Congrats! 2019 Spotlight Awards & Awards of Distinction Honorees

We are proud to share the achievements of an exceptional group of public relations and communications professionals and showcase their outstanding work and contributions to our industry and community.

Participation and membership in PRSA — advancing the profession in line with the standards and ethics of our association and honoring our work that upholds these values — is so important to our practice and the many organizations and communities served by this work. 

2019 Awards of Distinction Recipients

William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award
Sally Ridenour, APR, Chief Content Strategist, Oregon Department of Transportation

The William W. Marsh Lifetime Achievement Award honors an outstanding leader in the field of public relations. For nearly four decades, William W. Marsh was a towering figure in public relations in Oregon. A charter member of the Portland Metro Chapter (which was merged into the PRSA Oregon Chapter in 2017), Marsh served as president in 1963.

About Sally Ridenour, APR
Sally is Chief Content Strategist at the Oregon Department of Transportation. Sally was a founding member of the Oregon Capital Chapter, and has been active in PRSA since 2000. Sally’s many years of service to Oregon public relations professionals includes filling the roles of chapter secretary, VP/professional development, assembly delegate, VP/communications, president-elect and president of the Oregon Capital Chapter, and co-chair of communications and membership in the merged PRSA Oregon chapter. Sally has also served on several committees for the North Pacific District.
Sally regularly presents media training and presentation training to state government employees. As ODOT’s Chief Content Strategist, Sally now teaches usability testing and content strategy to state and local government teams. She has also provided media relations training to the Oregon Girl Scout leadership team, and coaches graduating college seniors on interview techniques. She volunteers with Family Promise, a non-profit helping homeless families find permanent housing. Sally and her ODOT team won a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence for their work in the complete redesign of ODOT’s website.

Ron Schmidt Community Involvement Award
Sheila Hamilton, Communicator, Author, Journalist, Podcast Producer

Ron Schmidt raised our collective awareness consciousness and commitment. For nearly 30 years, Schmidt served as an aide to Oregon Gov. Tom McCall, then as the owner of the state’s biggest and most influential public relations firm. He stood at the center of public policy in business, government and the arts.

About Sheila Hamilton

Sheila is a passionate suicide prevention advocate and a nationally recognized speaker on the subject. Sheila wrote the book All the Things We Never Knew: Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness in 2017, chronicling her and her daughter’s personal story of living with — and loving — a spouse/father with mental health challenges. The book is also a mental health guide.

In 2019, Sheila launched a weekly podcast Beyond Well that helps people cope with anxiety, depression and procrastination, among other topics. Sheila serves on the board of Girls, Inc. and The Flawless Foundation, a mental health advocacy organization.

Sheila is a long-time journalist well known in the Portland area. She began her career in public broadcasting in the early 1980s, and later reported for Portland’s KATU-TV. Sheila worked for Alpha Broadcasting in the Portland area for more than 17 years, including morning host on KINK FM and afternoon news anchor on KXL. She also was a correspondent for KGW’s evening show Live at 7.
Just last September, Grammy-nominated new artist Lauv chose Sheila to exclusively tell his story of recovery from OCD and depression.

Olga M. Haley Mentorship Award
John C. Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication Instructor (ret.)

This award, named for the late Olga M. Haley, APR, reflects our chapter’s dedication to supporting members at every stage of their careers and lives. A past chapter president and legendary figure in Portland public relations, Ms. Haley was an exemplary person and professional of honor and integrity. The recipient of this award demonstrates commitment to supporting PRSA and the profession, serving as a mentor, while demonstrating outstanding
public relations.

About John C. Mitchell, APR, Fellow PRSA
 John has taught public relations at the University of Oregon for the past 33 years — half his life. He was named professional advisor for the University’s Public Relations Student Society of America in 1995, and was recognized in 2011 as a PRSSA champion for his long tenure in that role. He was also named the UO School of Journalism and Communication instructor of the year in 2011.

New Professional Award of Excellence
Eric Johnson, Public Relations Coordinator, Explore Lincoln City

The New Professional Award of Excellence honors a chapter member who has entered the field of public relations within the past five years. The award is presented to a professional who has demonstrated his or her commitment to advancing public relations through career achievements, volunteerism, and the highest standards of professionalism.

About Eric Johnson
Eric is the Public Relations Coordinator for Explore Lincoln City, the city’s destination marketing organization, and a Public Information Officer for the Devil’s Lake Water Improvement District in Lincoln County.

Eric earned an MBA from OSU, and is certified in project management. He has served on the Lincoln City Chamber of Commerce for the past year, and for a couple of years worked as executive director of the Cannon Beach Chamber.

Eric has served on the PRSA Oregon chapter membership committee; helped plan and execute the 2019 Communicators Conference; and led the 2019 new member “Buddy” program. Eric is a nominee to serve as membership director in 2020.

