Gard is an advertising and public relations firm, specializing in corporate and public policy communications. We think strategically and creatively, and we execute with discipline and attention to detail.
The firm has significant experience in crisis communications, issue management and social marketing, as well as communications related to regulatory, permitting and litigation matters.
We work in traditional and digital environments, creating and managing content in paid, earned and social media.
Over the years, we’ve developed a set of principles that guide the firm. We call them the Manzanita Notes. The first one remains first in importance: Concentrate on the work and the rest will follow.
Many of our clients have retained the firm for years and even decades. We have grown primarily by referral and reputation. Gard carries out work regionally, nationally and internationally for clients headquartered in Portland, Spokane, Salt Lake City, Chicago and Nashville.
We believe in pragmatic strategies carried out with grace and respect. The finished work is authentic, strong and useful. And award-winning.
Current clients include:
While we have different backgrounds and skill sets, we share an egalitarian spirit, pride in our work and a real commitment to our clients. More than half of the firm has worked together for more than 15 years. We all know how to rise to the occasion on behalf of our clients.
An award-winning art director, Mary Ann studied art at Portland Community College and Portland State University. Before joining the firm in 1983, her career encompassed environmental signage, packaging design, and photography. Mary Ann and Brian were the firm’s first creative team. She serves as chair of the advisory committee to the Portland Community College Commercial Art program and is a past member of the William Temple House board of directors. She also volunteers in classrooms teaching art to children.
Lead Web Developer / Project Manager
Scott joined the firm in 2016 as our full-stack developer, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise in the field. Scott’s career in web technology has spanned over 15 years, specializing in web development with a focus on marketing and communications since 2006. He has worked with a wide range of clients from small business to corporate, as well as non-profit and the public sector. Outside of work, Scott is an accomplished long-distance motorcyclist and adventure travel enthusiast.
Director of Finance & Operations
A graduate of the University of Oregon, Valarie worked at a local CPA firm and a research consulting firm prior to joining the firm in 1982 and has managed its administration and finances ever since. Valarie has also served as treasurer for numerous political campaign committees. Her longtime love of the arts is carried through by her support of and participation as a choreographer and dancer with various local dance and theatre companies. When she’s not dancing, she’s often running and training for her next racing challenge.
Andrea joined the firm in 2016 with over ten years of administrative experience. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cazenovia College in visual communications, the combined study of graphic design and communications. Originally from upstate New York, she moved to Portland with her husband in 2010. Outside of work, she enjoys working in her garden, reading and playing video games. Andrea also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity.
Liz joined Gard in 2010. Originally from California, Liz came to the Northwest to dance ballet professionally with Pacific Northwest Ballet and Oregon Ballet Theatre. After leaving the stage, Liz worked as a fundraising consultant to state and federal political campaigns and was the Executive Director for the Cultural Advocacy Coalition, which advocates for cultural policy and funding in Oregon. She serves on the board of the Portland State University Foundation and is former board chair of p:ear, a nonprofit that supports homeless youth. A born strategist and a highly disciplined manager, Liz and Brian share responsibility for management of the firm.
Elizabeth was a journalist at the Houston Chronicle before converting to copywriting. She joined the firm in 2015 after relocating to Portland from Texas. She has a master’s degree in advertising from the University of Texas at Austin and over 5 years of experience writing for a respected San Antonio agency. Her specialties include integrated campaigns, tagline writing, content strategy and SEO. In her spare time, Elizabeth off-roads to interesting locations, spoils her dog and volunteers for ChickTech, a nonprofit that helps young girls become and remain technology creators.
Brian began his career teaching literature at the University of the Pacific. He started the firm in 1979, and his focus and experience are in the areas of social marketing, crisis communications and issue management. He is a copywriter involved in helping set the strategy for every client. He serves on the board of Oregon Business Association, of which he is a past chair, and has recently served in leadership positions on the boards of Willamette University, Acumentra Health, Literary Arts and The Nature Conservancy.
