Empire Awards New


Penny Vavura, President 
Public Relations Society of America - Capital Region Chapter 


Thursday October 27, 2011 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM EDT

Add to my calendar 


The Crossings of Colonie 
580 Albany Shaker Road
Loudonville, NY 12211

Driving Directions 

2011 PRSA Capital Region Empire Awards 

$30 for PRSA members,students

$45 for nonmembers

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Capital Region Chapter created the Empire Awards competition in 2008 to celebrate and commemorate the triumphs of the programs, projects and people that strengthen, promote and sharpen the public relations profession.

The awards recognize programs, projects and professionals for outstanding achievement in the practice and support of public relations in the Capital Region and beyond. The competition is open to both PRSA members and non-members.

Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, Associate Professor of Communication, Curry College (Milton, Mass.) and National PRSA Board Director will emcee the evening.

In addition to bestowing awards in eleven categories, the chapter will recognize two local individuals for special awards: Outstanding Practitioner and Outstanding Communicator.  

Outstanding Practitioner Award

This award is given to a Capital Region public relations professional, who has achieved exceptional success, displayed the highest ethics, and is dedicated to serving the community and our profession. A Nominee and candidate MUST be a member of the PRSA Capital Region Chapter.

2011 Winner: Tom Nardacci, Principal and Founder of Gramercy Communications

The business that Tom Nardacci started in a spare bedroom six years ago has grown to represent clients with nearly $2 billion worth of economic development projects in New York State.  He has given of himself and his company in an effort to promote and recognize the public relations profession in the Capital Region.  Tom has been a key figure in the PRSA Capital Region chapter’s leadership in recent years; he has created and supported events focused on recognizing and elevating the public relations profession; and he has consistently provided education and work experience to students and junior and mid-level public relations professionals.

Past Recipients

2010     Ben Marvin, The College of Saint Rose

2009     Jonathan Pierce, APR, Pierce Communications

2008     Jo Ann LeSage Nelson, APR, Pierce Communications

Outstanding Communicator Award

This award is given to a Capital Region professional/community leader/public figure who has demonstrated excellence in the field of communications. Both PRSA members and non-members are welcomed to participate in the nomination.  (Please note that current public relations/communications professionals are excluded from consideration for this award.)

2011 Winner: Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, Professor of Nanoscience and Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros has a 21st century vision for the region and is a vocal advocate for the Capital Region to the international science and technology communities.  Alain is highly regarded in the scientific and broader communities and is a public figure who has used his communications skills to move forward New York's aspirations of becoming a global leader in nanotechnology. Through his leadership of the UAlbany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, he has fostered a community of more than 2,500 scientists, researchers, students, faculty and staff from more than 250 global corporate partners and leading research universities.

Past Recipients

2010     Ed Lewi, Ed Lewi Associates

2009     Linda Hillman, Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce

2008     Pamela Sawchuk Brown, Eric Mower and Associates


PR Campaign (For Profit)

  • Bring the Trophy Home (The Record)
  • City of Watervliet Launches New Boathouse (Gramercy Communications)
  • Launching Kogeto Dot (Portfolio PR Group)

PR Campaign (Nonprofit)

  • 10 CORP (NYS Teachers Retirement System)
  • Celebrating Culture & Diversity in the Monticello CSD (Capital Region BOCES)
  • Windham 2010 Mountain Bike World Cup & Festival (Pierce Communications)

Public Affairs Campaign

  • Health Insurance Exchange Editorial Board Project (American Cancer Society of NY/NJ)
  • Lafarge Ravena Cement Plant Modernization Project (Eric Mower & Associates)
  • Think Ahead Invest in Higher Ed (United University Professions)

Integrated Campaign

  • Rebranding DeCrescente and Gotbeer.com (Portfolio PR Group & Overit Media)
  • Seeking a Solution to a $98 Million Problem (Corning Place Consulting) 

Media Relations/Regional (Profit)

  • Adirondack Small Cap Fund Announcement (Pierce Communications)
  • Creo Installs a Green Roof (Gramercy Communications)
  • Tornado Response (Gramercy Communications)

Media Relations/Regional (Nonprofit)

  • One Small Step (Zone 5)
  • VITA Media Relations Program 2011 (United Way of the Greater Capital Region)
  • Woman-Owned Business Thrives (Gramercy Communications)

Media Relations/Statewide+

  • Friday Knights at the College of St. Rose (The College of St. Rose)
  • Putting Signa Chemistry in National Headlines (Portfolio PR Group)

Online Media

  • 33rd Annual Freihofer’s Run for Women (Rueckert Advertising & PR, blue.O)
  • Hannah’s Hope Fund Wins Pepsi Refresh Project (SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinal PR)
  • Siena College 10,000 Facebook Likes Contest (Siena College)


  • Guard Times News Magazines (NYS Division of Military & Naval Affairs)
  • Multiple Intervenors Newsletter (Couch White, LLP)
  • Siena College: Siena News Magazine (Siena College)

Annual Reports

  • Delivering Our Promise (Glens Falls Hospital)
  • Sage Colleges 2010 Horizons Magazine (The Sage Colleges)
  • Siena College President’s Report 2009-2010 (Siena College)


  • 2011 Campaign Brochure (United Way of the Greater Capital Region)
  • Avila Marketing Brochure and FAQs (Alchester Group LLC)
  • There’s Special Help (The Community Hospice)