Managing Directors Larry Ayres and Bret Wacker Issue Point-of-View Paper on the New Federal Era

Detroit, May 12, 2009 – Across the corporate landscape, executives in many sectors are discovering that they unexpectedly have a new business partner—the federal government—and that, as a result, they need to participate in new types of dialogues in unfamiliar territory.  To help guide companies through this terrain, Airfoil Public Relations hasformally launched its public affairs practice.  The practice is headed by Managing Directors for Public Strategies Larry Ayres and Bret Wacker who this week released a point-of-view paper on the meaning of the new federal era for businesses and their marketing communications providers.

Ayres, with more than 30 years of experience in the public affairs arena, has held senior positions in Fortune 100 corporations, lobbying and law firms, and the military. He served six years as congressional liaison for the secretaries of Defense and the Army and, in the private sector, he has designed end-to-end government advocacy campaigns. In addition to directing the corporate government affairs office of the nation’s leading human resources solutions company, Ayres’ career has been highlighted by his success on behalf of a range of clients.  He has he managed legislative support for major programs in the U.S. departments of Defense and Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration as a lobbyist for a major defense contractor; assisted a major children’s hospital secure funding for construction and equipment of a pediatric trauma center; helped secure funding in defense appropriations for the development and operation of a child abuse prevention program for the USMC and Army and crafted successful strategies for nanotechnology companies seeking funds for participation in military programs.

Wacker has been a senior-level public affairs strategist for nearly 25 years in both the private and public sectors.  He was appointed to presidential posts in the U.S. departments of Labor, Energy and State and has advised the leadership of three national political campaigns.  A top-level corporate lawyer and multinational corporation executive, Wacker has led successful programs in public sector business and market development and in public-policy advocacy.  His achievements include spearheading a federal market growth strategy for a global human resources provider; designing and implementing a global software vendor’s strategy for federal GSA multiple-award schedule award and compliance; and negotiating blanket IT purchase agreements with the Defense Information Systems Agency and the states of California, New York, Florida and Ohio.

“Under the guidance of Larry and Bret, Airfoil’s public affairs unit will help our clients ensure that they gain the full benefit of new opportunities to work with federal programs and that they respond effectively to government rules or restrictions that may impact their businesses directly,” said Airfoil Client Solutions Executive Vice President Tracey Parry.

The point-of-view paper authored by Ayres and Wacker, titled “The Dawning of the New Federal Era: Its meaning for innovators and PR practitioners,” examines Airfoil research that suggests communicators for technology companies may not be taking the necessary steps to gain competitive benefits from the federal economic stimulus efforts.  In analyzing the research findings, Ayres and Wacker note, “…a majority of respondents — 62 percent –  are not intending to elevate their communications efforts in response [to the economic stimulus legislation]. And 68 percent indicated they will not work to improve the quality of their communications in competitive bidding documents to take better advantage of stimulus-generated opportunities. Such indifference could prove fatal to any organization seeking stimulus-related funds.” 

Airfoil Public Affairs will assist communicators across a wide spectrum of business sectors in adapting their new-business, marketing and public relations efforts to the realities of today’s public-private partnership environment.  Quoting Airfoil Chief Executive Officer Lisa Vallee-Smith, the point-of-view paper warns, “This administration clearly intends to use the budget process to make sure the economy that emerges from this recession is operating under a different paradigm. Details are less important at this point; the goal is to put stakes in the ground.  As a result, no longer can innovators and their marketers rely on just market forces to determine whether their efforts will be adopted by consumers, both personal and business. Ignorance of governmental policy trends will lead to missed opportunities and wasted investment.”

Marketers and other communicators may download “The Dawning of the New Federal Era” point-of-view paper from the Airfoil Web site at

 About Airfoil Public Relations, Inc. (
Airfoil, with offices in Detroit and Mountain View, Calif., is an independent firm specializing in marketing communications and public relations for both emerging and established brands. Airfoil Industry Leadership Groups serve a growing client roster in Consumer, Enterprise, Health Care, Industrial/Green and Microsoft technology segments. The agency’s Client Solutions Group provides depth of experience to inform and accelerate clients’ Marketing Communications, Digital and Social Media, and Brand Strategy programs. Airfoil has been named Technology Agency of the Year by the Holmes Report and recognized as a top firm in numerous industry rankings. For more information about Airfoil Public Relations, please call 866.AIR.FOIL.

Jane Berger, Airfoil Public Relations