2021 Paul B. Clark Recipient
Bill Nash, in memorium

Bill Nash served as the first Public Information Officer for the county of Ventura’s County Executive Office, where he supported the board of supervisors, the County Executive Officer and 25 County agencies in their public information efforts. He was also responsible for managing the Joint Information Center for the County’s Office of Emergency Services during major emergencies like the Thomas Fire, Woolsey Fire, Borderline Shooting and Camarillo Springs Mudslide.


2021 Communicator of the Year Award Recipient
Thomas Christensen

Honored for his commitment and excellence in communications, the County of San Diego’s Communication Specialist, Tom Christensen, has made it his top priority to build social media campaigns that educate, inspire, and create change throughout the County of San Diego. Tom oversees more than 100 individual County department social media accounts as an administrator or content creator. His leadership has resulted in the County obtaining some of the highest follower counts for counties in the nation as well as some of the highest engagement numbers.


A new podcast has left the nest
Burning Communications

Earlier this month, during Fire Prevention Week, CAPIO is launching a three-part series about the role of communicators before, during, and after some of California’s greatest threat incidents – wildfires. Listen as we connect with Placer County Fire Chief Brian Estes for an overview of current wildfires, critical preparation, and the role that communicators play before and during these devastating incidents.  Part I and Part II are available now.


Poster contest winners announced!



Congratulations to Vito Labellarte and Westamerica Communications on their entry which garnered top honors in our poster contest!  Conference participants will be able to pick up a copy of this award-winning poster at the 2021 CAPIO Annual Conference!


Crowdsource videos, images and memories requested!
50 years:  Honoring the past, celebrating our future

It was 1971 when CAPIO was formed, since then things have changed on how we send information and get our message to the right audiences. And, along those years, you have seen what you do change, too. Remember sitting at the fax machine to send out press releases? Purchasing Bacons Books so you had the latest reporter listings? Or, clipping the newspapers of stories about your agency to place in a three ring binder? And what about driving around dropping off VHS tapes filled with b-roll. 


CAPIO interviews Pat West, retired Long Beach City Manager and former PIO
Insights from a City Manager on the value of communications and the PIO

CAPIO interviews Pat West, retired Long Beach City Manager and former PIO

This year marks CAPIO’s 50th year since being established. In that time, a lot has changed with the way in which we communicate. However, in many ways, the baseline of what we do remains – and that is informing, educating, and engaging our communities to encourage them to participate in the democratic process, share their perspective and create an emotional response that leads to action.

In light of CAPIO’s half a century milestone, we are chatting with folks who work specially in the communications area of government or who are part of the government sector in general.


2021 CAPIO Conference registration is open!
The Gold Standard - Celebrating 50 Years of CAPIO

CAPIO’s conference committee is pleased to announce registration is open for this year’s conference!

Register Today

The conference theme The Gold Standard - Celebrating 50 Years of CAPIO fits not only our golden anniversary but the location as we will be in the heart of Olympic Valley where the 1960 Olympics were held.  The conference will be held at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek hotel November 2 – 5, 2021.  

See Pricing


2021 CAPIO Conference Theme Announced!
The Gold Standard - Celebrating 50 Years of CAPIO

CAPIO’s conference committee is pleased to announce this year’s conference theme – The Gold Standard – Celebrating 50 Years of CAPIO.

The theme fits not only our golden anniversary but the location as we will be in the heart of Olympic Valley where the 1960 Olympics were held.  The conference will be held at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek hotel November 2 – 5, 2021.  


CAPIO 50th Art Challenge
Calling all creatives!

Calling all creatives, we need your astute design expertise to help capture the essence of government communications over the past 50 years! Show us your design skills!

While the heart of public relations, government sector communications, and outreach has gone unchanged, the way we communicate, what we communicate, and how consumers of information obtain messages have dramatically transformed. 


CAPIO celebrates 50 years:  Honoring the past, celebrating our future
by Maurice Chaney, CAPIO 2020-2021 President

For half a century, the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) has been the linkage between good government, the professionals that help to inform, educate, and engage, and the communities we serve. With communication, we made and continue to make miracles happen.

“If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”

― Jim Rohn


CAPIO EPIC Awards on pause
by Teresa Collins, CAPIO V.P. Awards

It has been an EPIC year for California’s Public Information Officials. We have been navigating a pandemic while delivering top-notch communications across our state. We had to skip our 2020 conference but will be back this fall in Squaw Valley as we celebrate CAPIO’s 50th Birthday!


