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‘Silver Spike Awards’ to recognize communications professionals and community leaders; Individual award winners announced


The Sierra Nevada chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) will recognize northern Nevada’s outstanding communications programs and tactics from the past year at the 24th annual Silver Spike Awards Thursday, Nov. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Atlantis Resort Casino.  The event also honors select community leaders and public relations professionals who have demonstrated excellence in communications and a commitment to making northern Nevada a better place to work and live.  Tickets for the event are on sale now at www.prsareno.org/spikes and proceeds benefit the local chapter of PRSA as well as students at the University’s Reynolds School of Journalism.

“We have some great communications efforts taking place in our region and our industry has advanced because of the exceptional professionals and quality of work found throughout northern Nevada,” said Jill Stockton, Sierra Nevada PRSA president.  “The Silver Spike Awards are an opportunity to acknowledge those who set the standard and inspire others to communicate with effectiveness and integrity.”

This year, more than 30 entries were submitted by public relations professionals throughout northern Nevada, Lake Tahoe and Truckee.  Entrants selected from one of 23 different categories, ranging from “Special Events” and “Ongoing PR Programs” to “Media Relations” and “Special Purpose Videos.”  Entries were judged by professionals from the Oklahoma City PRSA chapter, who rated each entry on its research, strategic planning, execution and evaluation.  Based on certain criteria, entries are eligible to receive an “Award of Excellence” or a “Silver Spike” – Sierra Nevada PRSA’s highest honor.  Winners will be announced at the event, which also features a silent auction, heavy appetizers, a cash bar and complimentary photo booth to commemorate the evening’s events.

Based on nominations from chapter members, four local professionals will also be honored for their contributions to the public relations profession and the community.  Individual award winners are:

  • Mike Houghton, president and CEO of the Reno Air Racing Association, who will be honored with the Mark Twain Community Service Award.  Given annually to an area newsmaker, who is not a PR professional, who has demonstrated integrity, honesty and sincere concern about the community, past recipients include Sue Wagner, Frankie Sue Del Papa, Joe Crowley and Chuck Alvey.
  • Phil Ulibarri, public information officer for the Washoe County Health District, will receive the Gold Spike Community Excellence Award, which recognizes a communications professional who has effectively used their professional skills to positively impact the community through sustained community involvement and philanthropic and charitable work.
  • Marcus Liem, communications director for Nevada Disability Advocacy and Law Center, will be presented with the Outstanding New Practitioner Award. The award recognizes professionals who use their skills in public service activities that have a positive impact on the well being of the community over time.
  • Bethany Drysdale, media relations specialist for the Nevada Commission on Tourism, will be honored with the Mark Curtis, Sr., Professional of the Year Award.  The award acknowledges a member of the Sierra Nevada PRSA chapter who has demonstrated professional excellence over the past year.

The 2010 Silver Spike Awards ceremony is open to the public and takes place Thursday, Nov. 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Atlantis Resort Casino.  To RSVP and purchase tickets, visit www.prsareno.org/spikes.

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