The Dorothy Thomas Black Award recognizes sustained, superior performance in public relations, typically rewarding the lifetime achievement of a public relations professional who is a member of the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of PRSA. The award was established by PRSA in 1983 in memory of Dorothy Thomas Black, who died a year earlier. Black was the former director of public relations at St. Luke’s Medical Center and a PRSA chapter president.
Dorothy Thomas Black Candidate Criteria:
At least 15 years of full-time experience in public relations.
An active chapter member, meaning the candidate has been very supportive and has contributed significantly to the chapter in meaningful ways.
Has provided public relations service to the local community (volunteer or pro-bono work outside of normal work assignments).
Has demonstrated sustained superior professional public relations capabilities (e.g. creating greater public understanding of issues through sound application of public relations).
Has demonstrated sustained leadership in public relations.
Please note that in order to qualify for the Dorothy Thomas Black Award, the candidate cannot be nominated by a co-worker or a family member.
Dorothy Thomas Black Award Winners:
2023: Michael Pflughoeft, APR, Fellow PRSA, Public Relations Director, BVK
2022: H. Carl Mueller, Founder and Chairman, Mueller Communications
2021: W. Patrick McSweeney, APR, Fellow PRSA, Strategic Communications & Reputation Management, McSweeney Public Relations LLC
2020: Jeff Bentoff, Bentoff Communications
2019: Heidi Fendos, Fendos PR
2018: Debra Miller, Ed.D., APR, Fellow PRSA President and Senior Counsel, Global Communication Strategists, LLC
2017: Marilyn and Phill Vollrath, APR
2016: Jerry Topczewski, APR
2015: Carol Seeger Weber, APR, Wisconsin Dental Association
2014: Colleen Smith, Principal at Emerald Isle Marketing/PR (presented posthumously)
2013: Dale Brown, APR, (Retired) Brown & Martin, Inc.
2012: David Fantle, APR, Deputy Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Tourism
2011: Ann Peru Knabe, APR+M, UW-Whitewater Public Relations Faculty and Lt. Colonel in the Air Force Reserve
2009: Carolyn Bellin, APR, Chief Public Relations Officer, Froedtert Hospital
2006: Steve Johnstone, APR – Director of PR, Blue Horse
2004: Harry Cherkinian, APR
2002: Ray Scroggins, APR
2001: Gary Myers, APR
2000: Alan Gaudynski, APR
1999: Linda Stephenson, APR
1997: Tom Towers, APR
1996: Bill Spevacek, APR
1995: John Luecke, APR