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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - July 11, 2011 - Vol. 44 - No. 26 (download PDF version)

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Delaware is reviewing its highway safety PR business with an open RFP process through early August. The state’s Office of Highway Safety, part of the

Share The Road

Dept. of Safety and Homeland Security, currently works with two agencies but the RFP, issued July 1, says it intends to select a single firm to guide its public awareness communications, exclusive of media relations. The account is federally funded and bills at $1.6M

for the fiscal year beginning October 1. Deardorff Associates, Wilmington, is an incumbent. The work includes updating the OHS' communica

tions plan, PR materials, PSAs and other assignments spanning, free, social and paid media. Traffic fatalities in the state are at 49 so far this year, compared with 26 at this point last year. Agencies are required to attend a July 19 pre-bid meeting in Dover. Proposals are due Aug. 19. Download the RFP at


The Interim Transitional National Council of Libya has hired Patton Boggs in its effort to gain U.S. recognition of the rebel group as the sovereign government of Libya and access to the billions in financial assets controlled by Col. Gaddafi.


Tommy Boggs leads the account and reports to Ali Aujali, Gaddafi’s former Washington ambassador who now fronts for the Benghazi-based Libya rebel organization in the U.S. He also will supervise PB lawyers and other professionals who may work on the project.

PB has agreed to limit monthly fees to $50K and has agreed not to seek payment until the Council obtains the necessary funds to pay its lobbying bill.

In return, the Council agrees to "pay all accrued fees and expenses of PB immediately upon receiving legal title or authorization to any assets that give it sufficient ability to pay our fees in the U.S," according to its engagement letter with PB.

The Libyan rebels hired the Harbour Group in April to work on a pro-bono basis.


Ogilvy PR Worldwide and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are set to part ways after less than two years on a four-year, $9M PR contract.

Michael Law, managing director of Ogilvy's West Coast operation, said in a letter to the rail authority that the firm was unable to develop a solid working relationship with the state agency “and that impeded the kind of top-notch work we are accustomed to providing our clients.”

Former authority board member and state senator Quentin Kopp earlier this year urged officials to cancel the PR contract because of public criticism of the $45B rail project, which aims to build high-speed rail lines between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The rail authority account had a tumultuous start in 2009. Ogilvy beat Porter Novelli in November of that year after Mercury Public Affairs won an initial RFP but quit the pact amid media pressure over its ties to the Schwarzenegger administration.

Ogilvy had billed more than $2M through February 2011, the first year of the expected four and a half-year contract. That work has included an overhaul of the authority’s website, drafting statewide distribution materials, reaching out to elected officials and community leaders, and producing hundreds of outreach meetings. The work has extended from Sacramento to D.C.

The PR contract is expected to be discussed at a meeting of the authority's board this month.



Chris Preuss, one-time executive VP-global communications at General Motors and president of its OnStar telematics unit, has joined Hill & Knowlton.

As part of WPP auto team in Dearborn, Preuss will work on WPP's Ford Motor's PR team, while developing a global transportation practice for H&K.

Preuss led GM’s communications effort during its bankruptcy, U.S. bailout and global restructuring that set the stage for the automaker's comeback.

Ken Luce, global COO of H&K, called Preuss a “major addition to our team” that will “strengthen our stance as a truly global partner with Ford.”

In his 13 years at GM, Preuss was VP-Europe communications, executive director of global product and brand, director of government affairs and technology communications and director of Cadillac communications. He also worked at Chrysler and headed auto accounts at GolinHarris, MSLGroup and Campbell & Co.

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