GET TO KNOW US
Nick Vehr founded Vehr Communications in 2007. Today, the company is recognized as one of this region’s leading integrated communications firms. It has been awarded “Best PR Agency” designation by the local PRSA chapter and has been recognized for client work by the local AMA chapter.
Nick understands that organizations must think strategically, plan effectively, execute flawlessly and communicate aggressively to build, preserve and protect their brand and grow market share. Vehr Communications is a member of IPREX, a $350 million network of communication agencies, with 1,800 staff and 115 offices and more than 30 countries worldwide. Currently, Nick is president of the Americas region of IPREX and serves on the organization’s global board.
One of Cincinnati’s great cheerleaders, Nick has led or is currently active in numerous initiatives to enable his home town to compete more effectively for talent and recognition. Nick’s passion outside of work and his community is his family.
From start-up companies and family-owned businesses to large manufacturers and 100-year-old, international brands, she has married tried-and-true communications strategies with the latest engagement methods to connect with the audiences that make a difference to a company’s bottom line.
Whether seizing an opportunity and leveraging every possible angle or mitigating the damage resulting from a national headline-grabbing crisis, Laura dives in head first and earns a seat at the table.
Laura specializes in corporate communications and issues management and has extensive experience positioning brands and launching products for consumer and B2B companies.
A University of Cincinnati graduate, Michael has been involved with the launching of new businesses using traditional and new media strategies. He spent 25 years in journalism as a newspaper reporter, editor and managing editor and has been a magazine and book editor.
Michael is an adjunct journalism professor at UC. He served as director of marketing and promotions for the 2012 World Choir Games and is a graduate of Leadership Cincinnati Class 36.
Pepper has nearly three decades of strategic communications experience, in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. From internal communications to website content creation; from social media engagement to local, regional and national legacy media relations, she is an enthusiastic team member and a budget-conscious team leader. The spectrum of her client experience includes B2C and B2B, spanning tech, foodservice, hospitality, chemical, regional business development, special events, new product roll-outs and social services.
Pepper’s experience in identifying, targeting and engaging audiences is wide and deep. She also has international expertise in training and mentoring corporate spokespeople for investor meetings, presentations, media interviews and crisis communications.
Over her career, she has learned that just providing the work proficiently is not enough. Thoughtful planning to reach identified goals (on time and on budget) and the creation of targeted measurement matrices makes the work better and more meaningful.
A serial home improver and former farm girl who loves nothing more than to roll up her sleeves and get to work, Stacy helps brands dig deep by asking the right questions, exploring the options and collaborating on engagement strategies such as content marketing, social media engagement, employee and customer communications, community relations, special event creation and crisis counsel.
Stacy is a member of Vehr’s senior leadership and marketing teams and holds a certification from HubSpot in Inbound Methodology.
Before joining Vehr, Stacy served as counselor at a Cincinnati-based advertising agency and as a former executive counselor/consumer practice group lead at a local public relations firm.
Karen applies that philosophy to brands and companies: Like people, they all have a story to tell. The trick is to create messages that matter and get results. To that end, Karen is a skilled listener and researcher with significant experience working with metrics-driven clients and a former business journalist’s attention to ROI.
In addition to working for large media outlets in four states, Karen has held roles in communications for a financial corporation as well as integrated PR/advertising/marketing agencies and has overseen content strategy and execution for a global analytics company.
Two things Karen knows for certain: Look for the heart in any situation – it will provide direction. And never trust anyone who doesn’t like “Goodfellas.”
Suzanne doesn’t know what it’s like to be bored, and does everything possible to keep it that way. She thrives on being able to huddle with a team and move quickly in the face of business realities while taking the time to brainstorm the Next Big Idea with a client.
Prior to joining Vehr, Suzanne helped manage communications to support 1,000 national customers at Cintas. She developed toolkits to educate 30,000 employees; created sales presentations, branding campaigns, collateral materials and more; and managed the company’s agency partner relationships.
Suzanne moonlights as VP of Marketing Communications for American Marketing Association Cincinnati. She lives in Northern Kentucky with no plans to give up her 513 area code (she is from Westwood, after all). You can find her enjoying the local music scene and trying to keep up with two book clubs—luckily one of them is more focused on sampling rosé than on actually finishing what they read.
Samantha pays attention to the details. A perfectionist by nature and creative by spirit, she knew from a young age that she wanted to be a designer. By the age of 12, she was proficient in Photoshop, HTML and basic design technique. After years of honing her skills as a freelancer, she earned an Associates of Applied Science degree in multimedia and web design and entered the agency world.
