Anita Brightman

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.” – Arthur Ashe
Since opening our doors 20 years ago, A. Bright Idea’s philosophy remains rooted in the idea that a group of people with boundless creativity and unwavering passion can change the world, or at least our own corner of it.
As communicators, we understand the power of telling the right story to the right people, in ways that create a positive impact. Often, our choice to work with organizations reflects our own desire to give back and create positive change in our community and our nation by supporting the great work of our clients. These organizations, both at the government and non-profit level, inspire us through the dedication to their mission and we quickly engage as an extension of their teams to reach a common goal.
Our team draws excitement and energy from causes improving the lives of others. We can think of no greater joy than the ability to effectively shine a light on an issue, service or idea to make the world a better place. This philosophy carried us through nearly two decades in an uncertain market. For me, proof that when you put your heart where you work, great things happen.
Whether it’s in the lives of children, the health of our nation’s communities or the richness of cultural fabric and preservation of history, we are passionate about supporting change and making a difference.
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On a local level, this means supporting future generations through initiatives to improve the lives of children. Working with the Boys & Girls Club of Harford County, as well as Teen Services Sonoma, Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, the John Carroll School and United Way of Central Maryland, offers us the opportunity to help build awareness in their missions, highlight their commitment to the betterment of children and drive community support on their behalf and for increased services for youth.

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October Take Back Day commercial shoot in Chicago with Mike Ditka.

Our dedication to community health issues remains equally as strong, from both a local and national perspective. Whether increasing access to affordable health care, educating the public on how to safely dispose unused prescription drugs to help reduce addiction and overdoses or bringing awareness and calls for action to combat the scourge of heroin and opioid addiction in our country, we are proud to be an integral part of the fight. Our community health work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) showcases where we have long provided media buying and creative services for the successful National Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative, which takes hundreds of tons of unused prescription medication off the streets each year – 6.5 million tons to date.
In addition, we currently provide the DEA with branding, strategic communication, advertising development and media buying services in support of the DEA 360 Strategy, a new initiative to combat the nation’s heroin and prescription opioid abuse crisis with a direct grassroots/community approach.
Commercial shoot with Boomer Esiason in New York City for Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that an agency full of creative professionals would be passionate about preserving and promoting arts and culture. The work we do on behalf of numerous cultural institutions and organizations spans both coasts. We are proud to play a role in highlighting the amazing artifacts and innovations at the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Libraries. On the local level, we support history and the arts through sponsorship support of the Napa Valley Museum and the Aberdeen Proving Ground Centennial Celebration Association.
Even as we bring our passion for making a difference to our work each day, we live it out in our personal lives too. Many of our employees continue their involvement in meaningful causes outside of work. Whether it’s through a commitment to personal artistic and musical endeavors, through volunteer work with our local schools or through fundraising efforts to fight childhood cancer and other serious diseases, our passion for making a difference always shines through.
We all want to help – solving problems, being part of solutions, building awareness and creating change. Coming together to be part of something bigger is weaved into our cultural fabric. Looking at the 20th year of A. Bright Idea and moving forward, we continue to look for ways to promote the good, building on the foundational values of our firm. One person can make a difference, but a team of like-minded, creative professionals with an unwavering commitment to truly making an impact, can create change. I’m proud of our team, as this is not something that can be taught. It’s instilled. We make a living and we make a difference every day through our creative talents and our commitment to raising each other and our clients up in all we do.
If you have something to add to this story, share it in the comment section below!

Shawn Nesaw

2 min read
By Ben Ford
On a hot summer morning in late July, at Fort Detrick, Maryland, the generals inspected the assembled troops, standing in formation.
A distant siren faded. Except for the buzz of insects and jets high overhead, silence had fallen over Blue and Gray Field where the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s (USAMRMC) Change of Command ceremony took place.
The ceremony had reached a stage rife with tradition and symbolism. Command Sgt. Maj. David M. Rogers presented the command’s colors to outgoing commander Maj. Gen. Brian C. Lein. With a deliberate turn, Lein passed the colors to his superior Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, the U.S. Army Surgeon General, who held it firmly in her hands. With precision, she turned and gave the colors to Maj. Gen. Barbara R. Holcomb, who took it firmly with her hands. Holcomb turned on her heel and passed the colors back to Rogers.28704086895_8b8214aeb9_z
The ceremony marked the start of a new commander while it paid homage to the continuity of the command. As the generals marched in line back to the reviewing stand, a slight smile of pride crossed Holcomb’s face as she passed her family and friends. The USAMRMC is a command filled with dedicated military and civilian researchers who strive to carry out the mission priorities of “Protect, Project, Sustain.” From researching new battlefield medical techniques and equipment to fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, USAMRMC is at the forefront of providing medical care to those who serve the Nation and the world.
Holcomb, Lein, West and the Soldiers who passed in review take great pride, and rightly so, in their work for USAMRMC. As an agency that provides contract support to the organization, A. Bright Idea assists the command’s public affairs office in a variety of ways, offering writing support for technical articles and speeches, as well as photography support and graphic design.
While ABI’s purple flag did not fly at the ceremony, our ‘Bright Lights” always feel a sense of pride knowing we provide assistance to those carrying out such important, lifesaving missions for the people of our country and around the world.
If you have something to add to this story, share it in the comment section below!
Photos by Crystal Maynard, USAMRMC Public Affairs

