Professional Achievement Awards

2019 Edward L. Bernays Award Recipient

Eric Blom, APR
Director, External Communications and Community Relations at Hannaford Supermarkets

This year’s Bernays Award recipient was described by colleagues as a gifted communicator and strategist, someone who demonstrates courage and conviction in difficult situations, and a person of unmatched integrity. Said one, “He is that rare leader who brings care and compassion to his work, daily.” Another said, “He is an outstanding representative of ethically grounded leadership that advances our profession, our communities, and our businesses.”

This professional began his career as a newspaper reporter and then assignment editor both at the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. His reporting was recognized by the Maine Press Association and the John Hancock Awards for Excellence in Business and Financial Journalism. He held editor roles for five different sections of the newspaper, and is recalled by one PR professional as someone who would say no to a story pitch in a nice way, and suggest another way to go about the pitch. He made the move to the public relations field as a vice president at Broadreach Public Relations where he managed clients in the retail, medical, high-technology, industrial and professional service sectors, winning Golden Arrow Awards for several projects. He has been with Hannaford Supermarkets for the past 8 years, moving into the role of Director of External Communications and Community Relations last year. Did you hear about Hannaford’s new Fuel Kids at School initiative? That was this Bernays winner’s idea. He is also the reason why you know more about local farms, farmers and food producers who have their products in Hannaford stores.

He has served MPRC as a board member and as the council’s representative on the national Universal Accreditation Board which approves APR designees. In addition to earning his Accreditation in Public Relations, he also holds the credential of Certified Marketer, Level 1 from General Assembly. In the community, he has been a longtime volunteer with Port Resources, serving as board president for the nonprofit. He has also served as chair of Hannaford’s United Way campaign, and spent 8 years as a board member and vice president for the Maine Media Federal Credit Union.

MPRC President’s Award 

2019 Recipient: Marnie Grumbach, MBA, Founder, Fluent IMC

Marnie Grumbach, holding the 2019 President’s Award, stands next to MPRC President Linda Varrell

The 2019 President’s Award was presented by MPRC President Linda Varrell (on right) to Marnie Grumbach, Fluent IMC

As a long-time marketing communications professional and founder of Fluent IMC, Marnie specializes in professional services branding, public relations and integrated communication strategy, with a focus on the power of multi-channel marketing. As Co-Chair of Professional Development Committee, Marnie had an active role in organizing and marketing numerous MPRC workshops and co-organized SMBME events to help fulfill the MPRC professional development mission and encourage networking and ideas exchange between media, topic experts and communications professionals.

Rising Star Award

The annual Rising Star Award by the Maine Public Relations Council (MPRC) recognizes a new public relations professional who has exhibited extraordinary achievement and outstanding work in the public relations profession.

Josiah Petrin, holding Rising Star Award, is pictured with MPRC Board member Kevin Gove

MPRC Board member Kevin Gove presents the 2019 Rising Star Award to Josiah Petrin of Broadreach Public Relations.

2019 Recipient: Josiah Petrin, Client Manager, Broadreach Public Relations

This year’s recipient began working in Maine four years ago and already holds the title of Client Manager. Early on he proved to be adept at taking on functions critical to client satisfaction, strategic development, and measurement. On his own, he developed a measurement and analytics program for Broadreach Public Relations to better document and illustrate the tangible impact of PR success.

His work on behalf of just one client has resulted in more than 225 pieces of media coverage and helped forge new strategic partnerships. That client called him “a trusted member of our team, always demonstrating a willingness to go the extra mile.”

This Rising Star’s clients include some of Broadreach’s largest, most complicated accounts requiring multi-layer strategy and local, regional, national, and trade media relations. He has won multiple Golden Arrow Awards, placed content in Forbes, and secured interviews with the Washington Post. His supervisors say he is dedicated to his work, his clients, and his coworkers.

Outside the office he oversees the public relations and marketing committee as a board member for PROPEL. He has also volunteered with Maine Boys to Men, the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance, and WordLab.

ALL Edward L. Bernays Award Winners:


Eric Blom stands next to his wife Lynn holding the 2019 Edward L. Bernays Achievement Award.

Eric Blom, APR, Hannaford Supermarkets, standing next to his wife Lynn, received the 2019 Edward L. Bernays Achievement Award.


2018 – Paul Badeau

2017 – Nancy Robert, APR

2016 – John Lamb, APR

2015 – Linda Varrell, APR

2014 – No submissions received

2013 – No submissions received

2012 – Susan Tompkins

2011 – Nancy Marshall

2010 – Jon Paradis

2009 – John Diamond

2008 – Russ Donahue

2007 – Wayne Clark

2006 – Dan Marois

2005 – Midge Vreeland, APR

2004 – Michael Bourque, APR

2003 – Tony Payne

2002 – Kathleen Duris Tarbox, APR

2001 – Linda Frechette

2000 – Judy Katzel, APR

1999 – Stephen H. McCausland

1998 – Mark Ishkanian, APR

1997 – Dick Dyer, APR

1996 – Meredith Strang Burgess

1995 – Deborah Hammond

1994 – Susan Swain

1993 – Edward O’Meara

1992 – Leslie Gall

1991 – Shelley Dunn

1990 – Robert Caswell

1988 – Dan Davidson, APR

1987 – Chip Carey

1986 – James Harnar, APR

1985 – John McCatherin

1984 – Bill Harkins & Kate Perry

1983 – Ron Palmquist

Professional Achievement Awards