• Billy Vassiliadis

    CEO and Principal

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    Billy Vassiliadis

    CEO and Principal

    The New York Times said it best: “Every dream needs a merchant, every myth a mythmaker. In Las Vegas, that job falls to Billy Vassiliadis.”

    Billy has been swaying opinions, shaping public policy and persuading the hard-to-persuade in industries as varied as travel, energy, utilities, health care and transportation for more than 30 years. He operates from a simple yet powerful philosophy – “Create the brand, build the brand, protect the brand” – a mindset that sprang from his roots as a sought-after political adviser on senatorial and presidential campaigns. It comes down to an unwavering, clear-eyed commitment to finding, telling and operating from a brand’s core truth and standing ready with deep resources to protect it in case of a crisis.

     

    His work for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is a prime example. He has guided the destination through decades of economic ebbs and flows, produced the iconic “What happens here, stays here®” campaign and received the coveted Brandweek “Grand Marketer of the Year” award over such major brands as McDonald’s, Apple and Hershey’s (and the only agency guy ever to win). Yet he still believes that the best work for this brand is yet to come. Never resting on past success is a big theme.

    He has been profiled on the front page of The New York Times and his views on marketing and political issues have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Yorker, Roll Call, The Hill, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Good Morning America, Dateline NBC, Prime Time Live, CNBC, Nightline and MSNBC. Consulted by presidents, business leaders and fellow marketers alike, Billy is, simply, the man to see.

  • Mary Ann Mele

    President/Chief Brand Officer

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    Mary Ann Mele

    President/Chief Brand Officer

    Mary Ann specializes in helping brands reenergize and build value. With quick, incisive thinking, she identifies with clients who face the absolute need to get it right. A collaborator by nature, her great passion lies in building powerful, integrated agency teams and working with them to create communications solutions that fuel a client’s business growth and success.

    One of the agency’s primary architects, she believes deeply in R&R’s “Create the brand, Build the brand, Protect the brand” culture and brings together the brightest, hardest-working talent in the country (and beyond) to tackle every client’s crisis/opportunity challenge with this simple, holistic approach. From the moment campaign planning begins, clients have access to expertise in advertising, public relations, digital marketing and development, government affairs, media planning and buying, and primary/secondary research to make brands more profitable in the marketplace and protect those same brands on Wall Street or in the halls of state legislatures. Creating, building and protecting brands … something Mary Ann has been doing for more than 25 years.

    She brings this stewardship of the agency’s talent to every client, including award-winning work for Boeing, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, MGM Resorts International and many others.

  • Jim King

    Partner and Principal

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    Jim King

    Partner and Principal

    Jim has more than four decades of financial and budget analysis, banking, corporate administrative management, advertising, marketing and small-business ownership under his svelte belt. But everything he needed to know about hard work, team building and embracing the unexpected he learned as a roughneck on an offshore oil rig.

    His wisdom, judgment and calm under fire make him the rudder that guides R&R’s success and stability. He oversees the agency’s auxiliary business interests, joint ventures, acquisitions, real estate holdings and served as the de facto general contractor on the agency’s 70,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Las Vegas. As president of the R&R Partners Foundation, he is particularly proud of the agency’s charitable arm, which, over the past three years, has donated some 35,000 hours and $3.9 million in marketing services to assist local nonprofits in developing their messages and promoting their causes. He has also been an active board member on numerous other nonprofit boards and currently serves on the boards of Meadows Bank, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada, and the Clark County Public Education Foundation.

    Jim joined R&R as an account executive after an early career in banking and finance, drawn to the ad business for its use of creativity to solve the profit/loss puzzle. Years later, having worked his way up to the corner office, he’s still embracing the unexpected.

