ACI Staff

Rachel Altman

As communications director, Rachel promotes the work of the American Consumer Institute to an engaged, growing audience. Previously, she was director of digital media at TechFreedom, a think tank offering legal and policy analysis of tech-related issues. Beforehand, Rachel was the Executive Director of the Wave Center for Policy and Enterprise, a think tank focusing on economic and civil liberties issues in Louisiana.

She also managed the five-state Deep South region of Students for Liberty. Prior to this, Rachel held external relations and communications-oriented positions at the Institute for Justice, the U.S. Senate, and the Cato Institute.

Rachel graduated from Tulane University with a B.A. in political economy and a B.S.M. in marketing in International Studies and Business. She lives in Washington, DC.

Tirzah Duren

As a policy analyst for the American Consumer Institute, Tirzah writes on technology and regulatory issues. Prior to coming to ACI Tirzah worked for the premier policy think tank in Pennsylvania where she focused on economic and fiscal policy.

Additionally, she has experience working with think tanks around the globe and has been fortunate to witness firsthand the positive impacts policy can have in individuals’ lives. 

Tirzah brings an interdisciplinary approach to policy having received her B.A. in Anthropology from Eastern Oregon University, her M.A. in International Studies from the University of San Francisco and having professional experience in economic research departments across various think tanks. 

Steve Pociask

Steve Pociask is president and chief executive officer for the American Consumer Institute. For over thirty-five years, he has been involved in consumer public policy research. He has published numerous economic studies, including three books for the Economic Policy Institute, and policy studies for numerous independent nonprofit organizations. Many of his research studies have focused on the consequences of public policies on consumer welfare. He has extensive experience in various policy issues, including energy, insurance, consumer products, information technology and healthcare. He has conducted surveys of consumer opinion covering a wide variety of public policy issues. He has participated as a consumer advocacy representative for policymaker organizations. He was the former chair for the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Advocacy Committee under both Democratic and Republican FCC Chairmen. He has also written reports for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, including one on small businesses’ telecommunications and broadband expenditures and use. He has testified before Congress. He has appeared numerous times in the media, including Bloomberg News, NBC, FOX, the Hill, Forbes and others. From 1998 to 2000, Steve served as chief economist and executive vice president for Joel Popkin and Co., an economic consulting firm in Washington, DC.  Prior to that, he was chief economist for the Bell Atlantic Corporation. He has completed his Ph.D. coursework in economics and has an M.A. in economics from George Mason University.

Nigel Reid

Prior to joining ACI as Policy Analyst, Nigel worked as an intern on media relations and policy topics for the Cato Institute and the American Institute for Economic Research. His current public policy issues include taxes, technology, retail trade and transportation – specifically, how legislation and regulation impacts consumer welfare. Nigel earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina Wilmington and lives in Arlington, VA.

Nate Scherer

Nate Scherer is a Policy Analyst with the American Consumer Institute where he researches and writes about a diverse range of consumer issues. He previously served as a Policy Analyst at the Reason Foundation and has also worked for several other nonprofits including the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Leadership Institute. More recently, he worked an educator for Fairfax County Public Schools and performed research for Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab. He possesses a Master of Arts in Teaching in Secondary Education, Social Studies, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics. He currently resides in Falls Church, VA.

Oliver McPherson-Smith

Oliver McPherson-Smith is the Director of Energy, Trade, and Environmental Policy at the American Consumer Institute. His work has been published in outlets such as The Hill, RealClearEnergy, and The Washington Times, as well as within several academic journals. Prior to his research career, Oliver worked as an international television journalist.

Oliver is completing his Ph.D. in Politics at the University of Oxford. He previously received a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Land Economy from the University of Cambridge. He lives in California and is a proud naturalized citizen of the United States.