Our Team

In 2003, Mary Beth West planted the seed for a company that would redefine the role of public relations in East Tennessee. Eleven years later, we continue to push the envelope on what strategic communications and marketing can do…now on a national basis. Seated in our core values, we help clients communicate, engage and build relationships with their stakeholders. We do this through brand relationships, digital innovation and competitive impact. We don’t mean to brag, but check out our kudos here.

PROFESSIONAL MODE
AFTER HOURS MODE
  • Mary Beth West, APRPrincipal, Mary Beth West Communications, LLC

    Information

    Mary Beth West is a public relations executive with 20 years’ experience managing marketing communications strategies and campaigns, with proven business results meeting companies’ and organizations’ sales/development, branding and reputation management objectives.

    Experiences

    Celebrating 11 years in business in spring 2014, Mary Beth West founded her public relations firm in March 2003. She serves as a key strategist on agency accounts, leads the financial and business growth of the company, and manages the development of her team. More about Mary Beth...

    Mary Beth West, APRMojito Beth

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Staying within consistent proximity to kiss my kids goodnight and be there for the moments of life
    Favorite procrastination method? The Scarlett O'Hara method: "I'll think about that tomorrow."
    What’s your favorite word? "Strategery." Just kidding. Kind of. "Serendipitous."
    Favorite breakfast food? Mixed berries & Chobani Yogurt, when I'm on good behavior.
    Favorite drink after hours? Mojito. Check out the one at The Cloister in Sea Island, GA. It'll make a Mojito your favorite, too.
    Favorite reality tv show? The closest I get is "Nightly News With Brian Williams." I'm a total bore around the water cooler.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? "Life is long...If you give it away." Great song by David Byrne

    Rich JamesDirector of Operations

    Information

    Rich brings more than 20 years of experience in finance and operations to manage company operations at Mary Beth West Communication and work with the team to craft the long-term strategy. Among his other skills include capacity planning, forecasting, financial management, project oversight and organizational management, resource management and staffing.

    Experiences

    Previously, he was with Knoxville-based Efficience as the company’s COO / Principal, and has also held a senior level position with IPS Advisory, Inc. and The IPS Funds. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee.

    Rich James$$$

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Mexican food – I love Mexican food
    Favorite procrastination method? What is procrastination?? The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up!
    What’s your favorite word? My kids don’t let me say it anymore…
    Favorite breakfast food? Mountain Dew
    Favorite drink after hours? Coors Light
    Favorite reality tv show? Does a UT football game on TV count?
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? “I’ve got 99 problems but a "Butch ain't one" … If you aren’t from Tennessee you may not understand!!

    Tyra HaagDirector of Communications

    Information

    Tyra brings nine years of experience to Mary Beth West Communications with an award-winning background in media relations. Tyra is responsible for spearheading the planning and management of client communications strategies – including local, regional and national media relations campaigns – for a diverse base of agency clients.

    Experiences

    Previously, Tyra was the project director and media spokesperson for the Metropolitan Drug Commission (MDC) in Knoxville, Tenn., where she managed media relations efforts, community outreach initiatives, educational training programs and state-funded grants. Prior to joining the MDC, Tyra developed a passion for news media during her time at WBIR-TV (NBC affiliate). Tyra earned dual degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville – one in communications and one in Spanish.

    Tyra HaagLights, Camera, Action!

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Chocolate!
    Favorite procrastination method? Sleeping . . . when I can, anyway.
    What’s your favorite word? Lasternight (a combo of last night and yesterday – courtesy of my 3-year-old)
    Favorite breakfast food? Cinnamon rolls from Newton Farms – the best little bakery in Seabrook Island, SC
    Favorite drink after hours? Riesling or a Vodka Cranberry
    Favorite reality tv show? I’m from Nashville so I’ve been watching Private Lives of Nashville Wives lately. Also, my super-talented cousin, Cali Tucker, is a contestant on THE VOICE this season!
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? “Celebrate we will, ‘cause life is short, but sweet for certain” – “Two Step” by Dave Matthews Band

    Tori RoseCreative Director, Digital Media

    Information

    Tori brings more than 20 years of experience to Mary Beth West Communications across several marketing disciplines. Her extensive and diverse background includes work for companies in both the United States and Canada. Tori manages the firm’s creative and digital output, ranging from traditional collaterals to mobile, website and social media strategy and interface design.


