Ronnie Simpson

Experience:

U. S. Dept. of Homeland Security-FEMA, New Orleans, LA 2005-Present
Manager, Community Outreach 2008-Present
Serve as liaison with community leaders while ascertaining community issues, needs and concerns for enhancing organizational reputation through strategic communications, public awareness and community relations activities. Develop strategic plans for communicating complicated messages to a variety of audiences. Leading a large team of employees in various locations, provide coaching and support strong interpersonal skill and the ability to work with people at all levels. Provide briefings to congressional staff, state legislators and local officials on sensitive issues. Conduct media interviews to educate the public about complex federal programs. Effectively use analytical skills to quickly evaluate complex situations determine key issues and messages and implement the programs for corrective actions. Utilize strong management skills, including financial planning, project management, planning and budgeting for the department, and oversee quarterly monitoring and reporting of department performance. Create media and community relations programs to build and maintain ongoing relationships with highly influential audiences. Manage large staff in coordinating statewide public outreach and education programs.

Manager, External Affairs/Spokesperson, New Orleans, LA 2005-2008
Conducted successful public affairs and outreach as a spokesperson and manager for Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike disaster areas. Served as primary contact between FEMA and local media outlets, and acted as advisor to senior officials on media relations. Established and maintained effective working relationships with local, regional and national news media representatives and assisted each in developing stories/articles and arranging interviews with senior officials or acting as spokesperson in their absence. Served as federal government liaison to local governments during disasters. Developed strategic plans for communicating complicated messages to a variety of audiences. Protect the organization’s reputation through strategic and consistent messaging in crisis situations to mitigate impact on the mission. Carried out flawless media events for Prince Charles’ visit to New Orleans, receiving praise from His Highness’ personal staff for leadership and professionalism, and given responsibilities by U.S. State Department personnel to coordinate two successful media stops for The King of Jordan. Conducted advance work and planned events for cabinet and sub-cabinet level federal official visits. Managed and mentored personnel on teams of up to 15 employees.  

CommtechESP, New Orleans, LA  2004-2005(ended by Katrina)
Project Management Consultant
Managed region-wide technology implementation project. Coordinated company’s marketing, material development and creation in both print and website. Worked to improve customer relations by serving as customer liaison. Maintained accounts payable and receivables.

NewSouth Communications, New Orleans, LA 2000-2004
Manager, Data Services 2000-2004
Managed technical provisioning group, high technology service call center and internal/external customer help desk with budget and expenditures of $4.2 million. Provided problem resolution and customer service escalations. Served as departmental Resource Manager, whose duties included human resources, leadership development, procurement, process streamlining and problem escalation. Documented processes and procedures for Data Services group. Composed, built and maintained intranet page to assist selling of data products.

Manager, Public Relations, New Orleans, LA 2000
Worked with management throughout the company to develop public relations tactics and special events to achieve goals in individual markets and to protect and enhance the organization’s reputation. Represented the company with community organizations in fundraising, strategic planning and public relations. Identified editorial opportunities and implemented media relations efforts, including press releases, trend articles, pitch-letters and personal communication with the media in order to generate positive media exposure. Lead the risk assessment and strategic plan to support implementation of media, community and stakeholder relations plan for major projects and to achieve local support and minimize the impact on project success.

Stewart Enterprises, Inc., New Orleans, LA               
Media Relations Specialist 1997-2000
Developed and implemented strategic plans to communicate company news to external audiences for maximum exposure of programs, polices and information of public concern. Coordinated responses to media inquiries and monitored news coverage. Arranged media interviews and prepared media releases. Developed and nurtured both new and existing relationships with media. Conducted research and prepared briefing documents. Worked cross organizationally to develop specific positioning and messages that result in positive coverage and reviews.

Political  and Media Consultant  
Various Campaigns 1995-1996
Campaign Consultant- Campaign for Mayor Greg Marcantel

Press Secretary- Peggy Wilson for U.S. Senate
Field Coordinator- Phil Gramm for President
Campaign Manager- Greg Marcantel for Lt. Governor

Developed and implemented campaign, political and media strategy. Acted as spokesperson and successfully implemented earned media strategy. Conducted statewide media tours, media events and press conferences. Wrote press releases, newsletters and talking points, and worked closely with members of the press from around the state on a daily basis. Wrote direct mail pieces, and developed and coordinated grassroots/volunteer organization. Build positive relationships with members of the media, and stakeholders.

Honors & Achievements:

  • Fellow in the Institute of Politics at Loyola University New Orleans.
  • Federal Government Operations Liaison for evacuation and re-entry of New Orleans during Hurricane Gustav.
  • Designated Federal Government Liaison for Greater New Orleans area for hurricanes and other potential disasters
  • Federal Government Operations Liaison for Mississippi River/ Atchafalaya River Basin Flood of 2011, working in the State of Louisiana Emergency Operations Center (FEMA Operations Chair) and politically hostile parish flood prevention operations
  • Extensive training in management and leadership, media relations, crisis communications, political campaigning, public information, crisis management, Incident Command Systems and National Incident Management System.
  • Volunteer and lend advice to local campaigns and business leaders in order to elect qualified candidates to office.

Education:

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
B.A., Political Science

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