Hello! I’m Andrew Sawyer, an award-winning communications professional. Over the past 17 years, I’ve worked with aviation, emergency management, higher education, law enforcement, non-profits, public health, social services and transportation officials to deliver engaging and behavior-changing communications materials.
Core skills include writing/editing, crisis counsel, media relations, communications strategy and more. I also have a wealth of experience with public records, event planning and speech writing.
Why freelance? In October 2019, I left public service to stay home and focus on my family, which includes special needs and foster/adoptive children.
Writing and editing are the building blocks of communications. I’ve crafted thousands of different written pieces for a wide variety of audiences. Below are a few examples.
- Blog: Thoughts on race and our foster/adoptive journey
- Meeting Handout: Public Workshop 9 Handout
- Official Statement: RDU Statement on Planned Protests
- Press Release: Wake County, Partners Add Beds to Help Women Experiencing Homelessness
- Print: N.C. Scenic Byways Book
- Social Media: Star Wars Day
- Web Content: Doing Business with RDU
Being crisis ready is a must for any organization. Whether it’s a pandemic, a major crime or an act of nature, a crisis communications plan ensures you’re able to effectively communicate during a stressful situation that demands your full attention.
Plane Lands on Interstate
This day, I arrived late, having worked until midnight on another crisis the night before. I hadn’t set my bag down when I learned a small plane landed on I-540 next to the airport- during the height of morning rush hour, live on all the morning broadcasts.
Active Shooter at Central Carolina Community College
I didn’t hear the gunshots, but I will never forget the people running in our offices looking for cover. Two minutes after, the phone lit up. Local news. CNN. Reuters.
School shootings were not as common then, but it had come to Sanford where I was the college’s Public Information Officer. Within an hour, we had prepped the college president for the first of several emergency press conferences as news stations from across the region arrived and news helicopters whirred overhead. Story interest continued for at least four days with round-the-clock coverage.
Winter Weather Press Conference
Winter weather is coming. This press conference allowed me to proactively share information with local media and manage expectations. By providing a single on-camera time, staff had flexibility to cover the storm in real-time via social media directly to customers.
Building trusting relationships with and understanding the needs of journalists, producers and assignment desk staff is essential to ensuring media relations that gets results for your organization. I can help guide you to the right solution for getting your story out to the community and your industry.
This story is one of my favorites. Wake County Human Services wanted to to highlight the 10th Anniversary of the Nurse-Family Partnership. Without a huge event or huge announcement, it required a strong story and a dynamic interviewee to make the story stand out among the hundreds of pitches media receive every day. And, did it ever deliver.
The result? An increase in calls requesting assistance through the program, meaning improved outcomes for local at-risk families.
Calvary Chapel Cary
There is no more difficult time for churches to get stories placed than Easter. Media outlets receive numerous requests for coverage of local services. Building upon relationships within the local market, I was able to consistently secure placement of stories for Calvary Chapel Cary several years in a row. Here is one example.
N.C. Good Samaritan Law Campaign
I led the effort to create a video to highlight this important N.C. law, including coordinating bids for a production company. I guided Wake County Human Services through a process to refine the concept, reducing the amount of revisions needed by the production company and ensured timely completion of the post-production process. For launch, I coordinated a media availability to coincide with the first showing with the Board of Commissioners. To ensure the message spread, I crafted two social media campaigns to maximize reach on a minimal social budget.
Social Media Management
WestJet Flight 8975
The authority to act quickly with independence can lead to opportunity, even during a crisis. The story of WestJet Flight 8975 will be forever a highlight of my career.
During the crisis, the sharp social media team at WestJet began sharing and exchanging messages with RDU and their competitor, American Airlines as we helped a plane full of Canadian neighbors who were never meant to touch done in the U.S.
A few days after the incident, I led the effort to create a short film and blog post to celebrate the work of our colleagues through one of the most challenging customer services efforts undertaken by our organization. Through our newfound relationship with WestJet, our work was shared on their social channels, with more than 6,000 views in the first 24 hours.
Interview with AviationPros.com
In 2016, I interviewed with AviationPros.com, a leading national aviation industry digital publication for the article: Tap into the Power of Social Media. The article featured communicators from various airports describing the cutting edge (for 2016) ways they used social media to further their airport’s messaging.