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Thursday, August 2, 2018 3:09:00 PM

126 entries from government communicators across the country were recognized during the National Association of County Information Officers’ (NACIO) Awards of Excellence reception in Nashville on July 15. 

Gwinnett County Communications Division was awarded the evening’s top honor, the ‘Tom Goodman Best of Show’ award for their bicentennial website:

“The website is a compilation that took about a year and a half to create. It will live on beyond the anniversary and it includes videos,” said head of Gwinnett Communications Division Heather Sawyer. “Gwinnett is diverse community and in the videos, we encouraged residents to tell their stories.”  

The national contest, open to both members and nonmembers of the organization, drew 247 entries in total. 

The contest was divided into 9 categories: Annual Reports, Brochures/Multiple-page Booklets, Publications, Writing, Graphic Design, Photographs, Audiovisual Production, Special Projects, and Electronic Communications. The winners of each category were awarded a ‘Best in Class.’ The “Best in Class winners are as follows:

  • Annual Reports:Kitsap County, Washington for Kitsap County Public Works Solid Waste Division Annual Report 2016
  • Brochures/Multiple-page Booklets: Hennepin County, MinnesotaforMN Deed Insert
  • Publications:Johnson County, Kansas for JoCo Maganize – Spring 2017
  • Writing:Texas Association of Counties for Don’t Fall For It: Patrick’s Property Tax ‘Relief’ is Anything But
  • Graphic Design:Gwinnett CountyGeorgiafor 2018 Multicultural Festival 
  • Photography:Los Angeles CountyCaliforniaforReaching Out, Touching Lives
  • Audiovisual ProductionHenrico County, Virginia forHaunted Henrico: Are Ghosts Dwelling in Historic County Properties
  • Special ProjectsPinellas County, Florida forPenny for Pinellas Public Education Campaign
  • Electronic CommunicationGwinnett County, Georgia for


The Awards of Excellence is an annual competition held in the spring. The full list of winners can be found on the NACIO website at

The mission of the National Association of County Information Officers is to connect, educate and provide resources among government communicators.

To find out more information visit www.nacio.orgor follow NACIO on Facebook at or Twitter at

PICTURED LEFT TO RIGHT: Awards Chair Tristan Babin, Gwinnett Communications Division Heather Sawyer and NACIO President Lori Letzring with the Tom Goodman Best of Show award.




Monday, July 23, 2018 4:22:00 PM Categories: Awards of Excellence NACIO NACo News

Click here for the video of the presentation.


Posted by Tristan Friday, February 24, 2017 12:51:00 PM Categories: NACIO News

Click here to watch the February webinar!


Monday, February 13, 2017 10:50:00 AM Categories: NACIO News

NACIO Members,

Please take note of the following informational updates from NACIO:

NEW ListServ Address for Members to Use: 

As part of membership, NACIO offers a listserv that is available for members to utilize in seeking helpful information from their peers within communications/public information roles.  Please note that the listserv address has changed to

Those responding to listserv messages are reminded to do so in a separate e-mail.  Hitting “reply” will cause a response message to go to all participants/members of the listserv. 

Register Now for the February Membership Webinar:

The February 2017 NACIO webinar will take place on Wednesday, February 22 at 1 p.m. (CST) and is titled “Top Website Design and Citizen Communication Trends of 2017” lead by two guest presenters from Civic Plus. Learn the hottest website design and citizen communication trends you can expect to see in 2017. Stay informed on the latest technology tools and trends to ensure you are continuing to communicate and engage with citizens in creative, innovative, and impactful ways.  Registration and additional information is available at;

Awards of Excellence Competition:

The annual NACIO Awards of Excellence Competition is moving to an online format and the call for entries will be coming out soon for those wishing to enter the contest.   Please stay tuned for a separate message to be sent with all the details.  A special thank you to Florida Association of Counties staff Cragin Mosteller and Tracy Kusmierz, along with First Vice President Lori Hudson for their efforts in putting together the awards contest.

