WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 19, 2010) — Robert Hastings, APR+M, was selected as the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) 2010 Lloyd B. Dennis Distinguished Leadership Award, which was presented during the Public Affairs and Government (PAG) Professional Interest Session Networking Dinner at the PRSA 2010 International Conference in Washington, D.C.
The Lloyd B. Dennis Award recognizes an exemplary individual who has used his or her public affairs skills to promote truth, has demonstrated high standards of integrity and honesty in business dealings, and has helped affect positive change within an organization.
“I am deeply honored and humbled to be associated with Lloyd Dennis and those who have earned this distinction before me,” said Hastings. “I am grateful to those who taught me how important public affairs is to our democratic way of life, and to those who guided my career over the years, as well as to the members of the executive committee that made the selection.”
Hastings is currently the senior vice president of communications for Bell Helicopter. Previously, he performed the duties of assistant secretary of defense for public affairs during 2008–2009. As the senior public affairs official and principle spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), he served as staff advisor and assistant to the secretary and deputy secretary of defense for strategic communication, public information, internal information and community relations as well as information training and audiovisual support to DoD activities, leading a worldwide public affairs community of some 3,800 military and civilian personnel.
During his tenure with the Pentagon, Hastings was a driving force in the development of the department’s strategic communications concept of operations. Working with the service public affairs chiefs and Combatant Command public affairs directors, he fostered unequaled cohesion and partnership among the diverse elements of the DoD public affairs community. He also established the Defense Media Activity, a significant reorganization of DoD public affairs that consolidated more than 2000 military and civilian public affairs personnel into a single command responsible for the military’s worldwide internal information activities.
Hastings is a former U.S. Army officer with more than 20 years experience as a Master Army Aviator and Public Affairs Officer. His assignments include command of an Apache — equipped Air Cavalry Troop and a Blackhawk — equipped Air Assault Company, as well as public affairs duties in Germany, Eastern Europe, Iraq and Bosnia. He also served as an instructor with the Defense Information School Public Affairs Officer Course.
He has also served successfully in senior corporate communications and business executive roles in the defense industry. Hastings is active in numerous community and professional associations, and has served on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations. He is Accredited in Public Relations + Military Communication and member of PRSA. He serves as a member of the board of advisors for the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communications, and as the professional advisor for the Public Relations Student Society at Hood College. Hastings is also a member of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), He is a winner of PRSA’s Silver Anvil Award of Excellence and IABC’s Gold Quill Award for Excellence in Communications Management.
A native of Ocean City, Md., Hastings earned a bachelor’s degree in government studies and history from the University of Maryland in Heidelberg, Germany, and has completed executive studies at the Wharton School of Business and the University of Michigan.
“Robert Hastings represents everything that is important in our profession: ethics, honesty and setting an example for other public affairs/public relations practitioners as a hard working, effective leader,” said PRSA Public Affairs and Government Section Chair Lauri-Ellen Smith, APR. “The Public Affairs and Government Section is proud to recognize Hastings with our highest recognition for accomplishments in public affairs and contributions to the profession.”
The award was established in honor of the late Lloyd B. Dennis, whose career included work as a speechwriter and public affairs officer for three secretaries of the U.S. Treasury in the Johnson and Nixon administrations, a senior public affairs officer for a major banking institution, and a journalist for the New York Times, Baltimore Sun and Congressional Quarterly.
About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
With more than 31,000 members, PRSA is the largest organization of public relations professionals and students. PRSA is comprised of 111 local Chapters organized into 10 geographic Districts; 16 Professional Interest Sections that focus on issues, trends and research relevant to specialized practice areas, such as technology, health care, financial communications, entertainment and sports, and travel tourism; and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), which has more than 300 Chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. PRSA is headquartered in New York.