PKA hits the road
PKA PR director Bill Elverman travels the country to publicize Dire States, an infrastructure advocacy effort created and supported by CASE Construction Equipment.
Dire States is an advocacy and awareness program enacted by CASE to champion local infrastructure investment and development. By highlighting successful funding initiatives, advocating for local measures that spur new projects, and showcasing the positive effects of infrastructure development (jobs, economic development and public safety), the initiative is laying the groundwork for states, counties and communities to better control their own infrastructure fate – and reap the rewards.
Bill Elverman, director of public relations at PKA, was part of the Dire States team that helped guide the program’s direction in conjunction with CASE leaders, arrange publicity for the tour, plan events, and create content for the media and for the Dire States web and social sites. The tour achieved notable national, local and trade media.
The first leg of the tour enlisted infrastructure expert Dan McNichol and his ’49 Hudson, which has become an icon for the cause and already has more than 12,000 miles and dozens of stops under its well-worn belt. Affectionately named “Mrs. Martin” after her first owner, the Hudson became a rolling billboard for the cause. Built at about the same time as America’s interstate system, the Hudson is as “old, rusty and energy deficient as much of America’s infrastructure”. But more importantly, she’s an eye-catching conversation starter that helps raise awareness about infrastructure needs in every community she rolls through.
CASE should be commended for engaging in this type of thought leadership and advocacy. Thought leadership campaigns like this are a long play – there aren’t many manufacturers out there dedicating significant time and resources to what is really a public affairs and public safety issue. CASE recognizes the importance of infrastructure to the economy, to jobs, and to the wellbeing and security of all – and has firmly planted its flag in the movement as a responsible corporate citizen.
The tour launched out of McNichol’s hometown of Boston in October 2013. PKA worked to document the tour as part of an ongoing web series.
The tour helped raise awareness to pieces of infrastructure that were in need of repair. A settlement was reached to rebuild this bridge, in DeKalb, Ill shortly after the Dire States team visited.
As CASE’s Dire States efforts shifted towards advocacy, the Dire States team mobilized to support the passing of Prop 1 in Texas, which pumped an estimated $1.7 Billion into state transportation projects. Dire States efforts included live events, local and national media coverage, op eds and regional ad buys.