The Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (Central PA PRSA) has named the best public relations projects of the year and honored a local public relations professional for career and service excellence.
This year’s top projects—receiving either a Keystone Award or a Silver Keystone Award from Central PA PRSA—included efforts to raise awareness for Child Abuse Prevention Month, start a statewide digital-first and non-partisan news organization, communicate employee benefits, and raise awareness of a local school’s diversity. Central PA PRSA also honored Greg Swartzlander in memorium with the 2018 Frederick E. Leuschner Award for his outstanding leadership to the chapter, the community, and the profession.
The awards include two levels of recognition. Keystone Awards recognize outstanding achievements in public relations, marked by excellent results, thorough planning, game-changing ideas and creativity. Silver Keystone Awards demonstrated excellent planning and outcomes. Volunteers from the Southern Arizona chapter of PRSA judged the entries and considered research, planning, execution, and results of each project in their scoring.
2018 Keystone Award Winners were:
- Bravo Group for “Healthy Me PA” (Categories: Government/Public Affairs Program and Digital Public Relations)
- Diakon for “150th Anniversary Campaign” (Category: Special Events and Observances)
- Kinsley Construction, Inc., for “The Kinstructor” (Category: Newsletters), “Employee Benefits” (Category: Internal Communications), and “Master Builder Video” (Category: Video Communication)
- Milton Hershey School for “MHS Brown and Gold Annual Report” (Category: Annual Report) and for “MHS Voices of Diversity Campaign” (Category: Digital Public Relations)
- Nell McCormack Abom Communications for “2018 PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids” (Category: Media Relations/Media Placement) and “2018 PA Blue Ribbon Champions for Safe Kids” (Category: Special Events and Observances)
2018 Silver Keystone Award Winners were:
- Highmark for “Highmark/Penn State Health” (Category: Overall Public Relations Program)
- PRworks for “PA Post Launch Campaign” (Category: Overall Public Relations Program)
- Tri-County Regional Planning Commission for “TCRPC Newsletter” (Category: Newsletters)
- Students of Millersville University for “Miracle on George Street” and “Dark Dinner” (Category: Student Project)
The chapter also awarded the Executive Director Communicator of the Year Award to Suzanne Graney, executive director of Four Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital. Graney leads a team to guide more than 100,000 youth and young adults to raise funds each year for the fight to conquer childhood cancer. Graney’s leadership has resulted in the launch of a new, peer-to-peer fundraising program known as Mini-THON, leading to the program’s expansion to eight states and increases of revenue from $1 million to $7 million annually. She also helped student leaders of the Penn State Dance Marathon, known as THON, raise more than $10 million to benefit Four Diamonds’ mission.
In addition to the Keystone Awards and Silver Keystone Awards, Greg Swartzlander was presented posthumously with Central PA PRSA’s highest individual honor, the Frederick E. Leuschner Award, for his outstanding leadership to the chapter, the community and the profession. Swartzlander had served the public relations profession for more than 20 years and was known for his specialty of video communication, as well as mentoring his staff and teaching many classes as an adjunct professor at Elizabethtown College.
Before his untimely death in July, Swartzlander was the director of digital communications at Select Medical, and had also worked for the Pennsylvania Medical Society and as a producer and writer for many corporate and broadcast television productions. He was a passionate supporter of local marching bands, and an active member of the Central PA PRSA chapter.
This year’s ceremony was held on November 13 at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg. Shippensburg University’s Dr. Kim Garris, associate vice president of communications and marketing, gave the keynote address and Jason Kirsch, senior counselor of PRWorks, served as the event’s emcee.
About PRSA: The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the nation’s largest professional organization serving the communications community with a mission to “make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their career.” Membership collectively represents more than 30,000 members comprised of communications professionals spanning every industry sector nationwide and college and university students who encompass the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). For more information, visit www.prsa.org.
About Central PA PRSA: The chapter was formed in 1959 and is one of the oldest chapters in the country. Its membership is represents a diverse group of professionals at all stages of their careers, including practitioners in corporate, government, nonprofit, education, health care, and association industries with a common desire for professional public relations practice and to continue education and the advancement of the profession.