If you’re a major oil company and the San Francisco board of supervisors wants to force you to sell your gasoline outlets in the city, you call Don Solem. If you’re a development company hoping to build on a prime midtown location, and you want everything to go smoothly, you call Don Solem. And if you’re a citizens group hoping to pass a bond measure for environmental improvements, you call Don Solem. At least that’s what Chevron, Forest City Development, and San Franciscans for Better Parks did, and in each case the result was the same: victory.
Solem & Associates is a highly focused public relations and public affairs firm that handles government relations, corporate communications, and risk management assignments for a diverse portfolio of clients in northern California. The firm well connected with city government and with Bay Area opinion leaders, but it combines access with impressive strategic communications skills, supported by an in-house research capability and political campaign mentality.
In the past 12 months, the firm has expanded into the technology sector, hiring Debbie Cantu as senior VP for public relations and new media, securing new business in the e-commerce, healthcare, and pop culture environments as 2000 fees grew to slightly more than $2 million. Among the most interesting assignments: helping George Lucas and his Lucasfilm company win the bid for the development of The Presidio, where it will create the Letterman Digital Center; and working with Sprint PCS to win approval for the installation of new satellite transmission antennas throughout the Bay Area.