Case Study – Ford

The recovering and vibrant Ford Motor Company brand of today is a relatively new phenomenon. As recently as 2006, Ford was on the ropes in California, with market share below 9% and falling. The dealer network in California was in open revolt against the manufacturer, and some wondered if Ford would survive, with its demise as a brand in California predicting an eventual collapse nationwide.

As part of a global communications restructuring, Ford purposely sought out and hired public relations companies in regional markets whose background lied in political campaigns, believing that the more results-oriented focus and local knowledge that came from winning political campaigns would translate to winning major PR fights. FSB Core Strategies was retained by Ford Motor Company in 2006 during the economic downturn as part of an ongoing national grassroots communications campaign that is built around maintaining and growing brand reputation and purchase consideration for the company.

Covering the western market states of California, Nevada, and Hawaii, FSB was tasked with a multi-tiered scope of work which included a heavy emphasis on internal communications with Ford employees, dealers, and shareholders. A company is only as successful as the people behind it, and we understand the importance of touting each and every one of their accomplishments as the real success of the business.

Ford, which once retained over a dozen PR firms in California, has turned over the bulk of its PR activity in its most important market state now to FSB Core Strategies. In that time, market share for Ford stopped dropping and is on the rise again, now back over 10%

For the past eight years, FSB has worked hand in hand with Ford Motor Company’s regional marketing offices on a variety of product campaigns and trade shows such as the Los Angeles Auto Show. Our main goal with the marketing team is to leverage the paid activities they are doing and turn them into news stories, from touting the sales success of their local dealerships to identifying purchasing trends.

In addition to working hand-in-hand with Ford’s marketing department to carry out their deliverables, FSB also serves as the day-to-day public relations team for all of the 200+ dealers in the state. Whether it’s publicizing their charity work in the community, highlighting an Employee of the Year, or helping write their speech for a local Chamber event, FSB is front and center for all of their PR needs.

Through our dealer work, FSB has also been involved in several internal crisis situations. In 2010, Ford announced that it would close its Mercury brand, which meant several combo-dealerships would be at risk of consumer, media, and employee backlash. FSB played a major role in communicating the company message to dealers and assisting them with potential harsh criticism from these audiences due to this closure. Thanks to our work, we are able to manage the messaging and keep any negative press or an internal crisis situation from happening. FSB has also dealt with individual crisis communications for our dealers including a large fire at a local service center, for which we put together a statement and managed the media coverage.

FSB was also part of a national, 24/7 media monitoring and crisis communications team that helped manage public relations during Ford’s last round of labor negotiations with the United Auto Workers.

Media Relations

One of the main objectives of Ford’s communications strategy is to maintain a high positive media presence, which allows our messages to be heard by targeted consumers and key influencers. Our extensive work throughout the state has garnered our team the top media contacts in television, radio, print and online including the Los Angeles TimesWall Street JournalNew York TimesUSA Today, and producers of all the network affiliates in top markets.

In addition to building and maintaining relationships with key reporters throughout California, our team is responsible for developing story ideas that are consumer and trade focused. When Ford started using renewable materials in their vehicles, such as wheat straw and coconut coir as an alternative to harsh materials, we concocted a morning television cooking segment utilizing these ingredients. It was the first time an auto manufacturer had been seen in this light by this new audience and it allowed us to highlight our fuel efficiency and eco-friendly messaging in a unique way.

In addition to positioning Ford in front of new audiences, we spend a lot of our time focused on the automotive trade sector and have an amazing rapport with automotive media throughout the state. While we are responsible for coming up with new and exciting story ideas for automotive, we are also proactively reaching out to them on relevant product news on a daily basis.

Through these earned media efforts, FSB Core Strategies helped increase Ford’s share of voice and media favorability from 81 percent to 93 percent in 11 months.

Latino Communications

In 2011, Ford Motor Company again retained FSB Core Strategies by expanding our existing contract to include media relations, crisis communications and grassroots activations specific to the Latino and Spanish-language community in the Los Angeles media market with special concentration in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Part of a four-media market pilot program that also included Miami, Dallas and New York City, the pilot was fully-funded in 2012 and became part of Ford’s overall communications strategy while continuously adding markets of focus such as Houston in 2013.

