Public Affairs | Illinois

Public Affairs | Illinois University of Illinois homepage home page

Public Affairs ACME Awards 2009

blog navigation

blog posts

  • Media Relations Award: Kirsten Ruby, University Housing

    Jack Collins, Kirsten Ruby, Robin Kaler
    Jack Collins, Kirsten Ruby, Robin Kaler
    While many folks must dip their toes in the media relations water as part of their jobs, this year's winner frequently and elegantly swims in the deep end of the pool. She understands clearly what is news, how media deadlines work, the importance of telling the truth - and offering context. Most of her encounters with the media are for stories that could put the campus in a bad light, for example: Bill Ayers speaking on campus, fights after student dances, a massive power outage in the residence halls, and of course, the dreaded H1N1 virus. In each instance, Kirsten Ruby, Director of Marketing for Housing, demonstrated grace and class, and she always represented the university well. Thank you, Kirsten, recipient of this year's media relations award.
  • Branding Leadership Award: Renee Lyell, Center for Training & Professional Development

    Robin Kaler, Renee Lyell, Pat Sherrod
    Robin Kaler, Renee Lyell, Pat Sherrod
    The 2009 Branding Leadership Award goes to Renee Lyell of the Center for Training and Professional Development, the artists formerly known as T4B. Renee joined them just a couple of years ago, as they were changing their name...and we were implementing new graphic identity standards. As Renee oversaw the development of a new Web site, the creation of marketing plans and collateral for the organization plus its premiere event - the Biennial Conference for Women, as well as the rollout of the new name - she worked closely with Public Affairs to ensure that she was following the campus identity standards. She did that while protecting the Training Center's distinct personality and supporting a consistent visual identity. Renee exemplifies the quality and strength that are the Illinois brand, and we're delighted to name her this year's Branding Leader. Congratulations, Renee!
  • Team Player Award: Andy Blacker, Dee Dee Caneva, Judy Lateer

    Jack Dempsey, Curt Taylor, Robin Kaler, Dee Dee Caneva, Judy Lateer, Andy Blacker
    Jack Dempsey, Curt Taylor, Robin Kaler, Dee Dee Caneva, Judy Lateer, Andy Blacker
    The Team Player Award goes to the communications professional who demonstrates outstanding efforts to respond to cries for help, requests for random information and desperate calls for suggestions from Public Affairs and Campus Administration. Nearly without exception, these requests come without warning, on tight deadlines and usually, with no direct reward. This year, we actually honor a team of team players! Our friends at Facilities and Services have done everything from creating a campus-level communications strategy for energy conservation to preparing briefings and presentations to calm potentially angry legislators. We call them anytime of the day with sometimes bizarre and even ridiculous requests, and they ALWAYS respond with good information, creative ideas and a positive attitude. Congratulations Dee Dee Caneva, Andy Blacker and Judy Lateer - true team players.
  • Innovation in Marketing Award: Brad Petersen, Electrical & Computer Engineering

    Beth Katsinas, Brad Petersen, Robin Kaler
    Beth Katsinas, Brad Petersen, Robin Kaler
    The 2009 Innovation in Marketing Award goes to Brad Petersen of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Brad has taken a unit that had virtually no identity and blended traditional and non-traditional methods to make a positive and measurable impact on his department. For five years at ECE, enrollments had been down, so Brad spearheaded a creative campaign that blended Web, print, t-shirts, E-cards and more to tell the ECE story. Most important, he benchmarked everything he did, and when it was implemented his efforts had, in fact, helped increase enrollment. His boss was happy, he was happy, the students who found ECE were happy, and we decided he deserved the 2009 Innovation in Marketing award!
  • Crisis Communications Award: Tom Hardy, Ginny Hudak-David, Melanie Kuehn, University Relations

    ACME Awards
    ACME Awards
    The Crisis Communications Award goes to the communicator who has played a leadership role in responding to crisis situations. In the past year, we have dealt with what I hope was the biggest crisis any of us will ever have to face in our careers. Since April 14th, when we received the first Freedom of Information request involving what we later came to know as Category I admissions, this team has responded with thousands of pages of documents, dealt with scores of reporters and done their very best to offer wise counsel to the people for whom they work. If only their behind-the-scenes advice had been heeded, we'd all have less brand rebuilding work to do today. Congratulations to the University Relations Team - Melanie Kuehn, Ginny Hudak-David and Tom Hardy - recipients of the 2009 Crisis Communications Award.
  • Extra Mile Award: Todd Short, Public Safety

    Robin Kaler, Todd Short, Barbara O'Connor
    Robin Kaler, Todd Short, Barbara O'Connor
    This year, we'd like to give a special award to someone whose job title doesn't even involve communications. When we talk with you about the challenges you face, most of you mention not having a seat at the unit planning table instead being called in at the end of the process and asked to make what we fondly call "donkey soup" out of ill-advised strategies and approaches chosen by people who have no idea how we do our work or what value we can add. But today, were honoring Todd Short, director of emergency planning for the Division of Public Safety. More than a year ago, he was tasked with creating an emergency response plan for the campus, and one of the first calls he made was to Public Affairs. He has included us in EVERY meeting, committee and decision along the way to creating a campus-wide plan. He has listened to our ideas and advocated for our concerns. He has been a trusted colleague, and has helped us better understand the big picture ourselves. Congratulations Todd, and thank you for always going the extra mile.
  • Communicator of the Year: Trish Barker, NCSA

    Robin Kaler, Trish Barker, Bill Bell
    Robin Kaler, Trish Barker, Bill Bell
    This year's Communicator of the Year is someone who represents the best of all the qualities that are critical to success in communications and marketing. Trish Barker of NCSA is an Illinois brand apostle. She not only uses the Web Services Toolbox tools well and often, but she's gone so far as to mentor her peers and even teach classes on how to use the tools effectively. Trish is always there when we need her help, and she often calls us with creative and innovative ideas. And unlike many idea people, when she calls with an idea, she also volunteers to help implement it. For those, and many other reasons, we'd like to honor Trish Barker as this year's Communicator of the Year.