  • Pete Ernaut

    President and Principal, Government & Public Affairs

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    Pete Ernaut

    President and Principal, Government & Public Affairs

    As the leader of R&R’s government and public affairs division, Pete always has an eye on the rearview mirror, making sure his clients are laps ahead of their competition and keeping watch for any legislative, regulatory or public opinion changes that might be gaining momentum. A former three-term Nevada state assemblyman, he is widely known as one of the state’s most influential Republican political consultants. Regionally and nationally, he is known as an experienced advocate for Western issues such as energy, public land use and mining. Under his leadership, the agency’s GPA and lobbying capabilities have evolved and expanded to include teams in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Austin, Denver, Reno/Carson City, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.

    Pete developed a specialty in utilities and energy issues as a state legislator, ultimately playing a key role in restructuring the state’s electric utility industry through passage of the critical “Repower Nevada” legislation. As a lobbyist, he has represented a broad spectrum of clients including gaming, utilities, energy contractors and mining companies before state legislatures, Congress and federal agencies working on such issues as interstate natural gas pipelines, transmission line and mine permitting, ratemaking, renewable energy development, conservation measures, demand-side management issues and regulatory reform. His work has also led to passage of a law allowing property and sales tax abatements for large-scale solar generation facilities, which has been instrumental in the development of utility-scale solar energy generation facilities in Nevada, California and Arizona.

    In addition to his experience in elected office, Pete managed the successful campaign of the late Governor Kenny Guinn and subsequently served as his chief of staff. More recently, he managed the successful campaigns of Governor Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.) and Nevada Supreme Court Justice Jim Hardesty.

  • Bob Henrie

    Partner and Principal

    Full Bio

    Bob Henrie

    Partner and Principal

    Bob is highly regarded by senators, governors and local officials alike. In his four decades as a seasoned communications professional and marketing strategist, he has handled some of the most challenging public issues facing western states – from labor relations to public transportation to energy and resource issues. Specializing in issue advocacy, image enhancement and crisis communications, Bob has spent many years in Washington, D.C., Nevada and Utah directing the administrative, advertising and communications efforts of several dozens of corporations, government entities and elected officials.

    During his tenure in Washington, D.C., Bob served as chief of staff to the House Mines and Mining Subcommittee. He coordinated efforts between the mining industry and government leaders to promote a national strategic minerals policy, and to protect vital mining legislation. During the Wilberg Mine disaster of 1984, he received national acclaim for his adept handling of the 13-month public relations crisis. His extensive experience also includes health care, alternative and renewable energy, and public lands issues.

    As current Utah Governor Gary Herbert characterizes Bob’s political and communications expertise, “Bob is the best in the business – bar none!”

  • Randy Snow

    Chief Strategic Officer and Principal

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    Randy Snow

    Chief Strategic Officer and Principal

    Becoming a long-distance runner takes an intensity and sheer force of will that not many people can maintain. For Randy, it’s second nature … a dogged determination, bone against blacktop, pushing against the elements and fatigue, emerging victorious, only to tackle it with the same ferocity the next day. This all-in attitude tells you everything you need to know about his approach to a client’s challenge. He’ll also tell you that marketing success comes from creativity and perseverance, not necessarily from having the biggest budget.

    In his role as supreme commander of R&R’s brand development division, he provides strategic guidance to our clients, which span a wide range of industries – from travel and tourism to energy and utilities to public transit and health care. In this capacity, he leads our strategic planning teams across all nine offices.

    Perhaps the best example of Randy’s tenacity is the fact that the legendary “What happens here, stays here” campaign saw the light of day. A germ of an idea from two young copywriters in his charge, he knew it deserved a hearing and the rest is history. He’s been pushing that creative burn for more than 30 years.

     

  • Rob Dondero

    Executive Vice President

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    Rob Dondero

    Executive Vice President

    Of all of the brands in the world that enjoy global awareness, probably the coolest one by any measure is one Rob has the great fortune to oversee. From advertising and marketing to events and promotional partnerships, his oversight of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority account for R&R Partners takes him on an exhilarating ride every day. He manages a fully integrated team that’s charged with filling 150,000 hotel rooms 365 days per year. There just isn’t another destination in the world that demands this level of market performance, but for Rob, it’s just another day at the office.