Director of Media & Promotion
Michelle first worked for the firm from 1991 to 1998. She spent the next four years as the marketing director for OregonLive.com before returning in 2003 to manage the media department and the company’s event practice. In addition to working on a variety of accounts, she specializes in building partnerships among clients, businesses and charitable organizations to drive revenue and sales through multiple marketing channels. Michelle volunteers at the Humane Society and is a former board member of Our Children’s Store and an advisory board member for Campfire.
Account Manager / Public Affairs
Kate joined the firm with extensive experience in political and public affairs after working as a legislative staffer in the Oregon Legislature and on political campaigns in Oregon, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas. Kate graduated from the University of Kansas in 2008 with a B.A. in political science and a minor in English. She serves on the board of directors as communications chair of Healthcare Communicators of Oregon.
Anne has kept the books in order for over 26 years. She received her bachelor’s degree in theatre from the University of Portland. She was drawn into the world of accounting when she went to work for Transamerica Financial Corporation, where she worked as a loan officer. Anne is an active member of her community church and volunteers every weekend.
Anni joined the firm in 2015, and recently graduated from Portland State University with a B.A. in Communication Studies. Originally from Eugene, she attended and worked for the University of Oregon, assisting the Early Intervention research team with data entry and social media outreach. After moving to Portland in 2011, Anni began volunteering for a local non-profit, The Giving Tree. She enjoys spending time with her cat, reading, writing and exploring the outdoors.
John was an art director at the firm from 1993 to 2001, returning in 2005 as creative director. An award-winning designer and writer, John’s approach is to meld the power of creativity with the discipline of strategy. John recently received the Business for Culture and the Arts’ “Hero for the Arts” award for pro bono advertising for the arts. In his free time, he helps out with his wife’s dog training business, cheers on his own dogs at herding competitions (his version of soccer dad), or enjoys country life with his dogs, ducks, a llama and a small herd of sheep.
Front-End Web Developer
Jenna is an accomplished photographer, videographer and web developer who has helped many of Gard’s clients implement successful digital strategies. She joined the firm in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of North Texas. She shoots and produces web video, conducts photo shoots and manages digital media, including web development with the Gard creative team. She previously managed a busy veterinary hospital, where she combined her love of animals with strong organizational skills. Jenna is a member of Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland (SEMpdx), a local organization for SEM professionals and area businesses.
Katie graduated from Pacific University with a degree in Japanese. She then spent two years in Japan helping junior high teachers teach English. After returning to the U.S., she realized her ambition was in design, so she went back to school and graduated from Portland Community College with a degree in graphic design. After a design internship at the Oregon Zoo, she has worked at Gard since 2008.
A graduate of Portland State University, Bob was a journeyman electrician. Elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1982, he served 12 years, and has worked at the State Capitol since, as head of the Oregon State Building Trades Council until 2010, and Gard lobbyist to present. Deeply familiar with state government, he has worked extensively on economic development, labor-management, and energy issues.
Director of Strategy
Scott specializes in strategic planning, messaging and copywriting. He joined the firm in 1989 and has provided creative and account services to a wide range of Gard clients, winning significant awards in all media. He has worked extensively in the areas of healthcare, energy and traffic safety. Before joining Gard, Scott supervised public involvement for Seattle City Light. He has a literature degree from Antioch College and is the author of an award-winning novel, Wire to Wire.
Director of Web & Digital
An expert web strategist and user experience designer, Julia has an eclectic background in visual art, philosophy, linguistics and design. She is a New Zealand native who has lived in Portland for over twenty years. She taught at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and founded Blue Mouse Monkey, a highly regarded web design firm, before joining Gard in 2014. She holds bachelor degrees in philosophy and fine arts from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C., as well as an MFA in painting from Portland State University. Julia is a practicing artist who exhibits regularly.
Senior Account Manager
Before joining the firm, Luciana received degrees in history, philosophy and Italian literature from the University of Tuebingen in Germany. For almost twenty years, Luciana’s work as an account manager focused on the firm’s healthcare and transportation safety clients, such as OHSU and ODOT Transportation Safety. A native of northern Italy, she rejoined the firm in 2015 in a leadership role after an extended sabbatical in Europe researching wine making. Until then, Luciana served for many years on the OHSU Heart Research Center Marketing Committee.
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1140 SW 11th Ave, Third Floor
Portland, Oregon 97205
Director of Finance & Operations