2009 PR People Awards: PR Professional of the Year (Corporate)

Sal Petruzzi, Senior Vice President of Public Relations, Turner Broadcasting System

The sheer scope of his executive responsibilities make Sal Petruzzi the embodiment of the traits that comprise the complete public relations professional. Head of various teams that service Turner’s ad sales and marketing, network sales and a wide array of sports, Petruzzi has his hands full with distinct specialty areas and foci.

As Petruzzi became the lead in overseeing all media relations for Turner Sports, his stewardship led to record-breaking consumer outreach. The 2008 NBA playoffs delivered the company’s most-watched postseason in its 25-year history of televising the league. Turner’s Major League Baseball coverage, meanwhile, secured the most-watched game of all of 2008—game seven of the American League Championship Series.

“When promoting Turner Sports events and initiatives we look to reach consumers, as well as our advertising and distribution partners,” he says. “There’s no one solution to fit each event or to reach these three different, but equally important, audiences. In order for us to be effective, the key is to customize our communications plan for every event and project.

“There is more convergence between on-air and on-screen media, and one of our goals is for the viewers/users to have a multi-screen experience.”


Petruzzi’s strong leadership style and open-ear policy are instrumental components to his success. Whether sharing best practices or adopting them, Petruzzi goes the extra mile to ensure his team, and therefore his company, are well represented.

Capitalizing on a diligent work approach and steady decision making, Petruzzi recently became the overseer of public relations for Turner Network Sales, meaning that he is responsible for press outreach for all financial-generating businesses, ad sales and marketing relations. This latest development will likely not faze a PR pro who directed a sales and marketing division that supported outlets as diverse as CNN News Group, Cartoon Network and Turner Sports. His nonstop commitment to excellence ensures that Petruzzi will succeed in any landscape of his choosing. â– 

Honorable Mentions

Allison Falkenberry, Senior Director of Communications, Men’s Health

Falkenberry harnessed the cover story and buzz surrounding then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s appearance on the magazine’s 20th anniversary issue. By releasing the story through a series of carefully timed media-spanning exclusives, Falkenberry helped position the publication and its editors as essential resources on the candidate’s health policies.

Chris Fuller, Senior Public Relations Manager, Pizza Hut

Fuller led the campaign that jokingly announced Pizza Hut’s name change to Pasta Hut as the company launched its baked pasta line in 2008. The ploy stands as one of the most successful product launches in the brand’s history.

Drew McGowan, Senior Group Manager, PR and Sponsorships, The Clorox Company

McGowan spearheaded the launch of the Brita FilterForGood campaign, resulting in a partnership between Brita and Nalgene that encouraged a reduction in bottled water waste.

David Shane, Vice President, Worldwide Corporate Communications, Hewlett-Packard Company

A huge PR endeavor involving HP’s acquisition of EDS in 2008 highlights Shane’s composure under significant pressure. Shane insisted on consistency and coordination to meet the needs of all stakeholders.