New world of public affairs

By: Scott Collins

Allen Fore, who headed up the public relations campaign that won PR Week’s 2009 Public Affairs Campaign of the Year, was the featured speaker at a seminar hosted by Texas State University Wednesday morning. The session was held in the fourth floor auditorium of the LBJ Student Center as part of the university sponsored Mass Communication Week.
Prior to becoming the director of community relations for Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Fore was a Senior Vice President at the international communications company, Fleishman-Hillard. He also has over 20 years of experience in government and politics at the local, state, and national levels.
His most recent, and arguably most significant, accomplishment was managing the comprehensive public affairs program for the Rockies Express Pipeline (REX), for which his group won the PR Week award.
The REX project is a $6.7 billion, 1,679 mile natural gas pipeline that spans across eight states, from Colorado to Ohio, and has been dubbed “The King of Pipelines”.
During the presentation, Fore focused on the importance of transparency and its effect on a public affairs campaign.
“No one can say they don’t know anything about this project,” said Fore. “It’s the most transparent project I’ve ever seen in the history of the energy business.”
Fore explained that educating all the audiences involved, including the landowners, government figures, regulatory agencies, community groups, businesses, and the media, was one of his groups’ major goals. He also emphasized that public expressions of support from various outlets are crucial to success.
“Elected officials and the media are very important in this process,” said Fore. “So don’t wait for them to come to you, go to them, sit down and explain it to them one on one, invite them out to see (what you’re planning).”
Fore also showed examples of how the traditional forms of media, such as websites, videos, brochures, handouts, and fact sheets, were used to disseminate information about the REX project. To watch the Rockies Express Pipeline PR video click here.
He explained how his group understood that the public demands accountability, corporate social responsibility, and consideration for the environment, and that the REX Pipeline needed to ensure it did so. The PR Week award is an indication of that.
“I think the industry will see that the kind of things we did, the transparency, the pro-activeness, getting out in front of things, bringing people to you, is a model that many energy companies are going to use in the future,” said Fore.
Photo provided by Allen Fore

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