Category Archives: News

Focus on Accessibility

Bringing sound science to all citizens is central to the mission of the Centers for Disease Control. That’s why the CDC is focusing on ensuring that its environmental health assessments comply fully with Section 508 accessibility requirements. Under a new subcontract, Akoya is enthusiastic about working with Guidehouse to support the CDC in this effort.

Akoya Stacks Up MarCom Awards for Second Consecutive Year

We are proud to announce that for the second year in a row, our work has earned recognition in the MarCom Awards, an annual, international competition that recognizes excellence in marketing and communication. Akoya received three awards and two honorable mentions, all for work produced for the Military Health System (MHS).

Our campaign to celebrate MHS’s second annual observance of National Nurses Week is a Platinum Winner. The campaign included an extensive communications toolkit for entities throughout the MHS to use as well as outreach events and Health.mil articles.

Two of our Health.mil articles are Gold Winners. “African-American D-Day veterans recall battlefield contributions, conflicts at home” features reflections of two African-American soldiers on D-Day and on fighting for freedoms in World War II that they did not have at home. “Let’s talk about sex, occupational therapist says” spotlights an occupational therapist who works with wounded warriors to address sex and intimacy. 

Two additional Health.mil articles, “The journey to military nursing is different for all” and “Deep vein thrombosis: What you need to know,” earned honorable mentions.

Each year, MarCom receives about 6,000 entries from dozens of countries. Approximately 15 percent of entries are Platinum Winners and 20 percent are Gold Winners. 

Bringing Innovative Solutions to National Security

Contract Announcement

Nothing less than the best solutions of American industry, competitively sourced and rapidly deployed, will keep our nation ahead of pressing homeland security problems in an ever-changing threat environment. Akoya is proud to be contributing to ongoing procurement innovation efforts of the Department of Homeland Security under a new contract awarded in September by the DHS Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO). Through a dedicated onsite team, Akoya will be providing a range of communications and marketing services, including communications planning, writing and facilitation, graphic design, event planning and management, and webinar management.

We look forward to supporting the OCPO in cultivating a learning organization and in promoting innovative procurement approaches. Overarching goals are to help the OCPO leverage innovative approaches for the benefit of DHS program and contracting organizations, engage industry partners, train and empower employees, and position DHS as a leader among federal agencies in piloting and validating new models.

U.S. Veteran and Communications Strategist Terry Welch Joins Akoya

Terry WelchTerry Welch joins Akoya, bringing more than 15 years of experience developing and executing communications strategies and multimedia campaigns for industry, government, and the military. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and Kansas National Guard, Terry organized and coordinated print and broadcast press conferences and analyzed national and international media coverage while stationed in Afghanistan. While working at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, he helped create the award-winning podcast, The TBI Family, which offers information, resources, and tips for caregivers of service members with traumatic brain injuries.

Terry will be part of the Akoya team of experts at the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia. As communications account manager, he’ll focus on planning for Force Health Protection & Readiness; Research, Development, and Acquisition; and Global Health.

Dana Reid Joins Akoya as Communications Director, Project Manager

We’re excited to announce that Dana Reid joined our team as a communications director and project manager on July 11 and is currently supporting the Defense Health Agency.  Dana recently celebrated her retirement from a 20+ year career with the U.S. Coast Guard, where she specialized in strategic planning and policy analysis for national security.

In her spare time, Dana can be found sharpening her pencil for the NY Times and LA Times Sunday crosswords or sharpening her knives to cook signature dishes for friends and family, including her husband and 13-year-old daughter.

Villarreal, Goldberg Join Akoya MHS Team

Laura Villarreal and Ari Goldberg

We’re glad to have recently welcomed two new Akoyans to our Military Health System team.

Laura Villarreal joined the Health.mil writing team at the Defense Health Agency in November. With more than a decade of health care communications experience across the public and private sectors, Laura crafts compelling stories for Military Health System beneficiaries about health, wellness and the latest innovations across the MHS.    

Laura is no stranger to the MHS: from 2009 to 2012, she served as a senior strategic communications consultant to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. She has also worked as an account director for a communications contract at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and as a communications consultant for UnitedHealth Group. 

Ari Ben Goldberg joined the strategic communications team last month as a senior communications consultant, bringing more than 20 years of experience in speechwriting, op-eds, and media relations. Ari’s role involves applying all these skills to special projects that strengthen the Defense Health Agency’s communications and outreach efforts.

Ari’s previous work has included writing speeches and op-eds focused on health, world hunger, global poverty, and peace for high-profile individuals, including former Irish president Mary Robinson, former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the president of the U.S. Institute of Peace, the president of Radio Free Europe, and U2’s Bono. He has also served as a producer for BBC News and C-SPAN.

Honest John’s Is a New Pittsburgh Favorite

Akoya designed Honest John’s logo, which includes a playful nod to the restaurant’s Eighth Avenue location.

At Honest John’s, good food and a memorable dining experience come honestly—and Pittsburgh agrees. The casual dining spot, which opened in Homestead in November 2016, won public endorsements in both the Pittsburgh City Paper and The Pittsburgh Business Times this fall.