    Over the past 25 years, Rob has managed some of the most celebrated tourism campaigns in history, while his expertise in the sector has become internationally known. A master at recognizing and breathing life into smart marketing partnerships for clients, he has a portfolio that includes UFC, Ford, Bud Light, Major League Baseball, the NHL and more. This experience also makes him a leader in R&R’s business development efforts.

    He has also developed, negotiated and promoted such special events as the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Launch Party; NBA All-Star Game; Latin GRAMMY Awards; Billboard Music Awards; Academy of Country Music Awards; Las Vegas Bowl; NASCAR Champions Week; Miss Universe/Miss America/Miss USA; and the internationally renowned gourmet and wine event Vegas Uncork’d. All have resulted in millions of dollars in added value and earned media for the Las Vegas destination. A great example of the results that Rob delivers is the launch of the Professional Bull Riders’ Championship Tour, which propelled bull riding into the mainstream of professional sports, established a fiercely loyal fan base and increased sponsorship revenues by 700 percent with such blue-chip brands as Ford, Wrangler, Bud Light and Coca-Cola.

  • Brian Hoar

    Vice President, Development

    Full Bio

    Brian Hoar

    Vice President, Development

    Brian offers more than a decade of business development and advertising experience across several leading media brands. He consistently has led integrated media, marketing and business development teams in creating marketing and communication strategies that generate strong results for clients, brands and business partners.

    He came to R&R from Playboy Enterprises, Inc. While working as vice president and associate publisher, Brian oversaw Playboy’s integrated marketing and development efforts across the magazine and two online brand extensions, and was responsible for identifying and securing new business opportunities and growing existing accounts. Brian earlier served as national director of the company’s spirits advertising category, which he expanded to become the company’s primary advertising revenue stream. He was the company’s top-performing sales executive for three consecutive years. His association with the company began as an account manager of the spirits, entertainment, tobacco and gaming ad categories for a group of magazines including Playboy and Men’s Fitness.

    Brian earlier worked for Alpha Media Group, owner of Maxim and Blender magazines, and advertising and design agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky. He works out of R&R’s Los Angeles and Las Vegas offices.

  • Erik Sandhu

    Chief Financial Officer

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    Erik Sandhu

    Chief Financial Officer

    A smart, insightful business planner who also understands how to forge great agency/client relationships is pivotal to an agency that’s growing as quickly as R&R. Luckily for us, Erik is our right-brain/left-brain guy. From that first handshake, client relationships are off to a running start with agreements centered around their real needs. Having worked with such blue-chip brands as Nike and IBM, he knows how to negotiate a mutually beneficial deal that leaves all parties eager to get to work. Toward this end, he closely studies a client’s existing challenges and goals, and then puts together a flexible road map that will adapt and respond to new opportunities along the way.

    Erik polished his talent for people and numbers at Price Waterhouse LLP, where he helped design global tax-efficient business structures for Nike, numerous subsidiaries and spinoffs of IBM, Intel, forest products supplier Louisiana Pacific, and entertainment distributor Hollywood Video. He got his introduction to Las Vegas in the marketing department at Harrah’s Entertainment, and prior to joining R&R served as tax director for McGladrey & Pullen LLP.

  • Ron Eagle

    Senior Vice President, Public Relations

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    Ron Eagle

    Senior Vice President, Public Relations

    Ron is what is more commonly referred to in the public relations business as “a heavy hitter.” He brings a wealth of insight, depth of knowledge and a world of experience in all aspects of strategic thinking, media relations, social and partnership marketing to crisis communications and brand building for a diverse category of clients and industries. As our public relations senior vice president, his leadership skill set makes him a natural in a variety of client environments, be it as a values thought leader, a trusted communicator in public affairs to a consummate manager of strategic communications for clients in an ever-competitive global marketplace.

    Based in our Las Vegas office, Ron will lead R&R’s PR team in expanding our public relations reach both domestically and international, while managing teams across all nine offices, including our Mexico City office as well as with our Washington D.C., team in managing the PR voice for a number of clients on the hill.

