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She Means Business

she means business_June blogRecently I had the privilege of listening to and gleaning from a panel of three business owners in Kern County, all who have one thing in common: their gender. All three are females who have spearheaded their businesses here in Kern for many years. As a young twenty-something, this is not abnormal for me to see or experience; women owning and running their own businesses. But I know it is unusual for many who grew up in a generation where women in the U.S. were considered of lesser-value, and treated as such. I won’t dive into that discussion, but it was a reality that dominated our American culture and still is an undercurrent in our society while influencing much of our world today.

I am encouraged and challenged by women who choose to lead the way in their field with passion as their fuel. Women who are born leaders, but have learned what it takes to lead by example with integrity and passion. They understand the level of commitment and drive that it takes to make a dream reality, even in this often times disheartening society. This is what I see in the three women who were a part of the “Female-owned Businesses” panel at our recent Alliance of Women in Energy luncheon—Tracy Leach, Owner of Providence Strategic Consulting, Inc. and Dagny Energy Group, Robin Brassfield-Cooper, Owner of Robin’s Envirovac, and Karen Martinez, Owner of Antrox Engineering, Inc. All three women live, work and play in Kern County but they also have something else in common—their love of working in the energy industry.

Tracy owns our public affairs firm, which assists businesses and organizations with strategic public outreach and communications, a lot of that business coming from the energy sector. She said she loves setting goals for our clients and achieving them, as well as building relationships with many amazing people in our community. Tracy is one of the hardest working people I know; she epitomizes hard work (full disclosure: I work here!). She said it herself, balance is hard to find. She attributes her struggle with balance to her drive and desire to satisfy our clients. But amidst the constant deadlines and client expectations, she manages to keep her sense of humor and let things roll.

Robin’s company has been assisting in oil field maintenance for about 16 years. She says their goal is, “Focusing on working safe and maintaining a clean safe work record.” As Robin spoke, I sensed her love for what she does and those that she works with. I also sensed the love and respect those in the room have for her. It was evident that she’s made a positive mark on Kern County and the business community. She is a woman that is well-respected. When asked what one thing she would have done differently when starting out, she replied “pursue my education.” Although Robin jumped into the workforce at a young age and now has an extremely successful business, she sees the importance and value of higher education. Robin embodies the passion and commitment needed to overcome obstacles along the way.

Karen owns Antrox Engineering, named after her two children, Anthony and Roxanne (adorable, right?). Karen is a consulting electrical engineer who specializes in electrical design for commercial, institutional, retail and industrial facilities, architectural lighting, solar plans, industrial control system design and programming, and renewable energy projects. This woman stays busy and seems to have a brain that functions on a whole other level from the average individual! She is brilliant, and her satisfied clients can attest to that. Karen quickly became someone that I respect and would trust as a consultant, someone that has the expertise as well as integrity.

When asked how to overcome the potential barriers that can stand in the way of being a woman and owning your own business, all three women agreed: “Work hard and prove yourself. That is what matters. When people see the hard work and a job well done, you will be respected and taken seriously.” Tracy, Robin and Karen lead three of an estimated 9.1 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that produce more than $1.4 trillion in revenues, according to the 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, commissioned by American Express OPEN. I hope to see many more female-owned businesses sprout up all around Kern County and beyond in the years to come and I am assured that there are many women who are currently paving the way for generations of future businesswomen.

“Small business isn’t for the faint of heart; it’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer.” – Anonymous

By Julie Bell, Office Manager/Project Coordinator

Business Crises – “What, Me Worry?”

crisis averted_May blogOnly teenagers think, “That’ll never happen to me”….right? As mature businessmen and women you have fully protected your business, brand and reputation with a clear Crisis Communications Plan in place, your top executives are media trained and you won’t ever get caught unprepared by an accident, emission, employee misbehavior or lawsuit. Uh huh. Or not.

Think of all the eventualities you have prepared for within your business from budgeting to safety to succession plans. But how equipped are you for one of the above medium to major disasters?

If you encounter any of these crises, what impression will be left of your company by your customers, employees, public, media and regulators?