    Experiences

    Previously, Tori was creative director for Knoxville-based Efficience, where she worked with clients such as Radio Systems, Inc., WDVX, DenTek, H.T. Hackney and MasterCraft. She was also principal and creative director of her own agency, Blue Media Boutique, which won a 2010 Gold ADDY Award and the 2010 PRSA “Award of Excellence”. She has also served as vice president, creative director of RIVR Media Interactive and creative director of Edison Schools in New York, New York. She holds a Master’s degree in Media from The New School University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wake Forest University.

    Tori RoseToritini

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? My kids, my iPhone and Starbucks
    Favorite procrastination method? Cleaning
    What’s your favorite word? Nutbird
    Favorite breakfast food? My mom’s French toast
    Favorite drink after hours? John Daly – 2 parts vodka, one part iced tea, one part lemonade
    Favorite reality tv show? Long Island Medium
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? In You’re love / I find release / A haven from my unbelief / Take my life and let me be / A living prayer my God to Thee —Alison Krauss, A Living Prayer

  • Tim WirtzDirector of Strategic Development

    Information

    Tim brings nearly 20 years of experience in the public relations field to direct strategic planning for the agency’s accounts and manage business development initiatives for the firm. He also oversees national media relations campaigns. His oversight includes securing new business for the agency, procuring and building relationships with potential clients, and working to strengthen existing client relationships.

    Experiences

    Previously, Tim worked at Knoxville-based Shelton Group, where he was director of public relations and business development. Prior work includes serving as director of environmental communications for HY-brid, the sustainability division of Hoffman York in Milwaukee/Chicago, where he was responsible for, among other things, social media strategy for Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative.

    Tim WirtzTight Pants Tim

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? My family. And, of course, a great craft brew.
    Favorite procrastination method? Telling myself, and others around me, that I am better under pressure. I really am.
    What’s your favorite word? Success.
    Favorite breakfast food? Bacon. Everything is better with bacon.
    Favorite drink after hours? A great craft brew. Preferably a great IPA.
    Favorite reality TV show? Chopped, but I am a closet fan of Naked and Afraid as well.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? “He who forgets, will be destined to remember.” These words remind me to remember those in my life who have helped me get to where I am today. From family and friends, to professors who drove me to the PR industry, to my wife and kids.

    Kristy Altman Director of Client Service

    Information

    Kristy manages client relationships at Mary Beth West Communications, and brings to her role a wealth of experience from working and volunteering with health and wellness organizations. She has almost 20 years of experience in organizational management, stakeholder development, media relations, event planning and other skills. In 2013 she was recognized for her professional achievement and community involvement as one of the Greater Knoxville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. She currently serves as Chair-Elect to Knoxville’s Community Health Council and sits on the board of United Way of Greater Knoxville.

    Experiences

    Previously, Kristy held the position of managing director for the Knoxville Track and Field Club, and she has also served as the executive director for the Girls on the Run of Greater Knoxville, a non-profit program educating girls, third to eighth grade, about healthy living and self-esteem. She was a member of Leadership Knoxville’s 2013 class, and now serves on the Leadership Knoxville Board of Directors and Alumni Committee. She is the Marketing Committee Co-Chair for Let’s Move Knoxville and a mentor for tnAchieves. Kristy earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2000 from the College of Communication & Information with a major in journalism and concentration in public relations.

    Kristy Altman See You At The Finish Line

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Running shoes, mascara, lipstick, and coffee
    Favorite procrastination method? Checking emails
    What’s your favorite word? Seriously
    Favorite breakfast food? Toad in a Hole w/gluten free bread at Gourmet Market
    Favorite drink after hours? Wine
    Favorite reality tv show? The Voice
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? OLD Dave Matthews Band “If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you’re missing all the rest….”

