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. Tom also led the County’s numerous and evolving COVID-19 campaigns on social media, working tirelessly to raise public awareness surrounding masking, social distancing, testing and vaccinations. His efforts have helped the County connect with hard-to-reach and diverse communities.

Tom also shares his expertise and works to expand the use and knowledge of social media with a diverse array of local organizations, including Intergenerational Councils, 2-1-1 San Diego, community centers and the San Diego Health Disaster Coalition. Often other County departments will seek Tom’s advice and counsel when starting new social media accounts for best practices and content curation.

Tom has been a communications specialist for the county of San Diego for 15 years. Prior to that, he was the Communications Director for the Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives for 11 years and a newspaper reporter and radio show host for eight years. Tom has also mentored interns with the county in social media and communications and made himself available for CAPIO colleagues to contact for advice and assistance.

The Communicator of the Year award is presented to the individual who, in the judgment of the CAPIO Awards Committee and Board of Directors, demonstrates exceptional abilities, skills and talents in leading their organization to greater and more successful communications and public engagement.

For more information about the Communicator of the Year award or CAPIO, visit www.capio.org.

About Thomas christensen

Tom Christensen has been a communications specialist with the County of San Diego since 2006. He coordinates and monitors nearly 100 accounts as part of the County’s nationally-recognized social media efforts and writes stories for CountyNewsCenter.com. He was part of the team that won the 2018 CAPIO Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader Team Award and has worked on crisis communications during several wildfires, a county-wide blackout and an outbreak of hepatitis A.

He has done presentations, webinars, and interviews on government use of social media for CAPIO, the National Association of Counties (NACo), Government Social Media Organization, National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC), the California Department of Public Health, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Philadelphia Health Department’s 12 Days of Social Media in Emergency Management, California Office of Binational Border Health, and several local governments and community organizations.

Prior to joining San Diego County, Tom was the Communications Director for the Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives for 11 years and was a daily newspaper reporter and weekly columnist in Minnesota for more than a decade. He also hosted a morning Top 40 radio show.