WASHINGTON -- After nearly 19 years with the organization, Kelly Knowles has left the American Bakers Association. Since September 2018, Ms. Knowles has been vice president of political and state affairs at the ABA.

In a tribute to Ms. Knowles, Robb MacKie, ABA president and chief executive officer, said, “It deeply saddens me to share with you that Kelly Knowles has departed ABA. ABA is fortunate to have had her in our corner for 18 years.

“Under Kelly's leadership, American Bakers Political Action Committee grew exponentially into one of the top food processing PACs in the nation. Kelly is an incredible fundraiser and served as a fierce protector and steward of the PAC resources on behalf of the ABA membership. She partnered with the ABA Government Affairs team to build a strong, positive brand identity for ABA, giving our industry a powerful political voice on Capitol Hill.

“Kelly embraced the ABA Board mandate to extend ABA's highly successful federal advocacy efforts to states with tremendous enthusiasm. Her efforts on behalf of ABA pushed aside independent contractor reform efforts, state snack tax proposals, garnered passage of state legislation to combat industry tray theft, and more. Her work on ABA advocacy, in partnership with the other members of the ABA Government Relations Team, has saved the industry millions of dollars. On behalf of the ABA membership, we sincerely thank Kelly for her service and wish her and her family the very best.”

A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, with a bachelor’s degree in political science, Ms. Knowles also holds a master’s degree in legislative affairs from The George Washington University in Washington. She joined the ABA in 2002 as a government relations assistant and was promoted to legislative, regulatory and PAC manager in 2004; director of government relations and political affairs in 2006; director of political affairs in 2007; and senior director of political affairs from 2012 to 2018.

Ms. Knowles, who continues to serve as director of development for the Grain Foods Foundation, said, “It has been a privilege to serve this incredible organization for over 18 years. The opportunity to advocate on behalf of an industry I have grown to truly love has been invaluable to me both professionally and personally. The ABA not only introduced me to the love of my life, Andy DeVilling, but also so many cherished, enduring friendships I am fortunate to hold. I sincerely thank the entire ABA membership and ABA Professional Team for their support over the years and wish the industry all the best.”