    Ron comes to R&R from H+K in Los Angeles, where he served as senior vice president for its entertainment and technology division, working on brands as diverse as Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Qualcomm and Shell Oil. Prior to that, he helped to create one of the most recognized brands in the world … PlayStation, guiding publicity for the PlayStation brand, services, products and software portfolio developed worldwide.

    A combat veteran, Ron honorably served his country in the United States Navy. But seeing the world didn’t start there. From his early teenage years, he’s lived in Japan and visited or worked in more than 20 countries around the world.

  • Steven Horsford

    Senior VP of Strategic Integration & Partnerships/Managing Director, Washington D.C.

    Full Bio

    Steven Horsford

    Senior VP of Strategic Integration & Partnerships/Managing Director, Washington D.C.

    If there were just one word to describe Steven, it would have to be “dynamic.” It’s the impression you get in first meeting him and continues on as you see him in action. Along with his role as managing director of the R&R Resources+ office of R&R Partners in Washington, D.C., he oversees our integrated services efforts in diversity media training and corporate communications, workforce and vendor/supplier engagement, and international affairs for R&R’s nine offices throughout the U.S. and Mexico City.

    A former U.S. congressman from Nevada, Steven’s business experience and distinguished public service career have given him an innate and insightful understanding of diversity marketing, which is a boon for our clients and their customers. It also places R&R in a unique position in Washington and at the forefront in this new space in marketing communications, and in reaching new and growing audiences.

    Steven began his career at R&R before being elected to the Nevada State Legislature, where he became the first African-American majority leader of the state Senate. He would later work in the private sector as CEO of Nevada’s largest workforce agency, the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas, where for more than 10 years he was responsible for recruiting and training thousands of workers for Las Vegas’ hospitality industry. But public service would call again to him and in 2012, Steven would become the first African-American elected to Congress from Nevada. He would launch his communications company, Resources+, in early 2015 before merging with R&R Partners. Now, who says you can’t go home again?

  • Don Turley

    Executive Producer

    Full Bio

    Don Turley

    Executive Producer

    Don helms R&R Partners’ production department and its team that produces all of the agency’s audio/video creative. With the tools he oversees, including a digital audio suite and two Adobe Premiere nonlinear digital editing suites, they create stunning work with a unique point of view for the unique needs of R&R’s clients.

    During his more than 30-year career at R&R, Don has guided the production staff on all radio, television, video, digital content and transmedia projects, working with such top directors as Errol Morris, Zack Snyder, Bryan Buckley, Jim Jenkins and many top-end production companies. His work and accomplishments have made headlines in Adweek, Brandweek, Shoot and The Wall Street Journal.

  • Fletcher Whitwell

    Senior Vice President, Media & Measurement / Group Managing Director

    Full Bio

    Fletcher Whitwell

    Senior Vice President, Media & Measurement / Group Managing Director

    Picture a master juggler with seven or eight objects in the air … that’s Fletcher, one of the busiest people at R&R Partners. Besides his role in managing and overseeing the Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver and Washington, D.C., offices as one of the agency’s two group managing directors, he is also the chief architect of diversely talented teams in media, digital media and measurement and insights that extend across the agency’s nine offices.

    Fletcher’s management strengths in leading people and fostering a high level of trust with clients have been the foundation for the agency’s continued collaboration successes and smart, impactful work. Guiding our media and measurement capabilities, he oversees the creation of solid, effective media plans, including sponsorships and promotional partnerships that optimize client expenditures and produce measurable ROI. He has directed integrated partnerships for a diverse mix of clients, including Intermountain Healthcare, MGM Resorts International, NV Energy, and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. His work in sectors as diverse as insurance, travel and tourism, utilities, law enforcement and nonprofit is widely recognized, earning R&R some of the most prestigious national media awards – Adweek Buzz, MediaPost Creative Media, Mediaweek Plan of the Year and OMMA Integrated Online Awards. He has served as a judge for the IAB Mixx Digital Awards and also as a panelist for CEMA, AAF and PRSA. In 2015, he was named to Vegas Inc.’s 40 Under 40 list of top business professionals and one of the Distinguished Men in Nevada. He is a founding member of R&R’s anti-bullying initiative, Flip the Script.