    Sarah Williams Technical Project Manager

    Information

    Sarah’s focus as technical project manager is on the end user and how software applications impact clients, as well as the usability of the tools. She has a plethora of experience working with the end users and business stakeholders to ensure the applications are well defined and deliver the value that is expected. She is result-driven and has proven over and over to deliver high-quality solutions to help clients meet their business and branding goals.

    Experiences

    Prior to Mary Beth West Communications, Sarah served as Technical Project Manager for Knoxville-based Efficience, where she worked with clients such as Pinnacle at Turkey Creek and Kelsan. Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in International Business from St.
Petersburg College.

    Sarah Williams Sassy Pants

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Coffee and my family
    Favorite procrastination method? Reading/Researching
    What’s your favorite word? Right?
    Favorite breakfast food? Eggs Benedict
    Favorite drink after hours? Blue Moon w/Orange
    Favorite reality tv show? Flipping Out
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? She’s got electric boots, a mohair suit, you know I read it in a magazine, oh, Bennie and the Jets. -Elton John

    Kerri ThompsonProject Manager, Client Service

    Information

    Kerri serves the full team at Mary Beth West Communications as a project manager to help execute projects and campaigns efficiently and effectively. She is involved in much of the internal and external communications necessary to keep many projects going at once in a busy firm. She is also involved in large-scale event planning for clients.

    Experiences

    Her background includes managing a range of communications projects and health/wellness programs in Springfield, MO, where she most recently served the Springfield-Greene County Park Board. Kerri holds a master’s degree, summa cum laude, in health promotion and wellness management from Missouri State University and a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in business administration with a major in finance from East Tennessee State University.

    Kerri ThompsonTo The Minute

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? It is a who…Adam, my husband
    Favorite procrastination method? Reading blogs or exercising
    What’s your favorite word? Janky
    Favorite breakfast food? Eggs with Franks RedHot sauce
    Favorite drink after hours? Decaf Vienna Coffee
    Favorite reality tv show? I’m not a reality TV watcher, so I’ll go with a show I really like watching on Netflix, which is Chuck.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? It Is Well With My Soul…all the lyrics

  • Jamie StooksburyInteractive Coordinator

    Information

    Jamie serves the Mary Beth West Communications team as the firm’s interactive coordinator on all agency accounts. In this role she helps develop social and interactive communications support tools, content and knowledge support for clients.

    Experiences

    Jamie previously served as marketing coordinator for Diverse Concept, parent company of many restaurants in the Greater Knoxville area including Lakeside Tavern, Riverside Grille and Parkside Tavern.
 Jamie graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s in advertising and minors in business and psychology in May 2013. During her time at UT, she was a member of the Ad Club and participated in campaign projects for Microsoft Bing!, Abilify and Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest.

    Jamie StooksburyStooksbonanza

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Netflix and Dirty Chai Tea Lattes from Starbucks
    Favorite procrastination method? Pinterest / Buzzfeed Lists
    What’s your favorite word? Nap time
    Favorite breakfast food? Veggie omelette
    Favorite drink after hours? White wine.. Or whatever is on happy hour
    Favorite reality tv show? The Property Brothers (I have a huge crush on Jonathan Scott) but really anything on HGTV
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? “May you grow up to be righteous / May you grow up to be true / May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you / May you always be courageous / Stand upright and be strong / May you stay forever young.” -Bob Dylan

    Élan Young Content Developer

    Information

    Élan’s primary focus on the team is writing and editing content for the firm’s clients. From short, punchy marketing copy to press releases, to longer business proposals, Élan uses her skills in over 10 years as a writer, editor and writing teacher to develop copy appropriate for a wide range of client projects.