Ben Ford writes for A. Bright Idea covering government and healthcare industries. He began his career in journalism working as a writer and later editor of several news publications. He has won numerous awards for his writing from the Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association.

Twitter_Logo_White_On_Blue @Ben_abrightidea


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With a continual focus of adding top talent to our award-winning team, A. Bright Idea is excited to announce the addition and promotion of our new team members to support the creative communication needs of our clients.

Top from left: Kevin Hess, Crystal Maynard, Robyn Hicks; Center from left: Brian Lobsinger, Luz Esmeralda Mahecha Martínez; Bottom from left: Bridget Goldsmith, Mina Ta

Mina Ta
A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR is pleased to announce the promotion of Mina Ta to a senior creative position. Mina, who joined A. Bright Idea in November 2013, demonstrated strength and leadership in providing on-site creative support for an Arlington, Virginia-based government client.
Bridget Goldsmith
Bridget joins A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR as part of a team of graphic designers supporting a government client in Arlington, Virginia. Bridget held previous positions as a contractor for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the NAVSEA Ship Building Program at the U.S. Navy Yard. Prior to joining A. Bright Idea, Bridget worked as a graphic designer for the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs at the U.S. Pentagon where she developed the overall branding for the nation’s highest medal for valor, the United States Army Medal of Honor.
Brian Lobsinger, Senior Designer/Multimedia Specialist
A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR welcomed Brian Lobsinger to the Graphic Design team, as senior designer and multimedia manager. Brian is charged with managing design and web projects in both the Sonoma, California and Bel Air, Maryland offices. Prior to A. Bright Idea, Brian ran his own design firm, and most recently was the senior web developer at Flannel, Inc.
Crystal Maynard, Communications Specialist
Crystal Maynard joins A. Bright Idea’s Government Services Division, offering on-site support for a government client in managing a variety of communication and public affairs projects. Crystal offers extensive communications experience, previously serving as a public affairs specialist to U.S. Army clients, providing strategic planning, media relations, event planning and public relations support.
Luz Esmeralda Mahecha Martínez, Bilingual Communications Specialist
Luz joins A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR in the Government Services Division, providing on-site communications and translation support for the Public Information office of an existing government client. Prior to joining A. Bright Idea, Luz worked with the University of Maryland School of Public Health and Miami Dade College School of Continuing Education and Professional Development.
Kevin Hess, Communications Event Specialist
Kevin Hess joined A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR to support marketing and event coordination efforts for the firm’s government and commercial clients. Kevin joins this award-winning team offering event planning and management experience from the Sports Information Office at Towson University.
Robyn Hicks, Junior Graphic Design Specialist
Robyn Hicks recently joined award-winning Graphic Design team at A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR. Robyn, a Towson University graduate with a degree in digital fine arts and design, previously worked with the Harford County Boys and Girls Club as a graphic designer.

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Jimmie Cummings, Director of Government Services
Jimmie Cummings, Director of Government Services

