2017 Paragon Winners

The Public Relations Society of America Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter held its annual Paragon Awards banquet on May 17, 2017 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. The awards program celebrated high-level work in public relations and honored accomplishments of local PR/Ad agencies and companies in more than 15 categories, including media relations, social media, integrated communications and internal communications among others.

Laughlin Constable received the coveted Best of Show award for its work with “Travel Wisconsin ‘Real Fun’ Influencer Campaign.” Travel Wisconsin launched a summer and fall social media influencer campaign that created partnerships with industry influencers and helped grow Travel Wisconsin’s Instagram followers by 122% with more than 80,000 social media engagements. This program continues to grow Travel Wisconsin’s social media presence and PR success in 2017, emphasizing that “real fun” can happen for everyone in the great state of Wisconsin.

The Communicator of the Year Award will be presented to Bob Babisch Vice President of Entertainment for Summerfest, The World’s Largest Music Festival which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. A 40-year veteran of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. and highly respected member of the entertainment industry, Bob manages a $12 million annual entertainment budget for Summerfest.  In addition to leading the music production team during Summerfest, he oversees the music portion of events held on the grounds, BMO Harris Pavilion and in the American Family Insurance Amphitheater throughout the summer season. Bob also books events for the Milwaukee Admirals and various venues in and out of Wisconsin including the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, IL. Bob has close working relationships with all major talent agencies and management firms and has been a featured speaker at industry events such as the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA). He is on the IEBA Board of Directors, and is a past recipient of the IEBA Festival Buyer of the Year award.  He has worked with acts as diverse as The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder and Metallica.  He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

The Dorothy Thomas Black Award will also be presented jointly to Marilyn and Phil Vollrath. Marilyn Vollrath, APR, and Philip Vollrath, APR, co-founded Vollrath Associates, Inc. in 1979 and grew the firm into a full-service public and investor relations agency, working with leading companies in Wisconsin and Illinois. In May 2016, Vollrath Associates was acquired by Reputation Partners LLC, where Marilyn currently serves as an executive vice president. Phil continues to serve as an adjunct professor at Marquette University, as chairman of the Milwaukee Air and Water Show and as a PR consultant.

Marilyn has worked with companies in a range of industries and sizes, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Her strength is working with CEOs and organization leaders designing and executing comprehensive communications programs that tell the company’s story to investors, employees, customers and the community. Marilyn’s key specialty area is investor relations, where she has built a significant practice with local companies including The Marcus Corporation and Badger Meter. Her work has earned both national and local awards. She is a past president of PRSA – Southeastern Wisconsin, past president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Investor Relations Institute, past president and current member of Tempo, board member of Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin and BizStarts, and a member of the Press Club and Milwaukee Women Inc.

Prior to starting Vollrath Associates with Marilyn, Phil served in the U.S. Navy as a public affairs officer with commands including three tours in Vietnam aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, now a museum in New York City. His focus areas within Vollrath Associates included strategic marketing communications for manufacturing, health care, trade associations and government organizations. He has served as an adjunct professor in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University since 2001 and was the public and media relations officer for the commissioning of the USS MILWAUKEE in 2015. He is a past president of PRSA – Southeastern Wisconsin, past member of the Business Marketing Association and current member of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Chapter of the Navy League and Milwaukee Armed Forces Week.

As part of the family business, Phil and Marilyn’s daughter, Jessica, was instrumental in the growth and success of Vollrath Associates over the past 10 years and is now a vice president with Reputation Partners.

The PRSA Paragon Awards were created in 1983 to honor public relations professionals on their exceptional work. A complete list of winners is included below.

You can view event photos on our Facebook page.

BVK – Lehigh Valley Health Network’s TRUE STORY: Frozen to Death, Alive Today campaign.
BVK – Funjet Insiders CampaigN
Cramer Krasselt – Pick N’ Save Continues to Engage Wisconsinites through Social Media campaign
BVK – Moffit Cancer Center # BeCourageous campaign
Laughlin Constable – Travel Wisconsin Supper Club Showdown
Kane Communications – Do the Right Thing campaign
Laughlin Constable – S Cellular and Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. New Stage Announcement press conference
Cramer Krasselt -#BIGISHERE press kit
Cramer Krasselt – Milwaukee Public Library – Library Loud Days
WDA, Group One Marketing and Hess Design Group – WDA Journal Re-Design
Bader Rutter – INEX 2017 – Change or Die
Laughlin Constable – Travel Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Weekend in Chicago
Bader Rutter – Guess the Weight Sweepstakes
BVK – The Mark Travel Corporation Public Relations Program.
BVK – Thanksgiving Tablescape
Bader Rutter – Case IH Blog

Laughlin Constable
– Travel Wisconsin National Travel and Tourism Week campaign
BVK – Byrant & Stratton College – Hyper Targeting Drives Leads program
BVK – Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism #NaturallyDR
BVK and Serve Marketing – The Birds, Bees and the STDS campaign
BVK and Serve Marketing – Rubber Rover Mobile Tour
Bader Rutter – Experiencing Enlist campaigN
Zizzo Group – St. Josaphat Basilica Foundation Capital Campaign Launch
BVK – #MaineThing Influencer Program campaign
Cramer Krasselt – Paper and Productive Learning program
Laughlin Constable – Travel Wisconsin ‘Real Fun’ Influencer campaigN
Wisconsin Dental Association – WDA Insider Members-Only Blog
UW-Milwaukee – Can’t Stop the Feeling – Graduation Edition
Trefoil Group – Endeavour Website