South Carolina Chapter delivers Mercury Awards to top PR professionals

Adrianne Buckley and Joseph Lemmons of Chernoff Newman celebrate wins!

The South Carolina Chapter hosted its annual Mercury Awards celebration on Thursday, May 4, 2017, in Columbia. Communication professionals from across the state were recognized for their work, with more than 100 awards presented at the event.

Their awards program includes three types of awards: Mercury Awards (programs and campaigns), Silver Wing Awards (outstanding tactics) and Individual Awards (career accomplishments). There is a Best of Show award for Mercury and Silver Wing.

To see the Winners Booklet with all winners listed please click here.

To see all the photos from the big night please click here.

The overall Best in Show Mercury Award winner was Erwin Penland, for “Denny’s Makes America Flip Over Tastier, Fluffier, Better Pancakes,” a consumer products campaign for Denny’s.

The overall Best in Show Silver Wing Award winner was Chernoff Newman for “Fresh on the Menu – Poke Plate,” a social media campaign for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.

Jamie Prince of Flourish in Greenville was recognized as the W. Thomas Duke Distinguished Public Relations Practitioner of the Year, the chapter’s highest individual honor.

Lauren Shirley of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics Foundation received the chapter’s Rookie of the Year Award, which recognizes a young practitioner with fewer than three years of experience in public relations.

Colonial Life received the George L. Johnson Community Spirit Award for the company’s extensive volunteer service and community partnerships.

Robyn Rudish-Laning of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness in Columbia received the chapter’s first Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes her dedicated service as a committee and board member.

Tyson Blanton, a 2016 graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, received the Public Relations Student of the Year Award. While she was a student, Blanton served as the president of the USC chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), one of three student chapters that SCPRSA sponsors.

The South Carolina Chapter, established in 1967, has more than 200 members across the state representing public relations agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education.

Nashville Chapter announces 2017 Parthenon Awards for PR excellence

The Nashville Chapter honored exceptional work at its 31st annual Parthenon Awards, awarding strategic and creative excellence by Middle Tennessee public relations professionals. Winners were announced at a dinner at the Parthenon, emceed by Brad Schmitt of The Tennessean.

More than 185 trophies were awarded to 26 Nashville-area agencies and businesses. To see a PDF with a list of all the winners please click here.

MP&F Public Relations brought home the most wins with 38 total, including 15 Parthenons and 23 Awards of Merit.

The night’s highest honors went to DVL Seigenthaler for its campaign that helped launch Google Fiber in Nashville – this was the only entry to receive a perfect score making it Best of Show.

Additionally, Jackie Cavnar, received the chapter’s Hercules Award for her public relations skills in helping build communities and solving problems, especially in regard to increasing access to healthcare.

Amanda Murphy, received the chapter’s Olympus Award for Presidential Leadership; and Minh Le, was named the recipient of the Mercury Award which goes to a young professional who demonstrates accelerated career progress and leadership through service to PRSA.

Rodney Maddox, APR+M – Georgia’s newest accredited member

Rodney Maddox, APR+M

Rodney Maddox, APR+M*, the Georgia Chapter‘s newest accredited member, began his career on the agency side of the business working on the McDonald’s Operators Association of Southern California, Anheuser-Busch and Southern California Edison accounts, among others.

Along the way, Maddox spent 30 years in the United States Army Reserves, primarily in Psychological Operations (PSYOPS). His most recent position was with Naval Enterprise Networks, working in media relations and internal communications, and serving as the website content manager for the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI).

In addition to the APR+M, he also holds the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Professional in Business Analysis (PBA) accreditations from the Project Management Institute (PMI). He is currently the sales and marketing director of Graphic Xchange, a graphic design, sign and printing company in Alpharetta, Georgia.

“The APR is a mark of distinction and a certification of my competency. It provides credibility and is a tremendous source of pride,” said Maddox. “The accreditation is a significant milestone in my professional development. My aspirations are to invest more of myself and increase my understanding of the practice.”

Maddox received a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Southern California’s School of Journalism. He also holds a master of science degree in project management from George Washington University, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt from Purdue University.


*APR+M, a joint effort among the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), Department of Defense (DOD) and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), signifies that an individual, such as those recently granted the credential, meets all the qualifications of Accreditation in Public Relations and has demonstrated additional skills in and nuances of military public affairs.

Volunteer Chapter recognizes outstanding PR at 2017 V Awards

Kelly Fletcher receiving the Gary McCormick Lifetime Achievement Award. Click here to see all the photos from the amazing evening.

The Volunteer Chapter, serving Knoxville, Tennessee, and surrounding areas, recognized the 2017 V Awards winners at its annual awards ceremony on June 1. The V Awards honor the achievements of individuals and organizations in the community for their creativity and innovation in public relations.

Kelly Fletcher, CEO of Fletcher Marketing PR, received the Gary McCormick Lifetime Achievement Award for her significant contributions to public relations and to the Volunteer Chapter.

Mary Beth West, principal of Mary Best West Communications, took home the Lorna H. Norwood Excellence in Mentorship Award for her investment and mentorship in young public relations professionals.

Katie Banks, digital marketing specialist at Helen Ross McNabb Center, received the Ellen Liston Rising Young Professional Award for her demonstrated leadership and quick progression in the PR field.

The chapter also awarded the J. Carroll Bateman Award of Excellence — the “Best in Show” award — to Tennessee Valley Authority for its Norris Dam 80th Anniversary Celebration public relations campaign.

The Award of Excellence winners from this year’s competition include:

  • Designsensory, “PetSafe Bark For Your Park 2016 Campaign”
  • Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, “Smoky Mountain Air Show Aerial Acts Announcement”
  • Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, “Smoky Mountain Air Show”
  • Tennessee Valley Authority, “Norris Dam 80th Anniversary Celebration”
  • Mary Beth West Communications, “‘Grow Maury’ Infographic Call-to-Action Series”
  • Mary Beth West Communications, “‘Grow Maury’ Initiative Campaign”
  • University of Tennessee System, “2017 My Campus Student Experience Survey”
  • Consolidated Nuclear Security, “Mission Connection”

For a complete list of V Award winners and more information, including the winners of Awards of Quality and Awards of Merit, visit

Brad Belote, Tri-Cities chapter

532544_10152935072320068_1074032386_nName: Brad Belote

Chapter: Tri-Cities

Current position: Corporate Communications, Eastman (also group fitness instructor, HealthFitness and The Great Body Company)

How long in current position: Four-plus years

First PR job: This is it.

Where you attended college: University of Missouri

If you weren’t doing PR, you’d be……back in a newsroom where I cut my teeth and found my passion.

Proudest professional accomplishment: I’ve done some cool things and worked with some amazing people.

What is your passion? My family is at the center of everything I do. My fitness journey has unleashed a lot of passion about the synergy of rhythm, lyric and movement.

Why you are a PRSA member? I still consider myself a novice in this field. PRSA has exposed me to some extraordinary people and ideas and expanded my network in great ways.

Each week, the PRSA Southeast District highlights one of its 2,700 members. To join PRSA, visit