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Best public relations professionals and community members to be honored at annual Silver Spike Awards

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Master of Ceremonies Connie Wray, of Alice 96.5 FM, will lead an exciting program highlighting the best public relations practices and professionals in our community

The Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) announces its outstanding northern Nevada professionals for the past year and will formally recognize these individuals, as well as the best local public relations programs and tactics, at the 25thAnnual Silver Spike Awards on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno. Connie Wray of Alice 96.5 FM will be the program’s Master of Ceremonies, which will begin at 6 p.m.

“Our chapter has so much to celebrate in our 25thyear, and these honorees are all excellent examples of the great work happening every day in our community, ,” said 2011 PRSA Sierra Nevada President Annie McFarland. “The professionalism and excellence in communication that each recipient conveys is worthy of recognition.” McFarland is also marketing specialist for International Game Technology.

2011 Individual Award Recipients

Bob Conrad, public information officer for the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is honored with the chapter member award, Mark Curtis Sr., Professional of the Year Award, for his commitment as a PRSA chapter board member. As chapter vice president of communications, Bob created the communications plan for the chapter, including the redesign of the website and e-newsletters. He excels in online and social media, science writing, higher education administration, branding and identity, crisis communications, marketing communications, science communications, agricultural communications and environmental communications.

Kenneth Furlong, Carson City Sheriff, is receiving the Mark Twain Community Service Award in recognition of his role as a community leader who is not in the public relations profession but has demonstrated a high standard  of excellence in communicating with employees, the public and the media. As a public official, he is frequently called upon to be the face and voice of Carson City’s public. This was dramatically evident recently when Furlong was, in just a few hours, thrust into the international spotlight after a gunman entered Carson City’s IHOP restaurant and killed four people and injured 11 others. Furlong was one of the first on scene and remained as the spokesperson for international media from  early September through today. He faced media openly and was very accessible in providing up-to-date information during the crisis.

Adam Mayberry, community relations manager for the city of Sparks, is being presented the Gold Spike Award, recognizing a public relations professional who uses professional skills in public service activities, providing a positive service to the social and economic wellbeing of the community over time. At the City of Sparks, Adam is responsible for nearly all public relations functions of the city including spearheading the city’s branding and marketing efforts and government relations. In addition to serving the community in his professional capacity, Adam has been very active in the community serving on various boards and committees. He is currently a board member for Secret Witness and is past chairman of the Legislative Affairs Committee for Northern Nevada Chamber of Commerce and past commissioner of the Sparks Centennial Committee.

Meghan Wagonseller, business development coordinator at EDAWN, will receive the Outstanding New Practitioner Award which recognizes someone who has been working in the profession for less than five years and has not only demonstrated a high-level of commitment to the profession and the chapter, but a sincere desire towards making our community a better place to live. Since graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2010 as the Outstanding Public Relations Student, Meghan has continued to excel. In her numerous roles at EDAWN, starting with an internship and progressing to her current role, she has written, edited and disseminated local news releases and announcements for EDAWN, assisted with media pitching, event planning, research and media database maintenance, new member recruitment and retention, developing value systems that introduced new sponsorship and partnership opportunities for member companies, and managed member networking events as well as updated EDAWN’s website. She currently supports EDAWN’s business development team to recruit, expand and retain quality companies that bring good-paying, skilled jobs to the Greater Reno-Tahoe region.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.prsareno.org.

The Sierra Nevada Chapter of PRSA was established in 1984 by a dozen public relations practitioners in northern Nevada. It was the second PRSA chapter in the state, complementing an older chapter based in Las Vegas and aimed at providing public relations practitioners in northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area with a closer professional connection to each other and to national public relations activities. The Chapter has been recognized as a leader in PRSA from its beginnings. Formal recognition of that leadership was accorded in 1995 with the national “Best of Chapter Excellence” award. The Chapter is active in professional development for its members and community-service service programs for organizations without formal public relations departments. It maintains a close working relationship with the Theodore E. Conover Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at the University of Nevada, helping the student organization toward a number of regional and national awards, including the prestigious Bateman Case Study championship.

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