Preluded by Vice President Ken Bowen with a tremendous message about being a veteran, our guest speaker Derek Atkinson, a public affairs officer for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Ann Arbor, Mich., spoke on his experiences as a member of the Marines.
These experiences shaped him into a man who didn’t just accept his role. Many veterans choose jobs in security when they settle back in America, but Atkinson chose a field that suited his skills even more. After various jobs with government officials like Michigan gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra, he applied for and accepted a position as a public affairs officer for the Ann Arbor Veteran’s Hospital.
Atkinson does just about everything regarding and outreach for the Ann Arbor branch of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Tasks include crisis communications, social media, writing media advisories, pitching to the media and planning special events.
So, how does this fit into public relations? As Atkinson said, “Who are you writing to? So what?”
The information he reiterated internally is important because staff and volunteers must know certain information because staff and volunteers must known certain information required to help them manage their job and time.
Certain information is also important to veterans, the community and the press because it informs them of events and keeps them engaged. And, as Atkinson reiterates, media is local, so it has to tie into how it will affect the community.