Who We Are

Sound Counsel specializes in helping organizations and individuals prepare for and respond to situations requiring a crisis communications response.

Our Guiding Principles:

Ethical Responses

 The best crisis responses are honest and prompt. This principle guides our engagements with clients.

Crisis Specialists

We’re not a marketing or public relations firm. We focus on crisis readiness and crisis management and we offer this specialized expertise and individualized attention to clients.


What we learn about your company will never be shared with others. Information gathered during an engagement is treated with strict confidentiality.

J. Vander Stoep

J. Vander Stoep


J. has more than 25 years experience in helping public figures and organizations prepare, avoid, and manage communications crises — including high profile cases appearing in national and regional media. He is a lawyer with a long career in government affairs, including time as a Washington state representative and Chief of Staff to a U.S. Senator. J. has worked with dozens of public agencies, public figures, and businesses as a communications consultant and strategist. His clients have included the Russell Company and Trident Seafoods and many more. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Chehalis, Washington.


“J is simply one of the best minds in communications I know. Having worked through many and varied crisis communications situations with J over the years, I can recommend him unreservedly.”

– Mike McGavick, CEO, XL Capital and Former CEO and Chairman Safeco

Bruce Cordingly

Bruce Cordingly


Bruce has more than eighteen years experience working with Fortune 500s, universities and government agencies on their internal and external communications, including work with the Federal Reserve Bank, MasterCard, Columbia University, and Bloomingdales. While managing internal and external communications for ITOCHU International, a $4 billion diversified trading company headquartered in New York, he helped the company develop its post-9/11 policies and response plans. He is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. He lives with his wife and son in Seattle. In his spare time, he is an instructor at the Technology Access Foundation, which gives children in underserved communities access to IT, math, and science training.


“Bruce is a wonderful asset for companies avoiding and responding to crises. He is smart, ethical, dedicated and concerned first and foremost with helping clients make the right decisions – which can make all the difference to an organization’s reputation and bottom line.”

– Radhika Philip, Vice President, Corporate Management, AON Consulting

Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan

Vice President

Michael brings more than 30 years of extensive, hands-on experience to Sound Counsel, including more than nine years leading crisis communications at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the world’s second-largest global cruise vacation company. He also led Royal Caribbean’s office of Corporate Communications. Michael has worked in the media, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Treasury Department – where he led the U.S. Customs Service’s office of Congressional and Public Affairs for the Southeast U.S. and the Caribbean, for 13 years, during the height of the “war on drugs.” He has regularly dealt with media and issues from around the world. He specializes in crisis and corporate communications, media relations, congressional and government relations, public affairs, public policy, and public relations.

Timothy Killian

Timothy Killian

Tim helps manage corporate and government communications crisis. Tim has more than 20 years experience working with public figures and organizations, helping them to manage all aspects of Strategic Communications. He’s worked for high profile elected officials, organizations and corporations. He’s worked in government & public affairs, including as the council liaison for the Mayor of Seattle. Tim has run several statewide political initiatives and candidate campaigns, and has consulted in crisis communications with Premera Blue Cross. In addition, Tim brings Sound Counsel extensive experience in working effectively with social media. He was an adjunct professor at Seattle University, teaching public affairs and crisis communications. Tim lives in Seattle and has two sons.

Steve Quant

Steve Quant

Steve is an internationally recognized marketing professional, marketer and storyteller who understands the value of brand while focusing on measurable results. A multiple Emmy award-winning producer/editor, Steve’s experience includes over 25 years of leadership in national and regional television networks as well as more than 10 years as the Director of Media Acquisition for the world’s largest NGO, World Vision United States. Sound Counsel benefits from his extensive professional experience stretching across multiple marketing disciplines and all traditional and social media platforms. Steve enjoys living on the beach in Seattle, and volunteers with the cities homeless community. 

The Sound Counsel team also includes specialists in:

  • Media training
  • Research
  • Direct mail
  • Government affairs
  • Search engine reputation management
  • Social media, e.g. Facebook & Twitter

Sound Counsel partners
with Percepture:



“The local ABC affiliate was ready to run a story that day with a false accusation against my company.  Sound Counsel did an outstanding job of explaining the facts to the TV news personnel and the story never made the nightly news.”

Phillip Waldner
Fife Recovery Inc.

“Sound Counsel was excellent to work with. They spent time understanding our operations and corporate culture and created a customized crisis communications plan that will guide us should we ever face an event drawing public attention. It is a very straightforward plan, characterized by openness and accountability, that will help us proactively maintain accurate communications, company reputation, and productivity, while responding to and working through an unplanned event.”

Dick Grader
CEO, National Frozen Foods

Sound Counsel is proud to be an official partner of the American Frozen Foods Institute and the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association.

“The communication counsel and guidance that Constellation Brands received from Sound Counsel during a product recall helped us to effect a smooth, fast and effective recall from retail.”

Cheryl Gossin
VP, Corporate Communications for Constellation Brands