Membership Renewal Reminder:

As a friendly reminder, if you have not done so – please get your NACIO membership renewals in as soon as possible.  We have several outstanding members who have not yet renewed for 2017.  Thank you, your membership is appreciated and if you have questions please refer them to

Take Part in NACIO Events at the NACo Legislative Conference:

For those traveling to the NACo Legislative Conference taking place February 25 to March 1, 2017 -  listed below is a line-up of NACIO-related activities.  NACIO will also be hosting a booth to engage conference attendees on communications-related topics and help educate about the mission of our organization. 


Sunday, February 26:

  • NACIO Business Meeting – 10 a.m. Hoover, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
  • NACIO Group Networking Lunch – 12 p.m. (on your own) Stone’s Throw Restaurant, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel If possible, please RSVP to Jessica Beyer if you plan to attend.
  • NACIO Roundtable Discussion – 1:30 p.m.  Hoover, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel


Monday, February 27:

  • NACIO-sponsored Workshop – 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. Navigating a New Era of Crisis Communications:  How to Manage Non-traditional Events Roosevelt 1/2/3 Presented by: Rebecca Carter, Mecklenberg County, NC and NACIO Second Vice President Donnell Preskey Hushka, North Dakota Association of County Commissioners and NACIO Board of Directors Regional Representative


As always, please feel free to contact me with questions at

Thank you - 



Posted by Tristan Wednesday, December 14, 2016 1:42:00 PM

Greetings NACIO Members,

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season! Please take note of the following updates and information from NACIO:

Awards of Excellence Contest – NACIO is seeking an Awards Chair.

  • NACIO is gearing up for the annual Awards of Excellence Contest that takes place each spring to highlight and celebrate outstanding communications/public relations work being done across the nation.  In order to enhance the contest, NACIO has invested in awards software to make entering, judging and reporting contest results much more streamlined.  If you would like to get further involved with NACIO, please consider volunteering to serve as the Awards Chair for the 2017 contest and contact Lori Hudson, First Vice President at very soon.  Your help is needed in ensuring we have a successful 2017 competition.  


Member Survey – We want to Hear from You.

  • Please take a moment to complete the 2016 Member Survey at;
  • NACIO is continually striving to put together quality webinars and workshops in addition to providing valuable services to its members.  We want to hear from you on how we can make NACIO even better to provide the resources members would like to see.  Survey responses will be collected now through Friday, December 30, 2016.


Membership Renewal Letters.

  • Letters will be arriving soon in your inboxes regarding 2017 NACIO Membership renewals.  Please be on the lookout for them and consider sharing information about NACIO membership with other colleagues at your organization or elsewhere that might benefit from NACIO’s monthly webinars, listserv and additional resources.  NACIO does offer discounts for multiple members and group membership for larger organizations to make membership affordable for counties of all sizes.  Membership information is also available at;


Legislative Conference Plans.

  • Save the date for NACIO activities at the NACo Legislative Conference being held February 25 to March 1, 2017.
  • NACIO plans to hold a business meeting and provide workshop content at the conference.  Stay tuned for further details.


As always, please feel free to contact me with questions at

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Jessica Beyer, NACIO President



Registration for October 5 now open
Tuesday, September 27, 2016 3:42:00 PM

Greetings NACIO Members

Fall is here and it’s time for a few updates from NACIO!


Thank you to all those that participated in NACIO events as part of the National Association of Counties Conference in Long Beach in late July.

We had a very successful business meeting with a lot of great energy and ideas which members will be experiencing the benefits of in the next several months.  Additionally, members were able to take part in three pre-conference workshop presentations, NACIO's Awards of Excellence Reception and a crisis communications session as part of the NACo workshop line-up.  Thank you to all the presenters and those that attended various events at the conference.