    Before joining R&R, Fletcher served as associate media director at Starcom in Chicago, where he worked on financial services and insurance accounts including Allstate, Morgan Stanley, WellPoint and Discover, along with well-known brands such as Miller, Kellogg, Canon, Showtime, Heinz, Nintendo and Walgreens.

  • Arnie DiGeorge

    Executive Creative Director

    Full Bio

    Arnie DiGeorge

    Executive Creative Director

    Arnie has one of those *great idea* lightbulbs over his head nearly every minute of the day. You can see it on his face the second that another layer of the onion peels away and he sees what no one else in the room can. It’s what two decades working every possible angle in the ad biz will do for you. From copywriting to freelance design to media buying to account services … incredibly rare for a creative guy, but he has the perspective that all clients long for. Theirs. He knows the budget challenges, the accountability to boards of directors, the need for a great creative product as well as the need to move product.

    He also knows that great creative starts a conversation. By that measure, he has engaged in some of this agency’s best conversations, like the “What happens here, stays here” campaign, which has taken up permanent residence in pop culture history. He also spearheaded parallel campaigns to enlighten new visitors on the great stuff that awaits them in nowhere else but Fabulous Las Vegas. He guided the agency’s push-back against the economic recession with the widely hailed “What’s Your Excuse?” campaign, populated by rebellious chinchillas, which won him a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Lion Advertising Festival. He added this latest accolade to his already over-burdened mantle, sporting metal from diverse sectors like travel, health care and economic development.

  • Morgan Baumgartner

    General Counsel and Director, Nevada Government and Public Affairs

    Full Bio

    Morgan Baumgartner

    General Counsel and Director, Nevada Government and Public Affairs

    Morgan specializes in both corporate law and government advocacy work, which are two key aspects of R&R’s position as a multi-state communications agency. Strong relationships with lawmakers and regulators give her clients a clear advantage. Her track record in researching policy issues, developing client positions and communications plans, drafting legislative language, and advocating for and against legislative bills and ballot campaigns has won her accolades from both sides of the political aisle.

    Prior to joining R&R, Morgan’s legal practice emphasized state administrative and regulatory law, including a specialization in the areas of public utilities, water law, land use and planning, insurance, workers’ compensation, and gaming law for the firm Lionel, Sawyer & Collins.

  • Matt Mason

    Senior Vice President, Brand Engagement

    Full Bio

    Matt Mason

    Senior Vice President, Brand Engagement

    Matt leads the digital brain trust at R&R Partners, helping the agency deliver work across the vast digital realm. His favorite pastime is dreaming up new ways to draw people into his web, literally and figuratively. Coming to the digital space with stellar design credentials and top-flight agency experience, he’s passionate about growth in the digital space, viewing the Internet not just as a medium where true creativity can flourish, but also as a platform to engage consumers in inspiring ways. He specializes in nourishing and developing a kernel of an idea, then pushing it beyond our clients’ wildest expectations.

    But he’s a numbers guy too. Before his teams make a move, he has walked them through the research and based every next step on this road map. His measure of creative excellence is a client’s bottom line – their unique site visits, click-through rates, retail traffic and brand impressions.

    Prior to joining R&R Partners, Matt was a partner with Sarkissian Mason, with a client list that included Mazda, Boeing, Ford and Nike. In this role, his focus was developing user-centered design processes, unique technology applications, innovative information architecture development, and direction and production for music and video. He also worked with world-renowned firms such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Bowne Internet Solutions on interactive solutions for blue-chip brands like General Mills cereals, Tide, Pepperidge Farms and General Motors.

  • Michelle Mader

    Senior Vice President, Operations

    Full Bio

    Michelle Mader

    Senior Vice President, Operations

    Michelle is a master in managing clients, staff and systems, and her rapid ascent at R&R puts her in charge of all three.

