The chapter started the National Capital Public Relations Hall of Fame in 1999 by inducting 50 leaders with significant accomplishments in the public relations field as part of the chapter's 50th Anniversary celebration. The Hall of Fame members hold more than a thousand awards, distinctions, honorary degrees, advisory positions, charity board seats and Who's Who citations among them. Criteria for induction in the NCC Public Relations Hall of Fame includes 30 or more years of distinguished accomplishments, visionary leadership, mentoring, commitment to the profession, positive and significant impacts on the industry, and contributions to the local public relations community. Inductees must have worked in the Washington, DC area for at least 10 years.
Mitchell Marovitz, PhD, APR, Fellow PRSA
Chair, Public Relations Program, Graduate School of the University of Maryland University College
Marovitz is the immediate past president of PRSA-NCC, and currently chairs the public relations program at the Graduate School of the University of Maryland University College. He previously served as an adjunct professor for Webster, George Mason and George Washington universities. Marovitz has 30 years of distinguished military service, including assignments as commander of the American Forces Network Europe, Commander/Publisher of the European Stars and Stripes newspaper and chief of the Army public affairs office in Los Angeles.
After his military public affairs service, and before becoming a communications professor, Marovitz was the principal author of the 2004 Army public affairs plan supporting the release of the Army Inspector General’s Report on Detainee Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq following the scandal at Abu Ghraib. Later, he led communications teams for Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., serving clients in the defense and intelligence communities. There, he led a communications team supporting the management services directorate of the National Reconnaissance Office. He also led a 42-person, $10 million per-year project that produced and distributed six quarterly magazines in 11 languages with a combined annual circulation of 400,000. As a senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, he led a 10-project strategic communications portfolio for the U.S. Army. For his efforts, Marovitz received the Booz Allen Hamilton Team Appreciation Award in 2007 and 2009. During his outstanding career in the Army, Marovitz also received a number of awards, including the Army Legion of Merit in 1995 and the Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters in 1998, 2000 and 2002.
One aspect of Marovitz’s career that sets him apart is his commitment to advancing other professionals. With more than 30 years in the field of PR, Marovitz sees mentoring as a core responsibility. He loves to work with young people, who he believes are the most creative and energetic in the world, and to that end, has mentored ten protégés in the last five years.
In addition to mentoring individuals, Marovitz has been a staunch supporter of the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) certification with more than three years serving on the Universal Accreditation Board and more than 10 years actively mentoring professionals through the APR process. Through his work advocating for, and mentoring others in, the APR, he is very focused on helping aspiring professionals at all stages in their career understand what works, why, and under what conditions.
Marovitz has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation from Syracuse University, and a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana. He earned his PRSA Accreditation in Public in Relations in 2007.
Co-founder and President, Vanguard Communications.
In 1987, Rodriguez co-founded Vanguard Communications, a public relations and social marketing firm in Washington, D.C., committed to marketing and promoting social issues. Today, she is the sole owner and president of the award-winning firm, and leads a team of more than 40 communicators working to advance change in public health, mental health, education, diversity and inclusion, environmental protection, and sustainable agriculture. Under her leadership, Vanguard became the first Hispanic woman-owned firm to earn the highly coveted PR Week PR Agency of the Year Award in 2003. That same year, Rodriguez also was selected as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year by Hispanic Magazine.
A native Washingtonian, Rodriguez is a first-generation American whose Spanish parents emigrated to the U.S. in 1957 from Venezuela. Their example of bravery inspired their daughter to start Vanguard, despite being only 27 years old. Though it was a unique and risky PR business move, Rodriguez developed a PR firm dedicated exclusively to improving the world we live in as there were few firms at the time that focused on social issues. Even through tough economic times, Rodriguez has helped Vanguard stay true to its mission. The core social marketing principle of “meeting audiences where they are” is at the center of her work. With her extensive background in PR, social marketing and multicultural engagement, she has led countless public education and social change campaigns for a broad spectrum of nonprofit organizations and government agencies.
A pioneer in communicating about children’s mental health, Rodriguez helped conceive and launch the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, to raise understanding about the importance of children’s mental health. The annual observance, observed every May during Mental Health Awareness Month, engages hundreds of community organizations across the country and produces millions of media impressions.
Rodriguez’s commitment to improving the lives of those in the larger D.C. community is reflected in Vanguard’s pro bono work for local nonprofit organizations with limited resources. Some examples of Vanguard’s pro bono clients include ZuriWorks for Women’s Health, which aims to reduce health disparities that affect vulnerable women; and Faces & Voices of Recovery, which advocates recovery for the more than 23 million Americans addicted to alcohol and other drugs.
