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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Feb. 27, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 9 (download PDF version)

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The company hired to produce the Baltimore Grand Prix IndyCar race over the next five years is calling for proposals from agencies as it considers outsourcing marketing, advertising, social media and similar efforts.

Baltimore held its first grand prix race in 2011, drawing more than 150,000 people and the interest of NBC Sports, which will broadcast the 2012 race. The city fired the company that ran the first race after it left a trail of debts to vendors, the city and state, and last week tapped Downforce Racing LLC to manage the event over the next five years.

The Leffler Agency and EdieBrown & Associates, handled advertising and PR for last year's race.

Dan Reck of Downforce Racing ([email protected]) is handling the agency search. Proposals are due March 2.

The Baltimore Business Journal first reported the RFP.


Pentagon public affairs chief Doug Wilson plans to retire at the end of March, after two years in the top post and a long PA career.


Wilson sees it as “time to get off the merry-goround for a break,” adding he will "recharge and look forward again to serving the country in another way."

Wilson was tapped by Obama and approved by the Senate in late 2009 as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, serving through the end of combat in Iraq, the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and the NATO-led campaign in Libya.

He was previously with the Defense Department during the Clinton administration and on the Hill. He started out as a Foreign Service Information Officer, including a London posting during the Iran hostage crisis.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Wilson as a “trusted advisor.” A successor has not yet been nominated and requires Senate confirmation.

Panetta, on moving to the Pentagon last summer, brought his top CIA PA aide George Little as a deputy/press secretary under Wilson, along with Navy Capt. John Kirby as deputy/director of media operations.


Anova Technologies, a Chicago-based engineering company that develops systems to link global trading venues, is looking for a PR firm with strong contacts to the press, specifically the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. The goal is to bolster the status of its “bestin-class exchange connectivity.”

Anova, which was founded by CEO Michael Persico, expects to select a trio of finalists. The chosen firm will have the best relationships with reporters/editors at those newspapers and a strong track record for getting ink.

A PR budget has not yet been determined. Final presentations are slated for early April.

Denise Heitz ([email protected]) is the contact person at Anova.


Gephardt Group Government Affairs has been hired by Crane & Co. to fight any Congressional push to end production of the $1 bill.

That Massachusetts-based company has continually supplied currency paper to the U.S. Treasury since 1879.

The Government Accountability Office has issued five reports over the past 20 years that show Uncle Sam could save billions by retiring the dollar bill. The Congressional watchdog this month found a transition from paper to coin would save $4.4B over 30 years.

“With the current budget situation that we're all aware of, we felt Congress needs to be aware of all the viable options for gaining financial benefits, and replacing the dollar note with a dollar coin provides such a benefit over the long term,” Lorelei St. James, GAO's director-physical infrastructure, said in releasing the latest report, requested by Massachusetts’ Republican Senator Scott Brown. Brown preferred to concentrate on the GAO’s upfront transition costs.

The GAO found that the U.S. would lose $531M during the initial ten years because of the higher production cost of coin vs. paper money.

Brown also noted that the government has $1.2B in excess $1 coins in its vaults, indicating to him that Americans prefer paper money. He also noted that the Bay State would lose hundreds of jobs with the switch to a coin dollar. Brown’s Democratic counterpart, John Kerry, has introduced legislation to kill the coin dollar.

Former Majority Leader and Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt leads the effort for Crane.


Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers slugger who became the first Major League Baseball player to beat a positive drug test, is leaning on PR counselor Matthew Hiltzik.


An arbitration panel voted, 2-1, on Feb. 23 in support of Braun’s appeal of a positive test for testosterone, marking the first successful appeal since MLB moved to crack down on steroids and other drugs in the sport.

Hiltzik, the former president of Freud Communications who now runs his own New York firm, received praise

from Braun in the outfielder’s statement Feb. 23 acknowledging the successful appeal.

“I’d like to thank my agent Nez Balelo and Terry Prince of CAA Sports and Matthew Hiltzik of Hiltzik Strategies for all of their help and counsel through the process,” said Braun, who noted he is “very pleased and relieved by today’s decision.”

The situation has been a no-win PR fiasco for Major League Baseball as Braun is MLB’s reigning National League Most Valuable Player and a high-profile and marketable young talent in the supposed post-steroid era of the sport.

Braun’s appeal was successful in part because the test administrator reportedly kept the player’s sample in his home refrigerator before testing the following day.

Hiltzik worked the Justin Bieber love-child scandal in November.

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