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August ePRo - Sign Up for the August Luncheon Today

Welcome to the August edition of ePRo, the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston). Join us each month for great programs, networking and professional development opportunities that can't be beaten.

August Luncheon: Auto Industry Faces Fuel
Economy Crisis

In June, the Senate engaged in a heated debate before passing an energy bill that includes an increase in automobile fuel economy, new laws against energy price-gouging and a requirement for huge increases in the production of ethanol. If the bill becomes law, automobile manufacturers will be required to increase average fuel economy by 40 percent to 35 miles per gallon for cars, SUVs and pickup trucks by 2020.

It would be the first increase in vehicle fuel efficiency since the current 22.7 mpg for cars was put in place in 1989 and the first time Congress has imposed a new auto efficiency mandate in 32 years.

General Motors has listened to the public outcry and is responding. 

Craig Eppling is the public relations manager for General Motors responsible for media relations and PR strategy to improve opinion and consideration of General Motors, its policies and its products in an eight-state geographical area that includes Texas. Craig will be sharing General Motors' public relations strategy on how the company has responded to the energy crisis and public demand for car companies to have an environmental conscious. 

A native of New Orleans, Craig has been associated with the automotive industry his entire life. As a teenager, he worked in service and sales at a Chevrolet dealership his father managed. Upon receiving his bachelor's degree in business from Louisiana State University, Craig returned to the dealership and later was hired by General Motors as a customer service representative. 

During his 23-year tenure with GM, Craig has held several customer and service-related positions with GM's Vehicle, Sales, Services & Marketing division, each expanding his product knowledge and understanding of the complex and highly competitive auto industry.


When: Wednesday, Aug. 1, 11:30 a.m.

Where: Courtyard on St. James, 1885 St. James Place, Houston, TX, 77056

How: You can sign up for the event here.

Sponsorship: Thank you to Factiva and Schipul-The Web Marketing Company (AV Sponsor) for sponsoring this event. For additional sponsorship opportunites, contact Paula Ruth at

Dell Computer Headlines PR Day 2007
Early Bird Pricing Ends Soon

Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell recently set an ambitious goal to make Dell “the greenest technology company on the planet.” At PR Day 2007, you will hear from Bryant Hilton, who is charged with leading Dell’s global environmental communication efforts. No matter what industry you work in, Bryant will share how you can practice green PR.

PR Day 2007, which will be held Sept. 13 at The Westin Galleria, also features experts from Miami (Hispanic PR), Austin (social media and Web 2.0) and Dallas (communicating with trust), in addition to numerous notable professionals in the Houston area. See the latest lineup here

Don’t delay on registering – early bird pricing ends Aug. 15.
For sponsorship opportunities, contact Emilee Fontenot at or call her at 281-920-3227.

Sponsorship Deadline Coming Soon for Inclusion in Print Materials
If you’ve been procrastinating, the time is now to sign up your company as a sponsor for PRSA Houston’s premiere professional development event: PR Day 2007. PR Day will take place Thursday, September 13 at the Westin Galleria.  There is a sponsorship package for every level, from $100 to $5000. All sponsorship packages include exposure to attendees of PR Day, including decision-makers in Houston and surrounding areas. We anticipate that this year’s strong speaker lineup will increase attendance over the 180 PR professionals who attended PR Day 2006.

A special thank you to those who have already committed:

Student Registration Sponsor: DataCert

Master’s Breakfast Sponsor: The Ammerman Experience

Exhibitor Sponsor: BusinessWire

In-Kind Sponsors: Stimulacra

If You Missed July’s Program...

Then you missed a lot!  Terri Larson, Fleishman Hillard, chair, and her team of Paula Smead and Shelli Manning, The Menninger Clinic, put together an excellent seminar. We don’t have to say this ourselves. Several people who registered for the "workshop only" decided to stay for the lunch. Here are a few comments we received.

“Most definitely you can quote me! Everyone I spoke with was very happy with the information and presentation! Josh did a great job of keeping it interesting and easy to understand.” said Nikole Sparks, The Point Group.

“I learned more in the first hour than I did in three days at a blogging seminar I attended in New York,” said Laura Mayes, Marion, Montgomery Inc.

"Josh did a great job explaining the rising importance of being Social Media savvy in the PR world," Houston Blogger and Web marketer Ed Schipul said. "He left the group with a better understanding of new media communication and gave me some great new sites and tools to explore."
In this photo, PRSA Houston President Lisa Martin (left), Lyondell Chemical Company, thanks Josh Hallett, speaker, Terri Larson, Fleishman Hillard, event organizer, and Ed Schipul, Schipul-The Web Marketing Company, AV
sponsor. Other sponsors included BusinessWire and U.S. Newswire. PRSA member Anne Deuermeyer of BusinessWire addressed the 75 gathered during the luncheon. Jackie Whitley of US Newswire experienced an airline delay and missed the meeting. We appreciate all of these sponsors for their continued support of PRSA Houston.

GoodBuys Silent Auction Raises Record Funds

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year’s silent auction benefiting the PR Foundation of Houston an event to remember. This much-anticipated June happening grossed a record $8,500 and represents a 29 percent increase over the 2006 banner-year auction. Sixty businesses and individuals contributed items in support of this event. We thank them for their generous support and ask that you support them whenever possible. Click here for Donor List.