Personally, Rodriguez volunteers her communications expertise to elevate public conversations about critical social issues and reduce associated stigma and discrimination. Understanding the difficulty of seeking treatment for mental health issues (especially for Latinos, who are further challenged by the dearth of Spanish-speaking and culturally-responsive providers), Rodriguez currently serves on the board of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association. She also served as a board member for both the National Network to End Domestic Violence and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR). While serving as the WCR marketing chairperson, Rodriguez developed and led WCR’s public opinion campaign for the Clinton Administration to hire the White House’s first female chef — Cristeta Comerford — who currently serves as executive chef of the White House..
Robert Mathias, CEO, North America, Ogilvy Public Relations and president, Ogilvy Washington, once said, “I have been at this for more than 20 years. I have seen that great careers result from sweat, foresight, courage and, yes, a fair amount of luck. Dream large. Work hard. Have fun.” This quote “embodies the kind of mentor Rob Mathias has been to countless public relations professionals,” said nominator Sarah Chase, business development manager at Ogilvy Public Relations.
Since 1995, Mathias has worked for Ogilvy PR in various roles. Under his leadership, Ogilvy Washington grew to be the gem of the Ogilvy network, producing such landmark campaigns as CDC’s America Respond to AIDS, NHBLI’s The Heart Truth and Save the Children’s Rewrite the Future. In 2012, Mathias was promoted to CEO for Ogilvy Public Relations in North America. He restructured the way Ogilvy PR in North America approaches business and clients, elevating four executives to lead social, earned, content, and insight and strategy. He still maintains his role as President of Ogilvy Washington.
Prior to his work at Ogilvy, Mathias lived and worked in Saudi Arabia where he was part of a six-person team that designed and built a modern emergency medical services (EMS) system across the Kingdom. Then, under President Bush’s administration, Mathias served as the executive assistant to U.S. Energy Secretary, James D. Watkins, and subsequently as deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Energy. He played a vital role in Secretary Watkins’ “Openness” agenda to reform and restore public confidence in this diverse government agency responsible for the research and development of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, basic and applied energy research, and the development of the nation’s energy policy. Mathias later served on the Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic, conducting research and developing policy recommendations on prevention, education and public health.
Mathias attended college at the University of Vermont and obtained a Master’s in Business Administration from the Yale School of Management.
Don McLearn, who is retired now, had a 30-year career that included more than 17 years as deputy associate commissioner for public affairs at the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this post, McLearn counseled the FDA's top officials and served as public affairs and press chief for the Presidential Commission on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Epidemic. McLearn’s extensive FDA experience also included health and food-related media relations, crisis management and public relations.
After leaving the FDA, McLearn served as a senior vice president in the Healthcare Practice at FleishmanHillard, providing strategic counsel to a variety of the world's leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies. He was also a senior healthcare counselor at Ruder Finn assisting clients dealing with crisis management, corporate reputation, prescription drug and medical device approvals, public affairs and issues management.
McLearn has a master's degree in journalism and communications from The University of Florida. He was features editor for the Tampa (Fla.) Times for three years before joining the federal government. In addition, he served as a journalist for four years in the U.S. Navy.
McLearn is described by his nominator, Michelle Leff Mermelstein, public relations manager at Sprint, as “a senior counselor to clients but a true mentor and friend to everyone in the office. Many of his “work children,” are grateful for his influence on our personal and professional lives. He has inspired dozens of young PR professionals in the DC area and beyond.”
Ms. Silimeo is executive vice president of Hager Sharp. After joining the firm in 2000, Silimeo worked with the firm’s founder, Susan Hager (Hall of Fame, 2005), to develop the strategies and client relationships that led to the firm quadrupling in size and revenue. Silimeo was instrumental in the firm’s successful transition from a sole proprietorship to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan following Hager’s sudden passing eight years ago. Under Silimeo’s leadership, Hager Sharp is now one of the nation’s leading firms in education and health, and has won many major national awards, including PRSA’s top award for national public service campaign.
Prior to her tenure with Hager Sharp, Silimeo served as associate administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, where she led an agency-wide effort to change the public face of SBA with a more customer-focused image and marketing approach and to align all SBA products and services under one brand. This contributed to new records in lending and assistance, especially women and minority business, and the brand elements are still used today. She was recruited as deputy director of public affairs at the Commerce Department to coordinate media activities for the secretary, emphasizing passage of the China trade bill, a presidential priority. At the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, she coordinated communication strategy to help pass President Clinton’s 1993 Economic Plan, which led to a balanced federal budget and years of prosperity. Later, she was instrumental in the minimum wage increase and getting the first Paycheck Fairness Act on the docket. Senate Leader Tom Daschle said, “Debra made an enormous contribution to our efforts to lead the Senate in difficult times.”
