Tribus Awards honors local communicators for campaigns, tactics excellence


Friday, May 22, 2020

CONTACT: Kaylin R. Adkins-Staten, APR, PRSA-River Cities Chapter Past President, Hourglass Media | P: 304.900.2833 | E:

Tribus Awards honors local communicators for campaigns, tactics excellence

HUNTINGTON — The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)-River Cities Chapter recently honored local communicators at its second annual Tribus Awards.

The ceremony, conducted virtually over Zoom on May 19, recognized Tri-State communicators in three categories: Honorable Mention, Tribus and Special awards. The awards encompass both full-fledged campaigns and tactics that contributed to the overall success of campaigns from August 2018 to August 2019.

The Tribus Awards, launched in 2018, is an annual exhibition of work from West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio’s communications professionals. In 2018, the awards rate was 59 percent, increasing in 2019 to 61 percent. In 2019, the Chapter awarded nine Honorable Mentions, eight Tribus Awards and five Special Awards.

“The overarching goal of the Tribus Awards is to showcase the amazing work our public relations practitioners and other communications professionals are doing in our area,” said Kaylin R. Staten, APR, Chapter Past President and CEO of Hourglass Media. “Often, PR practitioners are so busy keeping the cogs on the wheel going for their organizations that they don’t sit back and recognize the impact their work has in our communities. PRSA-River Cities Chapters’ Tribus Awards program allows them to celebrate their successes and add credibility to their reputations as vital parts of organizations. We congratulate each of the winners!”

Winners included representatives from Marshall University Communications, Marshall University’s public relations and advertising academic programs, Holzer Health System, Kentucky Power, Huntington Museum of Art, Shawnee State University, SunCoke Energy Partners LP and Hourglass Media.

A master list of award winners and insights can be found at

The Best Campaign in the Tri-State was awarded to the Marshall University Public Relations Academic Program for its PRSSA-MU Campaign. The Best Tactic in the Tri-State was for Hourglass Media and Cabell County Family Resource Network work on the Kids’ Dental Health Month Electronic Press Kit.

“While I am awfully proud of all of my students who earned awards in this year’s PRSA-River Cities Tribus Awards, the PRSSA-Marshall University agency group—including then-students (now alumni) Abbi Pritchard, Gretchen Kalar, Zachary Stevens, Chelsey Stanley and Kyle Camacho—are commended for exhibiting such a high level of excellence that earned them top honors for the evening,” said Terry L. Hapney, Jr., Ph.D., professor of public relations at Marshall University and 2020 Chapter President.

Hapney said the fact that three groups of his former students earned eight awards in a professional competition is a testament to the quality of tactics and campaigns those alumni researched, planned, implemented and evaluated while they were still students at MU.

“Having practitioners and scholars from the Houston, Texas, chapter of PRSA recognize the value of my students’ strategic communications work is the icing on the cake for what I consider already rewarding campaigns for three very worthy nonprofit organizations in our community,” Hapney said.

Young Professional of the Year was awarded to Diana Starkweather, Plant Environmental, Health and Safety Manager at SunCoke Energy Partners LP in Franklin Furnace, Ohio.

“Being new to the public relations field, I was surprised to receive the Young Professional of the Year award, but I was pleased to have my hard work recognized by an organization outside of my company,” Starkweather said. “Although I am not involved with public relations in the traditional sense, PR is a part of every business, which is why I decided to return to graduate school to learn more about it. I look forward to continuing to learn from the experienced professionals at the PRSA River Cities Chapter and using this knowledge to better equip myself for a career that involves both organizational communication and public interaction.”

Elizabeth Blevins, APR, Director of Communications at Shawnee State University, received the PR Practitioner of the Year Award.

“I’m honored to receive this award and want to thank everyone associated with the River Cities Chapter of PRSA,” Blevins said. “I view this as a team recognition more than an individual one. I’ve been fortunate throughout my career to be surrounded by insanely creative professionals who love what they do.

“The world of PR has changed drastically over the past 31 years, as technology has changed and the way we live and receive information has changed. That’s no more evident than in higher education. At Shawnee State, our goal is to provide personalized information to each prospective student so we’re able to answer the unique questions they have about the value of a college degree, programs designed to help make college possible, and how they can connect their specific interests and strengths to potential careers. While the tools we use are vastly different, the main goal of PR remains the same. At the end of the day, we exist to build connections and relationships with the people we serve.”

The 2019 Chapter Service Award went to Kaylin R. Staten, APR, who served as Chapter President in 2018-2019.

“In many ways, this was the bow on top of my tenure as President for two years,” Staten said. “I am incredibly passionate about PRSA and public relations as a whole, so this was a wonderful honor! I have been involved with PRSA since I was an undergraduate student at Marshall University and joined MU-PRSSA. It has been a surreal experience to help found a new Chapter of PRSA for our PR and other communications professionals in the Tri-State. I am exceedingly appreciative of my colleagues’ support and general faith in my leadership since the inception of our Chapter. I hope to continue to contribute in innovative ways as Past President and a member of committees. As a PRSA-East Central District board member, I also serve as PRSA-River Cities Chapter’s representative throughout a six-state radius. My hope is that our Chapter continues to grow and serve its membership well for years to come.”

For more information, visit

About PRSA-River Cities Chapter: 

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)-River Cities Chapter was created in 2015 and serves the River Cities of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky. Our mission is to make communications professionals smarter, better prepared and more connected through all stages of their careers. PRSA-River Cities belongs to the Public Relations Society of America-East Central District. One of the 10 PRSA districts, the East Central District represents members in 17 PRSA chapters concentrated in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Western and Northwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. As of December 2015, the District represents more than 2,750 PRSA members.

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Screenshots of the virtual ceremony can be found here:

BREAKOUT BOX: The Master List of Winners

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