Samantha believes that beautiful design and advertising bring unmatched value to brands and is passionate about solving her clients’ problems through thoughtful design. Her experience ranges from identity design to infographics to full-fledged advertising campaigns. Big or small, she is excited by the opportunity to create something great with every project.
Dan understands that creative, effective and efficient solutions lead to long-term success. A self-proclaimed sports junkie, music fanatic and history nerd, Dan serves clients in the consumer goods, entertainment, manufacturing, nonprofit and sports industries. His range of expertise includes content development and strategy, branding and marketing communications, media relations, social media strategy, crisis communications and special event planning and promotion.
A native of Northern Kentucky, Dan is a graduate of the University of the Cumberlands (Williamsburg, KY) with degrees in business administration and communications. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s inaugural Cincy Next program and serves on the Chamber’s Alumni Network board. In his free time, Dan serves as a coach, instructor and mentor at the Cincinnati Reds Urban Youth Academy.
In a continually-changing online world, Lindsay knows the importance of relevant, accurate, creative and diverse content. At Vehr, Lindsay is responsible for such content creation, whether in support of client programs or on behalf of the organization.
Lindsay graduated from Miami University with a degree in English Education in 2006 and again in 2010 with a Masters of Arts in Teaching. Prior to joining Vehr full-time in 2014, Lindsay worked as a middle and high public school teacher for eight years.
Lindsay heads the agency’s marketing efforts, is HubSpot Certified in Inbound Methodology and is a proud member of the American Marketing Association Cincinnati.
Prior to joining Vehr, Jackie worked in development for a large national nonprofit near Seattle, where she rallied support for the organization’s mission. Her career began in internal communications where she learned the importance and power of an informed and engaged workforce. Jackie is an active member of the Cincinnati Chapter of PRSA and serves on the Blacksmith Planning Committee. She earned her degree in public relations from Xavier University and is HubSpot Certified in Inbound Methodology.
After spending a few years away, Jackie is back in her hometown embracing every quirk and experience. From drinking good German beer to owning her own flying pig, Rosie, Jackie is excited to be a part of the city’s growth.
A Chicago native and diehard Cubs and Blackhawks fan, Sarah graduated from Lewis University with a degree in communications and minor in marketing. Prior to becoming a team member at Vehr, she interned at various companies, including HealthTrust Purchasing Group, Chicago Fire Soccer Club and JSH&A Communications, where she assisted with anything and everything from event planning to press releases and social media content. When she’s not at the Vehr office, you can find her training for her next half marathon around Mount Lookout with her giant Goldendoodle, and favorite Vehr office dog, Tigger.
As Vehr’s resident thespian, Darcy works diligently behind the scenes to ensure her clients shine in the spotlight. She works on behalf of the region’s largest public transportation provider, an internationally renowned entertainment company, a hotel management business with properties located across the U.S. and a large food producer, just to name a few.
Whether the script calls for public affairs, media relations or talking points development; social media, community relations or internal communications – Darcy has it covered. Need crisis communications support? She can help with that, too.
She is president-elect of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and a graduate of the Cincinnati YWCA Rising Star Leadership Program. Darcy earned her accreditation in public relations in March 2017.
Mikayla is a Xavier University graduate with a degree in PR and minors in business and psychology. She started at Vehr as an intern, and after graduation she joined the team as an account coordinator. Prior to joining Vehr, she interned at Just Fabulous Inc., where she monitored social media, created media stylebooks and sent apparel samples to stylists and magazines across the country.
Our Strategic Advisors, Gurus and Experts (SAGEs) support our team’s growth and development, as well our clients.
A native Cincinnatian, Neil is a graduate of Walnut Hills High School where he is currently Chair of their Alumni Foundation. He received his undergraduate and graduate (M.B.A.) degrees from Harvard University, and served as Board member and Chair of the Harvard Club of Cincinnati
Acknowledged and recognized as one of Cincinnati’s leading business and civic leaders, Neil was designated as a Great Living Cincinnati in 2006 by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber. He was inducted into the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Business Hall of Fame in 2008. He has served on the Boards of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He Co-Chaired the United Jewish Appeal and served as President of the Cincinnati Jewish Federation.
