On July 1, Katz & Associates celebrated its 33rd year in business. It’s been an incredible journey, made possible with the help of so many people over the years. As with life, we have grown both physically and intellectually, and continue learning valuable lessons along the way. As I reflect on these three-plus decades, and the incredible people and projects, I think about the important things that got us here and what’s important for the future.
Where we started is important. I began the firm around the need to communicate about water infrastructure issues, and that remains a core market to this day. K&A’s Water and Wastewater Practice continues to thrive under the inspiring leadership of Karen Snyder, whom I have worked with for more than 20 years on projects across the country. Luckily, Karen joined us full-time when she moved to Southern California several years ago. With new challenges like climate change, aging infrastructure, heightened awareness around drinking water, and limited funding sources – communicating about water certainly matters (and is important) these days.
Our growing Transportation and Infrastructure Practice is showing its importance in leaps and bounds. Practice lead Greg Parks has grown in talent and daring over his ten years with us, even, as a lifelong Padres fan, temporarily relocating to Giants territory in the Bay area, as his practice area exploded statewide! Greg and his team can be found conducting public outreach on electrifying trains in the Bay area, expanding BART in Silicon Valley, constructing street cars in Orange County, helping plan for High Speed Rail in Southern California and supporting the construction outreach needs of the $2B trolley extension in San Diego. He can handle it, or at least escape from it when needed, since he is our resident craft beer expert. We’ve never had so much transportation work.
Our Policy and Planning Practice continues to prove its importance. Tania Fragomeno, yet another long-term public affairs champion for us, has recently changed up its focus to meet the changing needs of our clients. While we continue to work on NEPA and CEQA projects for federal and local clients, we are now supporting more community engagement initiatives using advanced public participation techniques for private and public sector land use/planning, water, energy and storm water runoff projects, just to name a few.
Expanding our service offerings and markets is important. Sometimes you come full-circle as we have done with the establishment of our Real Estate Development and Civic Issues Practice which new President Derek Danziger is currently spearheading. We can provide clients with community outreach/marketing, media relations services, crisis communications and high-level creative direction.
Our clients and the work they do is very important. I must recognize all those people along the road that have played a part in our success. Our clients, former and current colleagues and the K&A friends that have helped us over the years and cheered us on. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Acknowledging our people and our success is important. Our team includes some of the best in the business, a diverse group of practitioners I am proud to work with every day. One thing I don’t worry about is knowing that when we start a project, it will be done right and exceed client expectations. That’s the way we do it. And sometimes we exceed our own expectations — we just received a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil National Award of Excellence for the “Pure Stone” event we coordinated on behalf of our Pure Water San Diego client. Our team helped turn pure water into beer (literally) and garnered national attention for potable reuse.
What comes next may be the most important. As we move to become an employee-owned firm, bringing on new leadership, expanding our service offerings, and refreshing our brand, K&A@33 looks bright. With offices throughout the state of California and projects across the U.S., we are ready for what lies ahead and are so proud to work with amazing clients on important projects and programs.
Again, big thanks to everyone who has joined us on the 33-year journey. Let’s keep making a difference together.