Since 1976, Solem & Associates has worked with hundreds of clients
on the local, regional and national levels. We have created winning
strategies for diverse clientele ranging from energy and land use
to political campaigns and healthcare. For details on our successes,
click on any of the following clients:
100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference
Solem & Associates provided communications strategy, media relations and public policy for the 100th Anniversary Earthquake Conference in San Francisco April 18-21, 2006, the biggest earthquake conference ever held.
The conference, held jointly by the California Office of Emergency Services, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and the Seismology Society of America, drew more than 2,500 earthquake professionals. It was the science, engineering, and policy focus of the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
The conference began with a dozen cameras and scores of journalists on hand as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom called for better disaster preparedness. Over the next four days the media covered a U.S. Senate field hearing held at the conference, “shake model” competition for university engineering departments, a live-fire demonstration of flame-retardant material, and some of the 213 technical sessions, poster sessions, and tutorials.
Sens. Barbara Boxer and Jim DeMint held a field hearing at the conference
In addition to media relations, Solem managed the policy elements of the conference, from establishing events and bringing national leaders to the conference, to speaker packets and logistics for each official’s appearance. Solem arranged conference participation by the Governor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, former FEMA director James Lee Witt, U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and Interior Secretary Lynn Scarlett.
Successful pre-publicity resulted in interviews for the Conference Chair with 'Nightline', Time Magazine, USA Today, the Washington Post, Voice of America, 'Good Morning America', 'The Lehrer Report', nationally syndicated radio shows in the U.S. and Canada, NBC, CBS, and ABC's evening news, as well as extensive coverage in the Bay Area. During the conference, the Solem team created media kits and daily summaries for almost 100 journalists, and arranged multi-language news briefings and interviews.
Coverage was world-wide when the conference released a new report assessing the destruction a 1906-size earthquake would cause today -- U.S. and Canadian media, German, Persian, Chinese, and Spanish-language TV attended the press conference, and wire service articles were picked up from Scotland to China.
In addition, Solem produced a 14-minute film recalling the 1906 earthquake and summarizing two special reports delivered at the conference: one on the extent of destruction a 1906-size quake would cause today, and one on the Top Ten action steps the conference professionals recommended that California should implement to get prepared. The film was shown to start the conference, DVDs of the film were given to each conference attendee, and it was distributed to Bay Area libraries, science teachers, community organizations, and government agencies. It is shown on numerous public affairs and public access television shows.
2005 UN World Environment Day Conference
Solem & Associates provided communications strategy, media relations and other services for the United Nations World Environment Day conference in San Francisco June 1-5, 2005, on behalf of the Mayor’s office, Generation Earth and the San Francisco Environment Department.
The conference began with the biggest press announcement in City Hall memory,
with 24 cameras and 140 journalists on hand as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
signed an executive order to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. It ended with
mayors from around the world signing Urban Environment Accords, taking historic steps toward
more sustainable urban living.
An appreciated compliment: In the San Francisco Sentinel, which covered the conference extensively, columnist Pat Murphy wrote: “It was a mighty swirl. Even reporters long backgrounded in environmentalism could have been left scratching their head, were it not for comprehensive media assistance provided by Solem & Associates. Initially hosting orientation and two media rooms, Solem staffers delivered hard copy and email schedule updates, thorough background on speakers, and fanned out at each event with logistics support for every reporter. They did so without pitch or spin. Solem served up the best of public information services.”
After four months of run-up and successful pre-publicity, Solem issued credentials to 200 registered journalists who came from all over the world. During the conference, the Solem team provided satellite uplinks for worldwide television feeds, created media kits and daily summaries, and arranged multi-language news briefings and interviews. The Solem team arranged daily transportation for the media in zero-emission buses and was on-site at each event to help local and international media and two documentary crews cover the international mayors as they rode cable cars, toured a recycling plant, walked in Muir Woods, visited San Francisco Bay wetlands, and worked in City Hall on the accords.
Coverage included Page 1 articles ranging from the Los Angeles Times to the Christian Science Monitor, 12 articles and three editorials in the San Francisco Chronicle, coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN national and worldwide, BBC, NPR, Xinhau, German and Spanish TV, and daily Associated Press articles picked up from Seattle to Miami.
In addition, as part of the World Environment Day conference steering committee, Solem created, raised the money for, and produced, a Dine Around Town dinner event. The international mayors, key conference sponsors, and San Francisco leaders enjoyed intimate dinners at one of three top San Francisco restaurants (sipping on organic wine) midway through the conference. Sponsored by Gap Inc., it was all arranged by the Solem team, from invitations to menu to speakers and parting gifts.
To improve transportation in the Bay Area, the California State
Legislature convened a Blue Ribbon Task Force to develop a new system
of regional ferry transportation, under the management and direction
of the Bay Area Council. Solem & Associates was instrumental
in securing public approval and support as well as extensive media
coverage for this project through community outreach, coalition
building and communications efforts.
Our work included
developing and managing a media relations plan which included press
release and opinion-editorial writing, story development, media
pitching, media-event strategizing and execution, and editorial
board meetings. Solem & Associates also developed collateral
materials for the project, including video production and the
creation of periodic newsletters and brochures. Newsmaking on this
project reached a national level with stories placed in the Los
Angeles Times, the Associated Press and the Boston Globe.
For its media work with the Bay Area Council, Solem & Associates
earned three Bulldog Awards.