Neil received the NAIOP Life Achievement Award in 2011, the same year he was inducted into the Walnut Hills High School Hall of Fame. Neil is also a recipient of the Peace of the City Award (2002), the Spirit of Construction Award (2000), the NCCJ Outstanding Citizen Award (2000), the Cincinnati region Entrepreneur of the Year (1999), the Architectural Foundation of Greater Cincinnati Apple Award (1997) and the University of Cincinnati Distinguished Real Estate Service Award (1991).
Ed was recognized by P&G as one of the top 3 global marketers in 1999 and was awarded the Harley Procter Marketer appointment by the P&G CEO and CMO for increasing the U.S. pharmaceutical business by 190 percent in sales and 371 percent in profit contribution over a 5-year period.
As Executive Director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition from 2005 –2011, Ed led the creation of a 501 c(3) organization including establishment of the company mission, strategic direction, business procedures, and hiring of a qualified staff of performers. He led the creation of the first ever Ohio brand and national campaign targeted to C-level executives. Since initiation of the branding work, Ohio has won the national Governor’s Cup in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 for the most capital investment deals over $2,000,000.
As CEO of The Burghard Group, LLC, Ed created the Strengthening Brand America website to connect private sector brand experts, economic development professionals and students to enable knowledge transfer. The website includes a special section to help communities impacted by the shale energy industry avoid the risk of a boom-bust cycle. Ed also collaborates with Xavier University to establish the American Dream Composite Index as the new performance measure for both economic development professionals and elected officials.
Dick served as vice president of the Atlanta Braves Baseball Club. He began his career with the Milwaukee Braves in 1959 as a fulltime scout, moved to the front office in the early 60s as an Assistant Scouting Director and Assistant Farm Director, and in 1965 coordinated the move of the franchise from Milwaukee to Atlanta. For the Braves, Dick oversaw the building of the Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. In 1972, Dick coordinated the production of the Major League All Star Game.
While with the Braves, Dick became a founding member of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and served as president and chief operating officer. He co-owned, with Ted Turner, a second generation NASL franchise from 1979 to 1982. In 1984, Dick was director of the East Coast soccer venues for the Los Angeles Olympic Games Organizing Committee. He co-produced the 1986 FIFA/UNICEF World All-Star Game. In 1988 and 1994, Dick was a senior consultant to the World Cup USA 1994 Organizing Committee and served as a member of the Venue Selection Team.
Cecil and Associates has consulted with many major corporations, including Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola USA, and Eastman Kodak. For the Borden Company, Dick created, developed and implemented the National Old Timers Baseball Classic, which was held annually for nine years and was shown on network, cable and international television.
As a consultant, Dick was involved in the following: Danny Kay and Les Smith of the Seattle Mariners; USA Baseball Association; International Baseball Association; World University Games (1993); Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games (1996); Salt Lake City Olympic Committee for the Olympic Winter Games (2002); Special Olympic International Games (1999); San Antonio Sports Foundation for the United States bid for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games; Goodwill Games (1998); Cincinnati 2012 Organizing Committee for the United States bid for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games; Major League Baseball All-Star Games (1994 – 2004); Princeton University; Disney Sports; Boston Red Sox; G8 Summit Conference (2004); St. Petersburg Honda Grand Prix (2005); Jamaica Cricket 2007 Bid Committee; The Kentucky Horse Park and the 2010 FEI World Equestrian Games; and the 2012 World Choir Games.
Dick was the co-executive producer for the concerts celebrating the opening of the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle, Washington, and for the Aretha Franklin Divas Concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. He also served as Venue Director for the annual Aruba Music Festival for nine years. Currently, Dick is a partner at Dow Events, a sports marketing company that provides corporate hospitality for major sporting events throughout the world.
Eric authored a new book titled, “Diversity Conversations.” John E. Pepper, retired Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble and retired Chairman of Walt Disney, stated in his foreword, “This is an honest book, loaded with learnings and insights expressed in real-world terms.” Diversity Conversations was a Best Seller at The Dayton Book Expo.
Eric was formerly the Managing Director of Inroads Greater Cincinnati/Dayton, a training and development organization for talented minority youth. He has a Masters Degree in Planning from the University of Cincinnati, a B.A. in Business from Wright State University, where he was a member of their NCAA Division II National Championship Basketball team.
His volunteer commitments include serving on the Board of The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach for The Lakota West High School Girl’s Basketball Team.
As a hobby, Eric loves to sing and write music and has had the honor of singing the National Anthem at a Cincinnati Reds baseball game. It should not be surprising that this hobby turned into a second company, a record label called Positive Message Music, which is dedicated to improving the quality of music to which young people listen.