In response to its growing government business, A. Bright Idea Advertising and Public Relations announced that Jimmie Cummings, has been hired to fill a newly created position within the firm as its Director of Government Services.
Cummings’, a former Army lieutenant colonel and public affairs officer, just recently retired after over 22 years of military service that included serving in positions at Fort George G. Meade, the Pentagon and numerous deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Jimmie is an experienced leader and strategic communicator with a great deal of public affairs, crisis communication and media relations expertise in and around the military and government realm,” says T.J. Brightman, Principal/Vice President of Client Relations of A. Bright Idea.  “Strong and diverse talent is just one of the things we pride ourselves on at A. Bright Idea.  Jimmie will be another tremendous addition to our staff here and he was the ideal fit for our new position.”
Cummings’ most recent public affairs assignments included stops at Fort George G. Meade as the Executive Officer and Integration Chief of the Army Public Affairs Center, and a deployment to Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was a spokesman and press desk chief for both the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Army Forces-Afghanistan.  While deployed to Afghanistan for a year he provided public affairs support to numerous high profile and cultural sensitive incidents with global implications.  Cummings advised U.S. and ISAF senior leaders on public affairs strategies, crisis communication and media relations in a cultural diverse and sensitive environment as well as coordinated public affairs operations with the U.S. Embassy staff in Kabul.
Cummings was also previously posted at the Pentagon in the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA) as an Army spokesman and public affairs advisor on issues regarding operations, weapons, environment, and technology to include acquisition and force modernization.  He is a native of Fairhope, Ala., and now resides in Catonsville, Md.
An award-winning advertising and public relations agency with locations in Bel Air, Md. and Sonoma, Calif. A. Bright Idea excels at identifying opportunities, generating ideas and executing customized solutions that deliver results for government, commercial and nonprofit clients including: U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Department of Defense Joint Program Manager – Elimination (APG); National Institute of Corrections; DuPont; Stella Maris; Courtland Hearth and Hardware; Kenwood Kitchens; The John Carroll School; Yountville Chamber of Commerce; St. Francis Winery & Vineyards; Sonoma Valley Teen Services; Slavie Federal Savings Bank; Sonoma Valley Education Foundation; and Sonoma Valley Community Health Center among many others. For more information on A. Bright Idea and its services, visit or email

Shawn Nesaw

A. Bright Idea closed out 2012 with the addition of several new contracts in the federal, APG installation and Baltimore City arenas. “Earning the designation to provide creative services as a prime contractor is a tremendous honor,” Anita Brightman stated.
Primed for growth and building on the past success of federal contracts for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (winner of the Public Relations Society of America National Capital Region’s Thoth Award), U.S. Economic Development Administration, and U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, A. Bright Idea recently solidified prime contracts with the following:

  • U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity
  • APG Multimedia-Visual Information Services Center
  • Department of Defense Education Activity
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District (USACE)
  • Baltimore City Public Schools

The agency provides public affairs, graphic design support, interactive and website, marketing and collateral support services for each of these clients, allowing them to better connect with key stakeholders and communicate with target audiences.

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A. Bright Idea PRSA Award
A. Bright Idea celebrates industry recognition for its work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day with a Public Relations Society of America National Capital Chapter Thoth Award for integrated communications.
“We’re so honored to be working with the DEA in promoting this important national initiative for collecting unused, unwanted and expired prescription medications, helping to keep them off the streets and out of the hands of our youth” says A. Bright Idea President, Anita A. Brightman. “With the results in for the fifth Take Back Day, we know that over two million pounds of prescription drugs have been collected by the DEA across the country. We’re proud that our integrated approach to this campaign along with the DEA Public Affairs Office, including public relations, graphic design, interactive and advertising services has supported this important effort.”
A. Bright Idea supports the DEA specifically with media planning and placement for each event, including national placements with the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America, AARP, Facebook and USA Today, as well as regional placements in all major markets, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and Houston.
The PRSA National Capital Chapter Thoth Award recognizes public relations and communications excellence in campaigns and individual tactics, which clearly demonstrate the four tiers of effective public relations: research, planning, implementation and evaluation.

Shawn Nesaw

Agency earns honors for the fourth consecutive time

Bel Air, Md. – A. Bright Idea Advertising and Public Relations, an award-winning agency servicing the Baltimore Metropolitan region, recently received acknowledgement as one of the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprises in the State of Maryland. This marks the fourth win since the program’s establishment, reflecting the agency’s continued stature among trusted MBEs during every year of eligibility within the recognition program.
Honoring exceptional minority and women entrepreneurs, the Top 100 Minority Business Enterprise Award recognizes business owners for innovation, contributions to the business community, and inspirational impact on clients, professionals and other businesses. The awards ceremony took place at the University of Maryland, University College in Adelphi, Maryland in May.
Nominated by the region’s chambers of commerce, professional organizations, business community and general public, A. Bright Idea counts among one of 5,000 nominees from businesses in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. Sharon R. Pinder, founder of the Top 100 MBE Awards Ceremony stated “The winners of this year’s Top 100 MBE Award exemplifies excellence and stability especially during these turbulent economic times.” A. Bright Idea epitomizes achievements in entrepreneurship, professionalism, and contributions to the community.
“It remains an incredible honor to be recognized by the state again as one of the Top 100 MBE’s of the region,” says Anita A. Brightman, President and Founder of A. Bright Idea. “This award showcases the tremendous small business community here in Maryland and I am proud that A. Bright Idea is counted among the top echelon.”
An award-winning advertising and public relations agency with locations in Bel Air, Md. and Sonoma, Calif., A. Bright Idea excels at identifying opportunities, generating ideas and executing customized solutions that deliver results for government, commercial and non-profit clients. Based in Bel Air, we serve large and small clients including Science Applications International Corporation, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, DuPont, Baltimore County Savings Bank, Slavie Federal Savings Bank and Bel Air Center for Addictions, among many others.
For more information on A. Bright Idea, please visit

