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PORTFOLIO

Digital & Social Media

Current Links

Hancock Chamber of Commerce:  https://www.hancockchamber.org/     

Chamber Facebook  |  Chamber Instagram  |  Chamber LinkedIn  |  Chamber TikTok

Hancock County Community Development Foundation:  https://www.hancockchamber.org/foundation/   |  HCDF Facebook  |

Partners for Stennis & Michoud:  https://www.partnersforstennis.org/   |  Partners Facebook  |  Partners LinkedIn  |  

Mississippi Gulf Coast Scenic Byways:  http://gulfcoastscenicbyways.com/

Hancock My Home:  https://hancockmsmyhome.com/

Hancock Health Foundation:  https://www.hhfms.org/  |  HHF Facebook  |

City of Bay St. Louis:  https://baystlouis-ms.gov/

American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association:  http://shipbuildingsuppliers.com  |  ASSA Facebook  |  ASSA LinkedIn  |

Social Media Background

I am proud to say that I was an early adopter of social media, and have always advocated for its use in the businesses I've represented.  It's (mostly) free and it's generally where people consume information first, so why not put your best foot forward across digital and social platforms?  I started the City of Ocean Springs' social media accounts, wrote their official policy regarding its use, and demonstrated to a group of superiors who were adamantly opposed to its use that it is a valid and important medium of communication.  

 

The City of Pascagoula already had multiple platforms in use.  In my tenure there, it was my goal to continue its growth, as it was the one tool that we could leverage on our very limited budget to reach a global audience.  I oversaw efforts to grow its presence.  We had the help of an agency, and used a combination of paid and organic reach.  Our efforts were successful, with our subscribers growing by over 100% on Facebook, Twitter and ConstantContact.  We also established accounts on Snapchat and Instagram.  

 

Today, the cities continue to captivate attention with quality and robust content across multiple platforms.

Sample social media posts from

City of Pascagoula and

City of Ocean Springs

Hancock Chamber Instagrammy Awards

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The Hancock Chamber has an active residential relocation campaign called Hancock My Home, which has a corresponding website and social media accounts.  When I took over management of the campaign, most of the campaign assets were one-directional in tone and the messaging mostly touted features rather than benefits.  My thoughts were that it's expected for the local chamber of commerce to think Hancock County is a great place to live, but we need real people to deliver that message.

Thus, the Instagrammy photo contest was developed as a way of creating and curating user-generated content.  The award contest was simple:  we simply asked our followers (and if they weren't followers we asked them to become a follower) to post their best photos using the hashtag.  Everything posted using that hashtag was categorized according to the main selling points used to promote Hancock County as a relocation destination:  recreation, arts, beaches/nature, work like, food and beverage, etc.  The images to receive the most likes in each category would were considered winners, and their creators were honored at a Chamber event.  They received trophies, were recognized in the local media, their images were featured on our accounts and displayed at the event.  We held the contest in 2019 and early 2020 until we developed different hashtags.  

The hashtag is still used, and to date has over 5,000 user-generated images depicting life in Hancock County.

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2019 Instagrammy winners

Only in Pascagoula Video

One of the most important things about my job with the City of Pascagoula was improving the city's image and making people aware of what a great community it is.  One task in the current Live, Work, Play campaign was to develop a way of communicating the things that make Pascagoula unique, so the "Only In Pascagoula" video and stamp were created.  The video was written, produced, shot and edited by The Focus Group.  To learn more about their agency, please visit www.focusgroupms.com.  

The video went viral in its first release, reaching 57,000 over the course of its first week.  A 30-second edit was created and will hit the television airwaves soon.  The Focus Group won a silver Addy Award from the Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Advertising Federation for this project.

James Beard Foundation Blended Burger Project 2017 

Each year, the James Beard Foundation puts on a contest where chefs from around the country submit a recipe for a healthier, more sustainable hamburger where the patty is blended with a different ingredient.  Beau Rivage's Executive Chef, Kristian Wade, is a big believer in coming up with creative approaches to cuisine that utilize more eco-friendly and nutritious ingredients.  Thus, the Landmass Burger was born and submitted.  Beau Rivage's Food & Beverage, Advertising and Public Relations teams collaborated to introduce the burger and the contest to the community.  Together, we launched a full scale campaign that not only described the menu item, but allowed Beau Rivage to express its commitment to sustainability as well as culinary excellence.  Tactical components of the campaign included staff training, rack cards which were placed in table tents in each of Beau Rivage's 9 restaurants, a press release, digital and print signage throughout the resort, photography and digital and social promotion of the voting aspect of the contest.  

Although the Landmass Burger did not win the contest, it received more votes than any other entry from Mississippi.  It was also successful as a menu item.  It also created a moderate media buzz, earning 38 placements and garnering over 3 million impressions across print, digital and TV.

Beau Rivage Executive Chef Kristian Wade speaking to local journalists Rebecca Powers and Caroline Eaker about the Blended Burger Project.