We have entered multiple crises with clients and preparation is the key to protecting your business. How you respond can make the difference between continuing success and a disastrous financial nosedive.

So what can you do to make sure your company is ready for a really bad day/week/month?

  • Create even a simple plan that you will follow in case of an emergency;
  • Define and list contact information for your management team, public relations professional and legal counsel;
  • Identify a single spokesperson – and their backup – ahead of time. How prepared are these individuals for media encounters? Media training will help you prepare;
  • Review and update the plan regularly

Need help? Call us. We can help you prepare and support your company during difficult litigation, activist opposition, job site accidents or other crises.

Stuff happens. How you respond will distinguish the great companies from the mediocre.

What the #hashtag?

Social media is still a very confusing and superfluous concept for many. What is the point of it? Do I need it? Won’t it be easier without it? And… What on earth is a hashtag?

What the hashtag?For most businesses today, the question isn’t why, but how. The use of social media has become wildly popular with people of all generations and the reality is your business will likely suffer without it. We aren’t picking up and scouring the Yellow Pages. We’re getting on Facebook, searching Yelp, checking our photos on Instagram and polling our friends on Twitter to find the best restaurant, automotive shop, gym, law firm, you name it. It’s great you have a website, but if you aren’t at least on Facebook, we’re moving on.

With the Internet and social media having an obvious impact on how we do business, your online presence essentially becomes your business card. In fact, it takes just seven seconds for a person to form an opinion of someone and 93% of that comes from your image. Therefore we need to be conscious of what we put out there in cyberspace for all to see.

Here are a few things to remember if you or your business is on social media:

  1. Remember that what you post is there…forever. You may have deleted it, but the cyberspace world saves it all.
  2. Be consistent! Having a vacant or underutilized social media page is just as bad as not having one at all. Make yourself a calendar item, set an alarm, do what you have to do in order to engage with your audience and keep your page up to date.
  3. Always respond to comments, questions and concern from your followers. Be humble, address the issue and do what you can to make it right. This, I assure you, will not go unnoticed.
  4. Find ways to engage with people offline. Use your social media platforms to build your real life relationships, find new customers and network.
  5. Get help! Social media can be overwhelming and time consuming for some. Ignoring this key business tool is not the answer. A firm like ours can step in, get you set up and keep you relevant while you remain focused on your customers and clients.

Oh, and the hashtag? It’s just a search term preceded by the # symbol. It allows you to search for common topics and start specific conversations. When you add a # to beginning of a word or phrase, you’re essentially “tagging” it. Don’t hashtag alone, let us help.

Surviving the World of Public Relations

The world of Public Relations can be a scary place. Tasks can come from every direction in PR, which makes it important to have a game plan. Here are three tips that will help you survive the world of PR:

1. Buckle Up! PR is a rollercoaster
Public Relations is unpredictable. Some days will fly by without you ever knowing, while other days may make you want to curl up under your desk in the fetal position. It comes with the territory and you’re just going to have to roll with the punches. A big project may feel like going 12 rounds with a heavyweight, but you’ll feel great when it’s all over! Ask questions – it can help alleviate the burden of an imposing task. Remember, there are no stupid questions, unless you’ve asked them already. By that definition most of my questions are stupid.

2. Always double check that social media post!
It can be difficult to hold back how you really feel about a situation, whether it involves a disagreement with your boss or how bad your co-worker’s taste in music is, but try and refrain from posting anything on social media – you’ll thank yourself for it later! Anything you post on the internet is capable of following you for the rest of your life. Remember that spelling and grammer is important. No one is going to take your rant seriously if you spell like a second grader. The same can be said for tweeting at appropriate times. People aren’t going to enjoy being tagged in your tweet at 2 a.m. This is a great way to lose a follower!

3. Stretch, eat, laugh
Make your day in the office less daunting by breaking it up. Get up and stretch, practice yoga, run with theMarch Blog bulls, the possibilities are endless. Find a reasonable pace between that of the tortoise and the hair to avoid getting burnt out too quickly at work and to actually get things done! And much like how athletes need to take a break after a quarter or period, you can refresh while you’re at lunch. Having to stay and eat lunch at work every day could be the definition of cruel and unusual punishment. Lastly, remember to have some HR approved fun at work. You’ll appreciate your job more and your relationships with your coworkers will grow.

