Ten years ago Larry Rasky and Joe Baer-lein—two imposing figures in the Boston political world—joined forces to create Rasky Baerlein Strategic Communications, pooling 30 years of experience and setting out to create a firm that would help companies and other institutions handle high-stakes issues at the intersection of business, politics and media. Over the past decade, they have—along with a third partner, Ann Carter—built Rasky Baerlein into the strongest and most sophisticated corporate public relations and public affairs specialist in the New England market and, with fees of more than $7 million and a new office in Washington, D.C., one of the top 50 independent firms in the country.
Baerlein, a member of the Massachusetts bar, contributes first-hand experience in government, political communications—he has a 100 percent success rate in managing 12 local and statewide ballot campaigns for corporate interests during the past 17 years—trade associations and the private sector. Rasky, a veteran of national politics, is best known for his management of highly visible, complicated communications matters and his broad political experience—he took a leave of absence during 2007 to serve as communications director in the Joe Biden for President campaign. Carter, who has an MBA in finance, is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the firm and setting the course for its strategic development and growth. They are supported by a team of practice area leaders that includes Jim Cabot (energy and environment), George Cronin (public affairs), Justine Griffin (integrated communications), Kelly Lynch (financial services, real estate and retail), and Melissa Monahan (nonprofit, healthcare and education). It’s an unusually deep leadership team for a midsize firm, and guarantees that all clients will receive senior-level attention. Additions in 2008 included managing director Peter Meade, former executive vice president of corporate affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and senior vice president David Tamasi, who manages the D.C. office after joining from Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide.
Drawing on that wealth of experience, Rasky Baerlein specializes in developing and executing strategic public relations and public affairs programs, from providing executive-level communications counsel to managing a crisis to winning a referendum. Its capabilities include corporate communications counsel, media, government, investor and media relations, crisis and reputation management, community affairs, integrated communications, re-branding/re-positioning, and grassroots initiatives and lobbying, and it has sector expertise in education, energy and the environment, financial services, healthcare, non-profit, real estate, retail, and sports. And over the past 12 months, the firm significantly expanded its social and digital media capabilities.
Last year was the best in the firm’s history, with growth of around 10 percent and revenues for the year of $8.1 million, with strong contributions from the education and nonprofit group, where revenue increased by 45 percent, as well as the energy and environment practice and public affairs practices. The firm’s client base is a who’s who of local business and other institutions: The Boston Red Sox; Catholic Charities; Citizens Financial Group; Covanta Energy; Dell; Eli Lilly & Company; Erickson Retirement Communities; First Wind; MasterCard; The Museum of Science,
One major project during 2008 included the management of a national and international media story: Pope Benedict’s historic encounter with survivors of clergy sexual abuse upon his first visit to the