Houston, Texas

Houston Leadership

Tony Essalih joined Cornerstone in 2011 as a co-lead of the firm’s flagship Texas office in Houston. He is a 12-year veteran of Capitol Hill and comes to Cornerstone from the office of Congressman John Culberson (R-TX). Tony served Congressman Culberson for 10 years, the last five as his Chief of Staff. Prior to that position, Tony spent time as a Legislative Assistant, Legislative Director, Communications Director, and Deputy Chief of Staff to the congressman. He worked in Washington, DC for eight years before moving to Houston in 2007. Once in Houston, Tony split his time between the two cities.

Vernie Hubert brings to Cornerstone Government Affairs more than twenty five years of experience working in and with the federal government with specific focus and expertise in the field of agricultural policy. Most recently, Vernie served as the Minority Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.  Vernie also served as Majority General Counsel and Majority Deputy Chief Counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Vernie is a native of Riviera, TX and earned a law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law after graduating from Texas A&M University. 

Tyler Nelson, former chief of staff to Congressman Pete Olson (R-TX), joined the firm as Vice President in June of 2016.  During his seven year tenure with Congressman Olson, Tyler served in various roles including Campaign Manager, District Director and Deputy Chief of Staff.  In his most recent role as Chief of Staff, Tyler managed the Congressman’s Washington and Texas operations including all political, legislative and communications strategies for the Congressman.  Given the Congressman’s role on the Energy & Commerce Committee and the Energy & Power subcommittee, Tyler helped develop all facets of the Congressman’s legislative agenda. Prior to working with Representative Olson, Tyler was a consultant with Hitachi Consulting in Houston, Texas.  He was also a legislative aide with the Houston City Council.

Jim Richards a Cornerstone Partner, joined the firm in 2005 after serving in both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government. Since joining the Cornerstone team, Jim has concentrated his practice on securing numerous successes for clients in the spheres of appropriations, energy, environment, higher education, and agriculture policy amongst others. Before leaving Capitol Hill, Jim served as the appropriations associate staff for succeeding Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and Related Agencies Chairmen, Congressmen Henry Bonilla and Joe Skeen. 

Tim Schauer Tim Schauer joined Cornerstone in 2011 as a co-lead of the firm’s flagship Texas office in Houston. He has more than 20 years of government relations experience working in both Austin and Washington, DC. Tim has advocated for a broad range of policy issues including health care, health insurance, public health, tort reform, education, water financing and craft beer. Tim has played a pivotal role in guiding the advocacy efforts for Community Health Choice, Nexus Health System, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, the Texas Association of Community Based Health Plans and Open the Taps. In addition to his direct advocacy efforts, Tim specializes in public policy development with community organizations, as exemplified by his formative work with Healthy Living Matters - a Houston collaborative focused on solving childhood obesity. Tim’s collaborative style and upbeat leadership skills were recognized when he was selected to chair the Greater Houston Partnership’s Federal Relations Committee for three consecutive years.