PRAM recognizes the best in Pine Belt Public Relations

PRAM recognizes the best in Pine Belt Public Relations
Tonya Williams. Source: USM
Tonya Williams. Source: USM

PINE BELT (WDAM) - This is a news release from PRAM 

The region's best public relations professionals were honored for their achievements by the Pine Belt Chapter of the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM) Tuesday afternoon.

The awards, bestowed annually at Pine Belt PRAM's Chapter Awards Banquet, recognize outstanding work in the field of public relations and celebrate select individuals for their contributions to the profession.

"The public is well aware of the messages these talented individuals are tasked to deliver daily, but rarely the people behind it. It's the mark of a true professional," said PRAM Awards Chairman Matt Martin. "Today, we recognize their expertise, commitment and leadership by turning the tables and telling their story."

Amber Ross Hartfield, Marketing Manager for Merit Health Wesley, received PRAM's highest honor as she was named the 2016 Bud Kirkpatrick Practitioner of the Year.

"Amber has the soul of a servant and a strong passion to do the best job possible." said Samantha McCain, a former PRAM President and recipient of the award. "She strives day in and day out to not only do the job she knows how to do, but to also encourage those around her. I think many would agree that she's the perfect balance of witty, creative, and strategic and that she lends a great hand to any project she's a part of."

Tonya Williams, the marketing specialist for the University of Southern Mississippi's Career Services, was honored with the 2016 Burlian O'Neal Walker Professional Promise Award.

Signature Magazine's "Best of the Pine Belt" was awarded the 2016 Pine Belt Public Image Award, recognizing a Pine Belt area business or individual for an achievement in public relations which significantly improves the image of the greater Hattiesburg area on a regional or national scale.

"By hosting the Best of the Pine Belt awards competition for the past seven years and a red carpet event for the past two, Signature Magazine proves to community members that we have a reason to be prideful – the Pine Belt is full of talented and giving personalities," said PRAM President Hanna Knowles. "By engaging the community on the forefront, they help raise awareness of local organizations, even if a particular organization does not take the grand prize."

Matt Martin, creative director of MightyPenguin Design, was honored with the Chapter's President's Award recognizing service to the Association.

Practitioners were also recognized with SPARK Awards for their individual achievement. Karelia Schmitz with the USM Foundation won the 2016 Judges' Award, the highest honor for individual work product, for the "An Attitude of Gratitude Campaign" and Brittney Westbrook with the University of Southern Mississippi Marketing Communications received a SPARK Award for the "Pandora Ad Campaign."

Brittney Dykes with Animal Medical Center, April Jordan with Recreational Sports at the University of Southern Mississippi, Nicole Ruhnke with the Southern Miss Alumni Association, Tonya Williams with the University of Southern Mississippi Career Services, also received honors for their projects.

Pine Belt PRAM is an affiliate of the statewide Public Relations Association of Mississippi, serving practitioners and students in the Hattiesburg-Laurel area with professional development opportunities aimed at enhancing and growing individual skill sets, contributing to the expanding science of public relations policies and practices.

Chapter meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at the Lake Terrace Convention Center. Visit pinebeltpram.com for more information.