Chip has been active in politics for many years on the local, state and federal levels. He is the former Vice Chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and a veteran of numerous campaigns. Active on many boards, Chip serves on the Hamilton County Board of Elections, the Clermont Chamber of Commerce, the Saint Xavier Advancement Committee and is chair of the board for the National Down Syndrome Society. Chip has served on the boards of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Cincinnati Museum Center and the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority.
Prior to forming GSG, Chip was Vice President of KMK Consulting Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Keating, Muething and Klekamp, a major Cincinnati law firm. While at KMK, he led the firm’s government affairs practice. Chip also spent three and a half years at Cinergy (now Duke Energy), a large Midwestern public utility, in the areas of economic development, public strategies and community affairs.
Chip served in the administration of Ohio Governor George Voinovich as Deputy Director of the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Offices. In this capacity, he facilitated private sector expansion, retention and relocation within Ohio by coordinating tax, training, technical, legal and financial incentives offered by the state. He was also instrumental in the creation of economic development incentives, known as Ohio’s “Jobs Bills,” which lowered the cost of doing business in the State of Ohio. Chip was part of the team that created Ohio’s Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) and served on the Council for eleven years.
Chip received his B.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from the St. Louis University School of Law. He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife, Jane, and their three children.
Jim was co-founder and president of Ark Development Corporation in1996. In 1997 he co-founded Trivantis Systems as an outgrowth of Ark Development. Trivantis is a software company specializing in E-learning systems. Trivantis software called Lectora is the most popular product for doing internet based educational course development in corporations. Jim served on the Board of Directors until 2011 when he sold his shares in the company.
For more than 35 years, Jim served as an elected official in the City of Sharonville, Ohio. He won 17 elections for positions as Councilman, President of Council, Treasurer, and Auditor. One of the most notable achievements was his recommendation for the elimination of the City’s share of property taxes … the first time in the history of the State of Ohio that a city had eliminated their share of property tax. He was inducted as a “Honored Sharonville Citizen” in June 2004. Only 12 people have been inducted in 50 years. He was appointed by the President of the Ohio Senate as the first member of the State of Ohio Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) Board and served for five years.
In 2011, Jim was appointed by the President of the International Olympic Committee to the “Philatelic, Numismatic and Memorabilia Commission. He is the only American serving on this prestigious organization. He has been a collector of Olympic memorabilia since 1984 and owns the world’s largest collection of Olympic participation medals.
Jim has been a speaker at symposiums at the Olympic museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. He has attended twelve different Olympic Games and served as an Olympic Attaché for four different countries (Solomon Islands, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Cameroon).
He authored “Prized Possessions” which was published in the Olympic Review in Switzerland in 2006. He co-authored “Olympic Medals a Reference Guide” (Volume I and Volume II) and has authored six other books on Olympic medals. He has also been co-producer of the movie “Olympic Pin Collecting: A Spectator Sport” in 2001.
Jack’s work has included litigation of disputes over a variety of contracts, First Amendment issues, non-competition covenants and intellectual property disputes. He has handled dozens of cases and helped establish a very favorable body of law requiring that records be available to the public. Jack’s practice has also included libel and insurance defense litigation, as well as pre-broadcast and pre-publication review.
Jack is a talented writer and in addition to serving as the editor of the firm’s e-newsletter, InfoLaw News, he is the author of “Imagine When You’re Feeling Better,” a children’s book written to benefit “Josh Cares,” a Cincinnati charity.
Jack enjoys Notre Dame football, Cincinnati Reds baseball, and XU basketball. He has donated about eight gallons of blood through Hoxworth, although not all at once. Guilty pleasures include LaRosa’s pizza, Graeter’s ice cream and Skyline Chili. (Did we mention Jack is a Native Cincinnatian?) His real passion, however, is his family – his wife, Kathy, and four children, Katie, Joe, Ben and Ellie, who he refers to as his “greatest achievement.”
Denise brings an independent perspective that helps directors address the evolving list of board governance concerns. Typical focus areas include the annual board assessment and the board governance “tune up.” With private companies, Denise’s work often involves assisting in building a board of advisors or developing a workable family council.
Denise’s executive background is in the media field, with The E.W. Scripps Company/Scripps Networks Interactive where she was a member of the senior executive team; bringing corporate governance, legal, employee relations, management development, compliance, ethics and risk management skills to the table as the company forged a strategy for a rapidly changing business environment. After 32 years, and spinning networks to its shareholders, she retired from Scripps and founded GSG.