Earlier this month, our full Board of Directors held a planning call and will continue meeting monthly via teleconference calls on the first Thursday of each month. New Board positions include; 

  • Perrin Anderson, Board Secretary (Sevier County, TN)
  • Tristan Babin, At-large Director (St. Charles Parish, LA) 
  • Terri Graham, At-large Director (Cook County, IL) 
  • Jennifer Finch, At-large Director (Weld County, CO)
  • Donnell Preskey Hushka, At-large Director (North Dakota Association of Counties)


Board members that will continue service to the organization include;

  • Jessica Beyer, President (Blue Earth County, MN)
  • Lori Hudson, First Vice President (Hillsborough County, FL)
  • Rebecca Carter, Second Vice President (Mecklenburg County, NC)
  • Todd McGee, Past President (Orange County, NC)
  • Mary Jane Neiman, Region 1 Director (County Commissioners Association of Ohio)
  • Danny Diehl, Region 2 Director (Mecklenburg County, NC)
  • Dave Rose, Region 3 Director (El Paso County, CO)
  • Carolyn Marinan, Region 4 Director (Hennepin County, MN) 


The Board is in the process of considering reinstatement of a treasurer position as part of the leadership team. The commitment of time and expertise of Board members to the organization is greatly appreciated.


On a sad note, one of our past presidents, Robert Tucker, formerly employed with Johnson County, KS recently passed away.  Robert was a wonderful advocate for NACIO and our sympathy goes out to his family, friends and Johnson County colleagues.  NACIO has sent a memorial plant arrangement for his funeral which will be held tomorrow.  His obituary is posted at;


Now that fall is in full swing, NACIO will continue its free webinar series for members.  Generally, we hold webinars quarterly. However, we have enough topics to schedule monthly webinars - so we will move forward with holding webinars on the first Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. (CST).  Please mark your calendars for the following webinar dates;

  • October 5, 2016
  • November 2, 2016
  • December 7, 2016
  • January 4, 2017
  • February 1, 2017
  • (No Webinar in March due to the NACo Legislative Conference)
  • April 5, 2017
  • May 3, 2017
  • June 7, 2017


The October 5 webinar is titled, "NACIO Best of Class Winner Showcase: Publications with Market Appeal” and will feature best practices that Kitsap County Public Works Communications Team used to create their “2016 Best of Class” winning entry “WasteWise Living” magazine.  Doug Bear, Communications Manager and Erina Kong, Public Information Specialist with Kitsap County will present.  Additionally, all Best of Class Winners in the 2016 Awards of Excellence Contest will be highlighted.  Learn more and register at;  Information is also listed below.

Thank you and we hope you can take part in the October 5 webinar!


Jessica Beyer, NACIO President

NACIO workshop highlighted by NACo 

Posted by Todd McGee Thursday, July 28, 2016 4:26:00 PM Categories: NACIO NACo

The National Association of County Information Officers' workshop, "Are you ready for a Media Storm?" was covered by the National Association of Counties during its annual conference blog.

  • Click here to read all about it.


Make Plans to attend NACIO's July Workshop & NACo Annual Conference Events in Long Beach! 

Posted by Jessica Monday, May 16, 2016 11:30:00 AM

We hope to see many members and others from counties, state associations and organizations at the NACo Annual Conference being held in LA County/Long Beach, California July 22 to July 25, 2016.   As an affiliate organization to the National Association of Counties (NACo), NACIO has the following events planned:

Friday, July 22

NACIO Business Meeting  

10 a.m.

Location:  Shoreline ABHyatt Regency Long Beach  (all members welcome)


NACIO Pre-Conference Workshop focusing on Communication Strategies for Counties 

12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Location:  Seaview AB - Hyatt Regency Long Beach  (all members and conference attendees welcome)

This communications workshop is open to all NACIO members and conference attendees free of charge.  NACIO members do not need to be registered for the NACo conference to attend the pre-conference workshop. I’ll be sending a flyer with specific presentation details this week. We have a great line-up of presenters and are excited to be able to offer this material to folks.  Please note that due to logistics and in order to cost effectively offer the workshop to members, lunch has been removed from the agenda.  NACIO members are welcome to meet up with colleagues for networking and lunch (on your own) at Tides Restaurant following the business meeting and prior to the workshop starting.


