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January 4, 2010 

Next week's Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze for Association and Non-Profit Execs: "Best Event Strategies: Driving Attendance and Managing Costs." At BLT Steak, crazy low price. Come for the program, stay for the networking! Sign up now!

Miss out on fireworks this New Year’s Eve? We've got the next best thing: the American Pyrotechnics Association. We met executive director Julie Heckman at her Bethesda office to find out what the “recession-resilient” 240 member association was up to last year.
American Pyrotechnics Association Executive Director Julie Heckman

Julie tells us she does 300 media interviews each year. When Fourth of July rolls around, she blocks out an entire week for phone interviews, then flies to New York for sit-downs with the major media outlets. She says it's essential that any association exec take a little PR training. APA once hired a firm to come in for a day and teach her and board members about developing key messages and turning them into sound bites. She says it's valuable practice to role-play interviews on camera and critique each other. Julie encourages board members to keep talking points taped to their phones until they are comfortable with them.

The best New Year's fireworks are in Las Vegas, says Julie, where cranes and helicopters help get all the pyrotechnics on the rooftops of hotels on the Strip. And the best fireworks ever? The Montreal International Fireworks Competition, where one designated company from each country shows off. APA members took gold or placed in the top three for the past four years. This New Year's Eve, Julie watched the skies light up in Pasadena. The Buckeyes fan and Ohio native scored two tickets to the Rose Bowl where, of course, a member company was putting on the show.

American Bus Association's Eron Shosteck on blogging and social media

Blogs are so 2006, American Bus Association's Eron Shosteck tells us. The communications SVP, whom we met for lunch at Bobby Van's, says ABA maintained a weekly blog written by CEO Peter Pantuso for two and half years. The blog was even recognized in ASAE's magazine, Associations Now. But this summer, the association decided to axe the blog and turbo charge their social media efforts instead. LinkedIn or Facebook have already generated more discussion. "I will tell you how many people complained about the disappearance of the blog." Eron says. "Zero."

American Bus Association's Eron Shosteck

ABA's "Save A Penguin, Take a Motorcoach" campaign just won't die. In 2007, ABA printed 5,000 copies of this booklet touting the environmental advantages of buses for lawmakers, media, teachers, and others. When they ran out, ABA printed 5,000 more, making it the association's only publication to ever have a second printing. An updated version with 12,500 copies was distributed this fall. The slogan was branded on t-shirts, which sold out in one day, and Eron even wrote press releases from the penguins' perspective. He says the penguins seem to resonate because of their originality, whimsy, and cuteness. Plus, polar bears are so passé.

Venable's Lauren Eade, The Nature Conservancy's Amy Ganderson (the face behind the non-profit's Twitter updates), and National Commission on Children and Disasters' Victoria Johnson at Co Co. Sala

Before everyone (seriously, everyone) deserted Washington for the holidays, we dropped by Co Co. Sala for one of Venable law firm's monthly non-profit practice group happy hours. We met Venable's Lauren Eade, The Nature Conservancy's Amy Ganderson (the face behind the non-profit's Twitter updates), and National Commission on Children and Disasters' Victoria Johnson. Not only did the trio graduate from Cornell together, they were Tri-Delt sorority sisters living together in a house of ten girls. Allegedly, there's a secret sorority handshake, but they wouldn't show us.


January 12 - Bisnow Breakfast & Schmooze - Event Strategies - Driving Attendance and Managing Costs." BLT Steak - Sign up now!

Send story ideas to Jessica Sidman, Jessica@bisnow.com
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