Partners at Washington-based Stratacomm have bought the firm back from FleishmanHillard, which acquired the transportation PR specialist in 2004.

Bill Buff, co-managing partner at Stratacomm, said the firm is now independent and operated by a partnership group.  “This restructuring will allow us to invest in new talent and strategies both to benefit our clients and grow the firm," he said.

The firm, which has counseled all of the major US automakers, worked on Daimler's "Smart Car" in the US and counts recent business wins as Norfolk Southern and Nissan North America.

Buff is joined in the top ranks by co-managing partner John Fitzpatrick, senior partners Ron DeFore (a co-founder) and Travis Austin, and partners Kristin Calandro Tyll, Sharon Hegart, Charlotte Seigler and John Undeland.

Fitzpatrick told O'Dwyer's FH has been a valued partner and remains a passive, minority shareholder.

Stratacomm, founded in 1995, also has a Detroit presence in Southfield, Mich.

DeFore's fellow co-founders Diane Steed and Jeff Conley are senior advisors.