Mayor Bill Peduto along with PR agencies across Pittsburgh attend dinner to receive awards for their accomplishments in the past year
By: Autumn Barszczowski
This is the program for the PRSA Awards event that attendees were given that highlighted the people involved in organizing the event as well as the order that prizes were given out in. It gave attendees a chance to connect to the organization through social media as well. – Photo via Autumn Barszczowski
When told that he was a public relations group’s “Communicator of the Year,” Mayor Bill Peduto joked that it is probably because he is always available.
He said folks can direct message him on Twitter, as well as texting him, but to climb through his window is better than sending him a message on Linkedin.
Every year, Pittsburgh’s chapter of the Public Relations Society of America holds a Renaissance Awards dinner to honor agencies from all over the city of Pittsburgh and their accomplishments in events, fundraisers, campaigns, and more.
“We’re going to be a city that learns to handle growth,” said the mayor, in response to the president of Pittsburgh’s Chapter of PRSA Steve Radick’s comment, which is to keep people in the city of Pittsburgh with communication and innovation.
During a dinner of carrot ginger soup and Peruvian style free-range chicken with tri-color quinoa and chimichurri sauce, the group presented awards in 17 categories, of both individual and collective achievements.
The mayor wasn’t the only winner of the night. Other agencies won for accomplishments in digital/social media campaigns, community relations/public service campaigns, and awards for special events, observances, or fundraisers.
The PRSA works to highlight the previous year’s accomplishments from PR agencies and individuals in order to learn from each other and create better ideas for the upcoming year, according to Steve Radick, president of Pittsburgh’s Chapter of PRSA.
“The Renaissance Awards gives an opportunity to look at success the PR community had” said Radick.
Along with these agency awards, Rachel Willis, a sophomore from Duquesne University and a double major in Public Relations and International Relations, was awarded with the Bob O’Gara Scholarship. The scholarship worth $2,000 was established to recognize outstanding public relations students for all of their hard work.
Students applying for the scholarship were asked to write an essay explaining what Public Relations meant to them. According to Willis, PR allows people to build relationships, a community, and gives them a way to engage with others. “To me, together that means we can impact others and affect change,” Willis said of the PR community.
The Agency of The Year Award went to The Motherhood for their Stork OTC campaign, which compiled blog posts from mothers about their difficulty in conceiving and the options that they found that could assist them in their process. They also hosted live Twitter chats in which they helped to promote the sales of the Stork OTC.
The ceremony ended with The Motherhood also being named “Best in Show” out of all the agencies in attendance, but the only agency out of 87 to receive a perfect score from the judges.
The Renaissance Hall of Fame Award, which went to Bob Oltmanns of OPR Group, LLC. During his speech he discussed his time in the PR field, leading up to that moment.
“This business is fun if you hang around long enough,” said Oltmanns, during his acceptance speech. He was nominated by fellow colleagues in PRSA, including Kenneth P. Service, Vice Chancellor of Communications at the University of Pittsburgh.
Service was inducted into the PRSA College of Fellows in 1998, four years before Oltmanns in 2002, according to the PRSA website.
These Renaissance Awards are “good for people to get to know each other and to learn from each other…to learn different ways of doing things,” said Service.
Other winners include Giant Eagle, Gatesman+Dave, Smith Brothers Agency and more, which can be found on the PRSA’s website.