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 the nation, behind only Los Angeles and Santa Clara counties. Nearly 50 percent of Orange County residents speak a language other than English at home. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has a duty to serve all constituents and residents and “keep Orange County moving.” Additionally, OCTA needed to be compliant with federal Title VI and Environmental Justice statutes by ensuring diverse communities have the chance to take full advantage of services and also include them in the planning, designing and decision-making processes. In order to achieve these goals, it was crucial the agency develop a diverse communities outreach program strategy and work plan.

FSB was retained in February, 2014 to develop a strategic two-year communications and outreach plan to engage ethnically and socio-economically diverse communities in Orange County. The plan consisted of various objectives derived from research and analysis. Objectives supported overarching goals and included the following:

  • Initiate contact with new diverse organizations every quarter
  • Increase awareness of OCTA as a responsible leader as it relates to the county’s transportation and funding
  • Convene an external committee comprised of community leaders to strategically develop outreach plans, future plans, and more, to engage diverse communities in Orange County
  • Recruit OCTA employees to join a diversity ambassador group after two years, then double the number the following year (to represent communities speaking Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Mandarin, as well as African American and American Indian communities)
  • Add to the diversity outreach team with external resources focused on diverse media and community outreach and business community outreach

Guiding strategies were developed to ensure objectives would be met by 2016. Messages, tactics and metrics were developed for each objective specific to Asian, Latino, Senior and LGBT communities as well as people with disabilities. The plan was internally adopted by OCTA leadership in early 2015. In addition to serving as a strategic communications and outreach roadmap, the plan has been widely accepted as a diverse communities guide for best practices.

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Don’t Stop Here

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Ryan Hawkins

Senior Vice President

Originally from Oklahoma, Ryan has worked on behalf of some of the toughest political and public affairs campaigns throughout the country. His experience in moving the needle is invaluable for anyone looking to win in today’s tough political climate.

In 2004, Ryan was a regional political and financial services director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee helping to go 4/4 with special elections. That work in 2004 helped lay the groundwork for the House to turn Democratic in 2006.

After two successful cycles at Democratic voter contact firms, Ryan founded and was the President of the AAPC Pollie Award Winding Creek Group from 2009-2020. His work with the Democratic National Committee Analytics team and the Obama for America 2012 Analytics Team revolutionized political calling leading Caroline Grey, OFA Director of Operations for Analytics to say, “Their work on our tracking polls and modeling ID’s was integral to our success on Election Day. We’ve worked with them through vocabulary changes in ‘data’, ‘targeting’ and ‘analytics’ and will continue our relationship with them wherever we go.” Very few people bring the depth of knowledge and value-added approach Ryan will bring to your project.

In addition to his political resume, Ryan is an expert at land-use project management as well as corporate communications. Whether it’s gaining approval for wind turbines in Oklahoma, fighting to block a coal plant in South Dakota or helping navigate out of a media crisis in Missouri, Ryan has the expertise along with the experience to back it up to solve all of your corporate communication needs.

Along with his daughter and her dog, Ryan lives in St. Louis, Missouri where they both enjoy attending Cardinals baseball games even though he is a die-hard Dodgers fan but he has finally given up on her being one as well.

 

Experience

  • Founder and President, Winding Creek Group
  • Principal, Hilltop Public Strategies
  • Senior Advisor, Mike Bloomberg for President
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

 

Community Involvement

  • Board Member, Community Education Alliance of Missouri
  • Board Member, De La Salle, Inc
  • Board Member, Country Club of St Albans
  • Presenter, Public Affairs Council of Canada
  • Presenter, Latin American Political Consultants Association

 

Education

  • Northeastern State University

Alex Burrola

SENIOR ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR

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.

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

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

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.

FSB EXPERTS

Branding

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.

FSB EXPERTS

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.

FSB EXPERTS

we want to hear from you

Jeff Flint

CEO

Jeff is the CEO of FSB Public Affairs 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.

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

Bachelor of Science, Political Science, Caltech

Cherri Spriggs

PRINCIPAL & CHIEF CLIENT SERVICE OFFICER

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.

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

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

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.

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

Education:

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

Frank Rizzo

President

Frank Rizzo is President of FSB Public Affairs. 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.

Experience:

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

Education:

  • 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

Bill Romanelli

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT , PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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 Public Affairs team.

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

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

Betty Martinez

Account Executive

Betty has six 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 has also created communications’ plans for OCTA to reach diverse audiences and has collaborated on their 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).


Relevant Experience
• 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

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

Richard Hernandez

SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Richard Hernandez provides strategic communications and field consulting services to clients in politics. His expertise includes content creation; strategic writing; research and analysis; field operations administration; media relations; and social media management. 