Spotlight Awards

  • 2019 Guide Dogs for the Blind
    Grady Britton – Lisa Martin, Becca Wirta, Etain O’Longaigh
    Campaign, Crisis Communications
  • Radically Transparent Strategy
    Legacy Health and Berg & Associates
    Campaign, Crisis Communications
  • PR – PATOS: Multimedia Multi-Channel approach Supporting the UO Latinx Community
    UO Communications – Tova Stabin and Lesli Larson
    Campaign, DEI/Multicultural PR
  • Play with Pride at Campus Rec
    Portland State University – Brittany Goltry
    Campaign, Event/Observance
  • Green Whiskers’ Eco-friendly Grooming for Portland’s Dirty Dogs
    Amico PR – Kelliann Amico, APR, and Green Whiskers – Greg Robeson
    Campaign, Integrated Communications
  • Manufacturing Study Launch 2018
    Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and Quinn Thomas
    Campaign, Integrated Communications
  • Unconscious Bias Initiative: Foundation for Culture Change at OHSU
    OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion – Tracey Lam, APR
    Campaign, Internal Communications
  • The Olive Oil Promise
    LANE, a Finn Partners Company and International Olive Council
    Campaign, Marketing Business-to-Business
  • ENERGY STAR® with NEEM+ Manufactured Homes Consumer Campaign
    Energy Efficiency Alliance and C+C
    Campaign, Marketing Consumer Product or Service
  • Launching a Passenger Ferry Service to Address Traffic Congestion
    Friends of Frog Ferry and Coates Kokes – Sue Van Brocklin and Lance Heisler
    Campaign, Pro Bono/Public Service
  • Launch of Gun Safety Nonprofit and Efforts to Reduce Gun Violence in Oregon
    State of Safety and Coates Koakes – Sue Van Brocklin, Madeline Luce and Henry Wessinger
    Campaign, Public Affairs
  • My Oregon Future for Oregon Community College Association
    Oregon Community College Association and Quinn Thomas
    Campaign, Public Affairs
  • Heart Health Month Multichannel Campaign
    LANE, A Finn Partners Company and the Marine Stewardship Council
    Campaign, Public Service
  • What Does $1 Billion in Grants Look Like?
    M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust – Colby Reade, APR; Camille Cotton, Conner Peckham, Jennifer Larson-Cody
    Campaign, Reputation/Brand Management
  • #BBQLikeAPro Partner Promotion
    Sunshine Morrison and Linda Riedman
    Campaign, Social Media/Digital Communications
  • Reed’s Crossing: Oregon’s Largest Mixed-Use, Master-Planned Community
    Liaison Public Relations, Amico PR, Newland | Reed’s Crossing
    Tactic, Media/Blogger Relations
  • TOP’s Parrot Food Swings for the Fences: Cover Story or Bust
    TOP’s Parrot Food – Gary Rubin, APR
    Tactic, Media/Blogger Relations
  • Launch of Open Enrollment
    Coates Kokes -Sue Van Brocklin and Kevin Glenn
    Tactic, News Conference
  • The Dean’s Newsletter: Showcasing Achievements
    Lewis & Clark Law School – Judy Asbury, APR
    Tactic, Newsletter
  • Common Ground: Working Together to Help Oregonians Fulfill Their Financial Goals
    Oregon Div. of Financial Regulation – Brad Hilliard, APR; Jessica Knecht, Mark Peterson
    Tactic, Newsletter
  • InsideOregon 2018-19 Print Editions
    UO University Communications – George Evano, Ed Dorsch, Marlitt Dellabough, Melody Ward Leslie
    Tactic, Newsletter
  • Farewell to Clark’s 13th President
    Clark College Foundation – Rhonda Morin, APR
    Tactic, Podcast
  • Game of Seasons: Winter Preparation Educational Video
    Tualatin Valley Water District Communications Dept. – Andrea Watson, APR
    Tactic, PSA

Merit Awards

  • Salem Police Foundation Mobile Command Center
    Salem Police Foundation and VanNatta Public Relations
    Campaign, Community Relations
  • TriMet Hop Fastpass® Multicultural Commercials
    TriMet and Andrew Longeteig
    Campaign, DEI/Multicultural PR
  • The Future of Finance | Insurance | Collaboration
    Oregon DCBS: Division of Financial Regulation and Communications
    Campaign, Event/Observance
  • ProKarma Media Relations
    A.wordsmith for PK
    Campaign, Integrated Communications
  • Levy Restaurants: Building a Relationship with Portland Foodies
    Levy Restaurants and A.wordsmith
    Campaign, Reputation Brand Management
  • Beaverton Restaurant Week – Dine Local, Taste Global
    City of Beaverton and Dianna Ballash
    Campaign, Reputation Brand Management
  • North Coast Brewing Company Brother Thelonious Reintroduction
    Grady Britton: Lisa Martin, Kelsey Williams, Etain O’Longaigh
    Campaign, Reputation Brand Management
  • Kickin’ It In Portland: Showcasing Walkability
    Grady Britton – Lisa Martin, Becca Wirta, Etain O’Longaigh
    Tactic, Direct Mail/Direct Response
  • Unregulated ‘Emotional Support Animals’ at Airports
    Guide Dogs for the Blind and Grady Britton/Lisa Martin
    Tactic, Editorial/Op-Ed
  • Promoting Coconut Bliss’ Monumental New Packaging and Rebrand
    Grady Britton – Lisa Martin, Becca Wirta, Etain O’Longaigh
    Campaign, Marketing Business-to-Business
  • Walmart Holiday Campaign 2018
    Walmart and Quinn Thomas
    Tactic, Media/Blogger Relations
  • Willamette River Check the Rec
    City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services
    Tactic, News Release/Social Media Release
  • Fundamentals of Fall Protection
    Oregon OSHA/DCBS
    Campaign, Public Service