The Thoroughbred Chapter began an annual awards program in 2002 to honor the outstanding efforts of its members. The award program recognizes exceptional work in many various categories such as media relations, newsletters, magazines, annual reports, brochures, websites, social media, etc.

There are three major award classifications…

  • The public relations Thoroughbred professional awards… for individuals, companies, agencies and non-profits.
  • The Communicator of the Year award… presented to a person who is not a public relations professional who did a great job of communicating his or her passion in 2016.
  • The Lifetime Achievement award… presented to a member of the Thoroughbred chapter of PRSA who has a demonstrated commitment to excellence over a long period of time.  This award is not necessarily presented every year.
Lifetime Achievement/Hall of Fame

The recipient of the Thoroughbred chapters Lifetime Achievement/Hall of Fame award this year is Mary Hemlepp, left, who works for KCTCS. The award is not presented every year. Mary is only the seventh chapter member to receive the honor.

Kate Hensley and Stephanie Stiltner of UPike

The team that received the Win plaque for their entry in the External Publication category was the University of Pikeville. Accepting on behalf of the team is Kate Hensley, coordinator of publications, and Stephanie Stiltner, coordinator of public relations at the school. The UPike entry received a perfect score, which is the first time in more than 10 years that a chapter entry has achieved that mark.

Bluegrass Stockyards, Communicator of the Year

For the first time in 20 years of our Communicator of the Year award, we had co-winners. One was the Bluegrass Stockyards for the work that was done during and in the wake of one of Lexington's largest fires ever in January 2016. Accepting the award on behalf of his stockyards team is general manager Jim Akers.

Lexington Fire Department, Communicator of the Year

Two teams accepted the Communicator of the Year co-awards... the Lexington Fire Department and the Bluegrass Stockyards. In the photo from the left are: Lt. Jessica Bowman, firefighter Greg Gerton, Major Lee Hayden, Ass't. Chief John Gosper, Battalion Chief Joe Best, and firefighter Todd Holman. Continuing from the left, from the Stockyards are: sales manager Jeremy Shryock, office manager Amber McCall and general manager Jim Akers.

Rob Elliott, KET

KET was the winner of a number of awards. Rob Elliott displays the handful of awards they received.

Here are the 2017 awards milestone dates.

  • Thoroughbred awards contest entry deadline…  Monday, March 6, 2017
  • Communicator of the Year and Lifetime Achievement nominations deadline… Monday, March 6, 2017
  • Annual Awards Luncheon…  Tuesday, April 11, at 11:30 a.m. at a location to be determined in the next couple of weeks.

Important Contest Information:

For questions regarding our awards program, email Cliff Feltham at

Here’s the list of recent past Communicator of the Year recipients…

  • 2016 -  Marian Guinn, CEO of God’s Pantry Food Bank
  • 2015 -  Governor Steve Beshear
  • 2014 -  Ben and Rebecca Self of West Sixth and Foodchain
  • 2013   -  Dr. Doug Whitlock, President of Eastern Kentucky University
  • 2012   -  Matthew Mitchell, Coach of UK Women’s Basketball team
  • 2011   -  Stu Silberman, Superintendent of Fayette County Schools
  • 2010   -  Crit Luallen, Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts
  • 2009   -  Kathy Gannoe, former executive Director of the Nursing Home Ombudsman agency
  • 2008 -  Dr. Pearce Lyons, Alltech
  • 2007 -  Nick Rowe, President, Kentucky American Water Company
  • 2006 -  Dr. George Zack, Music Director/Conductor, Lexington Philharmonic
  • 2005 -  Sylvia Lovely, executive director/CEO, Kentucky League of Cities
  • 2004 -  Joseph Lambert, Chief Justice, Kentucky Supreme Court
  • 2003 -  Jennifer Mynear, Jarrett’s Joy Cart
  • 2002 -  Dr. Lee Todd, President, University of Kentucky
  • 2001 -  John Lindgren (posthumously), Local TV News Anchor
  • 2000 -  Alan Stein, President, Lexington Legends

Our Lifetime Achievement Award (Hall of Fame) winners include:

  • Faith Miller Cole 2005
  • Thomas Preston, APR 2005
  • Phyllis Liebman, APR 2006
  • Phil Osborne 2009
  • Nancy Wiser, APR 2010
  • Tom Harris, APR 2016