    Upon joining R&R in 2005 as a senior account executive, Michelle managed the $20 million Caesars Entertainment account, which included multiple properties and diverse brand challenges. After just three months, she was promoted to group account director for demonstrating strategic leadership, creative vision, calmness under pressure and a roll-up-your-sleeves work ethic. In that role, Michelle has worked on a variety of high-profile accounts, including Wynn, Quiznos and MGM Resorts International, and helped the agency land the Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream account, which expanded R&R’s entertainment portfolio.

    Michelle’s keen interest and talent at problem solving led to her next promotion – to corporate director of advertising operations. That position put her in charge of the traffic department, and also made her responsible for systems and processes for the entire agency. A title change a year later brought additional responsibilities – in the form of the print production, print studio and digital project management functions. At that time, she also established the digital studio. Her stellar work in these roles eventually led to her promotion to her current role.

    Michelle joined R&R Partners from Tampa-based WestWayne, where she worked on the Orlando/Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Marriott Hotels, and the Tampa Bay Partnership for Regional Economic Development accounts. Prior to this, she managed the Carnival Cruise Lines account at Cooper & Hayes in Coral Gables, Fla. Earlier, she managed the Heinz Frozen Foods accounts at DDB San Francisco.

  • Cathie DeNaughel

    VP/Managing Director – Salt Lake City

    Full Bio

    Cathie DeNaughel

    VP/Managing Director – Salt Lake City

    Some people have a natural ability to inspire greatness in others and Cathie’s leadership of R&R’s Salt Lake City office is a great example of this. Her command of communications disciplines and ability to integrate diverse marketing efforts into a seamless rallying cry elevates everyone’s game. From our clients’ perspectives, her commitment to their success is unmatched. Her staff knows too that whenever a crisis looms and they need to make that midnight phone call, she’ll not only be there, she’ll already have a game plan. Her enthusiasm, depth of experience and razor-sharp instincts have been the driving force behind our Salt Lake City office since we first hung out our shingle more than two decades ago.

    Cathie’s personal portfolio of client work extends from health care, hospitality and tourism, to economic development and government contracts. She also has an extensive background in broadcast production, from television to corporate training and promotional videos, which took her to such international locations such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.

  • Sean Tonner

    President, Denver

    Full Bio

    Sean Tonner

    President, Denver

    Sean leads R&R Partners’ office in the country’s “Mile-High City.”

    Before joining R&R, he was the founder and president of Phase Line Strategies, a full-service, multidisciplinary, Denver-based global consulting firm. Before founding Phase Line, Sean served as the deputy chief of staff to Colorado Governor Bill Owens. He was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the office as well as managing intergovernmental affairs and external relations with various constituencies, including political, minority and business organizations.

    In addition to his political experience, Sean has developed and executed successful strategic plans for some of the country’s and region’s largest companies, including Western Union, Denver’s HealthOne, Wal-Mart and Houston-based Noble Energy. He also has been successful in raising and deploying investment capital for small and medium-sized companies.

    Over the course of his career, Sean has worked on numerous political campaigns in the U.S. and abroad, including the campaigns of President George W. Bush, Governor Owens, former Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman, along with numerous local and state efforts. He was named a national rising star by Campaigns & Elections magazine after he engineered a nationally recognized get-out-the-vote campaign that resulted in the largest gubernatorial vote cast in Colorado history. Today, Sean serves on the Executive Committee of the Young Presidents’ Organization Subcommittee on Global Diplomacy and Public Policy. As Chair for the West United States, Sean will play an instrumental role in connecting top global CEOs with international dignitaries.

    Because of his father’s Air Force career, Sean was born in Landstuhl, Germany, and grew up in numerous locations around the world. He served in the U.S. Army and attended Reconnaissance, Airborne, Ranger, desert and jungle warfare training. In addition, Sean served as a scout for the 24th Infantry Division in Operation Desert Storm, where he earned the Army Commendation Medal for Valor.