Media Relations & Writing Samples

Taking a Closer Look at Arts on the Avenue

Pascagoula was the home of the Mississippi Gulf Coast's only publicly owned and operated arts center, Arts on the Avenue.  It was structured in a way that teaches new artists about running an art business, and featured works by over 80 local artists.  One of the goals I set for myself was to have Arts on the Avenue featured in a state-wide publication.  It took almost a year to find a writer who was interested in a story, and the feature was placed in the May 2015 issue of Mississippi Magazine.  To read the article, click here.  To read the original press release, click the PDF icon.

ALLUSA

Beau Rivage always hosts a cirque-style show every summer.  In 2017, they presented the patriotic-themed ALLUSA, featuring song, dance and acrobatics set in different time periods of American history from World War II to the present.  In order to promote the show, the Public Relations collaborated with Entertainment and Advertising to create a full campaign.  Tactics included media releases, promotional videos, photography, cast appearances at community events and on local media outlets, media buys, merchandise and more.  

To add another dimension for the community, Beau Rivage also hosted "Military Monday" every week during the run of the show.  Members of the military could take advantage of special deals and promotions throughout the resort, and take in a special presentation prior to the show.  The Public Relations team honored different veterans each week with a VIP stay, dinner at the delectable Coast Seafood & Brew, a meet and greet with the cast and director and a special video tribute.  

The Public Relations Department's efforts to garner earned media generated 313 stories, making over 50,000,000 impressions between print, digital and TV.

Screen shot of a photo from my personal Instagram account of 92-year-old WWII veteran Jack Oyster.  This remains my favorite picture from my time at Beau Rivage.

Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic

Since its establishment in 2010, Beau Rivage has hosted the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak Golf Course.  Now known as the Rapiscan Systems Classic, this golf tournament takes place each year in March and is on the PGA Champions Tour.  The purse for the tour is $1.6 million, and 78 PGA Tour Champions compete.  

I worked in the media center during the competition, capturing press clips and facilitating interviews between journalists, tournament personnel and players.  Each year, the event draws large spectators and puts the Mississippi Gulf Coast in front of a global audience through 19 hours of live coverage on the Golf Channel.

Fallen Oak also falls under the Beau Rivage PR team's purview for measurement.  This was by far the largest media event I have ever been a part of.  The three day tournament earned 2,420 media placements and made over 1 billion impressions worldwide.

The Beau Rivage PR Team on the green during the final shots of the tournament.

Writing Samples & Article Placements

Press Release - Department of Health Shows

Perfect Marks for Ocean Springs Water System

South Mississippi Living May 2016

Things We Love About the Coast:  Biking

Television Interviews

WXXV 

Pascagoula Hopes to Spur Downtown Development

http://www.wxxv25.com/2016/04/01/pascagoula-hopes-to-spur-downtown-development/

WXXV

2016 Great American Cleanup/Explore the World Around You

http://www.wxxv25.com/2016/04/21/explore-the-world-around-you/

WXXV

Inaugural Ask The Mayor Youth Town Hall Meeting

http://www.wxxv25.com/2016/03/16/ask-the-mayor-youth-town-hall-meeting/

Press Release - Ocean Springs Named One of America's Crown Communities

Discover South Mississippi Spring 2016

"Have an A+ Summer in Pascagoula"

Clarion-Ledger

Katrina:  Pascagoula Discovers Silver Lining

USA Today

Katrina Cottages Create Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

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Community Relations & Events

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The Beau Rivage PR team the morning after the Coast Seafood & Brew Launch Party showing off some of the commemorative gifts and poster.

Coast Seafood & Brew Restaurant Launch 

Almost immediately after starting at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, the PR team was put in charge of promoting a restaurant rebranding effort.  The Food & Beverage Department converted Coast Restaurant from a traditional sports pub to a seafood restaurant specializing in locally sourced fare and recipes that are traditional to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but with a modern twist.  

To introduce the new concept to the community, PR hosted a VIP reception prior to the restaurant grand opening where journalists and community leaders could sample cuisine, meet the chefs and other Beau Rivage executives, enjoy presentations and learn about Beau Rivage's commitment to supporting the local fishing and farming communities.

The VIP event was attended by over 100 people.  This opportunity for local journalists to have some 1-on-1 time with the Beau Rivage leadership yielded 17 stories and over 500,000 impressions.  The grand opening party that immediately followed the VIP reception was attended by over 500.

Stennis Day in the Bay

Hancock County is home to a thriving aerospace industry that

is anchored by NASA's Stennis Space Center.  Stennis is located in a remote area with very limited access, so their thousands of employees and associated businesses are a bit of a mystery.  Even though there are literally thousands of people working there, their community is cut off from the better part of Hancock County.  The Hancock Chamber's Partners for Stennis & Michoud division is keenly aware of the magnitude of the work done there and the billions of dollars worth of economic impact it has annually on South Mississippi.  In an effort to honor its employees, show appreciation for all the contractors and suppliers and engage children in the career opportunities available in STEM, we created Stennis Day in the Bay.