CAPIO Communicator of the Year and utility PIO offers how she and her team are getting through a tough year
Perspective from Tiffany Baca, Public Affairs Manager, Municipal Water District of Orange County

By Brie Anne Coleman, Placer County Water Agency

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend the world, utility providers are also experiencing increasing uncertainty that will be challenging to navigate. While utilities are resilient, having experienced and weathered crises in the past, the unique and unprecedented nature of this pandemic and its consequences are creating an entirely new experience. 


In Memory of CAPIO Past President Frank Potter Cowan
CAPIO Past President (1984)

by Maurice Chaney, CAPIO 2020 – 2021 President

California PIOs lost an icon when former CAPIO President (1984) and long-time CAPIO supporter, Frank Potter Cowan, passed away August 17, 2020.

Frank was instrumental in developing training courses for communicators who are faced with an unexpected emergency. In 1984, he developed the California Specialized Training Institute, CSTI, which is offered through the State of California Office of Emergency Services. 


Learn more and connect at CAPIO’s virtual Regional Meetings
Sign up today!

Want to learn about CAPIO’s plans for the coming year or about opportunities to get involved?  CAPIO is hosting virtual regional meetings in July.  Limited to the first 100 participants, these “face-to-face” meetings are your chance to see others in your region, hear from CAPIO leadership and provide your thoughts about how CAPIO can continue to bring the best in offerings to your area.


A Year in Review
2019-2020 Snapshot

CAPIO continues to soar to new heights and this past year was no different.

Check out the latest Year in Review that shows all that we’ve been able to accomplish over the past 12 months. 

The initiatives we set in our five year strategic plan are paying off as we continue to provide even more offerings to members. 

This Year in Review is a reflection of all of our members. Without you, we couldn’t offer the amazing programming, enrichment and networking opportunities. So, thank you! 


CAPIO President’s Message on Current Events
"With open, productive conversations, we can work towards taking action and creating change—together. "


We are all at a loss for words that captures the heavy nature of all that’s going on in our nation. 

However, what holds true is this: We stand against injustice. We stand against racism.  We stand against violence. 

We stand proudly and resolutely for continued and sustained change in our country and hope for equality. 


Join CAPIO’s new Facebook Member Group!

The power of virtually connecting is more important now than ever.  In light of this, we have established a members only private Facebook group where we can commiserate, share best practices, vent and enjoy a group of people who understand who we are as government communications professionals.  As we emerge into the re-opening phase throughout the state, this will give you an opportunity to share your successes and challenges that your agency has during this time.


CAPIO EPIC Award Finalists Announced!
Watch for our "Let's Make July EPIC" social media campaign

Teresa Collins CAPIO Vice President of Awards and Communications Manager, City of Escondido

We had a record-breaking 275 entries for the 2020 CAPIO Excellence in Public Information and Communication (EPIC) awards which celebrates great projects from the 2019 calendar year.

This year awards will be mailed and winners will be invited to join us in our “Let’s Make July EPIC” social media campaign where we will celebrate winners throughout the month.  


Welcome New Board Members for 2020-2021

CAPIO is pleased to announce the newly elected board members who will join the continuing board members for the 2020-2021 year.  CAPIO’s Board of Directors is elected by the membership each spring. Board terms are two years, with approximately half of the positions rotating each year.
Join us in welcoming:

2020-2021 President – Maurice Chaney
President Elect | Treasurer – Erin Morales
VP Conference – Tom Christensen
Education and Development Chair– Christine Brainerd, APR
Website Chair – Michelle Adams
Southern CA Regional and Membership Director – Grace Cardenas
Social Media Chair – Christina Byrne

The new board members will join the continuing Board Members for the 2020-2021 year:

Past President – Amy Williams
VP Awards – Teresa Collins
Communications Chair – Sarah Macdonald
Central CA Regional and Membership Director - Thomas Reeves
Northern CA Membership Chair – Pam Allen
Northern CA Regional Director – Rhea Salvaldor

Thank you to everyone who ran for a board position – we are grateful to have so many members interested in getting more involved!


Message from 2020-2021 CAPIO President
Maurice Chaney, PIO, City of Roseville Environmental Utilities

Message from 2020-2021 CAPIO President

Traditionally the CAPIO Board transition occurs at our Annual Conference each spring.  This year, we are transitioning during a virtual board meeting to transition between current president, Amy Williams, and incoming president, Maurice Chaney.

In order to celebrate this moment, we asked Maurice Chaney to share a few words with the membership. Click video on the left to view or view on Vimeo


Earn your APR in 2020 – Study Sessions Start Soon

Make 2020 your APR year!