Catellus Development Corporation/Mission Bay
Catellus Development Corporation contracted Solem & Associates
to develop and execute a public relations and media program to support
Catellus and the Mission Bay project through the final phase of
the entitlement process at the San Francisco Planning Commission,
San Francisco Redevelopment Commission and the San Francisco Board
At the beginning
of Solem's work with Catellus, media coverage of the Mission Bay
project was critical and negative. By working with key reporters
on an individual basis, the agency was able to educate them on the
project's benefits. By the end of the approval process, the media
coverage had shifted from negative to positive, and several news
reports specifically outlined the Mission Bay project as the example
of how to get projects approved in San Francisco. As new buildings
at Mission Bay open, favorable media coverage has continued.
From 1993 to 2003, Solem & Associates provided public affairs consulting for Lucasfilm Ltd. on the company's land development projects.
The agency's public relations and community outreach work helped Lucasfilm win the bid for redevelopment of the Letterman Hospital site at The Presidio in San Francisco for its new Letterman Digital Arts Center. The project brings 3,000 new jobs to San Francisco.
Solem & Associates also has consulted with Lucasfilm in its successful efforts to develop property it owns in Marin County's Lucas Valley where the company faced persistent opposition from a small group of local residents. Working with Solem senior staff members, Lucasfilm developed a community outreach program and communications strategy designed to inform decision makers and opinion leaders about the benefits of the proposal and to gain their active backing of the Lucasfilm plan. In October 1996, Lucasfilm won unanimous approval from the Marin County Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission for the development's master plan for the property, a critical step in moving the project forward.
Nielsen Media Research
Solem & Associates provided advocacy, media relations and community outreach for Nielsen Media Research in 2004 when the TV ratings company introduced "local people meters" to replace paper diaries for measuring Bay Area TV viewership.
Rollouts of the people meters in Los Angeles and New York earlier in the year had brought criticism that the meters did not count minority viewership accurately. Solem & Associates developed a proactive campaign to produce a successful launch in the San Francisco area. The campaign included briefings for elected officials and presentations to leaders in the Bay Area’s Asian American, Hispanic American and African American communities detailing how the people meters increased accuracy in measurement.
Solem & Associates organized demonstrations of the meters and presentations on Nielsen’s methodology and safeguards for Asian American advertisers, Asian American media representatives, and African American political and media leaders. The successful outreach with the message that everyone is counted by the people meters pre-empted criticism. The result was clear, positive media coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Contra Costa Times, as well as the Bay Area’s ethnic media including articles based on a media release that Solem & Associates translated into Chinese.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Currently we are helping the company develop strategies focusing on clean energy resources and providing counsel on other issues, including final closure of the controversial Hunters Point Power Plant in May 2006. In 2003 and 2004, Solem & Associates assisted PG&E as it emerged from bankruptcy, and in 2005 we helped secure approvals for projects to deliver electricity reliably.
Since 1976, the agency's ongoing work for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has involved a wide range of public affairs and communications programs. Our relationship extends from individuals with line responsibility up through the highest levels of company management. Solem & Associates' efforts have focused on increasing public understanding of PG&E's role in the communities it serves and assisting the company in managing crises.
Among Solem & Associates' work with PG&E, the agency has developed successful campaigns to defeat municipalization efforts. The agency's work on this issue began in 1982, when a voter initiative in San Francisco threatened PG&E with municipalization of its electric power distribution facilities, and has continued to the present.
The recent energy crisis in California and PG&E's financial difficulties in 2000 persuaded advocates of public power in San Francisco to try utility municipalization once again. In November 2001, Solem & Associates defeated Measure I, which would have created a municipal utility district for San Francisco and the neighboring city of Brisbane, by a margin of 64,583 to 60,227. Proposition F, which would have converted the existing appointed San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to an elected Water and Power Agency, was defeated by the even narrower margin of 64,918 to 64,403. In November 2002, Proposition D, which would have allowed the city takeover of PG&E, received a 53.8% "No" vote; San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown called it "the best campaign I've ever seen."
ValleyCare Health System
ValleyCare Health System is the Tri-Valley's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive health services and is comprised of two facilities ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton and Valley Memorial in Livermore.
Solem & Associates provides ongoing communications planning and implementation to educate target audiences about services and resources available. When the hospital system launched an aggressive expansion program for both its campuses, Solem & Associates provided strategic communications consultation and community relations specifically targeted to the media, local residents and ValleyCare's Board of Directors. Solem also has produced ValleyCare's annual report and provided assistance on media issues as needed.
Additionally, Solem & Associates' research division has conducted public opinion research for ValleyCare to help identify community concerns and areas where additional communications programs would be beneficial for the system's marketing and strategic planning goals. Since 1998, the agency also has surveyed system physicians, employees and volunteers annually to measure job satisfaction and concerns.
Woodside Natural Gas
Solem & Associates provides strategic communications for Woodside Natural Gas and its project to bring liquefied natural gas to Southern California. Solem created and helped execute a strategic communications plan to introduce Woodside Natural Gas and its OceanWay project to California decision-makers, media, and the public -- including creation of the project’s name, logo and presentation material.
Solem’s communications and media relations strategy resulted in wide, positive coverage of Woodside in January 2006 when the company publicly announced its intention to bring Australian gas to California. Woodside received more positive coverage in March 2006 when it announced that its project would be located more than 20 miles offshore and use new technology to eliminate the need for an offshore terminal. In advance of the public announcements, Solem helped arrange meetings between Woodside executives and California decision-makers.