Over the last four years, FSB has built priceless relationships with Spanish-language media outlets including Telemundo, Univision, Azteca America, Estrella TV, Exitos, La Opinion, Hoy, Unidos en el Sur de California, Miniondas, and several top Los Angeles based Latina bloggers at blogs such as TechFoodLife, Sassy Mama in LA, Blogs by Latinas, SpanglishBaby, MOMSLA and My Life as Lizza on behalf of Ford Motor Company. As a result of the relationships that we’ve built and the coverage that we’ve garnered, our team also serves as the in-market Spanish-language spokesperson for Ford Motor Company. Members of our team have been featured in television, radio and online news segments around many key company initiatives and cultural events such as new vehicle releases, auto shows, Dia de Los Muertos and Fiestas Patrias celebrations, just to name a few.

In addition to the media relations and spokesperson work we’ve conducted on behalf of Ford Espanol, our team is also responsible for building and maintaining key influencer relationships within the Latino and Spanish-Language community with organizations such as the National Latina Business Women’s Association, Las Fotos Project, the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Para Los Ninos, Latinas in STEM, Ella Institute, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and many others.

FSB’s Latino and Spanish-language practice area consists of team members intimately embedded within the community. A combination of native Spanish-language public relations practitioners and those who’ve assimilated to the language and culture through academic education and living abroad, our team brings unique expertise and a proven track record that demonstrates our ability to understand and synthesize the diverse needs and nuances of southern California’s Latino and Spanish-language community.

Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

Case Study – OCTA

Orange County’s demographics have changed. A third of the county’s overall population is Latino, and it now boasts the third largest Asian American population in

Case Study – PCTPA

In late 2013, FSBPA was retained by the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency (PCTPA) to establish foundational groundwork for a potential transportation sales tax measure

Case Study – Measure M

By 2005, Orange County’s Measure M, a local ½ cent sales tax to fund transportation projects, was nearing the end of its authorized 20-year life.

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Caitlin Perkins


Based in our Sacramento office, Caitlin serves as a Finance and Office Assistant. In that capacity she helps with various financial services support functions as well as general administrative duties.


  • 12 years of customer service experience in health club and retail industries
  • 4 years of administrative experience for health club executives
  • 4 years of experience assisting health club finance department


  • AA in Business Administration from Sierra College
  • AA in Accounting from Sierra College

Jerry Amante

Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Jerry serves as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the firm. Based in Orange County, Jerry serves as General Manager of the Orange County office and leads business development efforts throughout the southern California region.  Jerry possesses nearly 40 years of real estate and land use law, business and corporate law, political and government experience.


  • Seven years at FSB
  • Ten years in public office, including Council Member, Mayor and as a Board Member and Chairman of several regional government agencies
  • Nearly 40 years of practicing law in complex transactions and litigation in California; Admitted to all California State and Federal courts and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Community Involvement:

  • Former Mayor, City of Tustin
  • Former Chairman of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors
  • Former Chairman of the Transportation Corridor Authority (TCA) Board of Directors
  • Former Member of LOSSAN Board of Directors
  • Past President, California League of Cities, Orange County Division
  • Past President, Association of California Cities, Orange County
  • Former Chair/Past Chair/Board Member of multiple Boards, the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, The Irvine and Tustin Exchange Clubs and the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, among others
  • Instructor / Lecturer on Public Policy at various So. Cal Universities & Colleges
  • Former member of the Association of California Cities Emeritus Council
  • Current Chair of Heroes and Healthy Families
  • Former Host, The City Square radio show on OC Talk Radio
  • Current Host, Java with Jerry Radio Show / Podcast


  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, UCLA
  • Juris Doctor, Southwestern University School of Law

Ballot & Referendum Campaigns

Many people know us for our ballot issue campaigns in California and across the country. FSB Core Strategies is extremely proud of what we’ve helped our clients achieve. Having won 15 of 17 statewide and regional ballot measure campaigns, our record is second to none.

Our approach to ballot issue campaigns begins with a seasoned campaign manager assigned to every effort. An FSB partner will always lead the campaign team, with a senior staff member assisting and other skilled team members rounding out the group. We intensely manage every aspect of the campaign, incorporating all communication disciplines to create an effective campaign strategy and win for our clients.

We don’t just manage and win statewide campaigns, we help clients fight and win the toughest local ballot challenges as well. From transportation funding measures to land use campaigns and more, FSB Core Strategies has been called upon again and again to achieve victory in the toughest of fights.



Whether you’re laying the foundation for your brand, maintaining a brand, or rebranding, FSB Core Strategies has the right experience and the right approach to navigate this process for you. We have successfully helped numerous organizations – public and private – communicate the ideals of their respective cultures.

