2022 Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader
Jennifer Carey

Jennifer Carey

Respected for her leadership, collaboration, and forward-thinking during the Huntington Beach oil spill, Jennifer Carey has established herself as a respected and trusted figure within the city of Huntington Beach. As the Public Information Officer for the Huntington Beach Police Department, and now Public Affairs Manager for the City of Huntington Beach, Jennifer is relied upon to relay timely and sensitive information to the City’s nearly 200,000 residents.

While over a million beachgoers were enjoying the sights and sounds of jets flying overhead as part of the Pacific Airshow in October 2021, Jennifer was working alongside Huntington Beach public safety staff to assess the magnitude of a potential oil spill happening just miles off the Huntington Beach coast. Jennifer took control of the situation and quickly asserted herself as a leader and initiated a game plan for communicating with residents and stakeholders. Utilizing her regional and national contacts, Jennifer swiftly pulled together information and resources to quickly and proactively communicate details on the evolving situation.

Jennifer quickly became the go-to for oil spill information not only for the press and Huntington Beach residents, but for other cities and agencies across the nation. Making use of the City’s website, email newsletter, social media, emergency alerts, press conferences, and her relationships with the press, she was able to efficiently relay ongoing information and ensure a consistent message was being communicated.

Joining the City of Huntington Beach in May 2021, Jennifer has led the City’s communication efforts during numerous critical incidents. Before joining the City of Huntington Beach, she spent five years as the Community Relations Officer for Long Beach Public Works. In March 2020, Jennifer was reassigned as a Lead in Long Beach’s Joint Information Center to assist in the development and distribution of messaging for COVID-19 and various civil unrest incidents.


Established in 2017, the Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader award recognizes a Public Information Professional (or Team) who demonstrated extraordinary success in leading a team during a natural disaster, act of terrorism or a reputational crisis.

For more information about the Frank Potter Cowan Crisis Communications Leader Award presented by the California Association of Public Information Officials, visit our awards page at www.capio.org.