Has it made a difference? While there are benefits to using both in-house resources and hiring outside resources, there is a distinct advantage to creating a dedicated, in-house communications and outreach team.
Our in-house communications and outreach team are experts in what they do. They work hand-in-hand with our engineers every day, building relationships and gaining industry knowledge that is hard to gain when communications team is not embedded. They know the importance of our mission for each client, and they are fully entrenched in the daily activities of the projects they are assigned to, whether strictly communications-related or not.
“Working with an in-house communications team has made our team better able to prepare for and respond to obstacles faced in our projects. As engineers, we rely on this team to ensure they’re communicating with the municipalities, residents and our clients in a way that is both easy to understand and comprehensive,” says Ryan Macander, Vice President at OMEGA. “Kristi and her team have truly improved the relationships along the corridor of one of the biggest transportation projects in Illinois, and the processes they’ve put in place are customized to our needs in a way outsourcing wouldn’t allow.”
How it Makes a Difference: Our Unique Communications and Outreach Approach
Like everything we do, our OMEGA approach to communications and outreach is exceptional and goes one step beyond the ordinary. Here’s how our approach to communications and outreach stands us out from the crowd:
1. Embedded Team of Communications and Outreach Experts Working with our Civil Engineering Experts
Our communications and outreach team are embedded in, and our projects benefit from, our close relationships with our technical engineering team.
We live in this world—we aren’t a public relations firm or a communications firm operating in a bubble alongside a technical team. We are in the day-to-day trenches intertwined with our engineering and government agency clients and have an intimate understanding of how projects work, the ins and outs of construction and engineering, and how communications and outreach can enrich and support a project—and make it a success.
2. Sense of Urgency
When hiring an agency to manage communications and outreach, the team working on your project may also be working on several projects simultaneously. While that is a positive when it comes to experience and a variety of perspectives, it can also mean that access to project managers is not as immediate as sometimes needed.
With our in-house team, our clients’ projects and goals are the center of attention. And in construction engineering? That’s of the utmost importance when dealing with crisis communications and public affairs. Our communications and outreach team understands when a sense of urgency is necessary, and has built the relationships with our team of engineers in order to resolve issues immediately. We’re able to tackle situations immediately because of the relationships we’ve built with our team and our clients, instead of waiting on lengthy internal reviews from an agency before they come into our court.
Time is everything in construction and our nimble team can brainstorm, hop on a call, get approval or schedule a meeting at a moment’s notice. Our ability to act quickly can mean the difference between a tiny issue and a crisis situation.
3. Ownership of Vision
Our in-house team aligns with our key stakeholders and our firm’s mission. We’re synchronized with the OMEGA brand, vision and values, and we’re invested in the success of our firm and our client’s projects. The culture of OMEGA is top of mind as we work to communicate effectively and ensure our outreach and communications efforts are performed to meet OMEGA and our clients’ standards.
When partnering with an agency, you’re working with two different visions of what success looks like—the agency’s and OMEGA’s. Because our communications team is integrated with our engineering team and the rest of OMEGA staff, our vision of success is always aligned and all the tasks we do are working towards accomplishing that vision.
4. Adaptable Multi-function Roles
Possibly the biggest differentiator between our in-house outreach team and an agency is our team’s ability to wear multiple hats.
At OMEGA, when working in the field, our engineers do whatever it takes to get the job done and that problem-solving attitude extends to our communications team. Our team rises to the occasion no matter what the need is to ensure we meet the needs of our clients’ and impacted residents, municipalities, and customers.
What we do is more than just communications. We’re helping to manage massive projects and ensure tiny details don’t get missed. Sometimes that means sending a text message to a resident impacted by a project on Saturday morning, sometimes it means pushing the construction team for answers for a municipal contact, and sometimes that’s going out into the field to check on whether or not a fence was repaired. Every day is different, but it’s because we’re working hand in hand with our engineers that we make an impact on the projects we work on.
Our In-House Communications and Outreach Team: The Women Who Make it Happen
OMEGA recognized the need for an in-house team a few years ago, and tasked Kristi Bruno with the job of creating a team and communications process from the ground up. “Our team is unique by design. We all come from different backgrounds, have different areas of expertise, and we have been thoughtful in how we grow our team—we have vast experience and it aids our success in managing projects for our clients,” says Kristi.
Meet the Team
Kristi Bruno joined OMEGA in 2018 and serves as Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing and works collaboratively with senior leadership to develop and implement communication and marketing strategies for the firm. Kristi is a goal-driven communications, public affairs, and marketing leader with more than 17 years of experience in public affairs, public relations, public engagement tactics, direct construction-phase communications, municipal and government outreach, and STEM communications and community relations. Kristi holds a master’s degree in New Media Studies and Public Relations from DePaul University. Kristi leads internal and external communications, pubic-facing multi-media campaigns, and a team of marketing strategists. Kristi was selected as a speaker during Social Media Week Chicago speaking about public engagement with social media.
Shannon Armstrong joined OMEGA in 2019 and serves as Communications Manager. Shannon is a communications leader with more than 22 years of experience as a dynamic and motivated professional specializing in community planning, urban design, and economic development with a proven record of developing solutions for local government agencies. Shannon holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is skilled at managing projects from concept to completion and possesses critical decision-making skills during challenging times.
Chloe Daniels joined OMEGA in 2018 and serves as Senior Manager of Communications and Marketing. Chloe is a goal-driven, communications and marketing leader with more than eight years of experience leading marketing strategy, public-facing multi-media campaigns, and both internal and external facing communications initiatives. She has extensive writing and presentation skills, as well as success in developing effective communications campaigns and marketing collateral. Chloe, certified in both HubSpot Inbound Marketing and Google Analytics, specializes in digital marketing, with a focus on search engine optimization (SEO), content creation, and social media strategy. Chloe holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish from the University of Iowa.
Civil Engineering + Unmatched Communications = Unstoppable Team
Coupled with our experience in-house at a successful engineering firm, our team are driven professionals steeped in strategic experience in communications, public relations, content marketing, digital, media relations, crisis communications, planning, government affairs, journalism, public affairs, and new media. Our unique blend allows us to bring our communications expertise to the table, better our projects, view them through the lens of our stakeholders and ensure the project is successful.
At the end of the day, it’s often about the message, the delivery, the people. The engineering happens. The piers are constructed. The asphalt laid. But what truly sets us apart is our ability to lead in communications and public affairs— letting our teams and clients concentrate on their work and areas of expertise while we lead communications and outreach.