Silimeo actually began her career in journalism, as the calming voice on WAMU’s Morning Edition. During her tenure, Morning Edition moved into the number one fundraising position at a station where bluegrass once ruled. From there, Silimeo moved to the WTOP and WRC newsrooms. She was a versatile, award-winning reporter who could dive into political issues or give hourly updates during a blizzard.
Silimeo graduated cum laude from Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater and is a Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, the country’s leading business/economic journalism fellowship.
Silimeo was named Washington Women in Public Relations’ “Washington PR Woman of the Year” in 2010, and Washington Business Journal’s “Woman Who Means Business” in 2013. According to her nominator, Hager Sharp Senior Vice President, Darcy Sawatzki, “ is the essence of the ideal inductee for the National Capital Public Relations Hall of Fame dedication to the profession, other professionals and the community.”
Joseph "Jody" Powell and Sheila Tate
William "Bill" Oliver was featured as one the Holmes Report’s “100 Most Important In House Communicators in the World” for his service at the helm of AT&T’s public affairs. He began his career in Washington, DC, serving first as administrative assistant to a senior member of the US House of Representatives; then as director of manpower and reserve affairs for the Department of Defense. In the private sector, he held senior communications roles at PACCAR, Weyerhaeuser, and TRW before joining AT&T in 1994. Beyond the desk work, Bill had incredible impacts in the public relations community. He has been an active member of the Arthur Page Society and with Kent State University, helping college kids find internships in communications-related slots for many years.
Judy Phair, APR Fellow served as National PRSA president in 2005. In October 2010, she received PRSA’s highest individual award, the 2010 Gold Anvil Award. It is considered PRSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award and is presented to an individual “whose work significantly advanced the profession and set high standards for those engaged in the practice of public relations.” Judy's commitment to the PR profession is exemplified in her continued involvement with PRSA. She is past chair of PRSA’s prestigious College of Fellows, co-chair of its Educational Affairs Committee and The MBA/Business School Initiative, PRSA Foundation Board Member, and PRSA representative on the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC). She also writes and speaks about public relations.
Judy opened PhairAdvantage Communications, LLC, in 2002, and resumed a full-time focus on the agency in 2010 after serving as vice president, communications, for the Graduate Management Admission Council. Previously, she was vice president for public affairs at the Council on Competitiveness, a nonpartisan, nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based association of corporate chief executives, university presidents, and labor leaders. She also has served as vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, assistant dean of external relations at Johns Hopkins University, and vice president for public relations at Goucher College, in addition to positions at the University of Michigan and University of Cincinnati. Judy began her career as a newspaper reporter in the Chicago area. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Goucher College, developing the college’s first public relations course, and at Towson University.
John Adams is renowned for his international and government relations, public affairs and environmental public relations practice, including heading up his own firm for the past 26 years. He was the co-founder and first chairman of The WORLDCOM Group, the world's largest network of independent public relations firms. He is the recipient of the Order of Merit from Poland's democratic government for his lifetime efforts on behalf of Polish freedom.
David Apter was a long-time civil rights activist who used his PR expertise to help many companies and causes, including the Army Air Forces (as a WWII officer specializing in diffusing racial tension), Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "March on Washington," the United Negro College Fund, the Federal Fair Employment Practices Commission, the League of Women Voters, the National Urban League, several White House conferences, and many other organizations. (Posthumously Honored)
Herbert B. Bain, APR, was a journalist who learned PR from the industry legends T. J. Ross and Ivy Lee. He was a pioneer in association communications, representing the American Dental Association and the American Meat Institute. He founded the PRSA Business & Professional Association Section and received five Presidential citations for his active involvement in the Society. (Deceased)
Jeanne Viner Bell, APR, Fellow PRSA was a pioneering woman business owner: heading her own PR firm for two decades, consulting to the President's National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity, and coordinating U.S. visits from foreign heads of state. She served on numerous professional and charity boards, received dozens of honors and awards, and held a board post with the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy. (Deceased)
L. Walter Belson, APR, was fondly called the "old master" among public relations pros in Washington. He was one of the original founding members of the group that became the National Capital Chapter, and he served as the Chapter's seventh President. (Posthumously Honored)
Charles J. Brotman has handled just about every professional sports event staged in Washington during the past 40 years, from Sugar Ray Leonard to the Kemper Open to Women's World Cup Soccer. He announced for the Washington Senators, appeared in the film "Damn Yankees," is in the Washington, DC Hall of Stars and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and has served as the official parade announcer for every inaugural since President Eisenhower.
Earle Palmer Brown, a charter member of the PRSA National Capital Chapter, founded his PR agency in 1949. With his expansion into advertising, it became one of the largest independently owned ad agencies in the country. Numerous nonprofits have benefited from his advice, include the Boy Scouts and the University of Maryland. He was named "Washingtonian of the Year" by Washingtonian magazine and a Distinguished Alumni from Washington & Lee University. (Deceased)
Thomas E. Burke was a journalist by education who became a public relations consultant and was an active member of the Washington PR community. He became the top communications professional at the Marriott Corporation.
