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A powerhouse team has established Strat@comm as the undisputed leader in automotive public affairs.

Holmes Report

In Washington, Strat@comm has a staff that includes Jeffrey Conley, an expert in environmental and energy issues; Ron DeFore, a veteran of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; and Diane Steed, who was the longest-tenured Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Detroit, the team includes Bruce MacDonald, a 31-year veteran of General Motors who also headed PR at its Saturn subsidiary; Bud Liebler, who led the marketing and corporate communications functions at Chrysler; and Jason Vines, who led the communications group at General Motors through the Bridgestone-Firestone crisis.
It’s a powerhouse team that has established Strat@comm as the undisputed leader in automotive public affairs, representing the Big Three U.S. automakers on a range of non-competing projects, as well as groups such as the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the American Highway Users Association, the Coalition for Vehicle Choice, and NHTSA. The firm has handled not only straight public policy issues, helping USCAR (a coalition of the Big Three) reach out to former Vice President Al Gore, for example, but also understands how to generate media coverage for new product introductions, like the launch of two new environmental concept cars for DaimlerChrysler, and how to promote cause-related programs, such as Ford’s AAA Student Auto Skills Challenge.
In recent years, however, Strat@comm has been expanding its client portfolio beyond the automotive sector, beating out larger generalist firms for assignments from the International Bottled Water Association—reaching out to opinion leaders—the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Association, and the National Sleep Foundation, for a campaign focused on driving while drowsy. The work earned the firm a dozen awards at the end of last year, and has helped propel Strat@comm into the upper echelon of public affairs firms in the nation’s capital: ranking fifth among independent firms last year.
One of the keys to the firm’s success is its culture. The principals are big believers in sharing the wealth, and have created a flat organizational structure in which even more junior members of the team have a vital role to play.
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