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.



Art Director

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.




Senior Account Manager

Jack first worked with the firm in 2000 while earning his degree at Portland State University. He spent five years as an account manager for a national manufacturer before returning to Gard in 2008. Jack specializes in public relations and social network marketing, but has a broad range of skills, including account service, project management, writing and online communications. In addition to managing his independent record label, Jack spends his free time producing electronic music as a DJ and also enjoys travel, cooking and a variety of outdoor activities.




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.




Administrative Coordinator

Sam joined Gard as an administrative coordinator in fall 2015, bringing years of administrative experience working for his family’s business in the Portland flower market. A recent transfer to Portland State University, Sam currently studies psychology. Previously, he studied Spanish and music for two years at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. A music aficionado, he enjoys writing and producing original songs for solo and collaborative pieces. When he’s not composing, Sam enjoys hiking and exploring the Oregon coast.




Managing Director

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.





Sara joined the firm after graduating from Oregon State University a few years ago with a B.S. in Speech Communications. While at OSU, she co-founded the OSU Public Relations Society, which foreshadowed her work at Gard. Sara specializes in media relations and project management with an emphasis on digital tactics. She is secretary of the Civic Committee for Portland Business Alliance’s emerging professionals program. And she’s a fan of country music – she is, after all, a country girl with extensive combine experience.




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.




Administrative Coordinator

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.




Administrative Coordinator

Chandler joined Gard as an administrative coordinator with a keen interest in public relations and communications. She currently attends Portland State University and will graduate in winter 2016 from the honors college with a B.S. in Communication Studies. In conjunction with her studies at PSU, Chandler also interns at a local broadcast media company, where she is featured as an on-air guest and works behind the scenes on commercial production. Previously, she worked at PSU on the new student orientation team. She is the chapter president of her sorority and enjoys dancing and spending time with family.




Creative Director

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.




Digital Media Associate

Jenna is an accomplished photographer, videographer and web developer who has helped many of Gard’s clients implement successful web 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. Outside of the office, Jenna is a member of Amazon Partnerships, an environmental nonprofit.




Graphic Designer

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.




Of Counsel
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.




Digital Media Strategist

An expert web strategist and designer, Julia has an eclectic background in visual art, philosophy, linguistics and user-centered design. She is a New Zealand native who has lived in Portland for 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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Madison Place

1140 SW 11th Ave, Third Floor
Portland, Oregon 97205

Located on the Portland Streetcar line
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Liz Fuller

Managing Director

Valarie Grudier Edwards

Director of Finance & Operations