It’s time to take your career to the next level by earning the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) credential. CAPIO is here to help every step of the way.  The success rate for CAPIO members who take the APR panel presentation and exam is 100%!


Introducing CAPIO’s new job board
Easier to navigate, free postings for members easier than ever

CAPIO is pleased to roll out our new job board which is easier to navigate, searchable and gives you the ability to select a 30, 60 or 90 day recruitment posting.

As always, members can log in and post jobs for free.  HR departments from member companies can also send job posting requests to directly as well.  

Non-member postings are $100 for a 30 day posting or $150 for a 60 day posting.

View our new CAPIO Job Board


Frequent messaging is key in a crisis
CAPIO member Kerry Shearer “The Livestream Expert,” Kerry Shearer Enterprises LLC

Kerry Shearer

In any big disaster, such as the fires, earthquakes, and debris flows we’ve experienced in California in just the past few years, the public turns to social media to find out what’s going on.

For crisis communicators, it’s critical to be on your social platforms with frequent messaging. That positions your agency (or JIC) as the go-to resource for information about the incident.

Most agencies are pros at shooting out text-based social posts and staging big news conferences, but there is more than can be done for effective disaster communications response.


PRA requests, personal devices, and your role as agency communicator
by Scott Summerfield, Principal, SAE Communications and David Newdorf, Attorney, Newdorf Legal

California Public Records Act (PRA) requests – once the almost-exclusive domain of the media – have exploded in recent years, with many agencies adding staff to cope with demands of these often-complicated queries.  Requests come from the public far more frequently now, and while they’re certainly a legitimate window into how government does business, they can also be a point of angst and frustration for the requestor, the PIO, and legal counsel if not handled efficiently.


Planning for CAPIO’s future
by Amy Williams, CAPIO’s President

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, former U.S. President

Since 2015, the CAPIO Board meets at an annual board planning session to focus on priority initiatives based on membership feedback. Many might recall that a key outcome in 2017’s retreat was the development of a five-year strategic plan to help strategically chart CAPIO’s course and guide future decisions.


New Brand Unveiled at Annual Conference
CAPIO's Taking Members to New Heights


CAPIO was excited to unveil its new brand at our conference in April. As we all know, the world around us is changing. The demand for information is at an all-time high, and attention spans are at an all-time low. We’re in an era where meaningful community engagement has to be carefully balanced with powerful outside pressures. Communication is moving faster than ever, meaning what’s worked for us in the past won’t continue to work in the future.


Celebrate Your Accomplishments – The Importance (and Value) of Telling Your Story

By Krista Noonan, director of communications, CalSTRS

Government communicators are often expected to wear many hats. PIOs are called upon to, for example, facilitate long-range strategic visioning and planning, event logistics, as well as work their magic to manage last minute, “get it out yesterday” type of projects.

The ability to flex and adapt is what makes you, as a PIO, successful as you fulfill your organization’s mission to communicate transparently with your stakeholders and constituents.


2019 Starts Strong with Emergency Communications Academy

More than 100 communications professionals from multi-jurisdictions statewide came together for the first annual Cal OES and CAPIO Emergency Communications Academy, January 7-8 in Sacramento.  Kicking off the two-day conference was Kelly Huston, with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and Christine Brainerd, CAPIO President and City of Folsom’s Communications Director. 

News Member Spotlight

A Helping Hand – PIOs on Mutual Aid

In November PIOs from across the state joined Butte County PIOs in the aftermath of the devastating #CampFire. PIOs from across California came to support.  From the JIC we share stories from Paul Hosley from West Sacramento along with Adriane Mertens and Misti Harris from Santa Rosa who knew firsthand how the community and their fellow PIOs were feeling in the midst of the disaster and the recovery.  Additionally, we share a story from Brandon Vaccaro who assists CAL FIRE Incident Management Teams on large-scale incidents.


My APR Journey

Connie Cochran, APR, is the community relations officer at the City of Stockton in northern California. Publicity Committee Conference Article

I learned about the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) a few years ago at the CAPIO Conference in San Diego.  Unfortunately, I did not know about it earlier in my career, because it is the single most career enriching experience that I have ever had.


Keys to the APR: Flashcards, Exercise, and GnR

Headshot of author, Lael Wageneck

I started my career as a filmmaker and storyteller because I like exploring relationships between people and explaining how things work. After working in the public sector for a few years, many of the myths that I had learned about public relations (that it was all about marketing or that it was “spin”) were dispelled. I learned that PR was about helping my organization foster better relationships with the community. Since I wanted to do a better job of fostering those relationships, I decided to pursue the APR.


