firm resources.

A four-year veteran at Advantus, Whitham’s background in government includes positions in both federal and state governments. He served as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, working extensively with Virginia legislators and state agencies on a wide range of legislation, projects and initiatives. As a Senior Appropriations Advisor to former U.S. Representative Frank Wolf, Whitham helped manage the Congressman’s legislative priorities, including transportation projects and other issues impacting Virginia. He also served as a legislative assistant to the late Congressman Howard Coble.

A Richmond native, Whitham earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from Elon University in North Carolina, and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from George Mason University. He resides with his wife and son in Henrico County.


About Advantus Strategies

Founded in 1998, Richmond, Va.-based Advantus Strategies helps organizations and businesses work more closely and effectively with Virginia government. As it has grown over time, the Advantus team consistently focuses on delivering sustained client success in government relations, coalition building and advocacy, business development and association management. More information at