Rick has packed more depth and scope of communications experience into his 14 years in the business than many PR professionals accumulate in twice that many. And he's done it in two languages while making himself accessible just about anywhere there is an air strip. That's because Rick is proficient in Spanish and Latin American culture and customs, and is an FAA-licensed pilot with an instrument rating and has traveled extensively in Central and South America as well as Canada and the U.S.
Rick has an M.B.A. in Marketing and International Business from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Iowa. He began his career in Illinois as a newspaper reporter covering government and business.
Since then he has developed expertise in communications for a diverse list of industries: Health Care/Life Sciences, Aviation, Finance, Engineering and Construction, Education, Management and HR Consulting, Trade Organizations, Entertainment and Consumer Products.
As an Account Executive in the Kansas City office of Fleishman-Hillard, he developed and executed communications programs for clients that included Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Jiffy Lube, Wilcox Electric (now part of Thales Air Traffic Management), Boatmen's Bank (now Bank of America), Hallmark, and Mercer Human Resource Consulting. These programs included publicity, media relations, market research, marketing collateral, media training and crisis communications.
Rick for seven years was Director of Media Relations at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he managed a staff of eight and marketing and PR for the university's 13 schools. Rick planned, wrote and managed publicity, crisis communications, presentations, Web-based video, media training and speech writing among other responsibilities.
As publicist, Rick has written and placed several columns and news stories in major Midwest markets, including Chicago, Des Moines, Kansas City, St. Louis, Omaha and Springfield, Mo. He also has secured positive coverage in major national media, including The New York Times, CBS News, NBC News, Univision, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today Weekend, People magazine, Inc. and more. This work was on behalf of clients such as the Kansas City Area Development Council, the Kansas City Life Sciences Institute, American Business Women’s Association, Anheuser-Busch, Coca Cola, Hallmark Cards and Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
Rick is a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, and his work with not-for-profit organizations and his grassroots publicity has included awareness programs for:
- The Injury Free Coalition for Kids, a children’s safety program supported by Columbia University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
- Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, an urban revival program created by Michael Porter of Harvard University.
- Numerous health and safety programs targeting Latino and African-American populations through the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
- Central American Emergency Relief, which he co-founded in response to the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in Central America in 1998. The group, mostly consisting of Hispanic community leaders, acquired thousands of pounds of food and medicine from concerned citizens following an intense media blitz organized by Rick. In fact, donated supplies outgrew all means of transportation to Central America (later alleviated by additional donations from transportation firms). Publicity included front-page stories and editorials requesting support in major Kansas City area traditional and minority press, and repeated news stories and live remotes of volunteers on all TV stations and most radio stations. Most Hispanic organizations and media partnered in the effort, which proved an invaluable method in spreading the word within the Hispanic community.
- Dentists with a Heart. The University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry annually conducts 100,000 free dental treatments for the disadvantaged throughout Missouri and Kansas. The program’s future relies on support from government and private donors, and to ensure the program’s continued mission, Rick created an awareness publicity program that included positive articles in dental trade publications and newspapers throughout Missouri and Kansas.