PRSA Colorado’s ‘Business Person of the Year’ Threatens to Break KMGH/Channel 7 Reporter’s Finger

How’s this for irony: A week after accepting PRSA Colorado’s “Business Person of the Year” award at the organization’s annual awards gala, Pinnacol Assurance CEO Ken Ross (allegedly) had to be restrained from attacking KMGH/Channel 7 investigative reporter Tony Kovaleski and threatened to break the reporter’s finger.

The confrontation (allegedly) took place at the famed Pebble Beach resort in California, where Pinnacol was hosting a controversial junket for board members and its top sales brokers.

From KMGH/Channel 7:

Following a golf round on May 13, Kovaleski asked Johnson about whether it was appropriate for him to be on the trip.

“What do you think the governor is going to think about you taking this kind of golf with you and your wife,” Kovaleski was asking (Pinnacol board chairman Gary) Johnson when Ross interrupted and prevented the board member from answering.

Ross, on the 18th hole, seemed very agitated.

“You point your finger at me again, and I’m going to break it,” Ross said while pointing his finger at Kovaleski. He turned to the camera and demanded that it be turned off.

“This has nothing to do with Pinnacol,” Ross said.

“It doesn’t?” Kovaleski asked. “Then why did your employees let us know you were here? Why are your employees outraged? You are spending a lot of money on a trip and you have board members who are appointed by the governor.”

CALL7 Investigators were tipped of to the trip by a source who had information from inside Pinnacol.

Ross, who was being restrained by colleagues, surged at Kovaleski.

“Please, don’t push me,” Kovaleski said.

Dovetail Solutions Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

PR, branding and positioning firm Dovetail Solutions is celebrating its fifth anniversary. Here’s a look at the firm by the numbers:

3 – Number of cities in which Dovetail will operate by this summer               (Denver; San Francisco; Washington, D.C.)
44 – Number of organizations and committees in which Dovetail                   employees are involved
46 – Percentage increase in client base over the past two years
50 – Percentage of small businesses that fail to make it to five years
60 – Percentage of the agency’s lifespan spent during a recession
0 – Number of group shots on the Dovetail website in which CJ Powell       appears (time to learn Photoshop, CJ).

Turner PR Adds Two

Travel, hospitality and real estate agency Turner PR added Caitlin Sullivan as senior account executive and Julie Wagoner as emerging media account coordinator. Sullivan joins Turner from MMG Mardiks, where she led the agency’s largest account, the Colorado Tourism Office. Prior to that, she was an account executive at Heedum Agency in Denver, where she represented travel brands, hotel properties, culinary events and restaurants.

Wagoner is the founder and editor-in-chief of the weekly online entertainment publication, The Media Fix, where she supervises a staff of 15 writers and coordinates interviews with popular recording artists. Prior to joining Turner, she worked at Boulder Digital Arts.

Hancock, Pelz Join DaVita

Vince Hancock and Ginger Pelz have joined DaVita’s communications department at the company’s new Denver headquarters. Hancock most recently worked in Level 3’s corporate communications group, and prior to that was Qwest’s field media relations manager in Salt Lake City where he was responsible for all media relations in Montana, New Mexico and Utah. Pelz joins DaVita after spending three years at MGA Communications, where she focused on developing and implementing social media strategies for the agency and its clients in addition to spearheading community outreach programs.

Catfight Alert: Chef Bonanno vs. Westword

Here’s today’s free PR tip: If you are drafting quotes for a client, make sure the client 1) reviews and approves the quotes and 2) agrees not to disavow them publicly.

That advice would have helped Campbell Levy of Aspen’s Promo Communications. Levy reps Denver chef/restauranteur Frank Bonanno, who is engaged in a war of words Tweets with Westword over a Westword blog post that revealed his plan to open a new French-American restaurant and quoted Bonanno.

The problem is that Bonanno is claiming no knowledge of the information that lead to the blog post, which came from Promo Communications and included quotes from Bonanno. Here is the Twitter exchange so far:

Bonanno (@FrankBonanno):

@sarah_gore [The Westword blog post is based on] Bad information . . .I think there are even quotes in that story, which is odd . . .

@sarah_gore [Westword’s Lori Midson] wrote what someone said I said. Thing is, I had a different deal working–but that blog [post] ended it.