C.D. Bussey, APR, had an illustrious military career, serving with the U.S. Army in Korea and throughout the U.S. As a major general, he was Army Chief of Public Affairs and then Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel. After retiring, he worked for Manning Selvage & Lee and was with a professional services firm that supports Army installations in seven states. Among his many awards is the PRSA National Capital Chapter's David Apter Award for Public Service. (Deceased)
Bruce Butterfield, CAE, APR, Fellow PRSA has had a notable career in trade associations for nearly 30 years, beginning in his native Chicago and then in Washington when the American Meat Institute relocated here. He now heads The Forbes Group, a consulting firm specializing in strategic management and research for associations and professional societies. He served as President of the PRSA National Capital Chapter in 1985.
Ludwig Caminita, Jr., one of the PR pioneers in Washington, was instrumental in uniting the two societies that became PRSA Washington Chapter. His career took him from academia (George Washington, American and Maryland) to government service (HUD and the Postal Service) to his own counseling firm. He served as Chapter President in 1954. (Posthumously Honored)
Michael G. Carberry serves as President of CARMA International, a global media analysis company, and founding partner of Porter, Novelli & Associates. He also was CEO of Henry J. Kaufman & Associates, a wholly owned subsidiary of London based Shandwick PLC and Chairman of Earle Palmer Brown’s Washington office. A retired Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, he served in Vietnam as an infantry platoon commander and the executive officer of a Marine rifle company. He was also an adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Business and American University’s MBA program.
Arthur Ciervo headed Georgetown University's PR department for many years, taught at American University and then became director of PR at Penn State. He has been active in PRSA, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the Hospital Public Relations Directors. Recipient of more than 45 professional awards, he received CASE's grand award for excellence in programs and communications.
John R. Cook, APR, Fellow PRSA has had an outstanding career in the highway safety and insurance fields. In Washington, he was executive vice president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and helped focus attention on vehicle crashworthiness. He also worked for several major insurers and the American Insurance Association. An active member of PRSA, he served on the national Board and helped plan the 1987 PRSA National Conference in D.C.
H. J. "Jerry" Dalton, APR, Fellow PRSA held Air Force public affairs positions at every level of command (including joint command) and followed service with a stellar career in corporate communications. He is now a crisis communications consultant. An active PRSA member, he served on the national PRSA Board and was elected President in 1990. Among his numerous honors: the Department of Defense Information School's Hall of Fame.
John Jay Daly, APR, Fellow PRSA - From his roots as a native Washingtonian, John spent more than four decades practicing public relations, direct marketing and professional speaking. He was a leader and received the highest honors from each of the three professional associations representing these professions. He was past president of the National Capital Chapter of PRSA. In 1976, he established his communications consultancy to provide associations and corporations with creative ways to “tell their story” to key publics, especially Congress. For more than a quarter century, spanning the careers of 15 Postmasters-General, he was a nationally recognized “postalologist” monitoring and writing about what the US Postal Service was doing to and for business mailers. John has written three books, more than 100 Tactical Tip Sheets, countless articles and he delivered lively platform presentations in 47 states and several countries. He coached executives on public speaking and was often asked to serve as “Master of Ceremony” for events. He served on the Boards of the following groups: Educational Foundation of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington, National Capital Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Association of Oldest Inhabitants of Washington, DC and (since 1985) the Salvation Army for the National Capital area. (Deceased)
Susan Ann Davis was the first woman to advance a Republican presidential nominee, is one of "Washington's Most Powerful Women," (named by Washingtonian magazine), and was "National Woman Business Owner of the Year." She heads and award-winning communications and public affairs firm. She has an internationally recognized agency with clients that range from Ireland and Northern Ireland to Panama. Susan Davis International has also helped launch national treasures such as the FDR Memorial, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the World War II Memorial, and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial.
Michael Deaver was widely recognized as one of the nation's premier image-makers. Mike served as Vice Chairman International at Edelman’s Washington D.C. office and is still active in national and international politics. Mike spent more than 20 years as one of Ronald Reagan's closest advisors, serving as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff. Mike is widely credited with being the architect of the Reagan communications program, including the landslide presidential campaigns of 1980 and 1984. (Deceased)
Ofield Dukes, APR, Fellow PRSA, worked for Vice President Humphrey, opened his own PR firm 30 years ago, consulted to every Democratic presidential candidate since 1972, taught at both American and Howard universities, and founded the Black Public Relations Society. One trade publication called him "a success story worthy of book," and The Washington Post named him one of the top six PR people in Washington. He is a 2001 PRSA Gold Avil recipient and is a member of the PRSA College of Fellows. In 2005 PR Week, the major publication of the PR industry, named him one of the most effective communicators of the year. (Deceased)
James L. Fetig, APR was the First Army officer to be accredited in Public Relations and the only White House official ever to hold the distinction. His service in the U.S. Army included assignments in Panama and as Special Assistant to the Army Chief of Staff. He retired as a colonel after 28 years of active service, held public affairs positions at the White House, including the National Security Council, and is now with the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Paul S. Forbes, APR, Fellow PRSA, helped wean public relaitions from its identification with "free publicity" and refocus it on providing CEOs with strategic counsel in the public interest. His consumer and public services programs made Giant Food the most respected food chain in America during the 1960s and 1970s. He was president of PRSA-NCC in 1984 and is founder of The Forbes Group.