Awards of Excellence Reception

5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Awards presentation at 5:30 p.m.

NACIO will highlight the important work of county and state association PIO’s/communicators as part of its

Awards of Excellence reception honoring winners of the 2016 contest.  The signature event for NACIO will be not far from conference activities in the lantern room at Parker’s Lighthouse on the waterfront.

We sincerely hope you can attend to celebrate our association and the outstanding work being showcased that evening.


Other Conference Activities – July 23 and July 24

In addition to events on Friday, July 22 – NACIO will be putting on a workshop Sunday, July 24 at 2:45 p.m. for NACo conference attendees titled “Are You Prepared for the Media Storm”.

NACIO is also planning to offer some communications/media relations assistance to NACo conference attendees by staffing a room on Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24 for a few hours to answer questions and provide guidance.


New reality show about county government 

Across the County Line to begin production in 2016
Posted by Todd McGee Thursday, October 1, 2015 9:25:00 AM Categories: News

Stories and Characters Wanted for A New TV show all about Counties

The producers of a show in development called “Across the County Line” are looking for big stories and big characters for an upcoming television series that will focus on the work done every day by America’s county governments. County government works and we want to help you tell your stories!

The Big Project - Our main focus for the show will be showcasing big, long-term and effective projects undertaken by county government. These can be projects that are on the drawing board and still in the planning stages, projects that are just getting started, long-term projects that are still in the works or projects that are nearing completion. Some of these will be told over a four-show arc, while others may require as many as 12 shows to tell their story. In many cases we will come back to re-visit the projects and check in on their progress and their completion.

We expect to begin production in the spring/summer of 2016. As you pitch your county stories, bear in mind that they should be either starting or underway at that time.

These projects will need to be large, visual and preferably outdoor projects and television ready that will unfold over time. On some level there must be conflict in getting these projects going. What’s most important to the producers is that the projects include some level of management and cooperation with citizens to get these projects moving forward. (For example; installing a new pension plan wouldn’t work because that is mostly done on a computer and indoors and wouldn’t have a big effect on all citizens. But building a new highway spur where the county would have to buy out reluctant, long-time homeowners would be a project worth considering.)

See the video

We have prepared a short sizzle reel that gives you a flavor of what the show is about and an idea of how the show will look. It runs just over 3 minutes and is available here: the password is ACL (all caps).
County Star - The show will make a “star” out of a county worker. We want our “county star” to be at the project manager level, that person who is out in the field interacting with the laborers, the supervisors, and with county executives and county managers, but also with county residents and citizens. Our cameras will follow our “county star” from their office to other county and government offices they interface with, county meetings, public hearings and out into the field. We want viewers to get to know them so our cameras will also follow them home and to places as varied as the local softball field where they play in a social league, the soccer team they may coach, the neighborhood park and maybe even follow them as they direct the county’s local annual school play. We want viewers to know them beyond the worksite and to get to know our “county star” and how they manage not only a project but to get a slice of life in their county.

Our viewers will root for our star and get excited not only about the county project they are managing, but also about their life and see how one county worker can affect the entire county structure. Viewers will see county government working at all levels through the eyes of one county worker who is managing one big county project but touching on so many more lives and county departments.

Characters Wanted - The producers also know that in nearly every county there is one person who everyone agrees should be the star of their own “sit-com.” “Across the County Line” is an opportunity to make a show like “Parks and Rec” come to life, real life. We want to find those people too. Those characters that everyone in the county knows, the person that gets the job done.  Let’s meet these exceptional county workers and see where their stories take us. They might be running a smaller project or may never leave their park office, but greet everyone that comes to them, either way, there is a spot for them in “Across the County Line.”