Rick’s career includes organizational advocacy for Planned Parenthood and the Cincinnati Opera. For many years he was the Arts and Entertainment Editor for CityBeat. Prior to that, he was an Executive Counselor and Vice President with Dan Pinger Public Relations, including serving in a contract capacity as The Jewish Hospital’s Vice President of Marketing for two years.
Whether from his position as Director of Communications for ChoiceCare in Cincinnati, General Manager of WNKU-FM or Promotion Director at WGUC-FM, or any of the other positions previously mentioned, the foundation of Rick’s career is mastery of the written and spoken word and a deep commitment to performance art as a means to bring people together. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, and his master’s and doctorate from Case Western Reserve University.
Today, Rick is Executive Editor and Publisher of Everything Sondheim, a website and nationally distributed quarterly magazine about musical theater-composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. He’s a past chair of the American Theatre Critics Association.
Rick has been recognized by the Cincinnati Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) with its highest award, by the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and as one of the “Best Arts Writers” by Cincinnati Magazine.
Through his significant business and community leadership roles, Tim is consistently recognized as a builder of exceptional and loyal teams. He translates this into being a mentor to others in both the corporate and non-profit worlds. Tim has served on the Board of Directors for E-Beam Services, a Cincinnati based manufacturing firm, since 2005.
In the past, Tim has served as Chairperson and board member of New Perceptions and on the “Leadership Cincinnati” Steering Committee. Tim also had the honor of serving as the first local President of the Association of Career Management Professionals from 1993 to 1995.
Tim is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Environmental Education and holds a Masters of Arts degree in Counseling from the University of Cincinnati. A former pastor, Tim also attended the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.
In 2004, that network encouraged Congress to pass the largest increase in funding for Africa in 40 years. As a member of ONE’s Live8 team, Carla led a delegation of 100 U.S. advocates to Edinburgh, Scotland resulting in unprecedented commitments at the 2005 Gleneagles G8 Summit. A veteran political strategist, Walker has served three Mayors, a Caucus of 12 State Senators, held leadership positions in three U.S. Presidential campaigns and has led or been involved with nearly 100 issue or candidate campaigns.
From 2005-2010, she managed the legislative, communications and outreach for the Mayor of Cincinnati as his Chief of Staff. She led several city-wide initiatives including Census 2012, the Next Leader Summit, OPEN Cincinnati, Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence and Operation Hospitality which re-framed the city’s approach to large conferences.
In 2010, she launched think BIG strategies, a management consultancy firm that creates and executes strategic plans for clients drawing on her expertise in government relations, communications and community engagement.
She has been recognized by the Cincinnati Enquirer as one of the “Top 30 African American Leaders” in Cincinnati; by Soapbox Magazine as “One of the Top 10 Women to Watch” in Cincinnati; and by E’LON Couture Magazine as one of the 2011 “Top 50 Thought Leaders.” She gives back to her community by serving in leadership roles for a number of local non-profits boards and at the National Board of Directors for Sister Cities International which oversees the twinning relationships between US cities and their nearly 2,000 city relationships around the world.
Ralf is a globally recognized leader in intercultural brand transfer (helping companies to enter new geographic markets) and in the development of the Brand Strategic Evaluation Process (B|SEP) in collaboration with the Institut für Markenkommunikation (IMK Brand Communication Institute) in Berlin. B|SEP identifies the uniqueness of a brand (corporate or product) in its home market and determines how it is best transferred into new target markets.
For more than two decades, Ralf has a proven track record in international projects in different industries and with varied businesses on a European, transatlantic and Asian basis. Clients include Texas Instruments, Dana Automotive, Caterpillar Logistics, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, ATX Telematics, GLS thermoplastic elastomers, Shimadzu laboratory technology, and Japan Stent Technology.
From 2001 to 2003, Ralf Weber served as European IPREX President, a global network of 70+ communication agencies. From 2003 to 2005, he served as IPREX President Worldwide. From 2005 to 2009, Ralf was ex officio member of the Board expanding the IPREX network to South America. From 2009 to 2013, he served in the Global Business Committee. m/e is currently a member of IPREX.
Ralf is member of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and the Marketing-Club Düsseldorf. He is an appointed member of Düsseldorf Chamber’s Foreign Trade Council.
At Essen University, Ralf Weber achieved a Master of Arts degree in Communication Science, German Literature and Linguistics.