Branding is more than just an eye-catching logo; it’s your promise. It’s everything about the way an organization thinks, operates, and interacts with the public. It’s the feeling a consumer gets when he’s connecting with your product. It’s not enough to just develop these values – they must also be communicated.

FSB has had the pleasure of working with Fortune 500 companies such as Ford Motor Company and Coca-Cola, as well as government agencies like the Cosumnes Community Services District and the Orange County Transportation Authority. We’ve also worked with trade associations like the California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards and Associates, on different phases of their respective branding campaigns.


Cherri Spriggs

Executive Vice President

Coalition / Grassroots

In public affairs, public relations, and political arenas, strength in numbers isn’t just a goal. Many times it’s the difference between success and failure. FSB Core Strategies excels in developing large, diverse coalitions of people and groups who sometimes don’t have anything in common except for a specific issue.

We have perfected a way in which our coalition partners can serve their interests while serving the interests of our clients. We help them communicate their message to a broad section of the electorate and engage them in the campaign. Our team can help you identify common goals among otherwise disparate groups and, from there, manage coalitions and grassroots campaigns that deliver credible, effective third-party advocacy.

Building starts long before the shovel hits the earth. Local, state, and many times federal permits are needed, and gaining early community support is crucial.


we want to hear from you

Jeff Flint

President | CEO

Jeff is the President and CEO of FSB Core Strategies and the Senior Partner in the firm. He oversees all aspects of the firm, including client services, project management, business development, and managing the business. Jeff has extensive experience in public relations and political campaigns.


  • 12 years with FSB (including predecessor company)
  • 30 years public relations/public affairs/political campaign/government experience
  • 11 years in the State Legislature, managing campaigns including those of the Chief of Staff and Political Director at Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle’s office
  • Former Vice President at Russo, Marsh+Rogers, Inc.
  • Former CEO of Flint Communications

Community Involvement:

  • President and Board Chairman, Placer United Soccer Club (2013-Present), Board member since 2010
  • Husband to an amazing wife and dad to five wonderful kids


Bachelor of Science, Political Science, Caltech

Cherri Spriggs


Just named #1 public relations firms by fee income on the Sacramento Business Journal’s Top Public Relations List, Cherri has been one of the firm’s three owners since 2012. She has managed day-to-day efforts and multi-million dollar budgets on behalf of a number of statewide and local initiative and referendum campaigns, Fortune 500 companies, local government agencies, non-profit organizations and associations.

Since 2012 she has lead the firm’s Latino Outreach and Spanish-Language team. Assimilating to the language and culture through study and living abroad, Cherri has spent much of her career developing and implementing culturally appropriate strategies for her clients. Her extensive experience and sage counsel makes her the go-to choice for clients seeking to deliver their messages to the Latino community.

Her record of success coupled with her unique collaborative approach to ballot initiative campaigns and traditional corporate public affairs programs has earned her a national reputation for being an intentional, strategic leader and a masterful tactical implementor. Cherri’s passion, dedication and vivacious spirit makes her a client favorite.


  • Seven years with FSB Core Strategies
  • 20 years in public relations, public affairs, multicultural communications and ballot initiative campaigns with Porter Novelli, Edelman, VSP and California State University, Chico
  • Experienced in health care, education, transportation, insurance, tort reform, land use and patient advocacy issues
  • Served as Campaign Manager or Deputy Campaign Manager for 15 Statewide, Regional, and Local Ballot Initiatives in Transportation, Education, Land Use, Public Safety, Health Care and Tort Reform

Community Involvement:

  • Commissioner, Economic Development Commission, City of Lincoln
  • President, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  • Board Member, Visit Placer
  • Board Member, Lighthouse Counseling & Family Resource Center
  • Director at Large, CSU Chico Department of Public Relations & Journalism Advisory Board
  • Sustaining Member, Junior League of Sacramento
  • Member, California Women’s Leadership Association
  • Member, California State Railroad Museum Foundation
  • Member, Crocker Art Museum


  • Bachelor of Arts, Journalism, California State University, Chico
  • Minor, Spanish
  • Minor, Art History

Frank Rizzo

Executive Vice President, Public Affairs

Frank Rizzo is Executive Vice President for Public Affairs at FSB Core Strategies. He has over twenty-five years of political and public affairs experience and has led grassroots public affairs campaigns in over forty states and Canada. He is an expert at developing and managing grassroots campaigns to influence legislative, regulatory, and policy decisions at the federal, state, and local level for corporate and trade association clients. Frank has also managed various ballot and independent expenditure campaigns around the country. Frank has worked some of the country’s largest companies on wind and solar energy projects, cannabis issues, waste facilities, and mixed-use and commercial developments. His experience with community outreach extends to projects involving NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), and CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), as well as many state and local environmental regulations around the country.


