Daniel J. Erspamer | Chief Executive Officer


A nationally-recognized free-market leader, Daniel Erspamer has spent his career building and growing effective policy organizations around the country. Over the course of his career, he has mentored hundreds of nonprofit leaders, raised more than $30 million for freedom initiatives, and helped achieve meaningful policy wins across the nation.

Since being appointed Pelican Institute CEO in 2017, he has built a team and strategy to address Louisiana’s most substantial policy challenges and to create a Louisiana where everyone has the opportunity to flourish. Under Daniel’s leadership, the Institute has generated policy victories in the areas of criminal justice reform, state spending, innovation policy, occupational licensing, and more. For this work, in 2020 Daniel was recognized with a Buckley Award, given annually by America’s Future to recognize leaders making strides to advance freedom and prosperity.

Prior to his leadership of Pelican, Daniel served as Vice President for Strategic Partnerships for State Policy Network, and in a variety of leadership and development roles at the national office of Americans for Prosperity. He holds a B.A., with honors, in Political Economy and Communication from Tulane University. Daniel and his wife, Emily, a graduate of Tulane University School of Law, returned to New Orleans to re-launch Pelican with their four children, two dogs, two birds, two guinea pigs, and many tropical fish