Stennis Day is a one-day celebration in Bay St. Louis held in conjunction with hometown Astronaut Fred Haise's 90th birthday.  We dedicated a Hancock Heritage Memorial Star in his honor at the County Courthouse as well as a star for the families who had to relocated in order for Stennis to be built.  NASA and many of its contractors came and set up demonstration booths with amazing activities like a portable planetarium, underwater drones, robotics displays, and more for families to come and enjoy.  Rosemary Roosa, the daughter of Astronaut Stuart Roosa delivered a presentation about the seeds her father took into space during the Apollo Mission, which are now donated as Moon Trees to schools, institutions and communities throughout the country.  We received one of our own, which was planted that day by local children.

All in all, approximately 3,000 people attended Stennis Day in the Bay.  We anticipate making this an annual event.

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Five Course Feast

Being a bastion of culinary excellence, it is only natural that one of Beau Rivage's major charitable commitments is to Extra Table, an organization which works with major food suppliers to purchase fresh food in bulk to serve food pantries throughout South Mississippi.  Five of these pantries are located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, so a group of brilliant leaders came up with the idea of inviting the mayors of these towns to pair up with a local chef of their choice to prepare a dish for the Five Course Feast - a ticketed banquet where guests enjoyed the dishes prepared and an optional wine pairing.  The five pantries benefited by this event were able to serve an additional 30,000 meals thanks to the funds raised by the Five Course Feast.

Representatives from Froghead Grill and Extra Table on the kitchen set at WLOX-TV.

Amtrak Inspection Train

Passenger rail service is one of the few amenities that has yet to be restored following its discontinuation after Hurricane Katrina.  An effort to lobby Congress, the Federal Railroad Administration and Amtrak to restore the service began in 2012, and after years' worth of meetings in several cities along the Gulf Coast and much support from the Southern Rail Commission, Amtrak took an Inspection Train from New Orleans to Jacksonville to investigate the feasibility of bringing back the service.

On February 18, 2016, the inspection train rolled through Pascagoula.  Leaders were greeted with much fanfare and support from citizens.  There was pre-publicity mentioning the name "Pascagoula" in all four of the states where the train stopped, and excellent visual representations of the event when the festivities occurred.

The planning committee for the event chose a vintage theme for Pascagoula's promotion.  The image of the historic L&N Railroad Depot in Pascagoula came from the Jackson County Archives, and I found an ad from the mid-1960's for the Sunset Limited, which is the line that ran through Pascagoula.  Combining the two visual elements, along with fonts and verbiage that were typical of the era resulted in the ad to the left. 

About 500 people came to show their support for restoring the rail service, and most of the Mississippi delegation who rode the train deboarded in Pascagoula and enjoyed lunch in town, resulting in extra publicity for our local businesses.

Sarah Bailey Thomas Gym Dedication

Pascagoula was hometown to many influential people, and the city was overdue to recognize some of its most notable natives.  To make up for that, we made sure to set out to honor those who have gone on to accomplish great things in the same way that they brought honor to the community.

One of which was the Sarah Bailey Thomas Gym Dedication Ceremony.  Sarah was born and raised in Pascagoula, and got her start as an athlete and game official in the community.  In 2015, she became the first, full-time female official in the National Football League.

Pascagoula's Department of Parks & Recreation is now housed in the very gymnasium where Sarah played basketball for her alma mater, Pascagoula High School.  The City found it to be fitting and appropriate to name the gym in her honor.  This way, all the children who participate in recreational activities in the gym will have the opportunity to know about Sarah and her story.  

 

The dedication ceremony was held on March 3, 2016, and was attended by approximately 100 people.  It earned nine local media placements and was bolstered by a considerable social media buzz.  Presentations were given by officials from the Pascagoula-Gautier School District and the City.  The day was proclaimed Sarah Thomas Day in her honor in conjunction with the naming of the gym, and Sarah was presented with a Key to the City. 

Jimmy Buffett Bridge Dedication

Pascagoula's most notable native is none other than Jimmy Buffett.  Although he was raised in Mobile, Alabama, Jimmy spent his early childhood in Pascagoula, and spent much of his upbringing there with relatives and friends.  Pascagoula is mentioned in much of Jimmy Buffett's work - a word many people would never have heard were it not for him!

During a childhood visit, Jimmy's grandfather helped him locate their home on a map.  He explained to a young Jimmy that if he followed the body of water which ran behind their home to the Gulf, that the world could be his if he wanted it to be.

The bayou behind the house is named for a historical figure, so the City chose to name a small bridge that spans the bayou where it meets the Gulf the Buffett Bridge.  A local artist transformed it into a beautiful piece of public art, and a dedication ceremony was held on September 19th, featuring a live performance by Jimmy himself along with Coral Reefer, Mac MacAnally.

Approximately 4,000 people turned out for the ceremony, who enjoyed an hour-long acoustic set by the guest of honor himself.  The event earned media placements all over the country, and reached millions of people online.

Following the dedication of the bridge, the City successfully lobbied the state legislature to rename the beachfront in Pascagoula Buffett Beach.  

Photography

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