Kasirer Spotlight-Dev Awasthi

Kasirer Spotlight:
Dev Awasthi

Kasirer Spotlight is a Q&A that features our remarkable team members. Learn about their background, experience, and perspectives on government and politics.

Dev Awasthi is Vice President on Kasirer’s Corporate & Legislation team, and primarily works to advise and support our corporate clients on budgetary, legislative, and other regulatory matters.

Dev Awasthi Kasirer Spotlight with Mayor Dinkins

You started in politics and the City Council, then to law school, and now you’re Vice President at Kasirer. How has this career path helped you in your role?

I started my career working on Anthony Weiner’s 2013 mayoral campaign, then I worked for Comptroller Scott Stringer as a constituent liaison, before working on Barry Grodenchik’s campaign for City Council District 23. We won the City Council seat, so I worked in the City Council after that before going to law school at the University of Connecticut. During law school, I interned for Attorney General Letitia James. Shortly after that, I started at Kasirer. First, on the nonprofits team as a legal fellow, then a senior government relations specialist, then on the Corporate & Legislation team as director of government relations, associate vice president, and now as vice president, I support clients undergoing high-profile negotiations with the city, specifically for real estate projects and legislation.

I would say every role I’ve had in the past has given me the experience and skills necessary to be successful in my current role here at Kasirer. Given my years of experience in city politics, I have developed strong relationships with people currently in government, as we came up together through the ranks. I’ve worked with them in the past and I’m able to lean on those relationships and engage on behalf of clients. However, I still enjoy opportunities to attend events, like Caucus Weekend and SOMOS, which continues to broaden my network and create real world connections to support our work on policy and projects happening in real time.

In your role, you’ve worked on some high-profile projects across all teams, most recently the Innovation Queens rezoning. Through these experiences, how would you describe the collaborative work environment of Kasirer and how does this result in successful projects?

I have found that our work environment allows us to lean on each other’s strengths. I’ve been able to rely on key team members’ experience and knowledge, such as our Vice President of Real Estate Melissa Rosenberg and Associate Vice President of Nonprofits Marian Guerra. During the Innovation Queens project, our whole team came together to strategize, bounce ideas off each other, and leverage each other’s expertise and relationships, and I think that’s what helped get the project over the finish line. Teamwork was critical for this project, and I appreciated the opportunity to take advantage of the relationships I have developed here at Kasirer – my mentors – to help this historic project get approved.

You also work on many key legislative issues in your role. What is one piece of legislation you have worked on that you think had an impact on New York City?

New York City’s short-term rental legislation to regulate companies such as AirBnb was very impactful, and we pushed for these bills on behalf of our client, the Hotel Association of New York City (HANYC). It created a registry of individuals renting their apartments short-term and required these rentals to be vetted to ensure their safety. They also require safety inspections, which prevent most basement units from being rented out since there are safety concerns around flooding and emergency exiting. These new laws in place now will save lives, and I am proud to have been part of it.

As we approach 2023, and with the Mayor and Governor’s recent announcements of several major policy proposals, what initiatives most excite you about the future of this city?

At the city level, I’m looking forward to the recovery of the hotel industry. The entire industry was hit drastically by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I believe this year, through the expansion of tourism and return-to-work, the industry will get back to pre-pandemic levels. At the state level, the continued legalization of cannabis and the expansion of that legislation is exciting. There is so much space to broaden the adult use market in a way that benefits our city and state, both legally and safely. Outside of that, workforce development has been seen as a priority at the city and state level in 2023, and I am excited to see the types of pipeline programs that will ensure our hospitals, tech industry, and for-hire vehicle companies, have a talented, trained workforce to achieve its industry’s goals.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up and why?

I wanted to be a movie director. I enjoy movies and their ability to take you out of whatever headspace you’re in. Steven Spielberg’s movies really inspired me growing up.