    Experiences

    Prior to Mary Beth West Communications, Élan worked as Downtown Knoxville’s marketing coordinator. Previously, she worked with the Amputee Coalition, a national non-profit organization, where she wrote, edited and coordinated content for its bimonthly magazine and other resource publications. She has also taught English to college students at Maryville College and UNC Greensboro. Since 2002 she has written and edited for a range of publications on a freelance basis. Élan has an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Greensboro and a BA in Public Policy from UNC Chapel Hill.

    Élan Young Nom de Plume

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Music
    Favorite procrastination method? Taking pictures of my baby.
    What’s your favorite word? Nimbus
    Favorite breakfast food? Eggs
    Favorite drink after hours? Manhattan
    Favorite reality tv show? I avoid reality tv at all costs. :) I prefer drama.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? I don't have a favorite, but here is one I picked that I love from I Dream a Highway by Gillian Welch "Oh, I dream a highway back to you / love A winding ribbon with a band of gold / A silver vision, come and bless my soul / I dream a highway back to you."

    Marijo SotoDesigner

    Information

    Marijo Soto graduated from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico in graphic design 2003 with honors. From 2005 to 2009, Marijo was a part of the creative team of La Jabonera Studio, designing for companies such as Kellogg, Coca-Cola, Bticino and Hafele.

    Experiences

    For the past three years, Marijo has served as the lead designer at Efficience, producing both print and web materials. She specializes in computer and hand illustration.

    Marijo Soto

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? Siesta! I wouldn't survive a day without it.
    Favorite procrastination method? I'm sure I have Alzheimers, that explains everything.
    What’s your favorite word? Bologna!
    Favorite breakfast food? Pancakes, nothing too fancy.
    Favorite drink after hours? I'm allergic to alcohol, it makes me sneeze, seriously! So iced tea is my thing.
    Favorite reality tv show? Oh! Can you watch TV after you have kids? At…what time?
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? If I had a Million Dollars by Bare Naked Ladies. The whole song makes me laugh.

    Steele GambleOfficial MBWC Intern

    Information

    Steele Gamble is a senior at the University of Tennessee who will graduate in May, 2014. He is earning a major in public relations and minors in business and journalism.

    Experiences

    Completing three previous internships, he has worked with Ackermann Public Relations, Scripps Networks Interactive and Cityview Magazine. When he is not working, Steele enjoys serving the community. He has volunteered with various grassroots political campaigns, worked with an English as a second language program and spent a semester on the student executive board with UT’s Center for Leadership and Service.

    Steele GambleSuperman

    Get to know me

    What can’t you live without? I can’t live without a gym membership. Pushing my body’s limits requires discipline and determination, which allows me to take on life’s everyday challenges outside of the gym.
    What’s your favorite word? My favorite word is the. I’d rather deal with something definite than indefinite. I mean, would you rather go to a party or the party?
    Favorite breakfast food? Eggs! I prepare a three egg white omelet every morning.
    Favorite drink after hours? As a caffeine addict, my favorite drink at all hours is coffee.
    Favorite reality tv show? Does the news count as reality tv? It seems pretty real to me.
    Favorite song chorus/lyrics? Murder Me in Music City by Hollywood: “In this city’s streets is where this city’s heart beats. Here you will find the truth. In this town you can find our youth.” I lived for the local music scene in Nashville as a kid, and this song pretty much sums up those times.

Our Process

Discovery

Discovery

The discovery is the starting point for all clients. We’ll listen to you and gather information to begin a thorough assessment of where and how we can work together. This might include learning about the company’s strengths and challenges, or collecting information such as mission, vision and positioning statements. It might include looking at business and strategic plans for the company as a whole or for specific projects. The discovery usually helps our clients know what services they need us to focus on before we get to work. This process should be a two-way conversation, with our goal to be able to create a framework for our relationship. With that process in place, we’ll be able to determine which promotion tools will best create a positive result for each type of business and each budget. 