Frank spent fifteen years working on political campaigns throughout the country at all levels including presidential campaigns, congressional races, legislative and county races. He has also worked for some of the country’s leading political consulting firms producing television, radio, and direct mail advertisements.

  • Founder Partner at Five Corners Strategies
  • Division Manager at Saint Consulting
  • Service Employees International Union
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • White House Office of Management and Budget

Community Involvement:

  • East Bay Leadership Council

  • Impact Diable Valley, Founding Member

  • Public Affairs Council


  • Harvard Business School’s “Leading Professional Services Firms” program
  • University of California-Davis CEQA CLE land-use program
  • MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program “Deal with an Angry Public”
  • Masters in Public Policy, The Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the University of Albany in New York
  • Bachelor of Science, History, and Politics from Drexel University in Pennsylvania

Salwa Mikbel

Finance and Administrative Specialist

Salwa brings with her experience working in supervisory accounting positions for both non-profit and for-profit organizations.  Based in our Sacramento office, Salwa is responsible for the day-to-day financial and administrative functions within our Association Management Practice.


  • Accounting Internal Auditor and Accounting Specialist at Nelson & Kennard, Attorneys at Law
  • Accounting Assistant at Union WELL, Inc. at California State University, Sacramento

Community Involvement:

  • Alumni Representative Member of the Union WELL Inc. AuditCommittee
  • Professional Development Committee Member, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners


  • Bachelor of Science, Business Administration- Concentration in Accountancy, California State University, Sacramento

Bill Romanelli


Bill has more than 25 years’ experience representing companies, trade associations, industry coalitions and nonprofits seeking to tell their side of the story on a variety of local, state and federal issues. He specializes in helping clients develop the right messages and strategies to identify and recruit allies, speak credibly and persuasively to a variety of stakeholder audiences and work productively with the media. His expertise in strategic communications, issues management, digital advocacy, stakeholder engagement and advocacy, community outreach and media relations makes him a valuable addition to the FSB Core Strategies team.


  • More than 25 years’ experience in public affairs, communications and marketing, including 21+ years with a major, international public affairs firm operating in Sacramento and northern California.
  • Multiple communication and outreach campaigns to educate and influence decision makers, reporters and local communities on issues such as environmental regulations and investigations, toxic contamination and cleanup, permitting, and litigation.
  • Experienced in energy and natural resources, conservation, environmental contamination, flood control, civil justice reform, health care, land use, and public safety.
  • Expertise in advising and training executives, CEOs and company spokespeople on how to work with the media on controversial issues, and frequent on-the-record media spokesperson on behalf of clients.
  • Direct experience in numerous campaigns to build, organize, and mobilize coalitions for and against proposed legislation, regulations and ballot issues.
  • Multiple communication and outreach strategies to educate and influence decision makers, reporters and local communities on issues such as environmental regulations and investigations, toxic contamination and cleanup, permitting, and litigation.

Community Involvement:

  • Volunteer Educator, Break Free
  • Board Member and graduate of Leadership Sacramento, Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Board member and president, Sacramento Public Relations Association
  • Commanding Officer, The West Coast Avengers
  • Volunteer – Communications, California Game Wardens Foundation
  • Parent Volunteer – Boy Scout Troop 94


  • Bachelor of Arts, Communications Studies—Public Relations Emphasis, California State University, Sacramento

Alex Burrola


Alex Burrola possesses over 20 years of experience in political campaigns, government relations and public affairs. Based in the firm’s Southern California office, Alex is an integral member of FSB’s Public Affairs practice. Serving in a leadership capacity for many of the firm’s key public affairs and political clients, Alex’s coalition building, grassroots mobilization, and communications strategies have been essential to the success of FSB’s clients.


