2015 PR People Awards: Spokesperson of the Year

Winner: Jerry Nappi, Entergy Wholesale Commodities’ Senior Nuclear Communications Manager

On a quiet Saturday evening in May 2015, a main electrical transformer exploded and caught fire at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, NY, north of New York City. Within minutes, people who heard the blast shared photos of the thick, black smoke above the plant on Twitter, as thousands of gallons of transformer oil reached the Hudson River.

Jerry Nappi, Senior Manager of Nuclear Communications, a 7-year veteran at Indian Point, immediately raced to meet reporters who were swarming to the site. For two weeks Nappi answered media inquiries 24/7, participated in live, on-air interviews, and proactively engaged reporters through Twitter. He also developed the overall communications strategy for the crisis response, which received national coverage as well as attention from the Governor of New York. His calm, effective leadership thorough the crisis was exemplary.

Throughout the crisis Nappi served as source of accurate, up-to-date information in an evolving situation that received exceptional scrutiny from national and international press. His hard work and strategic thinking, including an unprecedented use of social media, helped to minimize and contain safety concerns and spread awareness of Entergy’s response.

Nappi’s strategy ultimately resulted in Entergy’s messages coming through in a majority of the 230 news articles about the event, which successfully maintained a mostly neutral tone from May 9-29. Nappi and the team’s success in managing the situation has also been recognized by numerous nuclear and energy industry organizations.

Given the complex nature of nuclear power and the significant fear about personal safety when an incident occurs, Nappi and his team are constantly looking for innovative and creative ways to convey their messages clearly, simply and in a manner that will resonate with reporters and local stakeholders – while balancing technical regulatory and legal requirements.

Honorable Mentions: N/A