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Perspectives Blog: Chapter News

Five Minnesota PRSA Members Earn Accreditation in Public Relations (APR)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Catherine Roman
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MINNEAPOLIS, April 16, 2017 — Five Twin City-based public relations professionals and Minnesota PRSA members recently earned their accreditation in public relations (APR). APR is recognized as the gold standard for public relations practitioners dating back to 1964. In the field of public relations, APR is analogous to CPA for accountants and SHRM Certified Professionals for the field of Human Resources.

  • Kimberly Albert, APR, M.A., Account Director for The Doug Spong Company, manages clients in the architecture and design practice group. Albert has more than 14 years in the industry.  She holds a Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a bachelor’s degree in Business-to-Business Sales from St. Catherine University. She currently co-chairs Minnesota PRSA’s External Relations committee.
  • Ben Saukko, APR, M.B.A., Director of Communications for AmeriPride Services, has been working in the field for 20 years. Saukko holds a Master of Business Administration in Marketing and Management from the University of St. Thomas and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the University of Minnesota. He has taught classes as an adjunct professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Minnesota and he has volunteered for many non-profit organizations, including chairing the student relations and professional development committees of Minnesota PRSA and serving on the Classics and communications committees.
  • Ivan Soltero, APR, M.B.A., Director of Strategic Marketing for Conwed Plastics, has been working in the field for more than 16 years. He has held many communication and marketing leadership roles, including for Cargill Inc. and several international companies. Soltero holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance and Marketing from Concordia University and a bachelor’s degree in Business Management Marketing and Entrepreneurship from ITESO Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara.
  • Patrick Strait, APR, is Senior Communications Consultant at Health Partners and has more than 12 years experience. He previously worked in public relations for Snap Fitness, Airfoil Public Relations and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Michigan. Strait holds a Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Public Relations with a minor Journalism and Public Affairs from Central Michigan University.
  • Meredith Voltin, APR, M.B.A., PR and creative consultant, has nearly 10 years in the field and recently worked as a media relations specialist for Carmichael Lynch Relate. She’s held PR and marketing roles at U.S. Bank, Kohnstamm Communications and The Manhatten Toy Company. Voltin holds a Master of Business Administration in International Business from Hamline University and a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Broadcast Journalism and Political Science from the University of St. Thomas. She also serves as a board member for Bowling for Brains and co-chairs Minnesota PRSA’s External Relations Committee.

To achieve the APR certification, public relations professionals must be seasoned professionals with five or more years of public relations experience and pass both a two-hour oral presentation panel and a four-hour computer-based exam. Internationally, the rigorous exam has a 64 percent pass-rate. The exam tests knowledge, skills and abilities in research, planning, execution and evaluation, leading the public relations function, applying ethics and law, and managing issues and crisis, in addition to social media, media relations and communications models and theory.

"Within today’s dynamic business environment, hiring an individual with an Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) demonstrates personal drive, professional acumen, a commitment to ethics, and dedication to lifelong learning,” shared Elizabeth McMillian, APR of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB). “The APR integrates timeless communications principles with contemporary strategies and tactics, meaning candidates with this certification are always in step with the public relations industry and attuned to trends.”

These new APRs join one of the nation's strongest chapters of the Public Relations Society of America, Minnesota PRSA. “We’re extremely proud of everyone’s achievement as it not only strengthens the PR profession but their mastery benefits many local companies and organizations,” said Janet Swiecichowski, APR, Minnesota PRSA Accreditation committee chair. “This brings Minnesota PRSA’s total to 95 members who hold the APR designation.”


About Minnesota PRSA

Minnesota PRSA is the ninth largest chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the world’s largest organization for public relations professionals with nearly 32,000 professionals and student members. A strong, active part of Minnesota’s corporate community since 1953, Minnesota PRSA’s membership is comprised of more than 400 corporate, agency, independent, non-profit and government public relations professionals from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Western Wisconsin. Through its programs and services, Minnesota PRSA delivers on its missions of engaging members at every stage of their careers with the knowledge, resources and connections to achieve professional excellent, drive ethical and strategic outcomes, and advocate for the profession.

Minnesota PRSA 1660 Highway 100 South, Suite 500-309 Minneapolis MN 55416 Phone: 952-237-9258 Email:

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