If Tunheim Group made its headquarters in New York or Chicago it would be recognized throughout the industry for what it is: one of the best full-service public relations firms in the country. But located in Minneapolis, and apparently determined to keep a low profile, Tunheim Group draws rave reviews from clients without the widespread popular acclaim enjoyed by some competitors.
What sets Tunheim apart is its ability to attract senior counseling talent and reward those counselors with a rich variety of interesting, challenging assignments. When the firm started life a decade ago (as Tunheim Santrizos) its focus was on change management, and it quickly established itself in the corporate and employee communications realm, but over the years it has broadened its offering to include a range of specialties, from retailing (Target Stores is a long-time client) to sponsorship (the firm is heavily involved in auto racing). Major assignments in 2000 ranged from raising the profile of Jasc Software (marketer of Paint Shop Pro) to positioning Target Chip Ganassi Racing through its return to the Indianapolis 500 to helping longtime client Medtronic announce a unique partnership with Northwest Airlines.
The firm added a handful of new clients, including American Express Direct & Interactive Group, Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), Microsoft (for PR in the North Central region), the Minnesota Twins, UnitedHealth Care, and the University of Minnesota. As a result, growth was close to 40 percent and Tunheim estimates 2000 revenues at around $7 million. The firm also added to its team of counselors, bringing in Steve Conway, former head of global communications at CompuServe; Lee Paddock, a veteran of Minnesota state government; and Karl Speak, an expert in brand management consulting, training and research.