A veteran of political campaigns, Richard has previously worked as a Campaign Manager, Communications Director, Deputy Communications

A native of Temecula, CA, he now resides in Las Vegas, NV. He is an avid foodie, musician, and collector of vintage campaign paraphernalia.

Education:

BA in Political Science from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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.

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

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

Nancy Eldred

Account Executive

Nancy is an Account Executive 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. 

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

  • 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.

Experience: 

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

Education: 

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

Miranda Pinto

CONTROLLER

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.

Experience:

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

Education:

  • Obtaining a degree in Business Administration

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.

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

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

Caitlin Perkins

FINANCE & OFFICE ASSISTANT

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.

Experience:

  • 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

Education:

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

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TITLE

Brief description.

Experience:

  • List 1
  • List 2
  • List 3

Community Involvement:

  • List 1
  • List 2

Education:

List 1

Ash Wright

SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT

Ash Wright, is a nationally recognized political strategist. His long and successful career has led him to serve as the chief strategist for campaigns in fifteen states, and Puerto Rico. Wright is also a frequent contributor on the Fox News Chanel, Fox Business Network, and MSNBC. Wright gained national notoriety in 2016 by playing a significant role in winning re-election for Senator Pat Toomey and running the grassroots effort for the Republican National Committee/President Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania.

 

In 2017, Wright was nominated for four Reed Awards for Campaign & Elections, winning Best Paid Grassroots Program for his efforts in winning Pennsylvania for Republicans. During the 2018 elections, he managed campaigns in eight states, including six highly contested congressional campaigns. In addition, Wright was named to the 2019 40 under 40 class by the National Association of Political Consultants.

 

In addition, Wright serves as the Senior Political Advisor to George P. Bush (son of Gov. Jeb Bush, nephew of President George W. Bush and Grandson of President George H.W. Bush). He has led Bush’s campaign since 2014, including the recent 2018 re-election campaign for Texas Land Commissioner.

 

Wright has been instrumental in growing the Republican Party’s diverse slate of candidates, including the historical campaign to Elect Susana Martinez as the first Hispanic female Governor in our nation’s history.

 

Industry Awards:

Class of 2019 American Association of Political Consultants ‘Top 40 under 40’

Reed Awards: Best Use of Paid Field Program (2016 cycle)

Reed Awards: Best Grassroots Project (2018 cycle)

Nominated for Reed Awards: Best Use of Paid Field Program (2018 cycle)

Experience:

  • Senior Political Advisor, Commissioner George P. Bush

  • Deputy Director of Government Relations, Texas General Land Office

  • Political Director, Republican Party of Texas

  • Victory Director, New Mexico Republican Party

  • Managing Director, Grassroots Program for Senator Pat Toomie

  • Texas Director, Jeb Bush for President

  • Executive Director, Texas Republican County Chairman’s Association

Education:

Master of Arts, Management and Leadership, Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia                                                             

Bachelor of Science, Political Science and Church Ministry, Hardin-Simmons University

Brooke Bushart

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Brooke is an Account Executive in the FSB Orange County office. She assists with coalition building, community outreach, and legislative and political support for several clients. She currently serves as the Legislative Director for the Anaheim / Orange County Hotel and Lodging Association and is the lead legislative researcher for the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce. She also provides support in matters of Land Use Policy, Development, Energy and Environmental Policy.

Before joining FSB, Brooke served two legislative sessions as a lobbyist in Arizona, spending most of her time working on legislation to benefit first responders and public safety. She also worked at a nonprofit specializing in management of their grassroots teams.

Education:

Bachelor of Arts, Business (Law) – Arizona State University

Chasen Bullock

VICE PRESIDENT

Chasen Bullock is Vice President for Public Affairs and Campaigns at FSB Core Strategies. Chasen has worked in 29 states and has managed winning political campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels. Along with managing political campaigns, Chasen has expertise in nonprofit management, strategic communications, media relations, grassroots organizing, and issue advocacy. He has significant experience working on the following issues: health care, small business, and conservative causes. Bullock is in the United States Congressional Record for his work with Congressman Luke Messer (IN-06).

Experience:

  • Congressional Leadership Fund, Political Director
  • National Republican Congressional Committee, Regional Political Director
  • Rand Paul for U.S. Senate, Campaign Manger
  • United States House of Representatives, Committee on Small Business
  • Medical Society, Charleston South Carolina

Community Involvement:

  • City Dogs Rescue, Washington DC 
  • St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Capitol Hill

Education:

Bachelor of Arts, Economics – California State University, San Marcos

Advertising

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.

FSB EXPERTS

Bill Romanelli

Senior Vice President

Cherri Spriggs

Executive Vice President