Prior to founding Section VII Strategies, Surya Gunasekara served as Chief of Staff and Tax Counsel for Congressman James B. Renacci (R-OH). He was the Congressman’s chief policy advisor and managed the D.C. and District offices. Surya was responsible for shaping the overall strategic vision of the Congressman’s Ways and Means Committee portfolio, specifically in tax, trade, and energy. While on the Hill, Surya lead a team of tax lawyers in developing a pro-growth consumption-based tax reform plan, a international tax reform discussion draft, and legislation - signed into law - overhauling the partnership audit regime. In addition, he oversaw all legislative and communication initiatives as well as a robust fundraising operation.
Before working on Capitol Hill, Surya was Managing Director - Taxes at Airlines for America. In this role, Surya handled federal, state, local and international tax issues affecting the major domestic airlines, working closely with legislative and administrative bodies to manage the tax burden. In addition, Surya represented the airline industry on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Tax Committee and the California Taxpayers Association Board of Directors. Surya previously served as Counsel - Tax & Trade in the Tax and Accounting Policy Department of the American Petroleum Institute (API). In that capacity, Surya drafted comments on proposed regulations, monitored legislation, and supported API's advocacy efforts. Surya also managed the API policy subcommittees on accounting, international trade compliance, and excise tax.
Prior to joining API, Surya was Assistant Counsel at the Defense Logistics Agency Energy (DLA Energy), the Department of Defense's purchasing agency for bulk petroleum products, and other energy commodities. At DLA Energy, Surya advised petroleum procuring contracting officers and program directors in matters pertaining to acquisitions, contract administration, as well as international and domestic fuel taxes.
Surya has published extensively on energy, tax, international relations and natural security issues in the some of the largest newspapers and most respected law journals, these include: Investor's Business Daily, the Hill, the Washington Examiner, the Journal of Space Law, the Public Contract Law Journal, the Federal Circuit Bar Journal, Air & Space Law, the George Washington Journal of Energy and Environmental Law and the Washington and Lee Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment . He has lectured and testified on energy and tax policy issues at a host of conferences, state legislative hearings and symposiums sponsored by industry, government, and law schools.
As an American of Sri Lankan decent, Surya has been very involved in U.S. - Asia Relations, specifically Southeast Asia. While a U.S. House of Representatives Chief of Staff, he participated in three high-level bilateral delegations to China, Taiwan, and South Korea. In addition, Surya serves a member of Congressional Circle of the U.S. Asia Institute and leads an annual delegation of senior Congressional Staff to China under the Mutual Education and Cultural Exchange Act.
Surya holds a J.D. cum laude from the University of Mississippi. Prior to law school, he graduated from the University of Denver with a Masters in Natural Resource and Energy Policy and from the University of Colorado with a Bachelors in Political Science. He lives with his wife and two children on Capitol Hill.