Category Archives: News

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.

Akoya Welcomes Adrian McNamara to Military Health Team

Adrian McNamara

We’re happy to welcome Adrian McNamara, who joined the Akoya team this month as a communications account manager at the Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency. In his new role, he’ll develop and execute internal and external communications plans that highlight DHA and Military Health System events, activities, and policies.

Adrian has spent much of his career working for the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, and he most recently worked as a strategic communications contractor supporting the Office of the Army Surgeon General. He has a B.A. in political science from the University of Arizona, and he’s fluent in Spanish.

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!

Partners in the Lighting Revolution

Does government investment in research really make a difference? It is hard to find a more successful example than the solid-state lighting field. In just under a decade, modest yet strategic investments spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have been instrumental in moving LED lighting from the lab to a position of strength in many lighting niches—an achievement recently praised in a July 2017 assessment by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In our program support role for the DOE Solid-State Lighting Program, Akoya has been a partner in this ongoing work to revolutionize lighting technology.

And the work continues! DOE recently exercised another option year on our contract, which makes 10 years of Akoya supporting the emergence of this game-changing technology. Fully tapping the potential of LED and organic LED technologies to save energy and improve lighting performance will not only mean cultivating the existing SSL lighting partners in industry and academia, but also reaching new diverse audiences. Cheers to Akoya’s remarkable SSL team.

Akoya Welcomes New Strategic Outreach Communications Manager

Jane Acton

Jane Acton

We’re thrilled to welcome Jane Acton to our Military Health System (MHS) team as the strategic outreach communications manager. In her new role, she’ll coordinate campaigns to support the mission of the MHS and develop strategic plans to keep internal and external stakeholders informed and engaged.

Jane brings more than three decades of experience in strategic communications, publication production, and event planning and management across the private, government, and nonprofit sectors. She has previously worked for the MHS and has held leadership positions in marketing and PR for two major league sports teams. She’s also a certified etiquette coach.

Akoyans Assemble at a Retreat to Remember

akoya-chili-cookoff

Always prepared for a team challenge, Sarah and Matt chop ingredients for their team’s winning chili.

Earlier this month, Akoyans from around the country convened for three days of team building and relaxation at the historic Bedford Springs resort in idyllic Bedford Springs, Pennsylvania. The retreat was a wonderful reminder of why we love working for a small business like Akoya. When we come together, things aren’t strictly business — we gather for camaraderie, good food, and good fun.

Several new team members have joined Akoya over the past couple of years; many of us working in different locations had our first chance to meet each other in person. Breaking bread together and roasting marshmallows around the fire pit made fast friends out of Akoyans assigned to different contracts who normally don’t get to work with one another.

The memorable main team building activity was also replete with food. Divided into five teams, we felt the heat of boiling pots, spices, and competition as we put our culinary skills to the test to see who could concoct the best chili in a short amount of time. (Congratulations to Sarah, Genna, Matt, Neal, and Angel for your winning recipe!)

On the work front, we discussed ways we can better review our performances on the job, facilitate communication between team members at multiple sites, and showcase our successes to prospective clients.

We made sure everyone had ample time to spend with their guests and explore Bedford Springs and the resort. Some of us enjoyed the resort’s pool, golf course, and hiking trails, while others ventured into town to investigate the local antique stores and boutiques.

Everyone expressed satisfaction with the outcomes — a quick yet welcome break from our day-to-day office activities and a renewed readiness to make the work that we do better than ever.