Chris Ornelas

Chief Operating and Strategy Officer,
National Association of Broadcasters

Chris Ornelas serves as chief operating and strategy officer of the National Association of Broadcasters. In this role, Chris directs the daily operations of and provides strategic guidance to NAB’s advocacy teams in addressing the diverse legal and regulatory issues facing broadcasters today. Chris currently serves on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Advisory Council, the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies’ Board of Directors and The Latino Coalition’s Corporate Advisory Council.

Most recently, Chris served in the Washington offices of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, focusing his practice on telecommunications and technology policy. In this role, Chris advocated on behalf of wireline, cable, wireless and satellite operators on matters before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Congress.

Prior to joining BHFS, Chris was chief counsel on communications and technology policy in NAB President and CEO and former Senator Gordon Smith's U.S. Senate office, overseeing all matters relating to communications, media, entertainment and technology before the Senate Commerce Committee. In that role, he developed and advanced multiple legislative initiatives on a wide array of communications and technology issues and advised the senator on legislation that considered digital content protection, media ownership, spectrum allocation, broadband deployment and regulation, and telecommunications reform.

Chris’ career also includes nearly a decade in the Washington offices of law firm Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP, where he represented broadcast clients on policy, regulatory and transactional matters before the FCC. In this capacity, Chris licensed some of the first HD Radio stations in the U.S. and assisted several broadcasters with regulatory matters surrounding the transition to digital and high definition television.

Chris earned a J.D. from the Washington College of Law at The American University and a bachelor's degree in Rhetoric and Communications Studies from the University of Virginia. He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Maria and their son Dante.