As the Louisiana Section was gearing up to release its first state Report Card this month, members realized that spreading the word of their findings would require an effective public relations campaign. Realizing they lacked the expertise to execute such a campaign, Section members hired a PR consultant, Baton Rouge-based Mark Lambert. The Section also reached out to ASCE’s Communications and Government Relations departments to request training based on ASCE’s PR University seminar.
A half-day PR workshop allowed members to work one on one with ASCE staff who traveled to Baton Rouge. As tailored specifically for the Report Card’s release, the workshop identified proper spokespersons and covered potential issues they might have to address. One critical component was the development of strategies to promote the Report Card to elected officials after the planned press conference, in order to keep the momentum going.
With what they’d learned during the PR workshop in mind, the Section wisely decided to reschedule the release upon learning that Louisiana’s governor would unveil an education plan on the same date. With that conflict avoided, the consultant and Nedra Davis, the Section’s communications representative, reached out to reporters one day prior to the rescheduled event to make sure the press conference was on their radar. The day of the event, a news release was distributed statewide. ASCE’s Communications staff distributed it to national trade publications, as well as some Washington, D.C.-based reporters who covered ASCE’s national Report Card for America’s Infrastructure and our Failure to Act economic studies.
The press conference was a success. Three TV stations and other media covered their announcement. The Louisiana Section’s actions reflect the type and quality of services ASCE can offer to Sections and Branches — whether it is a state Report Card or the designation of a historical civil engineering landmark.
Senior Manager, External Communications