Area Includes: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
Director: Tricia Ring Wajda, Public Information Officer, Monmouth County, New Jersey
Tricia Ring Wajda is a certified public relations specialist currently serving as the Public Information Officer for Monmouth County Government and as the Director of the Monmouth County Department of Public Information.
Tricia leads a team that is responsible for relaying information about County news and services to residents, visitors and business owners in Monmouth County. This is done through the County website, social media channels, press releases, photos and videos. Tricia joined the Monmouth County Department of Public Information in 2013 and became the Director in January of 2019. Previously, Tricia was the Director of Communication for two New Jersey General Assembly members and an adjunct professor of communications at Monmouth University.
Tricia is the recipient of awards from the National Association of Government Communicators and the National Association of County Information Officers. She earned a Master’s degree in Corporate and Public Communication from Monmouth University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stockton University.
Area includes: Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia
Director: Heather Shirm, Digital Marketing and Communications Manager, Palm Beach County Public Affairs
Heather Shirm has been a government communicator with Palm Beach County Public Affairs since 2006. She currently leads a team of administrative, digital, and graphic design professionals. The Digital Marketing and Communications division is responsible for all content for internal and external websites, including print and online publications, biweekly e-newsletters, and social media outlets. The team also maintains the countywide social media use and web design standards policies.
Heather also manages the Public Information Unit during emergency events, including press release distribution, social media posting, and monitoring. She provides consultative and technical assistance to agencies in reference to their websites and social media presence and consistently researches and recommends new technology to enhance the function and usability of all Palm Beach County websites.
During her 17-year career with Palm Beach County, Heather has created and launched a comprehensive social media strategy, including recommended platforms, design, and a policy detailing county standards for engagement. She has coordinated and launched redesigns of Palm Beach County’s internal and external websites, created and published a countywide web standards and guidelines document that all county agencies are required to follow, and spearheaded an initiative to convert the bi-weekly employee newsletter from print to digital resulting in a cost savings of $84,000 annually. Most recently, Heather graduated in 2021 from TCU’s Certified Public Communicator course, sponsored in part by a NACIO scholarship.
Area includes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
Director: Susan Mayes, Communication Director at New Mexico Counties
Susan Mayes is the communications director for New Mexico Counties helping flow the conversation to all 33 counties. She led the initiative to rebrand the state association which won a 2019 3CMA Savvy Award and two awards from NACIO. Currently, Susan is promoting a video campaign through social media that depicts the essential programs and services that counties provide.
Susan joined NMC in 2005 working in several capacities within the legislative, risk management, and administration teams. Her background entails 26 years in retail as a buyer and brand manager. She loves working with a group, inspiring new ideas, listening to the needs of member counties, and connecting collaboratively toward a common goal.
Area Includes: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa. Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin
Director: Carolyn Marinan, Chief Public Relations Officer, Hennepin County, Minnesota
Carolyn Marinan is the public affairs officer for Hennepin County. She has worked in communications in the county since 1998. Previously Carolyn spent nearly 20 years in television news and promotion at WCCO TV, KSTP TV and KARE 11. She’s done talk radio and produced and hosted a local travel show on TPT. Her numerous awards include a New York Film Festival award, Telly Awards, Best of Gannett and AP. Carolyn serves on the National Association of County Information Officers (NACIO) Board of Directors.
Carolyn graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in speech-communication. She remains involved with mentoring students at the University of Minnesota along with being active in the Hennepin University Partnership. She lends her time as well to other worthwhile causes in need of communications and public relations.
Erina Kong, Public Works Public Information Specialist, Kitsap County, Washington
Donnell Preskey Hushka, Government and Public Affairs Specialist, North Dakota Association of Counties