Our Team

Meet the people behind CPI and it’s mission of supporting facts-driven information resources on the important issues of the day.


Thorburn Andy
Founder & CEO

Andy Thorburn

Prior to starting Contemporary Policy Institute, Andy Thorburn had a varied background as an entrepreneur, fundraiser,  political candidate, high school English teacher, and union activist.

Public School Defenders Hub

Karen Lawson

Karen Lawson serves as Program Coordinator of the Public School Defenders Hub. Her professional experience includes project management and marketing in healthcare and technology sectors. She is actively involved in local school district advocacy and organizes program advisors, partner relationships and coalition actions on behalf of the Defenders Hub. Karen’s passions include social justice, animal welfare, friends and family. She is mom to two adult sons and grandmother of three.

Gaston Castellanos
Communications & Public Affairs

Gaston Castellanos

Gaston “Gus” Castellanos heads up the Communications & Public Affairs duties for the Contemporary Policy Institute. He brings to the team experience in communications with the Democratic Party of Orange County, the Little Saigon TV Network and more. Experienced public affairs team leader with excellent communications skills, news media background and an energetic, collaborative style can be employed to further a client’s mission, goals and objectives.