Category Archives: Awards

My Salute to Hill Lighthouse Young Award Winners


By Ed Stevens, APR

L-R: David Gilbert, Barbara Paynter, Julie Miller

The John W. Hill Award is presented each year to the chief executive of a Greater Cleveland area organization who provides outstanding leadership and support for internal and external communications.

The Lighthouse Award is presented each year to recognize the career accomplishments and community service of a senior public relations professional who is a member of Greater Cleveland PRSA.

The Davis Young Award for Exceptional Mentors is presented each year to recognize a professional who excels in mentoring students and young professionals through hands-on instruction and support.

If you have ever served on the Hill Lighthouse Young Awards committee, you quickly became aware of the great amount of scrutiny that accompanies the selection process.

After all, we are looking for an executive who exemplifies leadership where public relations plays a key role. It would seem there are many nominee possibilities, but that is seldom the case. There are many reasons, but building a list of prospective Hill Award winners is often a daunting task.

It is easier to identify candidates for the Lighthouse Award. If you have been an active member of PRSA, you probably have done many of the right things in terms of service, professional development, leadership and more.

Being a PR mentor seems to be a slam dunk. But in today’s world, professionals don’t take the time to train, encourage and position younger professionals to succeed as in the past.

This year’s HLY Award winners are perfect choices. Each has achieved a special place among Cleveland’s PR deity. Each has left an indelible mark on our public relations profession as corporate executive, public relations professional or mentor.

The 2018 John W. Hill Award was presented to David Gilbert, president and CEO of Destination Cleveland as well as president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. David has made Cleveland shine as the venue of choice for sports, music and conferences.

The 2018 Lighthouse Award was presented to Barbara Paynter, APR, Fellow PRSA, president of Paynter Communications. Barbara is a good friend and one of our region’s best communicators and PR professionals.

The 2018 Davis Young Award was presented to Julie Miller, APR, associate professor and director of public relations programs at Baldwin Wallace University. Julie has touched so many students to help them excel as new professionals. We want more of Julie’s students.

I am thrilled to blog about the Hill Lighthouse Young Awards. They are the Greater Cleveland PRSA Chapter’s way of saying “thank you.” As a recipient of both the Lighthouse and Young Award, I know how humble and touched I was to be recognized. I am certain this year’s winners had a similar experience.

Why not take the time now to start thinking about the professionals you would like to see on stage next year to receive one of these prestigious awards. Could you be a candidate one day?

PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter Recognizes Northeast Ohio’s Best in Communications


CLEVELAND, Ohio – December 2, 2016 – The Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) Greater Cleveland Chapter recognized the area’s best in marketing and public relations at the 14th annual Cleveland Rocks Awards, presented by Falls Communications, Friday, Dec. 2, at the House of Blues in Cleveland.

This year, 37 awards were given to corporations, nonprofits and agencies and their clients. Fahlgren Mortine, an integrated marketing and communications agency, won the most awards with 11 silver and gold wins, as well as a Judges’ Choice recognition for a campaign on behalf of client Kidde Fire Safety.

A second Judges’ Choice award went to Destination Cleveland and Cleveland Plus with support from agency Dix & Eaton for “Making the Most of the Republican National Convention (RNC) Media Frenzy,” a media relations campaign. Destination Cleveland and Cleveland Plus also won three additional awards for their public relations work related to the RNC.

Roop & Co.’s “Bringing Drone Technology to the Roofing Industry,” a consumer new product/service launch for their client Tremco, won the coveted Best in Show award.

For the first time, PRSA Cleveland recognized a 2016 Rising Star for an outstanding communicator with less than seven years experience. The award went to Rachel Kerstetter, public relations architect at Sonnhalter and the chapter’s vice president of membership.

“This has been an exciting year for Cleveland, from hosting the RNC to the Cavs winning the national championship and the Indians making a World Series appearance,” said Katie Kennedy, president of PRSA Greater Cleveland. “Northeast Ohio’s communications professionals have played a role in Cleveland rising, but also continue to produce outstanding work at their organizations, companies and for their clients. We’re thrilled to honor them.”

Annually, the PRSA Cleveland Rocks Awards acknowledge Northeast Ohio’s outstanding PR programs, incorporating research, planning, execution and evaluation. Award winners demonstrate leadership in PR and contribute to advancing the profession locally.

The Alabama chapter of PRSA judged this year’s award entries. Falls Communications served as the presenting sponsor of the 2016 Cleveland Rocks Awards.