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O'Dwyer's Newsletter - Jan. 3, 2012 - Vol. 45 - No. 1 (download PDF version)

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Alaska has released an open RFP for tourism PR as the Frontier State slates a contract that could reach six years with a budget of about $1M a year.

Photo: Alaska Travel Industry Association

The effort aims to generate positive media exposure for Alaska under a "robust" annual PR plan to be overseen by the state's Dept. of Commerce, Community & Economic Development with input from the industry trade group Alaska Travel Industry Association.

The PR work is part of a broader $14.7M destination marketing campaign. Thompson PR of Anchorage works with the ATIA. There are no geographical requirements for an agency, although proposals are required to include the cost of travel and lodging for two staffers to make two trips to Juneau and three to Anchorage.

Proposals are due Jan. 20, 2012 with a contract expected to begin July 1. RFP:


CalPERS, the pension giant for public employees in California, has refreshed its "spring-fed pool" of agencies for services like crisis communications and writing, following a fall RFP process.


The pension system, which ended September with an investment portfolio of $219.4B and counted more than 1.6M members as of June, earmarked six vendors for crisis services as-needed over the next four years, including Weber Shandwick (Los Angeles), Burson-Marsteller (San Francisco), Ogilvy PR Worldwide (Sacramento), Halldin PR (Rocklin), Edelman (Sacramento) and Booz Allen Hamilton (San Francisco). That group was also tapped for its media training pool.

Burson also got a nod for video and multimedia work, while Weber Shandwick and Booz were designated for specialized benefits communications efforts.

CalPERS, which also selected pools for writing/editorial, marketing and A/V work, said it will use the pre-qualified groups of firms through June 30, 2016.

The pension giant employs more than 2,300 with a budget topping $334M.


APCO Worldwide has filed its formal contract with Malaysia showing one-year fees of $600K. Though work for Malaysia began Jan. 1, 2001, the contract was finalized Nov. 15 and registered with the Justice Dept. Dec. 19.

The Washington-based firm provides strategic communications, daily PR management and international press outreach for Malaysia to promote positive ties with the U.S.

APCO has represented Malaysia at the U.S./Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations Business Council and Financial Services Forum.

According to the contract, the pact may be terminated in the event of war, invasion, rebellion, rioting, terrorism, nuclear explosion, chemical contamination or "natural catastrophes.”


Jody Venturoni, who was global client leader at Weber Shandwick for the American Airlines account, is moving to H+K Strategies Jan. 3 as executive VP.

Based in Dallas, she will report to Dan Bartlett, U.S. president/CEO. American Airlines declared bankruptcy on Nov. 28.

Bartlett noted that Venturoni "led proactive response teams for some of the major crisis situations of the past decade."

As president of the southwest region for Weber Shandwick, Venturoni was responsible for 90 staffers working on blue-chip clients such as ExxonMobil, U.S. Army, Verizon and Omni Hotels. Prior to Weber Shandwick, Venturoni was PR and employee communications director at Sprint.


Lee Davies, most recently Merck's global media relations (cardiovascular, oncology, diabetes and women's health) and oncology products PR director, has joined Makovsky + Co. as group VP. He reports to Gil Bashe, executive VP and health chief.

Bashe calls Davies a "rare industry talent with experience encompassing pharma marketing communications, media relations and issues management."

Davies began his career in the marketing departments of Pfizer and Schering-Plough before becoming founding member of Burson-Marsteller's healthcare operation.

In his more than 30 years of PR experience, Davies held senior management slots at Omnicom's PRISM International, Euro RSCG and Ogilvy PR Worldwide. He also co-ran Davies and Murray for a dozen years before joining Schering-Plough, prior to its acquisition by Merck.

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