  • Matt Silverman

    VP/Managing Director – Phoenix

    Full Bio

    Matt Silverman

    VP/Managing Director – Phoenix

    Matt is a business-savvy executive who understands what keeps CEOs awake at night. He knows how to calm troubled waters, plan strategically and stay one step ahead of the competition. With more than 20 years of experience, he has honed the art of communication from every possible angle. In managing world-class advertising, public relations and government affairs teams, he brings a 360-degree approach to devising and implementing sophisticated marketing and communication programs for a wide range of organizations in areas including health care, finance, technology, government, telecommunications, public transportation, professional services and nonprofits.

    Prior to joining R&R, Matt served as senior director of communications for the State Bar of Arizona, where he expertly navigated the organization through tough issues and created a multichannel communication program that improved relationships among critical stakeholders. Earlier in his career as a TV journalist, he worked in and managed newsrooms in multiple markets, receiving an EMMY and numerous other awards for his leadership, news judgment and creativity.

  • David M. Weeks

    President, Austin

    Full Bio

    David M. Weeks

    President, Austin

    With more than 35 years of experience in consulting, David has advised Fortune 500 companies, directed media, public relations and governmental relations in markets across America, and participated in political campaigns ranging from city council to presidential. He joined R&R Partners as part of the agency’s acquisition of Austin, Texas-headquartered Weeks & Co.

    Weeks & Co.’s political clients have included Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison; Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Nevada U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, the National Republican Senatorial Committee; and the Republican Governor’s Association. Among its corporate clients, the agency has counted Chickasaw Nation, GTECH, Sanderson Farms, Brazos River Authority, Direct Energy; Americans for Fair Taxation, Twenty8 Entertainment and Circuit of Americas US Grand Prix.

    A former gubernatorial press aide and speech writer, David participates on the Advisory Committee to the Texas Legislative Conference and is a member of the American Association of Political Consultants, in which he is often a winner in the organization’s annual Pollie Awards, the most prestigious in the political campaign and public affairs profession. He also served on the Texas Quarter Dollar Coin Advisory Committee as an appointee of then-Governor George W. Bush, contributing to the design and creation of the 542 million Texas state quarters put in circulation by the program, the most popular commemorative coin program in U.S. history.

    A frequent guest lecturer on politics and political campaigns at his alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin, David in 2008 was named Alumnus of the Year of the university’s college of communication. In 2000, he endowed a presidential scholarship in communication at the school and has served on a number of university boards.

  • Suzanne Hofmann Erickson

    Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Austin

    Full Bio

    Suzanne Hofmann Erickson

    Vice President, Government & Public Affairs, Austin

    Suzanne has been working in media and public relations since 1992. She joined R&R Partners as part of the agency’s acquisition of Austin, Texas–headquartered Weeks & Co., which was among the most experienced corporate and political communications firms in the country.

    Suzanne began her professional career as a business development director with the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, working to lure high-profile companies and events to the Austin area, with a focus primarily on the sports and entertainment sectors. She subsequently served in PR and investor relations for energy storage company Electrosource Inc., before founding her own PR firm that worked with clients including Motorola and the Round Rock Express. She began consulting with Weeks & Co. in 1998 and joined the firm as an associate before being named a partner in 2002.

    A fourth-generation University of Texas graduate, Suzanne serves in leadership positions with the Junior League of Austin; the Young Women’s Alliance of Austin; the Elizabeth Ann Seton Board, serving the Seton Community Health Centers; and the Texas Exes’ Young Alumni Task Force and Public Affairs Committee.

    A member of the American Association of Political Consultants, Suzanne has worked on national and statewide political campaigns recognized for media excellence in the organization’s annual Pollie Awards, the most prestigious in the political campaign and public affairs profession.

  • Mike Zuhl

    Government and Public Affairs Director

    Full Bio

    Mike Zuhl

    Government and Public Affairs Director

    Mike’s vast background in government and public affairs, combined with the relationships he has cultivated over three decades, make him an invaluable asset to clients who are scrutinized by regulatory and legislative bodies. His vigilance, candor and high ethical standards have earned him the kind of reputation that gives his clients a competitive leg up … especially helpful when going before the governor, the legislature, or county and municipal governments to make their case.