Shawn Nesaw

From national Telly award to Best in Maryland, local agency delivers creative leading to growth
A. Bright Idea Advertising and Public Relations launches new business with The Wellwood Club restaurant of historic Charlestown, Md., and the opening of a second location in Sonoma, Calif., while celebrating industry recognition for its work in the television advertising, public relations, graphic design and interactive design arenas.
“As a boutique agency, we thrive on developing strong creative that gets results for our clients,” said President and Founder Anita Brightman. “More than just breaking through the clutter, we strive to reach our clients’ audiences and compel them to act. Our recent peer recognition provides additional confirmation of our continued growth and effectiveness in this market.”
A. Bright Idea continues to add new retail and government clients to all areas of its full-service repertoire. The agency recently launched an advertising campaign for The Wellwood, a multi-restaurant, marina, crab house and event venue in historic Charlestown, Md., worked on environmental graphics for the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, and joined the General Services Administration AIMS schedule.
Awards and Recognitions
A. Bright Idea recently received recognition for a multitude of projects in the areas of television advertising, graphic design, public relations and interactive design.
The agency won two Bronze Telly Awards for the Bel Air Center for Addictions television campaign, “I’m Not an Addict,” which addresses the stigma of drug addiction that often prevents people from seeking treatment and encourages people struggling with addiction to embrace their true identity along with Bel Air Center for Addictions to overcome their addiction.
The agency also received recognition for a variety of projects at the Public Relations Society of America Maryland Chapter Best in Maryland Awards on June 17 including:

  • The John Carroll School – Kaleidoscope annual report design and interactive annual report companion
  • The Kelly Group – View from the Top, economic review event invitation (direct mail)
  • Jordan Thomas Salon and Spa – Highlights email newsletter
  • William E. Proudford Sickle Cell Fund – Sickle Cell Awareness Week community relations
The Best in Maryland Awards judging considers all aspects of a campaign/project including research, planning, execution and results and this year’s entries were judged by the PRSA Pittsburgh chapter.
In addition to its contributions to Best in Maryland entries, A. Bright Idea Interactive, the agency’s interactive division, received recognition by the Graphic Design USA Magazine’s 2010 American Web Design Award for the Wirehead Business Technologies website design.
Finally, Anita Brightman received recognition in the public relations field with her appointment to the Baltimore Public Relations Council 2010-2011 Board of Directors.
After falling in love with Sonoma Valley, the agency expanded its business to provide the same great service to the unique businesses and shops on the West Coast. To capture the experience, A. Bright Idea will be launching several cutting-edge initiatives in the coming months.

Shawn Nesaw
Sarah West
Sarah West serves as A. Bright Idea’s Government Public Affairs Specialist.

As a military brat in the mid 90’s, the word “BRAC” was scary. It meant we might have to move again and it clearly amped up the stress level in my house. We survived the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, round and moved on to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida where I happily adjusted to weekends at the beach.
Now that I am on “the other side,” as a contractor, supporting a government client onsite at the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), BRAC has taken on a different meaning for me. I am excited to watch outstanding science and technology Army missions relocate to APG, but tinged with concern when I sit in the new bumper-to-bumper traffic traveling off post at the end of each day. “This is just the beginning,” I’ve grumbled to myself lately.
Although BRAC is strictly a business decision, aimed at improving the efficiency of our national security structure, it is laced with great emotion – on both sides. I have seen the great communication and marketing efforts aimed at those coming to Maryland, focusing on our state’s appeal, but what does “Jane,” who lived in Harford County her whole life, think about BRAC impacts? Does she know what is going on and does she even care?
Sure, I might have to sit in traffic a few more minutes than I did last year, but because I attend many of the BRAC network meetings I know that APG turning into one of the nation’s most important science and security headquarters will bring a meaningful economic boom to our county and ultimately our state. Does Jane know that? Or does Jane just think BRAC means more traffic, an overpopulated classroom at her child’s school and a longer wait at the ER?
I challenge the military and the Harford County government to engage the current residents and businesses of the county.  Share BRAC news frequently—in the Aegis, on radio, billboards, blogs, tweets and events.  Let’s see BRAC information at the 4th of July parade, BBQ bash, the Farm Fair and even Harford Mall.  We need to make sure that our neighbors perceive BRAC as a positive economic AND lifestyle gain.  A robust community offers potential for better infrastructure, job opportunities, choices in our children’s education and excellent medical care.  Let’s motivate our cheerleaders before its too late and they put their pom poms down.