100 People to Meet in 2022: Public Faces
From helping the Washington Football Team rebrand itself to safeguarding the legacy of a beloved painter for a new generation to launching a $1 billion university campus, these are the people who lend their faces and voices to high-profile endeavors.
Director of communications and marketing, Virginia Tech Innovation Campus
Franki Fitterer became Virginia Tech Innovation Campus’ director of communications and marketing on Aug. 25, three weeks before the groundbreaking on the $1 billion campus. The position is right for her, she says, as it lets her apply her prior experience with opening American University’s Washington College of Law, while also pursuing her interest in the tech industry. “I get to do something different almost every day,” says Fitterer. “I work with a variety of audiences, ranging from students to alumni to faculty and board members, all of whom require different communications methods.”
Editor, Virginia Scope
This has been the year of the email newsletter, with many high-profile columnists and other writers decamping from legacy publications to self-run email missives focused on a cornucopia of topics. Brandon Jarvis is Virginia’s go-to General Assembly interpreter, “taking these crazy processes and boiling them down” to a newsletter format that makes sense to the layperson. He also keeps about 6,000 newsletter subscribers informed about statewide political races. The Virginia Commonwealth University grad had an epiphany when an editor rejected a freelance story pitch, deeming it “too local.” Jarvis says “too local” is exactly what some readers want in their coverage, so he launched Virginia Scope in July 2020. Next year, he’ll be focusing on Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s new administration, and hot topics such as commercial marijuana.
Managing partner, On Point Transportation PR
Ha Koehler is like a translator, but the language she speaks is the technical jargon of complicated infrastructure projects around the commonwealth. About three years ago, she and her business partner founded On Point PR, which specializes in handling marketing and public relations for infrastructure, transportation, transit, stormwater and construction projects around Virginia. “We found that there is a little bit of a need in helping to translate to the public what’s going on,” says Koehler, who is working with the Virginia Department of Transportation to promote its massive, $3.8 billion Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion project. A lot of her work requires breaking down technical jargon into easier-to-understand terms. Next year, she hopes to expand On Point’s focus across the state.
Chief creative and digital officer, Washington Football Team
A U.K. native who built a marketing and branding career at The Wall Street Journal, Coach and Condé Nast, Misselbrook now is responsible for the rebranding of the Washington Football Team, which he joined in May as the first chief creative officer in NFL history. Washington’s new name and logo — replacing the generic, interim “Football Team” name instituted last year after the team dropped its racially offensive Redskins moniker — will be revealed at an as-yet-undisclosed date in 2022, he says. In the meantime, Misselbrook is working on day-to-day content during the NFL season and growing his marketing team into a “fully fledged branded studio,” which will involve hiring additional people in the next six to 12 months before the reveal. A fan of soccer and, now, American football, Misselbrook splits his time between Northern Virginia and Los Angeles, where his fiancée lives.
Executive assistant, Bob Ross Inc.
When Sarah Strohl watched the Netflix documentary “Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed” this summer, she was surprised to spot herself on screen. Strohl oversees social media accounts for Herndon-based Bob Ross Inc., which carries on the legacy of the beloved landscape painter, who died in 1995 but lives on via reruns of his “Joy of Painting” episodes. Strohl often advises her bosses on licensing deals — her successes include the popular Funko Pop! figure of Ross — and has also facilitated loans of Ross’ paintings and artifacts to institutions including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The documentary painted a fairly negative portrait of Bob Ross Inc., which was sued by Ross’ son over intellectual property rights, but Strohl says the film hasn’t impacted her day-to-day life. “I haven’t had anyone come up to me yet and ask, ‘Are you that person?’”