Public Relations

What We Do

Pennsylvania Public Relations Society is a professional society dedicated to enhancing professional growth within the public relations field. No matter what industry or type of organization you serve as a public relations professional — corporation, non-profit, association, government, agency or sole practitioner — being a PPRS member can benefit you!

Pennsylvania Public Relations Society Members


PPRS has more than 150 active public relations professionals throughout Central Pennsylvania. Our members represent various types of organizations with expertise in all facets of public relations.

PPRS has been providing professional development to members since its inception in 1950.

Pennsylvania Public Relations Society Meeting

Society Meetings

PPRS meetings are generally held the last Thursday of each month with the exception of July, August, October and December. All meetings include a networking opportunity and a meal, followed by a professional development program featuring a guest speaker who is a leader in public relations or a related field.

The society’s annual Evening of Honors is held in November, during which new officers are installed and the Ernest R. McDowell Award for Excellence in Public Relations and the Robert M. Fisher Membership Recruitment Award are presented.

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Christine Cronkright
Internal Communications Manager,
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Vice President
Nance McCown
Professor and Co-Chair, Department of Communication, Messiah University
Joelle Shea
Corporate Communications Manager,
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Keri Oram
Committee Leads
Awards & Installation
Megan Earley
Milton Hershey School
Joseph Aponick
Retired, Freelance
Kristin Kellum
Duck Donuts
Database Transition
Ruth Miller
Katelyn McNally
Bravo Group
Erin Zakin
Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC
Scholarship & Student Development
Beth Ann McCoy
McCoy Communications
Angela Sweigart
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Special Events
Leslie Gervasio
PA State Association of Boroughs
Tricia Harris
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry
Nominating & Professional Standards
Carolyn Simpson
PA Commission for Community Colleges
Erin Waters-Trasatt
Larissa Bedrick
American Heart Association
Barry Ciccocioppo
Pennsylvania Department of Health
Roger Baumgarten
Roger That Photography

Ernest R. McDowell Award for Excellence in Public Relations

Information about the 2021 Nominations will be posted here in mid-summer 2021.

The Ernest R. McDowell Award was established by PPRS in 1991 to recognize an individual for sustained excellence in the field of public relations, in both the profession itself and the community.

The award is presented in memory of the late Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Relations with Capital Health System – today’s PinnacleHealth System. Ernie set the standard for professionalism and community service with his good works and lifetime example.

The McDowell Award is presented at the society’s Annual Meeting and Evening of Honors.

Past Award Recipients

  • 1991 – Ernest R. McDowell
  • 1992 – Robert M. Fisher
  • 1993 – Frederick E. Leuschner
  • 1994 – Nicholas J. Goble
  • 1995 – Kenneth L. Bowers
  • 1996 – Robert E. Hetherington
  • 1997 – Betty C. Hungerford
  • 1998 – George H. Geise
  • 1999 – William T. Lunsford, Jr.
  • 2000 – David E. Sill (posthumously)
  • 2001 – Elizabeth Van Wye
  • 2002 – Kathy A. Silks
  • 2003 – Susan L. Anthony
  • 2004 – Deborah Saline, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2005 – Robert S. Saline, APR, Fellow PRSA
  • 2006 – Tony May
  • 2007 – Albert Mason, APR
  • 2008 – Kenneth G. Robinson
  • 2009 – Rob Rutz
  • 2010 – Denise Calabrese
  • 2011 – John Maietta
  • 2012 – Crystal Hull, ABC
  • 2013 – Mark Shull
  • 2014 – Tamara L. Gillis, Ed.D, ABC, IABC Fellow
  • 2015 – Kathy Burrows
  • 2016 – Nance McCown, PhD
  • 2017 – Lori Baker Pizzarro
  • 2018 – Cheryl Slavinsky
  • 2019 – Jason Kirsch, APR
  • 2020 – Roger Baumgarten

Robert M. Fisher Membership Recruitment Award

Membership is the lifeblood of any successful organization. Without a continual flow of new members, PPRS will not achieve its purpose, as outlined in the constitution and bylaws when the society was founded in 1950.

PPRS has been fortunate in regularly attracting public relations professionals who wish to improve their skills, help elevate the standards of the profession, stay current on trends in the field and engage other colleagues in the field.

The most important source of new members is the membership itself –current members are all recruiters for the society. Consequently, in 2003, PPRS instituted the Robert M. Fisher Membership Recruitment Award in recognition of the acknowledged leader in recommending new members over many years.

The award is presented at the society’s Annual Meeting and Evening of Honors in November.

Past Award Recipients

  • 2003 – Robert M. Fisher
  • 2004 – Denise R. Calabrese
  • 2005 – Stacy Henninger
  • 2006 – Stephanie Weyant
  • 2007 – Joan Nissley
  • 2008 – Suzanne Graney
  • 2009 – Joan Nissley
  • 2010 – Jennifer Kocher
  • 2011 – Joan Nissley
  • 2012 – Maria Finn
  • 2013 – Joan Nissley
  • 2014 – Joan Nissley
  • 2015 – Quinn Bryner
  • 2016 – Christine Conkright, Eric Kiehl and Joan Nissley
  • 2017 – Crystal Hull, ABC, MPA
  • 2018 – Joelle Shea
  • 2019 – Christine Cronkright
  • 2020 – Erin Waters-Trasatt