    Along with the rest of our Salt Lake City team, Mike has developed a specialty in public funding of mass transit projects. The historic victory that he helped achieve on Utah Transit Authority’s sales tax campaign has become a model for other cities. He has since taken R&R’s unique formula for transit initiative success to cities like Charlotte, Honolulu and St. Louis – and has emerged victorious every time. In fact, when it comes to mediating for a desired outcome in the public eye, Mike has an impressive record, such as diffusing a heated labor dispute with physicians on behalf of Intermountain Healthcare, which continues to influence their labor contracts to this day; and developing a successful municipal and legislative strategy on behalf of the Metropolitan Water District of Salt Lake and Sandy in their efforts to locate a major water treatment facility. Prior to his tenure at R&R, Mike directed his own government and public affairs business where he jump-started his transit expertise, leading Citizens for Balanced Transportation, a nonprofit corporation supporting improved transportation in the Salt Lake Valley.

  • David Ellis

    Senior Vice President, Strategic Consulting

    Full Bio

    David Ellis

    Senior Vice President, Strategic Consulting

    David is the creative strategist that everyone wishes they had watching their back. At R&R, he starts every planning session with the question, “Where do we want to go?” but we know he already has the answer in his back pocket. His 360-degree view of the marketplace makes him the kind of visionary that CMOs turn to for insight, and led to his role as contributing columnist for Advertising Age.

    With more than 25 years of brand development, positioning, go-to-market strategies and marketing of over 100 start-up consumer and B2B companies and corporate spinoffs in his portfolio, David has shepherded some of the best-known brands in a variety of industries. Just a sample includes Vivint, Western Digital, APS, DIRECTV, Edison Enterprises, Fandango, IBM Multimedia, Hallmark Channel, Discovery Channel, California Green Communities (for Southern California Edison), Smashbox Cosmetics, Infiniti Motors and Activision, among many others. There is no challenge he can’t turn into an opportunity.

  • Kweku Boafo

    International Affairs Director

    Full Bio

    Kweku Boafo

    International Affairs Director

    Kweku joined R&R after consulting with the agency on projects in Ghana and Indonesia.

    The son of a U.N. diplomat, Kweku was born in Ghana, but grew up in Paris and Washington, D.C. Kweku, who is fluent in English, Spanish and French, has extensive experience in government affairs and political campaigns. He most recently served in the office of Colorado Speaker Frank McNulty, where he was responsible for the House Majority Leader’s office’s day-to-day operations and for managing external relations with various constituencies. He earlier worked on several political campaigns including campaigns of Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Colorado U.S. Senate challenger Ken Buck. He also worked at The Heritage Foundation, a highly regarded conservative think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C.

  • Diego Velásquez

    Founding Partner & Coach General - CMV/R&R Partners

    Full Bio

    Diego Velásquez

    Founding Partner & Coach General - CMV/R&R Partners

    Diego started his career in advertising at age 20, hired by Saatchi & Saatchi Mexico, when most kids are still applying for their first internships. He was fortunate to work at the right hand of Polo Garza, who would go on to become CEO of WPP, learning that critical blend of fearless creative ideas, intuitive problem solving and responsive client service. He started in media, mastered that, moved on to account services, and managed such iconic brands as Gandhi, Domino’s Pizza, BMG and Sky Brands.

    His reputation became well known in the industry and he was recruited by BBDO to manage the Casa Cuervo account, but eventually returned home to Saatchi as group director for P&G Brands.

    After years of award-winning campaigns and intense loyalty to the Saatchi shop, Diego heeded the call to start his own agency with partners Fernando Mallet and Alfonso Cantú. Together, they created CMV Publicidad, where he has worked for the last 14 years. Their rallying cry is “Happy Brands by Happy People,” which parallels R&R Partners’ internal culture of work hard, play hard.

    It is this culture of shared values and a desire to grow internationally that led R&R Partners to take an investment role in CMV Publicidad, forming CMV/R&R Partners. As they join in this mission, CMV/R&R Partners brings an authentic Hispanic vision and voice and a proven track record in communications and government affairs work that will guide clients through Mexico’s rapid change and growth.