Ten years ago Larry Rasky and Joe Baerlein—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, delivers 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 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 O’Connor 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.
Drawing on that 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.
Last year was the best in the firm’s history, with growth of around 10 percent and revenues for the year of $7.2 million, with strong contributions from the energy and environment, real estate, integrated marketing and education and non-profit groups as well as in crisis management and public affairs assignments—with a healthy contribution from a new, three-person Washington, D.C., office that is expected to be a source of considerable opportunity in future years. The firm’s client base is a who’s who of local business and other institutions: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, The Boston Red Sox, Catholic Charities, Citizens Financial Group, Covanta Energy, Constellation NewEnergy, Dell, Eli Lilly & Company, Erickson Retirement Communities, Harvard Business School, MasterCard, The Museum of Science, Myriad Entertainment & Resorts, Inc., The New Center for Arts & Culture, National Grid, Northeastern University, Suez Energy, Toyota, UPC Wind and UNICCO Service Co. New additions in 2007 included The Big Picture Company, a non-profit organization that creates and sustains innovative schools;