Bernard A. Goodrich, APR, now retired, has been a member of the PRSA Chapter since the 1950’s and served as its President in 1975. A former journalist, his public relations career has included senior media and PR positions with ITT Corporation, MCI Communications Corp. and president of his own firm. He was one of the first recipients of the NCC Thoth Award received for his efforts to create a first Washington summer jobs program.
James E. Grunig, Ph.D. is a professor at the University of Maryland where, in the past 21 years, he has advised 68 Master's theses and 13 doctoral dissertations while heading up what is considered one of the nation's best PR programs. He has published more than 175 books, chapters, articles and papers, and has presented talks and seminars to over 225 professional groups in 22 countries. Among his numerous awards is the PRSA Outstanding Educator Award.
Larissa Ann Grunig, Ph.D., professor emerita at the University of Maryland, is widely recognized for her research and expertise in PR, development communication, gender issues and organizational response to activism. She has consulted to numerous organizations, lectured all over the world and has been recognized by many organizations, including the Honor Roll of Women in Public Relations and the PRSA Outstanding Educator Award.
Susan Hager founded Hager Sharp Inc. in 1973 and had more than three decades of strategic communications, public relations and marketing experience. Susan was a leader and advocate for women and small business at the local and national levels. In 2004, she was named Washingtonian magazine’s “Washingtonian of the Year 2004,” Washington Women in Public Relations’ “Woman of the Year,” and The Washington Business Journal’s "Women Who Mean Business." (Deceased)
E. Bruce Harrison, APR, Fellow PRSA, is a well known counselor on environmental public relations and is the author of Going Green: How to Communicate Your Company's Environmental Commitment. Following service as a congressional press secretary and corporate vice president of a Fortune 100 company in New York, he built his Washington firm to one of the nation's top ten independent agencies,. He has received numerous honors and awards throughout his career, and is an internationally recognized authority on strategic business issues, particularly environmental, energy and social responsibility.
Carl F. Hawver, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA was a social psychologist with an incredible career: educator, Capitol Hill and federal official, lobbyist, association CEO, columnist, author. He was known for his work in consumer credit and family money education. Long active in PRSA, he was Chapter President in 1967, National President in 1974 and a founding member of the College of Fellows, and received the Gold Anvil Award, the Society's highest individual honor. (Deceased)
Ray E. Hiebert, APR is professor emeritus and former dean of journalism at the University of Maryland, where he helped develop the outstanding PR program. His career includes founding director of the American Journalism Center in Budapest, 24 years editing Public Relations Review, biographer of PR pioneer Ivy Lee, and author of several textbooks. He has consulted to the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, USIA, Voice of America and numerous other organizations.
Barbara Hines, Ph.D. began her public relations career on Capitol Hill as press secretary to U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough. Her love for teaching led her to the classroom where she pioneered the first public relations course to be taught at the high school level and approved by the Maryland Department of Education. Chair of the Journalism Department at Howard University, Dr. Hines has won numerous awards during her career, including Educator of the Year by PRSA in 1999.
Howard Hudson, APR was the NCC PRSA president in 1961. His distinguished public relations career includes establishing the well-known Hudson’s Washington News Media Contact Directory and Hudson’s Subscription Newsletter Directory – the first such directories of their kind. Hudson also founded the prestigious Public Relations Quarterly magazine. (Deceased)
Beverly Jackson is the former Chief of Public Information at NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse and has held various communications and marketing positions at some of the finest Washington-based organizations: Smithsonian Institution, Children’s National Medical Center, McGraw Hill Publishing Company and Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. She was founder and president of Jackson/Summers, a DC Public Relations firm and she created the annual PRISM Awards, now in its 10th year of recognizing the accurate depiction of drug, alcohol and tobacco use in feature films, TV programming and other multimedia products.
Victor S. Kamber is an attorney, advocate and author who has built an outstanding record of achievement in public affairs, politics and labor advocacy. He headed his own firm for over 25 years, is author or co-author of several books (including the first book opposing term limits), and is a national vice president of Americans for Democratic Action. Previously he was with the AFL-CIO, served as head of a Capitol Hill office, and taught at Georgetown, American and Howard universities.
