The East Central District Platinum Award recognizes outstanding professional service among district PRSA members. Every year, the ECD presents one Platinum Award in honor of former national PRSA board member and ECD PRSA board chair Donald P. Durocher, APR, Fellow PRSA. In Durocher’s memory, the district board recognizes a practitioner who has achieved a distinguished service record and is clearly identified as a role model for other professionals.

All chapters are urged to submit a nomination annually for the Platinum Award.

Award Criteria

Criteria for the award include past and current evidence of outstanding ECD service in the following capacities:

  • PRSA district service
  • PRSA chapter service
  • PRSA national service
  • Impact on the profession
  • PRSSA chapter and national service
  • Other professional organization work that contributed to or enhanced the understanding of the public relations field

Nominations should be submitted in a typed word document and are limited to one nomination per chapter. The nomination should define the service positions held as well as the impact and the contributions made by the nominee. Articles or books authored by a candidate that have enhanced the knowledge of others in the profession should also be identified along with the awards, citations and honors the candidate has received for his or her professional service.

Letters of support of the nomination and verifying the contributions may be included with the nomination form.

Paid employees of the ECD and current sitting members of the ECD Board are excluded from nomination.

The 2019 deadline is August 30.

2018 Platinum Award Recipient: Richard J. Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA

After careful review of the five nominations submitted, the Board selected Rick Batyko, APR, Fellow PRSA, of the Greater Cleveland Chapter as this year’s honoree.

Rick has more than 30 years of Fortune100 and nonprofit public relations, marketing and brand management experience. Currently, he is serving as senior vice president for marketing, communications and development for Team NEO in Cleveland. Prior, he has served as director of communications for Babcock & Wilcox; as a director of communications and brand management for AlliedSignal; as manager, e-media and news management at Honeywell International; and prior to Team NEO as an officer and vice president for marketing and communications at The Cleveland Foundation. He began his career in PR leadership roles with Rio Grande University and Lake Erie College.

“I’ve had the good fortune to serve on the East Central District board with Rick in the past and have appreciated his support and leadership as a national board member,” said ECD board chair Andrea Clark, APR. “This is a well-earned recognition.”

The award was presented by, from left, PRSA-Greater Cleveland Chapter Bob Rotatori, Rick Batyko and PRSA-East Central District Secretary John Palmer, APR.

Rick is on the PRSA National Board of Directors representing the ECD region, and was recently voted in to continue on the Board at the national assembly.  He is a past president of the Greater Cleveland and the Akron Area Chapters of the Society and past chair of PRSA’s East Central District’s Board of Directors. He has presented at a number of PRSA’s international and regional conferences, chaired or held positions on several national committees and has been a delegate at six national assemblies. He served on the 2013 College of Fellows Selection Committee, co-chaired the 2014–16 College of Fellows Strategic Planning Committee, a member of the PRSA Investment Committee, and a Champion for PRSSA.

For his service to the profession, Batyko was inducted into PRSA’s College of Fellows in 2009. In 2013, PRSA Greater Cleveland Chapter presented him with its Lighthouse Award, which acknowledges a senior-level practitioner for contributions to the field and the community.

About receiving the Platinum Award, Rick said, “I am honored and humbled to be the recipient of the 2018 ECD Platinum Award. The award was presented to a very-surprised me today by John Palmer who graciously drove to Cleveland for the occasion. The presentation was made at a very well attended PRSA luncheon program featuring the new GM of a local TV station, so I took advantage of the event to encourage PRSA members to get involved in leadership roles in the Society. It was wonderful that my wife, daughter and mother, who slyly kept this a secret, were present. I am truly grateful and humbled by this award. It will be a highlight of my career for the rest of my days.”

Batyko’s son, Bobby, is a graduate of Kent State University in public relations and is working for a nonprofit in Oberlin, Ohio. His daughter, Erica, is also a graduate of Kent State University in public relations and is working for a full-service advertising agency in Cleveland, Ohio. His wife, Mary, teaches for Akron Public Schools.