By Rick Griffin

SDX, formerly the San Diego Ad Club, has announced the finalists for its 2016 Brand Diego Awards, recognizing outstanding San Diego brands and marketing and advertising professionals who build those brands. Winners will be announced Thursday at the McMillin Event Center at Liberty Station.

This year’s finalists include:

  • Agency of the Year — BASIC, Grizzly, MeringCarson, Mindgruve
  • Agency Professional of the Year — Adrian Escude of BusinessOnline, Josh Roush of Movetic, Kerry Krasts of MeringCarson, Sara Brooks of Covet PR
  • Business-to-Business Brand of the Year — AMN Healthcare, Amobee, Rowlbertos Media
  • Business-to-Consumer Brand of the Year — JLab Audio, San Diego County Credit Union, San Diego County Fair, Sycuan Casino
  • Non-Profit Brand of the Year — Better Business Bureau of San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties, Ocean Connectors, San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus
  • Brand Professional of the Year — Carmella Spencer, consultant, Paul Drohan of Mirum, Robert Knauf of Rowlbertos Media
  • Community Partner Award — Civilian, Power Digital Marketing, Tower33 Digital
  • Emerging Brand of the Year — FRED San Diego, GigTown, HoleOut
  • Hispanic Marketing Professional of the Year — Doug Buckley of Univision Radio, Robert Knauf of Rowlbertos, Rodrigo Calderon of Grizzly, Tayde Aburto of Hispanic Chamber of E-Commerce
  • Industry Affiliate of the Year — Emagine Digital, Neyenesch Printers, Rowlbertos Media
  • Marketing Employer of the Year –Amobee, Tower33 Digital, Zeeto Media
  • Media Company of the Year — Cox Media, Hookit, Rowlbertos Media, The San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Young Achiever Award — Caitlin Burch of Local Media San Diego, Josh Irvine of Kameleon Advertising, Natalie Wayte of Mindgruve

Now in its fourth, the Brand Diegos drew 85 nominations. To RSVP, visit

Local PR Pros Discuss PR Strategies for Election Winners, Losers

The Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego/Imperial Counties chapter will host “2016 Elections: PR Winners and Losers,” a program discussing effective and not-so-effective political communications practices and strategies implemented recently on the local, state and national level, on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the San Diego County Operations Center, 5500 Overland Ave., Room 120, in Kearny Mesa..

Panel speakers will include political consultants from both sides of the aisle, including:

  • Ryan Clumpner, consultant and former chief of staff for Assemblywoman Marie Waldron and campaign manager for Carl DeMaio’s San Diego 2012 mayoral campaign
  • Jason Roe, partner, Revolvis, who served as a senior advisor to Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential run and as deputy campaign manager in Mitt Romney’s 2008 campaign
  • Bill Wachob, partner, The Campaign Group, Inc., who advised on Congressional campaigns for Loretta Sanchez and Linda Sanchez
  • Maryanne Pintar, district chief of staff, Congressman Scott Peters

Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. Cost to attend is $35 for PSAR members, $45 for non-members and $30 for students. Lunch will be served. For information and to RSVP, visit

Grant Barrett

Calling All Word Nerds to ‘Spelling Bee for Grownups’

The San Diego Press Club will host its inaugural “Spelling Bee for Grownups” starting at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 16, at the San Diego Central Library, Neil Morgan Auditorium, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown San Diego. The public is invited to attend. Cost to participate as a speller is $10 per person. There is no cost to attend and watch.

Selecting the words will be Peter Sokoloski, editor at large, Merriam-Webster, Inc. Judges will include Grant Barrett, host of the “A Way With Words” radio show, and Misty Jones, director, San Diego Public Library. Advance registration is requested. For information, visit

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the San Diego Press Club, San Diego Council on Literacy and the San Diego Public Library.

(W)right On Communications Adds Four Staff Members board

(W)right On Communications, a Solana Beach public relations firm, has added four new team members to its staff. They include: Aisha Belagam, communications strategist; Collin Chappelle, video producer; Phelan Riessen, lead developer;  and Teronda Williams, marketing and administrative coordinator.

Belagam previously worked for Vitality Medical and Vitro Agency. Chappelle’s experience has included previously projects with Coca-Cola, the U.S. Marine Corps, Amway and NASCAR. Riessen has been involved in various technology and business events, including RefreshSD, March Mingle and Startup Week. Williams was previously with La Vida del Mar, XETV-TV/CW6 San Diego and the Rock Church.

The agency, founded by Julie Wright in 1998, has offices in San Diego and Vancouver.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.