Currently serving as an advisor to the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs, Chester Burger has had a long career in the television and public relations industry. Burger founded and served as president of the nation’s first communications management consulting firm, Chester Burger & Co. Clients included Sears Roebuck, American Cancer Society, Communications Satellite Corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Texas Instruments. He retired from Chester Burger & Co in 1988. Prior to establishing Chester Burger & Co, Burger served as President of Communications Counselors, Inc beginning in 1955. It was in this position that Burger took the client AT&T, which he counseled until his retirement 33 years later. During the Civil Rights Movement, Burger was an officer and member of the Board of Trustees of the National Urban League. Before his successful public relations career, Burger pursued the study of television. He began his career as a page boy for the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1941. In 1946, he became the nation’s first television news reporter. Burger worked for CBS as a visualizer, following his work with the military. Burger was awarded Public Relations Society of America’s highest honor, the Gold Anvil, in 1987. The Counselor’s Academy named him “The Counselors’ Counselor” and made him their first Life Member. He has also been awarded the Drew Middleton Public Affairs Award for Distinguished Service by the Marine Corps.
Philip Lesly, president of The Philip Lesly Company, Chicago, until his death in 1997, was a leading authority on public relations and a leading practitioner. Before going to college, having attracted attention as organizer and editor of the country’s only daily high school newspaper, he joined the editorial staff of the Chicago Herald and Examiner. Two years later, at eighteen, he was awarded a scholarship to Northwestern University, from which he was graduated magna cum laude and possessor of a Phi Beta Kappa key. Lesly entered professional public relations work immediately after college and two years later became vice-president of one of the country’s larger counseling firms. He has received the Gold Anvil award of the Public Relations Society of America. The Philip Lesly Company now concentrates on counsel and major creative contributions to major clients. It formerly was one of the largest full-service firms, with multiple offices in the United States and abroad. His first book, which was a milestone in the field, was Public Relations: Principles and Procedures. Next he published Public Relations in Action, a volume’s predecessor, quickly became the most widely used volume on the subject throughout the world. His books The People Factor, How We Discommunicate, Overcoming Opposition and Bonanzas and Fool’s Gold have been widely quoted.
Dr. Dorothy E. Gregg, APR, served as senior consultant of Research and Forecasts, Inc. and to the Ruder, Finn and Rotman public relations firm as vice president of communications at Celanese Corporation for eight years. Prior to joining Celanese, she was assistant to the director of public relations at U.S. Steel Corporation, a pioneering position she held for 16 years.
Gregg, who passed away in 1997, received the American Advertising Federation’s National Advertising Woman of the Year Award in 1968. She served as president of the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and treasurer of the National Council of Women of the United States.
Douglas G. Hearle has been active in communications education and training. He has served as an adjunct professor at Iona College, Fordham University and the College of New Rochelle and has been a Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Texas, Ball State University and the University of Jakarta in Indonesia. He served for six years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut and on the Board of Trustees of the College of New Rochelle. He was also the Vice President of the Board of Education in his home community of Pelham, NY. Mr. Hearle is the former President and CEO of Carl Byoir & Associates and the former Vice Chairman of Hill and Knowlton Inc., where he ran both the Publicity and Marketing Division and the International Division. Prior to joining Hill and Knowlton, Mr. Hearle operated his own firm and served as a senior consultant to Fleishman Hillard. He is still widely regarded as one of the country’s leading authorities on litigation support and crisis communications. Mr. Hearle holds an MBA in Organizational Behavior.
Edward M. Block was cited by PR Week as one of the 100 Most Influential Public Relations People of the 20th Century. In 1997, Mr. Block was awarded the Gold Anvil – the highest recognition conferred by the 18,000-member Public Relations Society of America. In 1993, he received both the Lifetime Achievement Award from Inside PR and the Hall of Fame Award of the Arthur W. Page Society.
From 1988 until 1996, he was President of the Block, MacDonald Group, Inc. – consultants to a number of multinational corporations. PR News chose him as Public Relations Professional of the Year in 1980. Mr. Block served as Senior Vice President – Public Relations, Advertising and Employee Information for the AT&T Corporation for 12 years until his retirement in 1986. He led corporate communications during AT&T’s historic divestiture of the Bell Telephone Companies and its expansion into international markets. In the six years leading up to his retirement, Mr. Block also held the additional post of Assistant to the Chairman of the Board and was a member of the Office of the Chairman. He twice received the Blue Ribbon Award from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1961 and 1962. He has also been the recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Award, presented by the Texas Manufacturers’ Association. Business Week named Block as one of the top Ten Names in Corporate PR. Mr. Block attended the University of Notre Dame and Dartmouth College. He earned his journalism degree at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, where he also received an honorary doctorate.