Not Your Grandma’s Christmas Blog

Christmas shopping can be described in one word: hectic. While it’s amazing to make someone’s jaw drop Christmas morning, the process can test your patience, will and love for your fellow human beings. So skip those crowded stores this year and buy online or at the very least, go in with a plan. If you’re having trouble coming up with gift ideas, feel free to take something off our Christmas lists:

Let’s start with Tracy’s list! She would like…boxing gloves? Oh, to fend off the activists – of course. Tracy also asked for a nice bottle of wine to ease her husband’s pain after each and every Raider’s game. Rounding out the list are flowers for her desk. You know, for those who want to bond with something that doesn’t have a life outside of work either. I wish my desk had flowers, they would hold down the fort after I get fired for that comment.

On the morning of Christmas, Julie would like to wake up to a never ending supply of Dr. Pepper and french fries. I’m pretty sure that isn’t in the budget. What may be in the budget however, are a couple tickets to a Taylor Swift concert. Hmm, she also mentioned a broken drum – we’ll go with that. You just can’t beat it!

For Christmas, Rachel would like a new camera to capture all of her baby’s firsts. She would also like a fruitcake, not to feed to the baby, but to re-gift later down the road. In retrospect, maybe the baby would like fruitcake – somebody has to, right? And lastly she would like a cheese and crackers cutting board, because when the party is stale, you got to get it crackin’!

I almost forgot about myself, who more than anything would like to go a festive season without hearing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” I would also ask for some hockey gear, surely to survive the onslaught of office supplies thrown at me for this blog post. But most importantly, I want a Golden Ticket, because nobody on this planet has the resources to fund my sweet tooth.


Well, there you have it – a collection of what our office wants for Christmas. Be bold this season and give the gift everyone will remember. Just make sure to avoid the naughty list. Merry Christmas!

– Steven Gaede

London’s Brilliant Minds and the West Coast’s Oil & Gas Experts Collide: The West Coast Oil & Gas Industry Summit & Awards Gala

Picture the Oscars in all its glitzy glory. Now, replace those film industry gurus with the most senior execs and experts within the west coast oil & gas industry, dumping them into the heart of downtown Bakersfield, California on a cool October night dressed in their absolute finest. Bring in the brilliant, British event team responsible for the entire production, and you have the West Coast Oil & Gas Industry Summit and Awards Gala.

TIMG_0355he Oil & Gas Awards are a nationwide initiative that champion best practice in oil & gas producing regions with a specific focus on Environmental Stewardship, Health & Safety and Corporate Social Responsibility as well as over innovation. The Awards are a platform for the industry to demonstrate and celebrate their advances in these key areas. The Awards are judged by over 110 Senior Executives from leading Oil Exploration & Production and Midstream companies.

“This should be as important to California as the Academy Awards or more so. That’s how important your industry is,” said Senator Jean Fuller, 18th District California State Senate. Senator Fuller was the keynote speaker where she gave the attendees an inspiring address at that evening’s Awards Gala.

The Oil & Gas Industry Summit was birthed out of the significant success of the Awards Gala, the unique affair that has become the must-attend industry event. The daytime summit included many industry speakers, including Assemblywoman Connie Conway and Senator Andy Vidak.

Dagny Energy Group (DEG) had the unique privilege of being the Gold Sponsor for this year’s Oil & Gas Summit & Awards Gala held right here in Bakersfield. DEG was their Public Relations firm of choice and we thoroughly enjoyed our involvement in the weeks leading up to the event.

News Desk

PSCI Travels North for a Look at Fresno’s First ‘Duopoly’

In August, a representative from Providence Strategic Consulting had the privilege of getting an “inside look” at Fresno’s Duopoly at an event put on by the Central California Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. The duopoly is comprised of KSEE (Channel 24) and KGPE (Channel 47). A “duopoly” is a situation in which two suppliers dominate the market for a commodity or service. In this case, Texas-based Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc. acquired the two channels to function under the same ownership, shoveling out millions of dollars for the purchase. Fresno is the 26th US market where Nexstar holds a duopoly, also holding one in the Bakersfield market, owning both the NBC/CW and Telemundo affiliated stations.