The other “county stars” we are looking for are the folks who do a job that is very unique to the county. Maybe they run the snow-making machines in a Rocky Mountains ski resort county, are a bison ranger in South Dakota, a mine inspector in West Virginia or a surf forecaster in Orange County, California. Let’s meet these county workers who do something special in their county that exists only in their county. These are the folks we want to meet and make a “county star.”

Of course there are details and logistics to be worked out with each story, and each story will present its own set of challenges, but the producers are committed to telling positive stories of America’s county governments in action. All these stories will be about successful county projects. We will control the content. County government works and “Across the County Line” will show viewers across the U.S.A. how well it works in a dramatic and entertaining fashion.

To include your county project and your county workers for consideration for “Across the County Line” please send a brief explanation of your county project, a short bio of the county manager who would be our “county star” and any other details important to the story. We will contact you as we move forward and discuss the best way to showcase your county story.

Thanks for your help in contributing to keeping American’s informed about the effectiveness of county government. We look forward to hearing from you.

David Martin -
Executive Producer
Across the County Line

Gardner chosen to receive NACIO scholarship to TCU program 

Posted by Todd McGee Tuesday, June 2, 2015 11:45:00 AM Categories: NACIO

A veteran county government communications professional has been selected to receive the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) Scholarship for the 2015-16 session of Texas Christian University’s Certified Public Communicator Program.

Jodi B. Gardner, the Director of Communications for Forsyth County, Ga., was chosen by NACIO to receive the scholarship. NACIO will pay 50% of the tuition costs for Gardner to attend the program.

“I am honored to have been selected as the recipient of the NACIO scholarship for participation in the Certified Public Communicator Program,” Gardner said. “The leadership training and extensive education provided through the program will no doubt prove valuable to me, my department and Forsyth County. I am looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of this exciting program and appreciative of the support of NACIO.”

The Certified Public Communicator Program at TCU is a post-baccalaureate, graduate-level residential program for two summers (one week each in 2015 and 2016), plus a two-day winter session. The program is taught by strategic communication professors from TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism.

Professional communicators working for city, county, and public-sector agencies create three-year comprehensive communication plans for their organizations during the program. The CPC program is a partnership of TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism, Extended Education, and the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.

“The program is the only continuing education opportunity in the nation that is geared specifically for local government public relations professionals,” said NACIO President Todd McGee, who is also public relations director for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. “We are pleased to be able to offer this scholarship to Jodi, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Certified Public Communicators program.”

Gardner serves as director of Communications for Forsyth County, Ga., and has been with Forsyth County government for 10 years. She and her team of three staff members manage the communications needs for a county that is consistently ranked among the fastest growing in the nation. Their work includes operation of TV Forsyth, the county’s 24-hour government cable channel, media relations, publications, special event planning and more.

“Forsyth County understands the importance of communicating with our citizens and stakeholders,” said Forsyth County Manager Doug Derrer. “We are pleased that Jodi will have the opportunity to take part in this program that will provide tools and education for enhancing and expanding our communications efforts.”

Prior to moving to Georgia and joining Forsyth County, Gardner held the position of development associate at the Ruth Eckerd Hall Performing Arts Center in Clearwater, Fla. She also served as a community development intern with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Gardner graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tampa with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Advertising.

NACIO was formed in 1966 to bring together county communications professionals who wanted to share and exchange information with other county public information officers across the United States. NACIO remains dedicated to improving the professional capabilities of its members through an active listserv, training webinars, workshops at national conferences and other means.

As an active affiliate of the National Association of Counties (NACo), NACIO works to promote the value of professional PIOs to county governments and also to promote a better understanding amongst the general public of the roles and responsibilities of county government.

Membership in NACIO is open to any county public information officer or any staff member who serves as the county’s PIO in addition to other duties.

For more information about NACIO, visit For more information about the Certified Public Communicator Program, visit


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