William Kloepfer, Jr. had a long, varied and successful career in Washington public relations and government affairs with the Republic National Committee, a Member of Congress, the Civic Aeronautics Board, and two trade associations. He was active in the National Press Club, PRSA and the National Association of Science Writers. One highlight of his career was serving as consultant on the extensive restoration of the diplomatic rooms at the State Department.
Margery Kraus is one of Washington's leading public affairs strategists. She founded and heads APCO Associates, overseeing an international operation providing counseling in developed and newly emerging markets in Eastern Europe and the Asia Pacific region. Earlier in her career, she assisted in the creation of the Close Up Foundation, and she is still active in numerous charitable efforts, including Children's Hospital, the End Hunger Network and The Creative Coalition. In 2006, she received the Washington Women in Public Relations’ Woman of the Year award.
Frank Martineau, APR, CAE was a lifelong pilot from WWII, through the reserves, up to his untimely death on a fundraising flight for the World Friendship Association (a group he headed on a pro bono basis). He did PR for several flight-related associations, ran an association management firm, was the founding editor of Association Trends, actively served the Boy Scouts, Kiwanis and other organizations, and was a candidate to be the first journalist in space. (Posthumously Honored)
John P. McGill, APR, Fellow PRSA served the American Trucking Associations and its Foundation for 34 years, advised real estate and telecommunications firms, and taught PR at The George Washington University for 22 years. He served as PRSA National Capital Chapter President in 1970 and has also been an active member of the national Society. His pro bono management and public relations clients include local and national figure skating organizations, a medical society, and a religious order.
Debra A. Miller, Ed.D., APR, Fellow PRSA is an educator, PR counselor and researcher who has served clients and institutions of higher learning around the country. A long-time PRSA member, she was an officer in the National Capital Chapter who went on to become the first woman of color, the first African-American and the second educator elected National President of PRSA. She has won numerous awards and written extensively on cultural diversity in the communications industry.
James A. Morrissey, APR had an exceptional career in public relations following a journalism career in the U.S. and Asia. In D.C., he worked as a Capitol Hill press secretary, as the Washington representative for the Seattle Century 21 World Fair, head of the Washington office of Bozell & Jacobs, and as a trade association executive. He was active in PRSA, serving as Chapter President in 1971 and on the national Board, including a term as Secretary. (Deceased)
William D. Novelli is a recognized leader in the emergence of social marketing in the U.S. and the developing world. His public service career began with the Peace Corps and he later worked for CARE, the world's largest private relief organization. He was the co-founder and President of Porter/Novelli, the nation's fourth largest PR agency. He retired from the firm in 1990 to return to public service. He headed AARP for nine years and is currently with Georgeotown University.
Sunshine Janda Overkamp, APR, Fellow PRSA is chairman of Overkamp Overkamp Smith, a management, marketing and communications consulting firm. She previously served as Vice President of the Council on Foundations, as Senior VP of the United Way of America and was on the senior staff of several local United Way groups. An active PRSA member, she has served on the national Board, and chaired the Ethics Promotion Committee and was on the Universal Accreditation Board. Among her many honors is a PRSA Presidential Citation and the Honor Roll of Women in PR.
John L. Paluszek, APR, Fellow PRSA, head of Ketchum Public Affairs, has long championed the critical role of public relations in the development of contemporary society and was sited by Newsday as "practicing public relations in its best form." In 1989, he was the first national PRSA President to visit the Soviet Union, and he represented PRSA at the first Asia-Pacific Public Relations Congress. In 1994, he won PRSA's Gold Anvil, the Society's highest individual honor.
Wes Pedersen is principal, Wes Pedersen Communications and Public Relations, Washington, D.C. The director of communications and public relations for the Public Affairs Council for 26 years, he has also been vice president of a Washington public relations firm, a senior Foreign Service officer for the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Information Agency, columnist published in 80 countries, and editorial writer, columnist and editor of a major Midwestern daily. He is a founder and former president of the National Association of Government Communicators and the founding chairman of the Institute for Government Public Information Research at The American University. He has written, edited or contributed to more than 20 books on public relations and public affairs. His work with the Public Affairs Council won him a lifetime honor from Association Trends magazine: "The Great Association Communicator."
Louis Victor Priebe, APR, founded Priebe PR, a consulting firm which advises trade and professional associations, foundations, businesses, religious institutions and public service agencies on how to attain public awareness, interest, understanding and support. Lou came to Washington, DC in 1970 and began a diverse public relations career. A Silver Anvil Award winning practitioner, he was President of the National Capital Chapter in 1980. He was selected as one of America’s “100 top PR Superstars” in 1990 and one of our nation’s 17 top association practitioners in 1992 by Public Relations Quarterly.