Strategy

Strategy

Next we’ll develop a strategic blueprint that will be a custom-tailored blend of traditional and interactive digital media to enable you to reach the right audience with the right message on time, every time. We do this by evaluating the company and its goals, crafting brands, digital products and messaging to fit those goals, and then disseminating these through social and traditional media outlets that we have developed trusted relationships with. With over ten years in business and up-to-the-minute digital technology in our company’s toolbox, we help all our clients achieve greater impact with their messages and digital impact by leveraging the business and media relationships we’ve developed locally and regionally. 


Creative

Creative

Creative is key to captivating your audience’s attention and making a strong visual and emotional impact. Our competent and creative team is known for award-winning approaches to solving complex and everyday brand problems. Our content and digital design isn’t just going to tell a story, it will pull people in to engage them at a new level. We’re confident because we’re competitive about having fun. When we let loose our creative minds, our clients win big time. 
 


Execution

Execution

A brilliant, creative plan means nothing without the ability to execute it seamlessly with professional finesse. With an effective plan in place, we go to work to turn it into reality. Execution takes place with the help of timetables and open communication, not to mention our ability to engage our friends in business and media to help us connect your message to thought leaders. 


Intelligence

Intelligence

Once the plan has been executed, we won’t leave you wondering what the effect of our work was. We’ll take a look at the tracks we’ve made and put together analytics that are easy to understand to help you navigate how your company is growing in its public perception and digital footprint. Whether you need analytics for a one-time project or on an ongoing basis, we’ve got subscription tools and skills to crunch data for all your pr and marketing needs.

Services

PUBLIC RELATIONS

Through public relations campaigns, we help our clients position themselves in line with their business goals and enable them to successfully reach their audiences. Our work connects the right strategies with relationship-building outreach as well as compelling content for local media and other points of influence. Our public relations expertise includes media relations, community outreach, employee communications, crisis preparedness and response, event planning / execution, investor/donor relations, third-party stakeholder outreach, and industry trade / B2B campaigns.

SOCIAL MEDIA

We provide intelligent and effective interactive social media publicity plans to our clients. Every day, we help manage the communities surrounding a variety of brands and use our resources to widen a company’s audience. Our team has experience with a full range of social media tools and strategies to weave into traditional PR strategies.

DIGITAL

Our team of creative and technical experts will develop custom digital products to help your business strengthen its presence in today’s digital universe. Mobile apps, responsive website design, social media contesting, digital brand development and much more!

ADVERTISING & MARKETTING

As a full-service agency, we offer print and digital advertising design and marketing for a range of media outlets. Whether you need a brand overhaul or help creating a specific powerful message, we have the creative and strategic capacity to take you wherever you need to go with your brand.

  • Our members—retailers, restaurants, spas, salons, galleries—were  looking for ways to  increase foot traffic and drive sales. Wow! We have been blown away  by the sleek mobile app they developed for us. Customers are ecstatic.
    Our members—retailers, restaurants, spas, salons, galleries—were looking for ways to increase foot traffic and drive sales. Wow! We have been blown away by the sleek mobile app they developed for us. Customers are ecstatic.

    -Bebe Vogel, The District in Bearden

  • I can’t say enough about how well their team did on our first project. From the project’s onset through to the final deliverable, their team impressed me with their knowledge, communication, and expertise.
    I can’t say enough about how well their team did on our first project. From the project’s onset through to the final deliverable, their team impressed me with their knowledge, communication, and expertise.

    -Aaron Gerraughty, WAXIE Sanitary Supply

  • From the very beginning, their team quickly understood our business challenges and helped develop solutions that addressed them.
    From the very beginning, their team quickly understood our business challenges and helped develop solutions that addressed them.

    -Mike Asbury, Personal Computer Systems

  • I have found them to be very focused. They actively listen to you…no canned “stuff” based on what they do but targeted solutions in response to what we need – results confirm this. They are definitely a part of our team…an extension of our firm, darn near family.
    I have found them to be very focused. They actively listen to you…no canned “stuff” based on what they do but targeted solutions in response to what we need – results confirm this. They are definitely a part of our team…an extension of our firm, darn near family.

    -David Cockrill, Red Chair Architects

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