Past Winners

“Winning this award marks a significant transition in my career – a time when I first started to understand the difference between tactical public relations and strategic public relations that delivers results. To be recognized by my peers – my mentors – is one of the greatest honors of my career; it’s a recognition I hold dearly and strive to live up to every day.” -Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC, Recipient of the first Communicator of the Year Award in 2005

Established in 2005 and renamed in 2011, the Wilton F. Martin Communicator of the Year Awards recognize individuals and institutions who have demonstrated excellence in strategic communications to improve the quality of life in Marion County. Candidates do not have to be members of FPRA but must exemplify the highest professional standards in the communications field. Candidates may include journalists, educators, community/civic leaders, and professionals from allied fields, including advertising and marketing. 

Past Recipients:

Year Individual Recipient Lifetime Achievement Recipient Institutional Recipient
2023 Tom James   Marion County Supervisor of Elections
2022 Joe Byrnes   The Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition
2021 Lauren DeIorio Buddy Martin Ocala Metro Chamber & Economic Partnership
2019 Jacob Fields   Heart of Florida Health Center
2018 Jim Ross Toni James, APR, CPRC Mojo Grill & Catering
2017 Dr. Manal Fakhoury David Cook Heart of FL Health Center’s Measure Up Marion Project
2016 Dave Schlenker   Silver Springs International Film Festival
2015 Lisa Varner, APR, CPRC   Transitions Life Center
2014 Laura Byrnes, APR,CPRC   Hospice of Marion County
2013 Pamela Calero   Marion County Public Library System
2012 Mandy Wettstein, APR,CPRC   Munroe Regional Medical Center
2011 Buddy Martin   Ocala/Marion County Chamber of Commerce
2010 Brad Rogers   Workforce Connection
2009 Allison Campbell, APR, CPRC   Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Corporation
2008 Dr. Charles Dassance   Marion County Fire Rescue
2007 Tina Banner, APR, CPRC   Marion County Public Schools
2006 Kevin Christian, APR, CPRC   Ocala Style magazine
2005 Heather Danenhower, APR, CPRC   Ocala Star Banner