Local public relations awards showcase outstanding work

April 25, 2014, Mid-Florida Local Image Awards Gala (80)

OCALA, Fla. – The Florida Public Relations Association Ocala Chapter recognized public relations professionals for achieving industry excellence at the recent Mid-Florida Local Image Awards gala.

As determined by a third-party panel of judges, the winners represent the very best examples of public relations innovation, planning, implementation and design. Winners and gala attendees represented several area organizations, including CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion, Duke Energy, Hospice of Marion County, Marion County Fire Rescue, Marion County Office of Public Information, Southwest Florida Water Management District and United Way of Marion County.

This year’s awards theme, ReciPe for Results, emphasized the importance of a planning process for any successful public relations campaign. Like a recipe, the public relations process is precise, and it specifies steps: research/situational analysis, objectives, implementation, evaluation and budget. The event was held at Community Technical & Adult Education (CTAE), Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts School, where honorees and guests dined on cuisine prepared by CTAE Chef James Kennedy and his students.

The Mid-Florida Local Image Awards honor outstanding public relations programs, printed tools of public relations and audio, visual and online tools of public relations. Entries must meet strict criteria and undergo tough scrutiny by a third-party panel of judges. Judges must have their Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential and have won an Image Award in the past. Many are also Certified Public Relations Counselors.

Three of this year’s entries met the highest standards of public relations excellence and were bestowed a Grand All Image award (Public Relations Programs division) or Grand Image awards (Printed Tools of Public Relations and Audio/Visual/Online Tools of Public Relations):

Heather Danenhower, APR; Duke Energy Corporate Communications; and the Crystal River Nuclear Plant won a Grand All Image Award for their employee communications plan associated with the announcement to retire the Crystal River Nuclear Plant. The plan focused on informing plant employees of the retirement decision firsthand through face-to-face meetings, email communications and videos. The group additionally received an Image Award for that plan and also received an Image Award for their Crystal River Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Open House event. The event successfully increased awareness of the decommissioning plan and positively influenced how people felt about plant workers and Duke Energy.

Barbara Hernandez, APR; Marion County Office of the County Engineer and the Stormwater Section won a Grand Image award for their 2013 Marion County “Discover Our Water Resources” tabloid, an educational newspaper developed to increase water knowledge and promote water-conserving behaviors among Marion County fourth- and fifth-graders. The group also received an Image Award and Judges’ Award for the publication.

Michele Sager, Allen Yarbrough and Robin Felix won a Grand Image award for the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Springs Instagram Contest, developed to educate and engage the residents of Citrus, Hernando and Marion Counties, home to five major springs systems. The group also received an Image Award for the contest.

Other notable awards included:

Carrieann Adkins, Don Weaver and Robyn Felix received an Image Award for the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Springs Website, which positions the district as the leading scientific agency that understands springs and takes action to restore them.

Laura Byrnes, APR, and CareerSource Citrus Levy Marion were honored with an Award of Distinction for their website redesign, which resulted in a more cohesive and clearer information tool that better communicated the nonprofit’s programs and increased engagement.

Jessica Greene Fuchs and Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR) Partners received an Award of Distinction for the “Prepare. Protect. Prevent. Water Safety Campaign.” Partnering with local agencies, MCFR raised awareness about water safety and raised funds to purchase swimming lesson packages for local families.

Lila Ivy and Lisa Varner, APR, were honored with an Award of Distinction for their Hospice of Marion County’s Flowers for Alzheimer’ Fundraiser, an awareness-raising effort to support an end to Alzheimer’s disease.

Teresa Martyny and United Way of Marion County received an Award of Distinction for their 2-1-1 Blog to help community members become more aware of the wide range of services available to them locally and nationally.

In addition to the awards ceremony, Monique Yeager, vice president of marketing at Tijuana Flats’, shared her company’s ReciPe for Results on winning marketing strategies in the highly competitive fast casual restaurant industry. Attendees received valuable insight into how Tijuana Flats fosters its unique approach to employee relations, customer communication and brand management.

Sponsors for the ReciPe for Results 2014 Mid-Florida Local Image Awards included: Frankel Media Group, $1,000 in-kind contribution for design services; Community Technical & Adult Education, $250 in-kind contribution for the event venue; Diana Scott, $250 in-kind contribution for photography; Webster University, $250 cash; and Duke Energy, $250 cash.

FPRA is comprised of 15 professional and 10 student chapters throughout the state, providing professional development, networking and professional recognition opportunities.

The Ocala FPRA Chapter, www.fpraocala.org, was established in 1980. Members and
guests meet the third Friday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Ocala.