Here's a surprise:
Blake Rutherford, son of Skip, who needs little introduction, is moving from his job as a Wright firm lawyer to the world of public relations, as public affairs director for Stone Ward. Full release on the jump.
Blake Rutherford, attorney with Wright, Lindsey and Jennings law firm, has been named Director of Public Affairs at Stone Ward, Little Rock-based advertising agency. The newly-created practice will expand Stone Ward?s public relations division led by Director of Public Relations Brenda Scisson.
Stone Ward President Millie Ward said Rutherford?s new position is effective September 5.
Rutherford will provide strategic public affairs and public policy counsel, corporate responsibility, constituency relations, government relations and crisis and issues management support. Ward said Rutherford?s governmental relations and public policy expertise is a good fit for the agency as it aggressively pursues business development opportunities both inside and outside Arkansas.
"With Arkansas' vibrant political and global marketing climate, we feel this is the perfect time for us to establish a public affairs consultancy. Blake Rutherford's expertise as an attorney at one of the state's leading law firms, his national connections with governmental and political leaders and passion for public policy make him a natural to head our practice," Ward said.
Scisson echoed Ward's sentiments, adding that finding the right professional was key to the agency's decision to establish the practice. "I'm convinced that in Blake Rutherford we have found the right professional to establish and grow a public affairs practice. I've had the recent opportunity to work with Blake on civic projects and have been impressed by his political savvy, his community interest and wide-spread connections and his love of Arkansas. This will be a major benefit to our clients, which in the past have not been able to receive this type of specialized support from us," Scisson said.
Rutherford has been at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings for three years, joining the firm after receiving his J.D. degree from the University of Arkansas. He is a member of the committee to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Central High School Crisis, a member of the Arkansas Bar Association Lawyers for Literacy Committee, and the ABA's Legislative Task Force, Legal Service Committee and has co-chaired the ABA's Membership Committee.
He was featured in the March issue of Arkansas Times as one of eight young Arkansans "doing extraordinary things." He helped establish the Movies In The Park program in 2005 for the City of Little Rock. Rutherford graduated from Middlebury College in 2000 and is a graduate of Central High School in Little Rock.
"I look forward to redirecting my legal background toward a more specialized focus. I am fortunate to have been given a tremendous opportunity to work with Wright, Lindsey and Jennings these past three years. Stone Ward provides me the opportunity to hone my skills more succinctly in the areas of governmental relations, issues management and public affairs, areas where my passion runs deepest," Rutherford said
With Rutherford's addition, Scisson said Stone Ward now offers the full gammit of public relations services -- reputation management, crisis management, issues management, publicity, employee engagement, event marketing and now, public affairs.
"Now our PR offerings are complete," Scisson said. In addition to Scisson and Rutherford, Stone Ward's PR division includes Bob Steel, Media Relations Consultant; Joe Holmes, Senior Counselor specializing in employee engagement; Andrea Morrissey, Senior PR Account Executive; Charles Crowson, Account Executive; Kila Owens, Associate Account Executive; and Kyle Riley, Account Coordinator.
Stone Ward is headquartered in the River Market District in downtown Little Rock. In addition, it has offices in Boston and Chicago. Larry Stone is CEO and Executive Creative Director. The agency employs approximately 60 persons and has annual billings in the $50 million range.