PITTSBURGH — On Thursday, Jan. 28, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA Pittsburgh), the premier organization serving communications, marketing and public relations professionals in southwestern Pennsylvania, hosted its 2021 Renaissance Awards — its first-ever to be held virtually. Josh Taylor, sports anchor and reporter for KDKA-TV and weekend morning sports talk radio host at KDKA-FM, 93.7 “The Fan”, emceed the annual ceremony.

Each year, the Renaissance Awards honors local organizations, agencies, businesses and communicators in Pittsburgh for their innovative work across all aspects of public relations and marketing communications.

“It’s been nothing short of a crazy year for communications professionals, but through it all, we’ve managed to make it through with lessons learned and new ways of communicating,” said Jordan Mitrik, president of PRSA Pittsburgh. “The Renaissance Awards provided an opportunity for Pittsburgh industry professionals to come together virtually and celebrate each other’s accomplishments, hard work and dedication to our field.”

This year’s ceremony recognized more than 30 different communication campaigns and tactics created in 2020 from some of the most recognizable brands such as Duquesne Light Company, Highmark, Pittsburgh Zoo, Starkist and The Home Depot.

In addition to honoring creative work, PRSA Pittsburgh awarded its first recipient of the inaugural Black Excellence Award, sponsored by Burson Cohn & Wolfe. The $2,000 scholarship, given this year to Isabella Moreland, honors one Black young professional working in the region’s communications field.

Brunner took home Best in Show for their Zep 2019 Brand Launch campaign.

“Although we celebrated from the comfort of our homes this year, the energy of our virtual event was electrifying,” Mitrik continued. “There was true excitement and enthusiasm from all of our attendees as we commemorated this year’s winners. It was so great to see.”

See below for a complete list of this year’s award recipients.

2021 PRSA Pittsburgh Renaissance Award Winners

Individual Awards

  • Hall of Fame — Jody Lange, Burston-Marsteller
  • Communicator of the Year — Malesia Dunn, PPG Foundation
  • Rising Star — Matthew McDonald, Duquesne Light
  • Black Excellence Award — Isabella Moreland, Gateway Health
  • PR Team of the Year — Pittsburgh International Airport
  • PR Entrepreneur of Year — Emily Bezak, Emily Bezak Writes
  • PRSSA Chapter of the Year — Waynesburg University
  • PRSA Member of the Year — Ashley Jones, Red Havas
  • PR Disruptor — Morgan McCoy, Adda Coffee & Tea House
  • Bob O’Gara Student Scholarship — Emily Sjoberg, Point Park University


Media Relations

Renaissance Awards:

  • BCW, Creating a New Standard of Five-Star Service from a Distance
  • Pipitone Group, NOVA Chemicals Media Relations Campaign
  • Brunner, RWC 2020 Media Relations
  • Top Hat, Brewing Disruption: The Story of Iron City Bean
  • Brunner, Bruster’s Real Ice Cream 2020 Media Relations
  • Highmark Health, Highmark Health & COVID-19 

Award of Merit:

  • BCW, Recycling Group Launches First Replicable Flexible Plastic Packaging Recycling Process

Integrated Marketing Campaign 

Renaissance Awards:

  • BCW for Office Depot OfficeMax, Making Office Depot the Perfect One-Stop Holiday Shop
  • Top Hat, Brewing Disruption: The Story of Iron City Bean
  • Brunner, The Home Depot Rental Brand Campaign
  • Red Havas, WEX

Awards of Merit:

  • BCW for Office Depot OfficeMax, Using an Authentic Storyteller to Sell Office Depot to Small Businesses
  • VisitPITTSBURGH, VisitPITTSBURGH 90 Painted Chairs Program

Influencer Relations

Renaissance Awards:

  • BCW, Leviton Demystifies Smart House Tech for Homeowners with Help from Third-Party Voices
  • StarKist Co., StarKist Creations® Pantry Staples Influencer Campaign
  • The Motherhood, Pittsburgh Zoo: Leveraging Localized Influencer Teams to Drive Event Success

Digital Campaign

Renaissance Awards:

  • Brunner, Zep 2019 Brand Launch (Best in Show)
  • WordWrite, Promoting the Value of a Smaller Wealth Management Firm Using an Inbound Marketing Campaign

Multimedia Content

Renaissance Award:

  • Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, Frankie’s World Video Series

Award of Merit:

  • Pittsburgh International Airport, Safe Travels: Restoring Confidence in Flying

B2B Campaign

Renaissance Awards:

  • BCW, Always Have an Answer
  • Top Hat, Brewing Disruption: The Story of Iron City Bean
  • Red Havas, Transition Academy 2020: Light It Up

Corporate Social Responsibility (Other)

Renaissance Award:

  • Beyond Spots & Dots, Women-to-Women Grant Program Awareness

Reputation Management

Renaissance Awards:

  • Top Hat, Brewing Disruption: The Story of Iron City Bean
  • Red Havas, MilliporeSigma Sustainability and Social Business Innovation Thought Leadership

Content Marketing Campaign

Renaissance Award:

  • WordWrite, Delivering to the inbox: Caliente Pizza’s email marketing campaign drives brand engagement

Award of Merit:

  • VisitPITTSBURGH, Rediscover Pittsburgh Guest Blog Series

Social Media Campaign

Renaissance Award:

  • Red Havas, WEX: National HSA Awareness Day

Award of Merit:

  • VisitPITTSBURGH, Ace, the Pittsburgh Adventure Dog


Renaissance Award:

  • Red Havas, Transitions Academy 2020: Light It Up

Award of Merit:

  • Pipitone Group, Mission Critical Partners – Conference for Advancing Public Safety

Written Content

Renaissance Award:

  • Red Havas, UNICEF Sustainable Development Goals Brochure

Award of Merit:

  • Pittsburgh International Airport, Blue Sky News: Elevating Aviation Through Captivating Content

Awards of Merit

Crisis Communications

  • BCW, Creating a New Standard of Five-Star Service from a Distance

New Products & Services Communications

  • Top Hat, Brewing Disruption: The Story of Iron City Bean

Internal Communications

  • Red Havas, Howard Hanna Unveils Vision 2020