Westword (@CafeWestword) responded:

LM: @FrankBonanno As you know, it was your PR person who e-mailed me with very specific info about your new place — with a quote from you.


The Capitol Steps to Perform Sunday

Had enough of divisive politics? Do you love talk-show radio? Hate it? How’s your health care plan? Been to a tea party lately? The Denver Press Club invites you to laugh your buns off as THE CAPITOL STEPS perform Sunday, May 16, starting at 5 p.m., at the June Swaner Gates Concert Hall in the Newman Center on the University of Denver campus.

Tickets cost $45.50, and you can purchase them through TicketMaster (add a $6.75 service fee) or The Newman Center Box Office (no service fee), open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. All ticket orders must go through TicketMaster or The Newman Center Box Office.

Denver PR Jobs

Among those hiring this week are ASD, Avaya, Butterfly Pavilion, Colorado Lottery, GeoEye, Kempe Foundation, Leprino Foods, Level 3 Communications, OpenArts, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, URS, United Health Group, DU’s Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, American Express (Salt Lake City), Emporia State University (Emporia, Kans.), Los Alamos Monitor (Los Alamos, N.M.), New Mexico Thunderbirds (Rio Rancho, N.M.), and OGE Energy (Oklahoma City, Okla.).

Denver’s ‘ExecConnect’ Names Lieurance as Chairwoman

ExecConnect, an exclusive group of business and community leaders launched by Andy Boian and Dovetail Solutions in 2009, has named Angela Lieurance, vice president of Development and Marketing at University of Colorado Hospital, as chairwoman. The group of local executives, community leaders and business owners has the mission “to harness the energy of the group’s valued relationships and related knowledge to further the prosperity of the Denver community.”

In its first year, ExecConnect has helped launch the Denver Bike Sharing initiative B-Cycle, held its first Distinguished Speaker event with acclaimed national author Brian Bagley, and hosted quarterly roundtables for members to dissect current events and issues.

Linhart, Webb Dominate 2010 ‘Gold Pick’ Agency Awards

If you see Sharon Linhart and Pete Webb at the Capital Grille today smoking cigars, swilling scotch and generally cackling like they own the town, there’s a reason: they were the big agency winners at last night’s PRSA Colorado Gold Pick Awards. Using the proprietary and highly sophisticated Denver PR Blog formula to determine which agencies fared best (two points for a gold, one point for a silver), the results are:

1. Linhart PR (10 points) – One grand gold, three gold, two silver
2. Pete Webb PR (9 points) – Three gold, three silver
3. Carmichael Lynch Spong (4 points) – Two gold
3. Pure (4 points) – Two gold
3. Philosophy (4 points) – One gold, two silver
6. Xstatic (3 points) – One gold, one silver
7. GroundFloor Media (2 points) – Two silver
7. Peri Marketing & PR (2 points) – Two silver
9. InView (1 point) – One silver
9. JDK – (1 point) – One silver
9. Vladimir Jones (1 point) – One silver

And congratulations to the Denver Art Museum, which if an agency would have placed third with 6 points (three gold). Also, congratulations to the big award winners:

• MGA’s Jeff Julin (Swede Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award)
• Pinnacol Assurance President & CEO Ken Ross (Business Person of the Year)
• Red Energy PR’s Amy Sufak (PR Person of the Year)
• Subaru’s Rachael Tucker Dorr (Joe Fuentes Rookie of the Year Award)
• Denver Art Museum (Nonprofit Award)
• Bonfil’s Julie Scott, Larimer Square’s Erika Sauerwein and Linhart’s Jennifer Tilliss (Chapter Service Awards)
• Applewood Plumbing & Heating/JKD (Small Business Award)
• Audubon Surgery Center/Vladimir Jones (Golden Spur Award)

Denver PR Jobs

Among those hiring this week are ASD, Adidas, Beatport, Blue Shield, Colorado Mountain Club,, Gevo, Horizon Bay, Impact Street, Love Hope Strength Foundation, Museum Store Association, Signet Health Corp., Stand for Children, University of Denver, University of Colorado Cancer Center (internship), JBS (Greeley), Larimer Humane Society (Fort Collins), Share Our Strength (Washington, D.C.) and SunPower (San Diego, Calif.).