2013 PR People Awards: Public Affairs Professional of the Year


Winner: Patrick Riccards, Partner, Collaborative Communications Group

Patrick Riccards’ Twitter handle “@eduflack” is a modest way of expressing his contributions to education reform in Connecticut. In a single year as the CEO and spokesman for the state’s leading education advocacy not-for-profit, ConnCAN, he has tripled the amount of media coverage it receives, constructed a significant reform network of superintendents, school boards, principals, parents and other stakeholders, established a website to aggregate all education-related news in the state, led the creation of a landmark report on how Connecticut can close its educational achievement gap, and transformed ConnCAN from a research-focused insider group into a center of public engagement.

Perhaps most important, he helped secure the most comprehensive education reform package in the state’s history, focused on preK, teacher evaluation, school turnaround, school choice, and improved management.

ConnCAN’s efforts sparked opposition, which Riccards dealt with by building a communications and engagement network on the fly. He built a communications feedback loop that let him quickly evaluate new messages and tactics, moving forward with those that were most effective.  He coordinated an aggressive media relations effort among more than a dozen organizations, speaking for them on a daily basis with radio, television, the Internet and print media.

Riccards also established a “report card” to track the legislature’s implementation of the new law, to make sure it’s being implemented properly and on schedule.

Honorable Mentions: 

  • Charles Territo, SVP, public affairs and marketing communications, American Traffic Solutions
  • Michael Waldron, Senior Director, Nuclear Communication, NextEra Energy

 

 




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About Steve Goldstein

Steve Goldstein is editorial director of events for Access Intelligence’s PR News brand, which encompasses premium, how-to content, data and competitive intelligence for public relations professionals; PR News Online; PR News conferences, webinars and awards programs; and PR News guidebooks. Previously at AI Steve was editorial director of min, min ’s b2b and minonline as well as managing editor of CableFAX: The Magazine and CableWorld. Before joining Access Intelligence, he was executive editor of World Screen News, and editor of Film/Tape World, which covered film, television and commercial production in the San Francisco Bay Area.



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