Aimpoint Research Welcomes Former USDA Chief of Staff, Former White House Advisor Ray Starling as Executive Advisor
Aimpoint Research®, a global strategic intelligence firm, is proud to welcome Ray Starling as Executive Advisor. In this role, Ray will serve as an invaluable resource on public policy and legal developments that have the potential to impact the agri-food value chain, as well as attend special events, select client engagements and speaking opportunities. He will also continue in his current position as general counsel of the NC Chamber and president of the NC Chamber Legal Institute.
“The team at Aimpoint Research is well known throughout the agriculture sector for its insightful thought leadership, dynamic presentations, and future-focused industry exercises,” said Starling. “I’m honored to join their team in this advisory role and look forward to the fruits of our collaboration.”
Prior to joining the NC Chamber team, Ray served as chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue where he coordinated execution of the secretary’s policy agenda for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ray focused on regulatory and deregulatory initiatives and acted as a point of contact for stakeholders throughout agriculture and rural communities. He has also served as a principal agriculture advisor to the President of the United States at the White House, chief of staff and chief counsel for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, and general counsel when Tillis was Speaker of the House in the North Carolina legislature. Early in his career, he was general counsel for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
“Ray is a brilliant thinker, superb communicator and a good friend who continues to serve diligently on the front lines of our industry,” said Brett Sciotto, Aimpoint Research founder and CEO. “It is my privilege to welcome him into our Aimpoint Research family. Agriculture is contending with a growing number of legal dynamics and geopolitical threats that must be evaluated and communicated through our intelligence so our clients can act decisively. We are thrilled to add Ray’s tremendous intellectual horsepower to our team and encourage our clients to tap into his wisdom.”
Since leaving Washington in 2019, Starling has focused on leading the NC Chamber’s policy team and serving as President of its Legal Institute.
"We have known for a long time that agricultural policy belongs on the list of determinants of farm and agribusiness viability, but the modern forum for those policy debates is more turbulent than the traditional venues where we have historically punched above our weight," said Starling. “An increasing number of today’s food and farming policy debates are occurring outside the legislative process entirely, and in many instances, the battlelines are being drawn within the judiciary."
He also emphasized how critical it is to take advantage of the lessons learned by other industries.
“My work with the NC Chamber has given me a birds-eye view of multiple industries adjacent to agriculture, and an opportunity to see how stressors and prospects in those sectors offer insight into the future of food and farming.”
Licensed to practice law in North Carolina, Ray has private practice experience and has taught agricultural and food law for several years. He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from North Carolina State University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He grew up on a Century Farm in southeastern North Carolina and credits that experience as having more to do with his career path than any other influence or opportunity. His parents continue to farm as does his eldest brother. Starling was a National FFA Officer and is a former 4-H member. He resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with his family.
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