Control Room

News Director, Chad McCollum walking the group through the control room

Nexstar invested about $6 million in the new building located at the McKinley Media Center in Fresno, California, making it the most state-of-the-art broadcasting station in the market. They invested in an avid digital newsroom, new programming, staffing, meteorologists, reporters and much more.

How are they going to differentiate and win with two brands? They say “hyperlocal” is the standard for both stations. They will have completely separate anchor teams, meteorologists, producers, production teams, and distinct branding and strategy. They will share sportscasters, traffic updates, photographers and support departments.

News Desk

Providence Strategic Consulting Project Coordinator, Julie Bell, posing at the KSEE 24 news desk with fellow tour member from Fresno State

KSEE 24- News that Matters has a strong bend toward delivering news that digs deeper into the details of the story. KSEE focuses on stories that relate to family, safety, health, money, community, faith, education and agriculture; things that matter to the community at large.

KGPE 27 is the duopoly’s Eyewitness News channel; breaking news first wherever it happens. KGPE focuses on delivering news that is active, visual and live.

News Room

The KGPE 27 Eyewitness news room

The Nextstar purchase naturally brought with it many changes within the personnel at the McKinley Media Center. Many employees left with the news of a Duopoly. Although very different, news broadcasting and Public Relations work closely together, and it has been publicized that many people are leaving news to work in public relations. Fresno reporter, Matt Otstot, left his job as a reporter to take a public relations position at the Children’s Hospital of California. In an article written by TV Spy, Otstot states, “Leaving is bittersweet, but it’s a combination of the right opportunity with the right time in my life.” One of his former fellow coworkers, on-air talent Zara Arboleda, also left her job in news for the role of Public Relations Manager for the same Children’s Hospital. Former KMPH reporter, Clayton Clark, also decided to trade in his reporter’s notebook for a job in public relations at a local hospital in Fresno.

Interview Couch

Providence Strategic Consulting Project Coordinator, Julie Bell, having fun on the interview couch in the KSEE 24 news room

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Fresno’s state-of-the-art broadcasting station, and look forward to our future involvement with the Fresno market and the Central California Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America!

Visit KSEE and KGPE website

Visit PRSA Central California Chapter website


Does ‘public relations’ confuse you? Often times we are approached about what it is that we do exactly, and whether or not public relations is a necessity for your project or your business. Our answer, of course, is YES. But why?

Indy Knife vs GunBecause we know your audience and how to communicate with them effectively! And whether you’re developing a new project requiring permitting or running a business that carries obvious risk potential – you only get one chance to make a first impression.

While the “public” part of PR encompasses things like, government affairs, media relations, press conferences and community outreach, most of what we do is behind-the-scenes. We are passionate about our clients and we get deep into the trenches with you to truly understand your project and your goals. Then we figure out how best to communicate – your often technical and complex issues – to the community, the media and the decision makers.

When elected officials decide the fate of your project, public opinion is critical! But who’s defining you to the public? Is it the media? Professional opposition groups? The neighbors surrounding the project? Your competitors? It should be you along with the most credible and influential people in the community.

When crises occur, are you prepared to respond effectively? Have you laid the groundwork, developed a Crisis Communications Plan and put professionals in place?

If you plan on doing business here in Kern County, it is imperative that you have people on your team who are very familiar with the region, the people, the politics and possess a long track record of success.

If you already do business in Kern County, it is equally imperative that you have a professional team and a plan in place to respond effectively in a crisis. As your clients and customers observe you during an emergency – in today’s SOCIAL Media and SAFETY-focused culture – how you respond could literally make or break your business.

As natives of California’s energy capital we are adept and experienced at working with clients not only in the oil & gas industries but in water, mining, land development, solar power and other vital businesses.

Protect your investment. Guard your reputation. We will position you for success by ensuring that you communicate just as effectively as you operate.