Upcoming New Pros' Events

Summer is quickly coming to a close and PRSA Houston's New Professionals
group wants to close the summer by hosting its final Summer Social Series event on Thursday, August 23, 6:30 p.m. at Dave and Buster's, 6010 Richmond Avenue. Come join in their last round of fun before the busy business season kicks off in the fall (not that business can't be fun, right?).
Register today at

As business picks up, so will the New Pros' professional development events. Join the New Pros this October as they will host a writing workshop spotlighting the basics behind effective writing skills. If you are a recent college graduate looking to enhance your writing skills or a seasoned PR professional who needs a refresher course, this event aims to give you the tools you need for a successful career in PR.

To stay abreast of New Pros events and activities, visit the PRSA Houston Web site.

Group Membership Opportunities

Groups of 10 or more individuals can receive special rates on dues for the first year along with other benefits; two of the 10 may be current members rolled in to the group. Contact Karen Blanchard, APR, membership chair, at her new e-mail address of

Advertise Your Business in the Business Directory

We welcome Bernstein & Associates to our business directory and thank The Writing Workshop, darbyDarnit! and ServerSideDesign for renewing their business directory ads. What secret do these business know? They are seen on one of the top ranking Web sites in Houston public relations. If you have a service or product for the public relations industry or want everyone to know the types of public relations work your firm does, consider advertising in the Business Directory. For $100, you get a year of exposure.

Success of the Girl Scouts PR Workshop

In April, PRSA Houston helped Girl Scouts complete requirements for the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) Public Relations Interest Project Award. The professionals who participated lent their expertise to assist the girls to create press kits to publicize themselves, were interviewed about their daily responsibilities and offered the girls information about what it takes to prepare a public relations campaign. 

The event, held at Moody Mansion, was a huge success and was recently written about in The Golden Link, the publication for the San Jacinto Council of Girl Scouts. Take a moment to look at the article to see what your chapter of PRSA is doing to help out the youth in the Houston area.

Be a Luncheon Sponsor in 2007

We have opportunities to be involved in all of our upcoming luncheons and professional development events. Our luncheon sponsors make it possible to bring in speakers from around the country, occasionally, and still maintain a break-even luncheon price for our members. Please call Paula Ruth, APR, at 281-870-1717 if you are interested or email her at In return for your $500 at lunch, we offer the following opportunities:

  • Mention in promotional e-mail sent to database of subscribers
  • Mention and text link in ePRo, the PRSA Houston newsletter
  • Text/Logo link on PRSA Houston Web site for one month
  • Ability to distribute materials to all luncheon attendees
  • Table in back of room to talk with luncheon attendees before and after the event
  • Opportunity to speak to the luncheon gathering (no more than 3 minutes)
  • One lunch registration at the President's table
  • One set of paper mailing labels for all 450 PRSA Houston members or one-time use of electronically provided membership list (if desired).

For larger sponsorships, we can discuss tables.

Leadership Positions Open

We are still seeking accredited members as chairs of the Professional Development Committee and the Ethics Committee. Please contact Lisa Martin-Walsh at or Paula Ruth, APR, at if you interested. And, if you would like to be nominated to run for the Board of Directors of PRSA Houston, please contact Sally Ramsay, Pierpont Communication at  As past president, Sally chairs the nominating committee.  The terms are three years beginning in January 2008. 

Check Out the Job Bank

New jobs are posted each week. Sometimes an employer will get enough resumes in the first day or so that they ask us to “turn off” the ad. So check the Web site frequently. You just might miss a great opportunity.

NIRI 07 Southwest Regional Conference
Where Wall Street Meets Sixth Street

The Omni Hotel in Austin will be hosting the 2007 NIRI Southwest Regional Conference from Aug. 15 through Aug. 17. Event topics include:

  • Best Practices in Quarterly Earnings Reporting
  • Notice and Access
  • Deciphering the Edgar Filings
  • Competitor Intelligence
  • Best Practices in Web siteCommunications
  • And More!

Visit for more information about the event. If you would like information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Paulette Peoples at or call her at 281-498-1050.

New Members

Elizabeth Hipp, Texas Children’s Hospital

Don Moser, Houston Business Journal

Abbey Moore, Amegy Bank

Brad Leone, Vollmer Public Relations

Juven Cano, Reich & Binstock, Attorneys at Law

Kelly Boros, Houston Area Women’s Center

Ken Hudson, Renaissance Public Relations Group

Emelie Mavligit, Morris Architects, Inc.

Marlene Weyand, Renaissance Public Relations Group

Kathleen Y’Barbo

Member News

Mari Pillar, Golin Harris, is now Mari (Marianne) Hancock.

Leslie Friedman is now director of media and public relations for United Way of Houston.

Valerie L. Bernardino has joined Interface Consulting International, Inc. as project coordinator in its commercial group.

ePRo is the electronic newsletter of the Houston chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Houston), and is a tool for you. Deadline for submitting items for the September newsletter is August 22, 2007. We love hearing your thoughts and news, so send generously to Stephanie Pertuit at

Stephanie Pertuit
(713) 663-0164
Author: Stephanie Pertuit
Phone: (713) 663-0164
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