AUSTIN, TX—Kerry Tate and Jeff Hahn, founders of TateAustin Public Relations & Public Affairs, have sold the firm to local PR veteran Jeff Hahn, a former corporate communications executive with Motorola and Freescale who joined TateAustin as vice president in 2006. The agency, founded by Cathy Bonner in 1974 and owned by Tate for the past 16 years, has been renamed TateAustinHahn.
Tate says the changes are part of a three-year transition plan designed to ensure continuity for the firm’s clients. The firm’s leadership team includes Hahn and four tenured employees: vice presidents Brian Dolezal and Russ Rhea, with 11 years and seven years respectively; Patti Summerville, principal for the past 14 years; and, Steve Lanier who has served as controller for the past 12 years.
“I am obliged to make room for the next generation at TateAustinHahn just as Cathy Bonner made room for me years ago,” says Tate. “She taught me the importance of preparing for a natural, seamless transition to next-generation leadership for the benefit of clients and the community. Jeff came to the firm a year ago, but I’ve known and worked with him in the community for more than a decade. His aspirations for the company, his management style and his personal values are a perfect fit here.”
The firm also announced a new affiliate. Civic Interest, a firm for civic entrepreneurs advising clients on local issues and new initiatives, will be led by Tate, who will be a founding principal. A central focus of the new firm’s work is research, including continuing and expanding LeaderTrack, an interactive poll of regional leaders, which Tate launched last year.
Hahn joined the 17-person agency after a 15-year public relations and public affairs career with Motorola, Freescale Semiconductor, Lockheed Space Operations and prior service in the U.S. Air Force.