San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Selects Gable-Cook-Schmid and New West for Three Year Public Relations Program

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The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has selected the team of Gable-Cook-Schmid Public Relations (GCS) of San Diego and New West Public Relations of Louisville, KY, for a public outreach and education program. The program will support the Authority’s efforts to plan for and meet the projected demands of the region’s air transportation needs. The Airport Authority’s recommendations on siting a new airport will be presented to San Diego County voters in November 2006.

The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has selected the team of Gable-Cook-Schmid Public Relations (GCS) of San Diego and New West Public Relations of Louisville, KY, for a public outreach and education program. The program will support the Authority’s efforts to plan for and meet the projected demands of the region’s air transportation needs. The Airport Authority’s recommendations on siting a new airport will be presented to San Diego County voters in November 2006.

The GCS/New West team was selected for the $2.25 million contract after a lengthy review process that started with the Airport Authority issuing 70 requests for proposals to regional and national agencies, then narrowing the field to eight, five, two and then the final choice. In its report to the Airport Authority board, Authority staff said the GCS/New West team was selected because it presented “a comprehensive, structured, well-thought out and strategic approach to public outreach and education.” The staff also cited the team for relevant experience in complex communications programs for public agencies, including the San Diego Trolley for Gable-Cook-Schmid and the Louisville Regional Airport for New West; depth of project management; access to diverse business interests in the region and emphasis on outreach to diverse and minority communities. The GCS/New West team also includes Winstead & Co. and CIC Research, two disadvantaged business enterprises.

Thella F. Bowens, president/CEO, said the Airport Authority undertook this rigorous selection process because of the expected controversial and complex nature of evaluating and siting a new airport by the time San Diego International Airport reaches capacity constraints in 2015 to 2022. Once voters select a site, it will take 10 to 15 years to plan, entitle and build a new airport.

“Gable-Cook-Schmid has both local roots going back 25 years and extensive mass transit and infrastructure experience, including work for the largest transportation project in San Diego County in many years, the extension of the San Diego Trolley from Mission Valley to La Mesa,” said Bowens. “New West successfully managed the communications and outreach for the $1 billion expansion of the Louisville Airport. Both firms had examples of innovative programs to reach out to the community at every level. Their dedication to open communications and inclusionary programs lines up with the philosophy of the Authority. We look forward to initiating a landmark communications program to support one of the most critical decisions to be made by San Diego voters in this century or any other.”

In Phase I of the site selection program, seven potential sites for a new airport were identified: a desert site in Imperial County; March Air Reserve Base, Riverside County; Marine Corp Air Station, Miramar; Miramar East; Marine Corps Base Camp, Pendleton; Naval Air Station, North Island and San Diego International Airport. Two additional sites recently were added in rural areas near Campo and Borrego Springs.

Rick Cook, GCS partner, will manage the Airport Authority program and a team of specialists in media relations, public affairs, community relations and issues management, plus the other partner firms. Becky Simpson will oversee the New West team, which includes political campaigns, full-service graphic design and marketing capabilities.

“Our team is honored to have been selected for a communications program of this importance and magnitude,” said Cook. “We look forward to working with Airport Authority staff to achieve unprecedented levels of community awareness about the site options, resulting in an informed decision by a record turnout of voters in November 2006.”

About Gable-Cook-Schmid Public Relations (GCS)

GCS specializes in complex public relations and reputation management programs for innovative companies and organizations. Whether for a start-up or a Fortune 100 client, the partners personally manage each program, leading teams with the relevant experience and expertise to ensure success in even the most challenging programs. It is the only firm in the West with two Pulitzer Prize nominees on staff. Its senior team members boast an average of 20 years experience and hold more than 100 of the profession’s highest awards amongst them, including four Silver Anvils, the highest honor in the public relations profession. Additional information is available at http://www.gcs-pr.com

About New West

Founded in 1971 as the Wenz-Neely Public Relations firm, New West has grown into a full service marketing communications company. It stresses the ability to develop and execute innovative programs that use any or all forms of communication to help its clients succeed, including advertising, public relations and marketing. Its clients include a range of major consumer products, institutional, health care and civic and charitable clients throughout the Southeast and Atlantic coast. Additional information is available at http://www.newwestagency.com

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Tom Gable
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