CAPIO 2024 State of Communications
Power Lunch Webinar


In 2024, public-agency communicators will continue to face new challenges and opportunities, constantly redefining strategies, priorities, and best practices to maintain effective communication and engagement with our communities.

During CAPIO’s 2024 State of Communications webinar, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about key issues shaping the California communication landscape. The webinar will feature insights from CAPIO President Lael Wageneck, MPA, APR, and CAPIO President-Elect/Treasurer Tom Christensen, highlighting CAPIO’s key focus areas for the year.

Participants will also benefit from the wisdom of seasoned communicators who will discuss emerging trends and share practical best practices to enhance their communication efforts in the upcoming year. Join us to stay ahead in the ever-evolving field of public-sector communication.

Key takeaways from this webinar include:

  • Statewide topics that will affect public sector communicators in 2024
  • CAPIO’s areas of focus for the new year
  • Trends in public engagement
  • Tips and tools for media relations, getting your agency covered and dealing with the media
  • AI tools to help reshape communications and engage with your community


Recorded: February 14th


APR Continuing Education Unit

Tom 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 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.

Scott Summerfield

Scott is a principal of SAE Communications. SAE has provided communications counsel, media relations, and Joint Information Center management for many of California’s most challenging recent crises, including the 2023 winter storms, 2020 Coronavirus response, 2019 Conception dive boat tragedy, 2018 Montecito mudslide, 2017 Thomas fire, 2016 Sherpa fire, 2015 Refugio Beach oil spill, 2014 Isla Vista shootings, 2011 Seal Beach massacre, and numerous crises of confidence. SAE was recently part of a team examining the 2015 San Bernardino County terrorist attack response and recovery. Scott also advises on emerging issues such as cyberattacks, Public Records Act, and First Amendment videography.

Scott’s work includes strategic communications, key message development/training, and crisis communications for a wide range of organizations including Port of Long Beach, California State Lottery, League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, City of San Francisco, City of San Jose, City of Palo Alto, City of Santa Clara, City of Beverly Hills, City of Carlsbad, Fairfield Police Department, Bechtel Corporation, Calpine Corporation, Intel Corporation, and many others. SAE’s educational clients include University of California – Davis, San Jose State University, Long Beach City College, Santa Barbara City College, and several local school districts.

Scott is a Dean of Instruction at the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI), past president and lifetime member of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO), CAPIO Paul Clark Award winner in recognition of outstanding service, grants chair of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, past executive board member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA), past board member of the Bay Area Cable Excellence Awards, and guest lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication. Scott is a graduate of the Telecommunications and Film program at San Diego State University and is a member of its Alumni Association Board of Advisors.

Maureen Tobin

As the Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership, Maureen infuses her passion for effective public engagement in guiding the work of the Institute. Maureen is the 2021 recipient of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) USA Greater Good Award and believes that all her work focuses on the greater good. Tobin comes to Davenport after 14 years in local government where she served as the first Communications and Engagement Manager (subsequently Director) for the City of Morgan Hill. In her role, she developed, implemented, and led several significant community engagement efforts including a complete street pilot project that received national attention and the most significant infrastructure project in the history of Morgan Hill. She also led and facilitated a year-long community conversation regarding funding, priorities, and options for fiscal sustainability. Maureen brings a breadth of perspective to the table from past leadership roles in healthcare, medical transportation, education, and consulting work in the private sector. She has a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from San Jose State University and certificates in public participation and crisis communications. Additionally, she is trained as a professional coach through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) in San Rafael. She has been a guest lecturer, speaker and trainer on many topics including public engagement, work life balance, local government, and municipal budgets.

Jon Barilone

Jon Barilone is a Principal with Tripepi Smith. His professional background includes search engine optimization and advertising, website content management, content writing and editing, product marketing management, and significant experience with social media marketing and community management. He has worked with over 40 cities in California to enhance their Communications efforts. Jon holds certifications from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and several other digital platforms related to websites, advertising and/or social media. He is also Tripepi Smith’s thought leader on social media optimization as well as how to leverage ‘generative artificial intelligence’ tools to accomplish clients’ goals.

Lael Wageneck, MPA, APR

Lael Wageneck, APR is the Public Information Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Works Department which serves over 400,000 residents. He has over 15 years of experience in media production, public relations and public administration, and has presented a many CAPIO conferences on topics from photography to ethics. He previously served on the CAPIO Board as the Central California Regional Chair from 2015-17.