CarryOn Communications
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Holmes Report
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CarryOn Communications

Holmes Report

Founded in 1998, CarryOn Communications went about its business relatively quietly for the first four years of its existence, building a solid boutique business on the west coast with relatively little fanfare. But all that changed over the past 12 months, as the firm recognized an opportunity during the downturn to separate itself from the pack and to establish itself as one of the nation’s leading midsize public relations firms.
 The first thing founder Kevin Grainger did was bring in Stan Steinreich, a veteran of top tier firms including Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard, and Burson-Marsteller—as well as former head of corporate communications at Armstrong World Industries—as executive vice president and chief operating officer with responsibility for its day-to-day operations, and for leading the firm’s plans to add new practice areas and geographic locations. Steinreich brought big agency experience, as well as corporate expertise to supplement the firm’s existing capabilities, which include expertise in healthcare and nutrition, technology, entertainment and brand marketing.
 The firm continues to produce creative programming in all areas, with programs ranging from a nurse recruitment effort on behalf of Tenet hospitals to the launch of Razor’s new Scream machine to publicity for Key3Media’s BioSecurity Conference. New business successes in 2002 included the launch of Zayo, a new entry in the PDA sector; corporate positioning work for Ashland; and assignments from Applied Semantics; Daiichi Pharmaceutical Corporation; and Digital Insight. Revenues were up 30 percent and staffing was up 25 percent to around 40 people.
 Those employees give CarryOn high marks for its workplace culture. “I’ve been in business a long time,” says one respondent to our survey. “This is the first place that really means it when they say employees are the first priority.” According to another, those employees “are extremely intelligent, fun, hard-working and supportive, and the management promotes constant learning and growth.”
 Since Steinreich’s appointment, the firm has made a couple of small acquisitions, buying JP Schuerman Communications, a Los Angeles-based consumer technology firm and Jeff Mackler Communications, an entertainment public relations agency. CarryOn also opened in New York—where it hopes to supplement its presence with an acquisition—and Washington, D.C., and is eyeing the London market also.
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