  • Seven years with FSB
  • Two years at Cerrell Associates

Community Involvement:

  • Board Member, North Orange County Chamber of Commerce
  • Chairman, North Orange County Chamber PAC
  • Member, Orange County Public Affairs Association
  • Former Member, Fullerton Transportation Commission


  • Bachelor of Arts, History and Bachelor of Arts, Political Science – Whittier College
  • Graduate, Public Policy Making Academy – University of California, Irvine

Betty Martinez

Assistant Account Executive

Betty has five years of combined experience working with the Latino community in a variety of projects ranging from news production, grass roots and community outreach, campaign awareness, and social media management. She has been an essential connection between companies and the community, and often times, Betty has served as the official Spanish language spokesperson for in-camera interviews. Betty also has created communications’ plans for OCTA to reach diverse audiences and has collaborated on the outreach efforts.

Prior to her work with FSB, Betty worked at VPE Public Relations with the LA County Department of Public Health on their campaign “Champions for Change,” an initiative to create awareness about healthier food options, and La CLAVE, a mental health outreach campaign founded by the University of Southern California (USC).  


  • Ford Latino- Communications Manager for the LA region
  • OCTA I-5 Central Improvement Project- Diversity outreach coordinator
  • OCTA Express Lanes- Communications specialist
  • Champions for Change- Account Coordinator
  • La Clave- Assistant Account Executive
  • Telemundo 52- Associate Producer Internship

Community Involvement:

  • Treasurer and Founding Board Member, Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA)/Orange County Chapter
  • Member, National Latina Business Women Association-Los Angeles (NLBWA-LA)
  • Member, Latino Communications Institute at Cal State Fullerton


  • Bachelor of Arts, Communications/Public Relations, California State University, Fullerton

Julie Cogert

Assistant Account Executive

Julie is an Assistant Account Executive with FSB in our southern California office, predominantly working within our Public Relations and Public Affairs Practice Areas. She assists with communication efforts, content production and general public relations projects, as well as assists with the firm’s marketing efforts.


  • Intern – FSB Core Strategies
  • Freelance Content Producer – Tender Loving Coffee
  • Editorial Director – Tehama Group Communications
  • Editorial Lead – Tehama Group Communications
  • Web Designer – Gamma Phi Beta, Epsilon Kappa Chapter
  • Event Specialist – Gamma Phi Beta Epsilon Kappa Chapter
  • Vice President of Public Relations – Panhellenic Council, California State University, Chico


  • Bachelor of Arts in Journalism -Public Relations, California State University, Chico
  • Minor in Music

Nancy Eldred

Account Coordinator

Nancy is an Account Coordinator based in our Sacramento office. She assists with campaigns, media relations, PAC administration, event production and various public affairs projects. Nancy also assists with the firm’s marketing efforts. 


  • 2 years with FSB PA
  • Public Affairs Coordinator- The Core Management Company
  • Intern- FSB Core Strategies
  • Marketing and Communications Intern- Sacramento Metro Chamber

Community Involvement:

  • Member, Metro Edge


  • Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies- Public Relations Emphasis, California State University, Sacramento

Adrian Tlatenchi

Account Coordinator

Adrian is an Account Coordinator based in our southern California office. He works with our Public Relations and Public Affairs practices assisting with various communication and research efforts.


  • Intern – FSB Core Strategies
  • Site Supervisor – Global Connect, UCI School of Social Sciences


  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Policy and Public Service & Political Science, University of California Irvine
  • Minor in Psychology

Miranda Pinto

Administrative Services Director

Miranda Pinto joined the FSB team as our Administrative Services Director. Miranda brings nearly 15 years of experience in administrative management which includes finances, human resources, employee development, and office management.


  • 13 years as Administrative Accounting Assistant/Office Manager for private educators
  • Two years as Office Manager for a mergers and acquisitions firm


  • Obtaining a degree in Business Administration


Successful advertising can win campaigns. We’ll help influence public opinion, promote regulatory and legislative initiatives, position debates, build reputations, and manage issues. FSB Core Strategies is a full-service advertising firm with experience across all media.

With an in-house media buyer and planner, we’re involved at every phase. We’ll manage the entire process from initial conceptualization and creative development, to production, post-production, and placement services. We’ve won countless awards and have been recognized on numerous occasions by the American Association of Political Consultants, the Institute for Politics, Democracy & the Internet, and the Silver Telly Council for our political and public affairs advertising. In addition to winning awards for our English-language advertising, we’ve also won top industry awards for bilingual and multilingual radio and television advertising.


Bill Romanelli

Senior Vice President

Cherri Spriggs

Executive Vice President