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Bio for Steven Spenser


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Bio for Steven Spenser

  1. 1. Bio for Steven Spenser Principal, Praxis Communication In the last 22 years, Steven Spenser has managed corporate communicationsand PR for several Seattle-area tech firms, start-ups and non-profits, and has con-sulted for PR firms in the Northwest, Silicon Valley, Canada and on the East Coast. Steven provided PR counsel to the government of the Russian Federation for thelaunch of its first new U.S. diplomatic office in 40 years, and received the thanks ofPresident Bill Clinton for his international media-relations assistance during the SeattleMinisterial Round of the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. He gainedhis initial expertise in crisis management when he was the only PR professional in thenation to respond to the pleas of Seattle’s E. coli victims for help organizing againstJack in the Box after the deaths of four children. Stevens launch-marketing and publicity successes played a principal role in thetransformation of a Redmond Internet start-up into a $200 million company with$20 million in annual revenue. Its Web software attracted 4 million product downloadsin its first 2 years and was selected as one of the “Top 10 Downloads of the Millenn-ium.” Steven recently provided PR and marketing counsel for the Northwest chapter ofthe Starlight Childrens Foundation, a charity founded by Steven Spielberg to helpseriously ill children and their families. Steven generated the chapters greatest amountof publicity in eight years, securing print, TV and online coverage for special eventsacross Western Washington. He also played a principal role in the success of thechapter’s biggest annual fundraiser, liaising with the Academy of Motion Picture Artsand Sciences during the 81st, 82nd and 83rd Annual Academy Awards® to promote theAcademy’s only Oscars®-related charity program in an 8-state area. In addition to running his consulting practice, Steven finds time to serve as theGroup Manager of "Network of PR Professionals," the oldest and largest networkinggroup on LinkedIn devoted exclusively to discussing the theory and practice of PR andmarketing communication. A prolific PR essayist, Steven is a frequent contributor toother PR discussion groups on LinkedIn. A former editor and free-lance writer with The Associated Press, in 1992 Stevenbroke a series of four articles investigating Asian-government support of Pacific Oceanpirates and their ties to American corporations. That same year, he was the first journ-alist in the nation to report about HIV-2, an unscreened, mutant strain of the AIDS virusinfecting the U.S. blood supply. Just three months after Steven’s exposé, the U.S.Food and Drug Administration, which had resisted requiring donated blood to be testedfor HIV-2, issued a recommendation for all U.S. blood- and plasma-collection establish-ments to begin screening for the new strain. After a stint as a copy editor on the news desk of The Seattle Times (becomingthe paper’s first desk editor ever hired with no previous major-paper experience, intern- 1
  2. 2. ship or journalism degree), Steven was asked to become a restaurant critic and travelwriter for The Times. Later, he was a regular columnist, critic and feature writer for aTimes-owned newspaper. Steven’s news- and public-relations writing has won awards from the Society forProfessional Journalists, the Washington Press Association and the Public RelationsSociety of America. In 1993, the Arthritis Foundation acknowledged his success insecuring much of the cast of CBS-TVs "Northern Exposure" for the Washingtonchapter’s annual telethon and PSAs—as well as the chapter’s first successful publicityin four years—with the Arthritis Foundation Distinguished Public Service Award. During World War II, Steven’s mother was a research chemist at the Chicagocampus of the Manhattan Project, the supersecret U.S. program which built the world’sfirst atomic bomb. (Two other relatives also worked for the Project.) At the same time,his father, a B-17 pilot shot down on his 20th mission, was a P.O.W. in the Germancamp from which “The Great Escape” was made. Shortly after the war, they met,married, and were stationed (ironically) at a U.S. Air Force base in Japan. Following in his family’s nuclear footsteps, Steven was trained as a nuclearengineer in the U.S. Navy, where he received a U.S. Government SECRET securityclearance to study and work on nuclear reactors. While in the Navy, he managed$2 million in shipboard accounts as a divisional budget manager; served as a safetyofficer, master-at-arms (policeman) and TV/radio news anchor; and once steered theworld’s largest warship—the nuclear aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)—without being able to see where it was going. Steven was a member of the first U.S. military unit to respond to the 1983 bomb-ing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, and was part of the task force that challengedLibyan leader Muammar Gaddafis “Line of Death” in the waters of the Gulf of Sidra.His service also included being threatened with suicide-bomb attacks by Hezbollah offthe coast of Syria, and rendezvousing with President Reagan off Normandy’s OmahaBeach at the 40th anniversary of D-Day. While serving on several emergency-responder teams, Steven sometimes dir-ected battle-damage response, firefighting, rescues and first aid in crises throughoutthe Eisenhower. He was a member of an elite, crackerjack crew whose successfulefforts on special missions earned their ship unit commendations equivalent to theSilver Star and the Bronze Star for distinguished action with outstanding heroism. Steven has trekked through the rain forest to Angel Falls (the world’s tallest),SCUBA-dived in shark-infested Caribbean wrecks, and rafted some of the most dang-erous whitewater rivers in North America. He has climbed five stratovolcanoes on twocontinents, including three of the potentially deadly Decade Volcanoes: Vesuvius,Etna, and Mount Rainier. A widely traveled globetrotter able to curse in nine languages during his navalcareer, Steven employs his own "tourist post-card method" of sightseeing navigation,and claims that successful travelers need only master five specific phrases in anylanguage. In his travels he has explored ancient mysteries at Stonehenge; slipped 2
  3. 3. through a moonlit, empty Parthenon at midnight; climbed to the top of St. Peters in theVatican; and knelt in the coolness of the immense Dome of the Rock in the MuslimQuarter of Old Jerusalem. Once a next-door neighbor of Generalissimo Francisco Franco in Madrid, Stevenhas been robbed by virginal Gypsies in Rome, eluded anti-American mobs in Athens,and gambled the night away at Monaco’s famed Monte Carlo casino (leaving with twochips still in his pocket). Steven is a self-taught pianist who has composed several dozen copyrightedsongs and instrumentals which are being compiled for a studio recording, and he hasreceived inquiries for screenplay options based on the book of seriocomic autobio-graphical essays he is writing. He owns more than 1,700 classic films, enjoys fencing,petanque, lawn bowling and racket sports, and collects gargoyles, aboriginal masksand Christmas-music albums. His other interests include odd and archaic words and derivations; writing forNPRs "Says You"; trivia about the Oscars, U.S. presidents and world geography;reading history; political science; and lobbying state legislators and members of Con-gress. Steven’s life goals include visiting Antarctica; racing around the world; runningfor President; and becoming a member of the U.S. Electoral College. Steven’s parents met on a blind date, and, to this day, he maintains that the bestwriting he has ever produced was the detailed personals ad that prompted a memor-able response from the woman who—six months and one intervening “Storm of theCentury” hurricane later—became his wife of 26 years. He and his bride live in Seattlewith their 12-year-old son and three cats, along with a backyard menagerie of fourpeanut-trained Stellar’s blue jays, three peripatetic possums, two dive-bombing rufoushummingbirds, and an aggressive woodpecker intent on reducing the Spenser home tokindling. 3