Tugend chairs the firm’s government affairs legal practice where he zealously lobbies at the federal, state and local level for his clients. During his tenure at the firm, he has successfully lobbied for decreased regulation on manufacturers, fought to preserve the ability of Transportation Improvement Districts (TIDs) to efficiently advance economic development projects and has brought clients' priorities to Washington, D.C., securing legislative support. 

Government Affairs

Tugend has over 25 years of experience in legal, legislative and political matters. He counsels clients on complex transportation projects, advising TIDs, local governments and private sector partners on project-related issues. He serves as the face of the relationship at the state and federal levels for numerous TIDs and has helped local officials in multiple congressional districts within the same corridor build the necessary coalitions to support public policy projects.

Tugend has led efforts for local governments and statewide associations seeking funding, successfully amending the state operating budget to divert federal funds for clients’ activities. He also served as a part of a campaign team that secured voter approval for a transit tax levy.

Currently a member of Ohio’s BRAC and Military Affairs Task Force, Tugend has long been an advocate of state defense institutions, previously taking a team of community leaders to Washington, D.C., to advocate the expansion of a military base, which ultimately grew by more than 2,000 jobs.

Tugend has advocated for businesses even before joining Kegler Brown. He previously served for six years as vice president of government relations for the Columbus Chamber, where he was the voice of the business community in public policy matters. He continues to break down barriers to doing business with government and stop legislation that would make the state a less friendly place to do business. He was the architect of a strategy to win a pending lawsuit through an intervening change to the law at issue. He has also lobbied to preserve a restaurant chain’s sweepstakes promotion.

On the political front, Tugend is no novice. He managed a candidate’s statewide race, founded a corporate political action committee and has afforded political advice to a wide variety of candidates. He has also served on the transition team for a member of Congress.

Leadership Roles

Steve’s insights are in demand by a number of statewide organizations. He collaborates with other corporate leaders to advocate for a business-friendly environment in Ohio, serving as the chair of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee. Additionally, because of his passion to build wealth among Ohio’s Black families through market-based solutions, Tugend chairs the Corporate Roundtable of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.

Steve is currently working to strengthen the government affairs capacity of the SCG Legal international network of law firms by serving on the organization's board, as well as chairing its Government Affairs Task Force.

Practice Areas


  • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (J.D., 1991)
  • Wittenberg University (B.A., 1988)

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio

Professional Affiliations

  • Columbus Bar Association, member
  • Ohio State Bar Association, member
  • Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation, Corporate Roundtable, Chair
  • Columbus International Visitor’s Council, (2005-2008)
  • Leadership Columbus, Class of 2010
  • Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, board member (2004-2008)
  • Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Policy Roundtable (2006-present), Transportation Advisory Council (2004-2011)
  • Insurance Institute of Kentucky, vice chair (2003), secretary/treasurer (2002)
  • Georgia Insurance Information Service, board member (2002-2004)
  • Insurance Association of Connecticut, board member (2002-2004)
  • Insurance Federation Of Pennsylvania, Property & Casualty committee (2002-2004)

Special Honors

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Government Relations

Charitable + Civic Involvement

  • Ohio Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee, Chair
  • Ohio BRAC and Military Affairs Task Force, member (2017-2018)
  • Central Ohio Defense Group, Chair (2012-present)
  • COTA Levy Advisory Committee, member (2013-2014)
  • United Way of Central Ohio, Public Policy Committee, member (2005-2012)
  • Christ Lutheran Church, Congregation President (2006-2007), Chair, Envisioning Team (2014-2019)
  • Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Government Affairs Steering Committee (2011-present)
  • National Motor Vehicle Title Information System Study Committee, member (2019)

Career Highlights

  • Secured $52 million in funding for an environmental program.
  • Appointed to the State’s Co-op/Internship Program Advisory Committee to the President of the Ohio Senate in 2012.
  • Successfully advocated for a change to the building code that will make Ohio a more attractive location for new logistics companies.
  • Created an industry trade association
  • Supervised government relations operations in 17 states for Farmers Insurance.
  • Founder of corporate political action committee.
  • Led $1 million community campaign aimed at the Pentagon to expand the Defense Supply Center Columbus (DSCC) that resulted in the base adding 2,000 jobs.
  • Served as local co-chair of successful campaign to defeat statewide ballot issue.
  • Served on Ohio Subrogation Rights Commission. 


  • The Biennial Budget – HB59 presented to Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, 2013
  • “Forthcoming Ballot Issues in 2012,” presented to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, Public Policy Roundtable, 2012
  • “Transportation Improvement Districts,” presented to the Delaware County Local Government Association, October 2011
  • “Understanding Transportation Improvement Districts,” presented to the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange, 2011
  • “Redesigning Ohio,” presented to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission Public Policy Committee, 2011
  • “Advocating DSCC,” presented to the Columbus Rotary, 2004