It Takes a Pro – Tips and Advice to Help You Earn Your APR

Why APR?

I chose to earn my Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) to grow my leadership function in my agency, contribute to the professional field of public relations and improve my confidence and strength in public relations program development. Being accredited helps me contribute more to our team and elevates the value of what we do in the industry of government communications. 


Communicating During a Cyberattack: The Next Public Information Frontier

by Scott Summerfield, Principal, SAE Communications

California is in the midst of one of its most crisis-filled periods on record, and it seems as if we’re perpetually managing fires, mudslides, drought, and more – at the same time we’re focused on community resiliency.  But one “crisis of confidence” lurks within every local government agency and has the potential to cripple operations and destroy public confidence – cyberattack. 


Seven Steps to APR Success

Headshot of author, Robin Rocky

By Robin Rockey, APR

APR — Those three little letters communicate a powerful message about the public relations practitioners who earn them. The brief, yet mighty designation signals that a practitioner is committed to the practice of public relations at the highest level and is motivated by a quest for lifelong learning.


Long Beach Water’s Turf Removal Program Case Study
Using Behavioral Research to Guide Communications Decisions

Article by Andrea Antony, CivicSpark Water Fellow for Long Beach Water 

Long Beach Water has been successfully helping its customers replace thirsty turf with beautiful, water-wise landscapes through its award-winning, Lawn-to-Garden (L2G) incentive program for eight years. So far, over three million square feet of turf has been replaced and 3,500 California-friendly gardens have been planted. Now, the agency is looking to increase participation through a new framework known as community-based social marketing (CBSM).


And then there was one: Merging Brands and Converging Cultures

Group of people dressed formally in a board room in front of cut out letters that reads "Your SCV Water"

Article by Kathie Martin, public information officer, Santa Clarita Valley Water

In 2015, water leaders at Newhall County Water District and Castaic Lake Water Agency proposed a new model of water management for the Santa Clarita Valley. Their idea: dissolve the independent districts and join together to form a new public water agency. Along for the process was also Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water Company. The merger took effect January 1, 2018. It sounded a little like the set up for a bad joke! “An agency, district, division and company walk into a bar…”


CAPIO Announces 2018-2019 Board of Directors

Sacramento, Calif., – The California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO), the state’s premier government communications association, named its 2018 – 2019 Board of Directors during the 2018 CAPIO Annual Conference held in Santa Rosa April 11, 2018.


Community Connects in New Pollinator Patch

Families under blue tents on asphalt working on crafts projects.

Feature article by Desert Water Agency 

Desert Water Agency, Palm Springs’ water provider, recently collaborated with the local high school’s art department and Sustainable Garden Club, along with local businesses to install an eco-friendly pollinator garden outside its office building. Students and community members planted the garden, donated materials and painted a colorful forty-foot mural to accentuate the landscape. The donated garden design incorporated native and water efficient plants, including a Monarch and Queen butterfly host plant, rush milkweed. 


Can’t Add Staff? Add an Intern!

Feature article by Linda K. Tucker, APR, media and communications officer, City of Sacramento

 Who among us wouldn’t appreciate delegating research, web edits, social media sharing, and picture taking because frankly, there’s not enough of you or your team to go around? If adding a permanent position can’t be justified, often times an intern can. Make the case with your boss for an intern! The ROI for 20 hours a week is invaluable.


Immersive Experiences: Creating a Heightened Level of Engagement

Feature article by Cassandra Popli, vice president, Agency ETA

When storytelling comes to life, an immersive experience is created. When done right, immersive marketing transforms an ordinary event into an unforgettable experience and makes engaging with a brand feel natural. This type of outreach has recently gained popularity because of its strong appeal to the younger generation, especially coveted millennials who have been raised to expect interconnectivity everywhere they look. However, immersive also relates to a much wider audience; it can capture and transport attendees into an entire world centered around your overall vision whether that be a showcase, education goal or sharing of information.


April is APR Month!
Celebrating the Profession, Ethics, Education and Expertise

This April marks CAPIO’s first year offering our members the internationally recognized APR, which highlights ethics, education and expertise in the fields of communication and public relations.

CAPIO realizes that ongoing learning and development is key to you – our members – and we are happy to report that in our first year offering the APR, several members have already applied and are moving forward with the Panel Presentation and Computer-based Exam.


Communicator of the Year Francie Palmer Retires

Francie Palmer holding award, surrounded by a group of people in a board room with a Rancho Cucamonga backdrop and flags.

