Sawchuk Brown Associates Combines with EMA

Eric Mower and Associates (EMA) and Sawchuk Brown Associates (SBA) announced today they are combining, creating the region’s largest and most dynamic public relations and public affairs practice and solidifying EMA’s standing as one of the nation’s top 20 independent communications agencies.

The combination with Sawchuk Brown is EMA’s third consolidation in 2008. In June, EMA combined with Mark Russell Associates of Syracuse and Atlanta. In January, EMA combined with Clarke Advertising and Public Relations in Sarasota, Fla.

Founded by Pamela Sawchuk Brown as a one-woman enterprise in 1979, SBA has grown to become the Capital Region’s oldest and most established public relations firm, focusing on public relations, public affairs and strategic marketing. SBA’s broad range of services over its 29-year history has made it invaluable to its clients and a key player in regional economic development and in Albany’s civic, cultural, and business affairs. For all but the first two years, Ms. Sawchuk partnered with her husband, David Brown, who was instrumental in the firm’s growth and success. Mr. Brown died unexpectedly in February 2007.

SBA today has 13 employees and capitalized billings of $12.6 million on revenue of $1.9 million. Its roster of clients includes Albany International Airport, Center for Economic Growth, KeyBank, MVP Health Care, New York Business Development Corporation, New York State Association for Realtors, New York State Laborers, The Picotte Companies, Rensselaerville Institute and Conference Center, Sage Colleges, Tech Valley High School, Warren County Tourism, and Whiteman Osterman and Hanna.

“Pam and David and their colleagues have enriched the Capital Region in countless ways and have delivered consistently strong services to their clients,” said Eric Mower, chairman and chief executive officer of EMA.” This combination will enable SBA to offer its clients the capabilities of a fully integrated, full-service agency as well as the expertise of some 275 professionals in our seven offices on the East Coast. This new, stronger Albany operation will benefit from SBA’s deep civic, community, and business roots in the region.”

“This move underscores my great admiration for EMA and its outstanding reputation for marketing communications,” said Pamela Sawchuk Brown, founder, president and CEO of SBA, and now a partner in EMA. “We share an uncommonly strong commitment to our clients, and this client-centered focus, coupled with a top-notch professional team and unparalleled experience and expertise, will clearly set the combined agency apart. SBA will now be able to offer clients a broader range of marketing services, and our capabilities in the arena of public affairs, public relations and crisis communications will be enhanced. Together these two firms are a powerhouse and an incredible asset for the region.”

Robert J. Bellafiore, an EMA senior partner who will oversee management and strategic direction for the Albany office with Ms. Sawchuk, said, “Pam and her team have a stellar reputation throughout this region, and they have earned it. This combined operation creates a new communications force that will benefit clients in this marketplace and throughout our agency.”

Effective immediately, SBA will operate under the Eric Mower and Associates name. EMA will combine physical office operations as early as possible this fall, but where and when will depend on an analysis of long-term space needs and options. Until then the two offices will be closely linked by technology until they are combined physically.

SBA’s clients will see no interruption in service and will now have access to enhanced and improved service through EMA’s broader capabilities.

The Eric Mower and Associates name dates back to its Syracuse origins in 1969. Its Albany office opened in 1996. Albany now serves as the center of EMA’s company-wide public affairs practice, serving clients in New York State and elsewhere on public affairs, issue-related communications, strategic marketing, crisis management and more. EMA also provides clients with more traditional advertising, B2B and marketing communications services. Public affairs clients include: Brookfield Renewable Power, County Waste & Recycling, Lafarge NA, New York State Dental Foundation, New York State Health Facilities Association, and Noble Environmental Power.

With estimated 2008 capitalized billings of $230 million, EMA has specialized expertise in public relations and public affairs, consumer advertising, brand promotion, business-to-business marketing and interactive communications. EMA has offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y., as well as Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, Ga., and Sarasota, Fla. Its clients include FedEx, Fisher-Price, Kodak, Motorola, and Nucor Steel.

StevensGouldPincus, a merger and management consulting firm specializing in the public relations industry, facilitated the combination between EMA and SBA.

Ms. Sawchuk, a graduate of the University at Albany, has served on the board of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce since 1986 and was its chair in 2003. She also serves on the Albany District Board of KeyBank NA and the boards of the Howard & Bush Foundation and the Center for Economic Growth, as well as the advisory board of the Union Graduate College and the President’s Council of the Albany College of Pharmacy and the Sage Colleges. In 1995, she was named “Woman of Excellence” by the Albany-Colonie Chamber. And in 2000, she was honored as one of the “100 Women of Excellence” in the Capital Region in the 20th Century.

Mr. Bellafiore, also a graduate of the University at Albany, leads the firm’s agency-wide public affairs practice and serves on EMA’s board of directors. He joined EMA in 2003 after more than 20 years as reporter for The Associated Press and other news organizations, communications director for The Business Council of New York State and later senior aide to New York Gov. George E. Pataki. In the Pataki administration, Mr. Bellafiore served as the first press secretary and later as deputy chief of staff for policy and planning. His op-eds have been published in The New York Times and the New York Post, and he is a regular commentator on “Capital Tonight,” a nightly public affairs program on Time Warner Cable’s Capital News 9 across upstate. He also serves as a trustee of the State University of New York, where he chairs the Board’s Committee on Communications and External Affairs.

Eric Mower is a vice chair of the New York State Business Council and is now in his seventh year as president of the 90-nation International Network of Independent Advertising Agencies (IN). He also serves as chair of the Government Relations Committee for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and is a member of its national board of directors. In addition, he serves as chair of the National Advertising Review Council, which is the highly acclaimed self-regulatory apparatus of the nation’s advertising industry. Mr. Mower is a trustee emeritus for Syracuse University and serves on the Advisory Council of the University’s renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications.

EMA is a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and IPREX, a worldwide partnership of independent public relations firms.

For more information, please visit www.mower.com.

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