Charles R. Pucie has served as director of communications and public affairs at the Foundation for the National Institutes. Prior to that position, he was at the National Cancer Institute, which he joined following a long career in the private sector. From 1998 to 2001, he was vice president of public affairs and official public spokesman for the Knights of Columbus and was CEO of Capitoline International Group, Ltd., a public affairs and public relations consulting firm he founded. He also served as executive vice president at Hill and Knowlton, the then largest international communications company worldwide.
Jean O. Rainey has been a Washington PR fixture for 48 years with trade associations, agencies and her own firm. A pioneering woman PR professional, she counseled the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs and the federal goverment on breaking the "glass ceiling" for women in top government positions. She is also a two-time winner of the Silver Anvil Award, the highest honor the national Society can give -- once for her work on behalf of Upjohn, and once for her work for the National Food Processors Association. (Deceased)
John M. Reed, APR, Fellow PRSA had 50 years of successful international PR experience, counseling a host of international companies from his firm's offices in 10 countries. He lectured and counseled firms and organizations in 76 countries, and represented the U.S. on the International PR Association's elected council. In 1998, he received PRSA's Gold Anvil Award, the Society's highest individual honor. (Deceased)
Ken Rietz is past Vice Chairman, Worldwide & CEO, U.S. of Burson-Marsteller, as well as chair of the company's global Public Affairs Practice. He served as Worldwide Chief Operating Officer of Burson-Marsteller as well as CEO of the Western Region, Global Public Affairs Practice Chair and CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe. He served as a chief legislative adviser to a senior member of Congress, as deputy chairman and political director of the Republican National Committee, as executive vice president of MGM Records, as a founding partner in Mike Curb Productions and as the strategic and media adviser to more than a dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. He also has served in senior positions in four Republican presidential campaigns. Earlier in his career, he owned a successful advertising, production and public relations agency in California. Now retired, Ken is currently serving as a Senior Advisor in former Senator Fred Thompson's campaign for President. He is a member of the Board of Directors of The Foundation Fighting Blindness and co-chair of its annual Washington Fundraising Dinner.
Virginia Rodriguez served in the PR office of The Washington Post for more than three decades, serving as the paper's liaison with the community and deftly walking the line between public relations and journalism. She is active with the Conference Board and serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Capital Children's Museum, The Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and the Amigos Advisory Council of Bell Multicultural Senior High School.
William C. Rolle, Jr., APR, Fellow PRSA has been a strategic communications counselor for local, regional and national companies and organizations, and has done economic development work for the several towns and counties in Maryland and Virginia, and on the Mayor's Committee to Promote Washington, D.C. He organized news media coverage for Pope John Paul's nine city U.S. tour in 1987. Long active in PRSA, he served as Chapter President in 1982.
Morris Victor Rosenbloom, APR, Fellow PRSA, headed his own firm, American Surveys, for over 50 years, but also held several high-level government posts during WWII and the Korean conflict. His lifelong commitment to the Boys Scouts began in 1928 when he became the nation's youngest Eagle Scout. In PRSA, he has received numerous awards, including the Chapter's David Apter Memorial Award for Public Service and the national Paul M. Lund Awards for Public Service. (Deceased)
Maurice O. Ryan was a Washington public relations pioneer. He was a strong force in developing the PRSA National Capital Chapter and served as its fourth President in 1953. (Posthumously Honored)
Ron Sconyers, APR, Fellow PRSA, is Chief Executive Officer at Physicians for Peace and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Risk Communicaiton. He retired as a Brigadier General after 28 years in the Air Force, most recently as Director of Public Affairs for the Secretary of the Air Force. He was spokesman in Panama, during Desert Storm, and in several major crises, including the rescue of Capt. Scott O'Grady and the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown in an airplane crash.
Robert B. Sims headed up the magazine operations of the National Geographic Society, including responsibility for the flagship National Geographic magazine. Prior to joining the Society in 1987, he served as Assistant Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon and was Deputy Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs for three years in the Reagan White House. A career naval officer, he is the author of The Pentagon Reporters, a book about journalists who cover the Department of Defense. (Deceased)
Larry M. Speakes served as President Reagan's Chief Spokesman for over six years, and also served in the White House under Presidents Ford and Nixon. Now managing marketing strategy and implementation for the United States Postal Service, his career has taken him from Washington to New York to Toronto working for corporations and in public service. Earlier he was a Capitol Hill press secretary. Among his many honors is the Presidential Citizens Medal, the nation's second highest civilian award. He won a New York "Addy" for the Postal Service for "Pride", showing postal employees going about their work in the wake of the 9/11 attack, and he is a National PRSA Silver Anvil recipient for his work at Merrill Lynch.
