ROANOKE, VA (December 1, 2006)


Shenandoah Life Insurance Company is pleased to announce that Board of Directors’ member, Ralph B. Everett, has been appointed to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, effective January 1.


Mr. Everett will lead the Joint Center at an important time for people of color in America, with the number of black elected officials in the U.S. having grown to more than 9,500 and as African Americans prepare to assume the leadership of key committees in the new Congress.


“Having worked with the Joint Center from my days as a young Capitol Hill staffer nearly 30 years ago, I can tell you this appointment is a dream come true for me,” said Mr. Everett. “In this information-seeking environment, I see a wealth of opportunities for the Joint Center to use its knowledge and influence to drive public policy and improve the quality of life for African Americans and for all who pursue the American dream. It is an honor to be chosen to lead this distinguished organization.”


Mr. Everett has worked since 1989 as a partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP, a leading international law firm with more than 1,000 attorneys in 18 offices throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. The first African American to receive a partnership at the firm, he has served as Managing Partner of the Washington office and is a member of the Policy Committee and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Federal Legislative Practice Group. While at Paul Hastings, Mr. Everett has specialized in matters pertaining to the legislative and executive branches, as well as independent regulatory agencies. He has particular experience in telecommunications and transportation policy issues.


In 1982, Mr. Everett became the first African American to head a U.S. Senate committee staff when he was appointed by Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-SC) to be the Democratic staff director and minority chief counsel of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. When Democrats won majority control of the Senate in 1986, Mr. Everett was named Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the full committee. There, he played a significant role in major legislation considered by the committee, including cable, broadcast and common carrier legislation, and regulatory reform of the airline, truck, rail and bus industries.


“Ralph Everett is a man of enormous energy who has the experience and the vision to lead the Joint Center into an exciting future,” said Elliott Hall, chairman of the Joint Center’s board of governors. “We are delighted that he will be putting his extraordinary networking and coalition-building skills to work for the nation’s foremost policy research institution on African American issues.”


The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies was established in 1970 to provide training, assistance and research to newly-elected black officials. Today, its signature research focuses on disparities in health care, improving the socioeconomic status of black Americans and expanding their effective participation in the political and public policy arenas. Opinion leaders, academics, government officials, business leaders, community activists and the media utilize the Joint Center’s research and analysis to improve the lives of African Americans and other minorities.


In addition to his law practice, Mr. Everett has been active in national and community affairs, including six years of service on the board of the National Urban League and more than ten years on the board of the Center for National Policy, where he served as Secretary of the organization. He has served as a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, as Vice Chairman of the Commonwealth of Virginia Waste Management Board, and he is currently a member of the Economic Club of Washington, the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Science Museum and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.


Mr. Everett currently serves on the boards of directors of Cumulus Media Inc. and Shenandoah Life Insurance Company. He is also a member of the Board of Visitors of Duke University Law School and has served as Chair of Board of Trustees of the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church, the oldest African American congregation in Alexandria, Virginia and one of the oldest Baptist churches in the United States.


In 1998, President Clinton appointed Mr. Everett as U.S. Ambassador to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference in Minneapolis, and that year he led the U.S. delegation to the ITU’s second World Telecommunication Development Conference in Malta, where he was elected Vice Chairman of the conference attended by representatives from more than 190 nations.


Mr. Everett is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court and is admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia and in North Carolina.


A native or Orangeburg, South Carolina, Mr. Everett is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College and has a juris doctor from Duke University Law School, where he was an Earl Warren Legal Scholar. He began his professional career as a lawyer in the North Carolina Department of Labor in Raleigh. In 1977, he moved to Washington to work as a legislative assistant in Senator Hollings’ office.


Mr. Everett resides in Alexandria, Virginia with his wife, Dr. Gwendolyn Harris Everett. They have one adult son, Jason Gordon Everett and a daughter-in-law, Heidi Jackson Everett.


Mr. Everett will succeed Dr. Margaret C. Simms, who has been serving as interim President and Chief Executive Officer.