As a constitutional attorney, member of the Utah House of Representatives, senior legal advisor to three United States senators in Washington and in Utah, and Vice President of Government Relations for a billion dollar corporation, Derek’s breadth of experience in law and government relations arena is truly unique.
After clerking for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Derek practiced constitutional and appellate law with the international law firm of Sidley & Austin. He then served as Chief Counsel to Senator Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) in Washington, D.C. After moving with his family back to his home state of Utah, Derek spent several years as counsel to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
In 2010, Derek was elected to the Utah House of Representatives, where he served as Vice Chair of the Rules Committee, as well as on the House Business and Labor Committee, House Judiciary Committee, House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee, and Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee. He also served as Co-Chair of the Occupational and Professional Licensure Review Committee.
Derek left his position in the House when his former law firm associate (now Senator) Mike Lee asked him to serve as his Deputy Chief of Staff and Utah State Director. In this position, Derek flew from Utah to Washington countless times, and also put thousands of miles on his car while interacting with virtually every elected official in the state of Utah on Senator Lee’s behalf. Derek later served as Vice President of Government Relations for a billion dollar corporation with almost 1000 employees. In this position, he managed the company’s government relations in Washington, DC, interfacing with members of Congress, lobbying federal agencies, and managing the company’s nationwide lobbying effort in over a dozen states.
Derek currently serves as the Chairman of the Utah Republican Party, being elected in May 2019. He is very active in his community, having taught communications law as an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University for over a decade. He also serves on the Advisory Board for Intermountain Homecare and for the Hale Centre Theatre.
Derek, and his wife, Emilie de Azevedo, have four remarkable (and somewhat exhausting) children and loves spending his free time biking and being in Utah’s great outdoors. Because in a previous life Derek was a professional pianist and opted to leave a career in music for something his parents told him was more “practical,” you’ll also hear him occasionally riffing on jazz chords in his spare time.