David C. Swanston, APR, Fellow PRSA is nationally recognized for leadership on ethics and accreditation. After service in the Peace Corps, he began his PR career at the Public Broadcasting Service and later founded an agency that is now part of a high-tech firm. Active in PRSA, he was Chapter President in 1990 and 91, and served on the national Board. He has written extensively, taught at several universities and served on numerous public service boards. (Deceased)
Rear Admiral Bill Thompson (retired), was with the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation from 1978 to the mid- 1990's. At the Navy Memorial he worked on legislation, design, site selection, fundraising and just about all aspects of building this living memorial. Rear Admiral Thompson received the Navy’s highest civilian award, the Distinguished Public Service Award, in recognition of his efforts. For more than half of his naval career, he was a public affairs specialist, serving as special assistant to three Secretaries of the Navy. He was the department chief of information at the Pentagon, and the first public affairs specialist in the Navy with flag rank.
Vincent R. Tocci has worked, studied and lectured throughout Asia and Europe, including Chief of Combat News with the Air Force in Saigon, Pentagon media representative during the Vietnam War, NATO Director of Public Affairs in Italy, and Assistant Professor of communications at American University after a successful career in association PR and consulting. He has received many honors and is a longtime literacy volunteer.
Lon G. Walls is President and CEO of Walls Communications, which he established in 1993. He was Vice President and Manager of the Washington, D.C. office of Hill & Flowers, a Chicago-based public relations firm. Lon also served as director of media relations and special projects for the Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation. He was campaign communications director for the District of Columbia’s Republican mayoral candidate, Maurice Turner, and chief spokesperson for the Children’s National Medical Center, a 279-bed facility in Washington, D.C. He worked at several other area health care facilities as well as national headquarters for the American Red Cross. Lon was a newspaper reporter and freelance writer for the Toledo Blade and Atlanta Daily World. He is a past president of the Capital Press Club, the oldest African-American press organization in the nation.
Al Wann, APR, ABC, IABC Fellow has had a distinguished career in corporate communications, including nearly 30 years with AT&T where he planned many of the company's major public policy efforts and charitable initiatives in Washington. He is a founding member and past chairman of the International Association of Business Communicators, where he led the association into its international growth era and sparked the formation of chapters in Europe and Asia.
Harland W. Warner, APR, Fellow PRSA was one of the nation's leading experts in crisis communications planning. For 30 years with Corning, Inc. and then Manning Selvage & Lee, he helped dozens of companies prepare for or prevent disasters such as war protests, race riots, floods, and product recalls. He served as PRSA Chapter President in 1987 and national President in 1993. In 1996 received the Gold Anvil Award, the Society's highest individual honor. (Deceased)
Oscar H. West was one of the first members of the informal group that first met in 1949, and he served as the first President of the PRSA National Capital Chapter in 1950. He was also a leading in the merger between the two national organizations that eventually became PRSA. (Deceased)
Judith H. Whittlesey is Executive Vice President at Susan Davis International. Some of the projects she has managed include the dedication and public introduction of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and the communications, groundbreaking and dedication of the Women In Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, and the Japanese American Memorial. She also led the communications campaign for the Library of Congress Bicentennial celebration. Judith served on the staff of Vice President Mondale; was Chief of staff and campaign press secretary to Joan Mondale when Walter Mondale was the Democratic Presidential candidate in 1984; served as a member of Sen. Lloyd Bentsen’s traveling advisory staff during the 1988 general election when he was the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, and was a member of Vice President Gore’s transition team in 1992-93.
Ernest & Elizabeth Wittenberg worked with the President’s Committee on Employment of the Handicapped. Through the Committee, they also championed minority rights, Chapter 10 and women’s rights to play sports. They worked on the initial concept and bringing to fruition the Holocaust Museum, and helped with the creation of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. They won numerous awards including a Silver Anvil for their efforts to integrate the Washington police force. The Wittenbergs wrote the book How to Win in Washington: Very Practical Advice about Lobbying, the Grassroots and the Media. (Ernest Wittenberg is deceased)
Mary D. Yerrick, APR spent most of her public relations career at Henry J. Kaufman & Associates through the period when it was acquired by Shandwick. In 1997, she started her own communications consulting business, Primetime Solutions, so that she could apply her skills and knowledge to advancing social causes she cares deeply about. Mary is a past president of PRSA/NCC and was awarded the chapter’s outstanding personal achievement award in 2001. The previous year she received the Washington Women in Public Relations’ Woman of the Year award.
Kenneth Youel, APR, Fellow PRSA, joined General Motors in 1931 and retired 30 years later as Director of the company's television and press relations. He moved to Washington, where he was a consultant to the State Department and the USIA. He was a founding member of PRSA, served as national president in 1961 and received the Gold Anvil Award in 1964. (Posthumously Honored)