For three weeks over the summer, Pittsburgh City Paper readers had the chance to vote for their favorite restaurants in the ‘Burgh, and they selected Honest John’s as Pittsburgh’s Best New Restaurant and Best Contemporary American Restaurant.

City Paper staffers declared Honest John’s “an awesome place” that’s helped revive Homestead’s downtown scene. They praised the Eighth Avenue eatery’s candied-bacon BLTs, blackened tilapia fish tacos, and pimiento mac and cheese.

The Pittsburgh Business Times polled their readers too, asking for their favorite restaurants in the region. Of the 240+ restaurants mentioned in responses, Honest John’s was voted one of the top 50 restaurants, which were published alphabetically.

Having designed the restaurant’s website and logo, we’re glad that Pittsburghers are fans of Honest John’s. And perhaps no one is more thrilled than Akoya President Holly Wray, who is both mom and business partner to son John, Honest John’s owner and manager.  

Holly is a frequent visitor to the restaurant, and she loves bringing fellow Akoyans with her. During recent trips to visit our Pittsburgh office, Akoyans from Falls Church have all had the chance to savor this honestly good fare.

Akoyans from Falls Church and Pittsburgh break bread at Honest John’s.

“Marvelous” Reviews in Portland

Lighting expert Steve Paolini presents a light source spectrum demo in this colorful photo from this month’s U.S. Department of Energy Solid-State Lighting Technology R&D Workshop in Portland.

Enthralling! Energizing! Marvelous! These aren’t words most people associate with technical meetings. So imagine how gratifying it was to get reviews like this for the U.S. Department of Energy Solid-State Lighting program’s 12th annual Technology R&D Workshop in Portland, Oregon. During the second week of November, an intrepid team of Akoyans trekked to the Pacific Northwest to support the event, the culmination of six months of agenda crafting, tour planning, speaker coordination, and promotion. Akoya’s efforts were key to a smooth rollout for 25 speakers and 100+ attendees, setting the stage for a lively and engaging meeting of the minds on the latest lighting technology advances and trends.

Without missing a beat, we continue planning our client’s next event, the flagship SSL R&D Workshop, coming January 29–31, 2018. Stay tuned for more exciting SSL developments!

Akoya Wins MarCom Awards

We are pleased to announce that our work has earned recognition in the 2017 MarCom Awards, an annual creative competition for marketing and communications professionals.

Three of our projects were selected as MarCom Gold Winners: a fundraising report for The Midwife Center of Pittsburgh, a benefits awareness campaign for Puget Sound Military Health System, and the feature article “D-Day Through the Eyes of Combat Medic, 73 Years Later” for the Military Health System.

Additionally, our 2017 National Nurses Week campaign for the Military Health System earned an honorable mention.

MarCom is sponsored and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. A full list of winners can be found on their website.

Preparing Military Surgeons, Caring for Military Families

To keep their skills in top form, military surgeons need a sizeable and clinically complex caseload. That’s why “recapturing care”—encouraging TRICARE-eligible military personnel, families, and retirees within driving distance of a military treatment facility to seek care there first rather than at civilian medical facilities—is a strategic priority for the Defense Health Agency .

Akoya recently wrapped up our engagement supporting a successful recapture pilot program at the Puget Sound Military Health System (MHS). Our integrated marketing campaign emphasized the superb care the system provides to patients and its unique strengths in serving the military community. One of our challenges was creating a unifying brand for the consolidated Puget Sound MHS, which includes Army, Navy, and Air Force facilities that were traditionally operated independently. Another was supporting internal communications to convey the new business plan and processes that are driving high quality, effectiveness, and efficiency across the system.

The new brand, along with a suite of patient-centric marketing tools, has raised the profile of the system as a preferred provider for TRICARE beneficiaries. Many thanks to our project lead, Carrie Petershagen, who has accepted a permanent position at the Puget Sound MHS starting next month to continue the good work!

Akoya to Manage Logistics for 2018 DesignLights Consortium Annual Meeting

For the third consecutive year, the Boston-based DesignLights Consortium has chosen Akoya to manage logistics for its annual stakeholder meeting, scheduled for summer 2018 in DLC’s home city.

Akoya will work with the client to help select and negotiate contracts with venues and vendors, manage registration and the room block, supervise all logistics for the run of the event, and oversee post-event wrap up for this conference of 250+ lighting designers and manufacturer representatives.

Akoya’s Role With Defense Health Agency Expanded

Transforming one of the largest health care delivery systems in the world entails monumental communication challenges, even in a disciplined structure like the U.S. military. Leaders responsible for standing up the Defense Health Agency (DHA) in 2013 had just two years to reach full operational capacity, integrating the management of functions previously executed by the individual services. In 2014, Akoya was honored to be selected by DHA as prime contractor for strategic communications during this start-up period. We continue to support the agency by effectively engaging all the diverse constituencies vital to its mission success.

The Department of Defense recently expanded Akoya’s contract for DHA to include health communications support in the National Capital Region and to support the broad policy and operational issues within the Military Health System by driving more integrated communications across the enterprise. Under this expanded contract, we are thrilled to be working more closely with the Military Health System to communicate health policy and services to military members, family members, and retirees in the Washington, DC, and surrounding areas.

Kudos to our dedicated Akoya team in Falls Church, Virginia!