The Paragon Awards were created in 1983 to encourage members to strive for public relations excellence. The awards recognize outstanding work in the area of public relations, honor creative and strategic excellence, and encourage a higher level of performance among public relations professionals.
The 2019 Paragon Awards Luncheon will be on Wednesday, May 15 from 11:30 am-1:30 pm at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in the Serenity room in the hotel portion of the property.
Mark Maley, a longtime editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently public affairs and communications director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), will be posthumously honored as our 2019 Communicator of the Year.
Maley, who died in early February, spent 16 years leading suburban, legislative, political and enterprise coverage for the Journal Sentinel. As the newspaper’s first-ever Database/Computer-Assisted Reporting editor, he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for enterprise reporting that resulted from analyzing data from various public records and files. He made the shift from print to web-based media by leading 15 hyperlocal community news websites in Southeastern Wisconsin for AOL/Patch.com prior to becoming the public information manager for WEDC in 2013. He developed and implemented media strategy for the state’s first TV ad campaign for economic development. Maley served as the public face for the job creation and economic development agency as well as the communications liaison between WEDC and the governor’s office, other state agencies and the private sector.
The 2019 Dorothy Thomas Black Award, which recognizes sustained superior performance in public relations, will be presented to Heidi Fendos, owner of Fendos PR. Fendos, first became involved with PRSSA as a sophomore in college. She went on to become Midwest District Director for PRSSA during the 1991-1992, and has been professionally involved in PRSA since graduating from UW-Whitewater.
From 1993-1994, Fendos served as the membership chairperson for the Madison PRSA Chapter. From 1997-1999, she served as the PRSA employment chairperson for the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter and was recognized in 1999 with the President’s Award for her efforts in this role. Fendos served as a PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin board member from 2013-2014. In 2015, she became the president-elect for PRSA Southeastern Wisconsin and she served as President in 2016 and past president in 2017. Fendos also has been the UW-Whitewater PRSSA professional advisor since 2009 and has been responsible for planning PRO Day for college students since 2014. In addition, she serves as the chapter’s webmaster.
Fendos has owned and operated Fendos PR since 2003. She works with tourism, nonprofit and family owned businesses to help them solve their communications needs. Her client roster includes Wilderness Resort, America’s largest waterpark resort located located in Wisconsin Dells; Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, TN; Ebenezer Child Care Centers; Stan’s Fit For Your Feet; The Family Business Leadership Partners; and others.