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 www.abrightideaonline.com or email info@abrightideaonline.com.


Two-way communication (Source: www.legacee.com)

For communication professionals, effectively communicating highly technical or scientific information presents a challenge. Perhaps the only greater challenge lies in promoting public participation and productive public discourse surrounding that technical or scientific information.

With more than 15 years experience utilizing verbal and visual communication methods to share information about and encourage public participation surrounding the recently completed mission to destroy the nation’s stockpile of World War II-era chemical weapons, we eagerly attended the recent Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia of the National Academy of Sciences entitled, The Science of Science Communication.

The colloquia certainly met our expectations of bringing together some of the greatest minds from prestigious educational institutions across the country. And, in keeping with the scientific theme, the presentations included a plethora of research and complex communication models, which clearly made the case for why communication is essential to the scientific process and how difficult it is to do it effectively.

However, beyond an in-depth look at the role of media (as the primary communicator instead of a communication channel), there was little discussion on strategies or tactics for communicating with targeted audiences. Utilizing the media can prove an effective strategy. Yet, in order to effectively engage publics in the process, direct communication methods should proceed the mass communication methods. This direct communication may include direct mail letters, the formation of a citizens advisory group, building a social media presence or conducting a series of town hall meetings or information sessions complete with objective, third-party experts. The key is taking the time to communicate information to interested parties in a way that they can understand and in a format where they can provide input.

Too often, the scientific community, the scientist himself or herself, or the organization funding the research look to capitalize on a breakthrough and let the science speak for itself. They forget it’s the public who has the voice and whose excitement or fear can either propel or halt scientific and technological advances no matter how small (nanotechnology) or how far reaching (stem cell research) the implications.