This March, Francie Palmer, CAPIO’s 2017 Communicator of the Year, retires after more nearly two decades in public service.

Francie has been at the helm of the City of Rancho Cucamonga’s communication efforts during this time, starting in the Community Services Department and then moving into her current role as the city’s first-ever communications manager.


Six Inspiring Examples of Citizen Engagement Initiatives for Smart Cities

We all want to love where we live. We want our community to feel like home, to be a place that gives us a sense of pride, and the type of place we want to work hard to protect and maintain. We are often inspired by the creative ways that communities connect to their residents in meaningful ways, which is why we have compiled the list below of six inspiring examples of citizen engagement initiatives for smart cities like yours from across the nation.

News Member Spotlight

February is Membership Month!
We Heart CAPIO

You are CAPIO. We are CAPIO. And, together, we are a mighty group of government communicators charged with working on behalf of our public to inform, educate and engage.

We are 500 strong and growing, and we thank you for supporting the California Association of Public Information Officials.

February is membership month. Not only do we want to celebrate the hundreds of men and women that make up this great association, but also want people to know who we are, too. Recruit a colleague or another government communicator to join this organization!


CAPIO Unveils Strategic Plan

CAPIO has had a long and respected 40+ year history serving California’s government public relations professionals, and has experienced tremendous growth in the last five years.  With 500 members strong, CAPIO is California’s go-to association for government communicators.

Now, the board is asking… What’s next? What can CAPIO do over the next five years to further its mission?  And how can we best serve our members with the training, tools, resources and networking opportunities to develop and advance?

News Education

Inclusive Communication
Communicating Effectively: Think Inclusive, Not Diverse

by Lana Haddad, Director of Government and Public Affairs and Kaylee Weatherly, Public Information Officer, Long Beach Water

Public agencies exist to provide essential services to our communities, and CAPIO professionals serve a critical role for our agencies in communicating about the good work we do. Recognizing diversity in our service areas, however, is not enough to communicate effectively. In order to best serve the public, it is vital that our communications understand, reflect and serve the interests and needs of all of our neighbors.


CAPIO 2018 Conference

Hot air balloon flying over vineyards on a sunny day

Sonoma County is bouncing back! With determination and motivation, Sonoma County is returning to an area known for its beauty and booming economy, and CAPIO will be right by their side! Our strong support will be present April 9 -12 as hundreds of communications professionals journey to Santa Rosa for the annual CAPIO conference. Whether you are staying at a hotel or simply driving in, the smallest action means you’re contributing to their economic recovery. CAPIO looks forward to being there in person to support the area and the businesses to keep #SonomaCountyStrong!


Keeping Up with the Trends: Shifting Reality – Sponsored Article by ETA Agency

A trend is something that is popular at a certain point in time. Fortunately, and unfortunately, there will always be a new trend coming along to replace the old in what seems like a short time span. It can sometimes feel like a full-time job keeping up with the new applications or technologies that claim to revolutionize the world of brand experiences. The ultimate digital communications strategy is to engage with your community in new and innovative ways while also ensuring you aren’t wasting your budget and time resources on a fleeting “trendy” technology or communication tool.

News Member Spotlight

We Are CAPIO – now 500 strong and growing!

View of the back of heads looking toward a screen that says "CAPIO: 500 and Counting"

This week CAPIO celebrated a milestone as our 500th member just rolled in! In just five short years, CAPIO’s membership has tripled in size. This is testimony to an increased demand for well-trained professional government communicators and CAPIO’s relevance in providing an avenue for professionals to learn, grow and thrive in this dynamic field. 

CAPIO’s growing membership enables us to continue expanding our educational, professional development and accreditation programs to our members.


Francie Palmer named 2017 Communicator of the Year

SAN DIEGO, CALIF., –  Francie Palmer, a seasoned government communications professional who serves as the City of Rancho Cucamonga’s communications manager, was recognized by the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) as the state’s 2017 Communicator of the Year.


Jenny Windle named the 2017 Paul B. Clark Recipient

SAN DIEGO, Calif., – The California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) honored seasoned government communications professional Jenny Windle with its 2017 Paul B. Clark lifetime achievement award, recognizing her exceptional leadership in the profession. The award was presented at CAPIO’s annual conference in San Diego on April 5.


April was APR Month, but what is the APR?

April was not only the month of our annual CAPIO Conference, but it was also APR month – recognizing that not everyone can do what we do as government communicators.  You may have seen our social media posts or heard the buzz about CAPIO now offering the APR, but what is it?