McGinn to counsel DC airport oversight group

WASHINGTON: The organization that runs both Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport has hired crisis firm McGinn and Company to provide communications counsel.

WASHINGTON: The organization that runs both Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport has hired crisis firm McGinn and Company to provide communications counsel.

Nearly 20 million people have flown to or from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority's two airports this year, according to air-traffic data. The group is also responsible for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, a 23-mile, multi-billion-dollar extension of DC's mass-transit system. Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

“After a competitive process, including technical and cost evaluation of proposals submitted, we selected McGinn and Company for their ability to provide outside, strategic counsel on the depth and breadth of communications, marketing, and outreach initiatives the Airports Authority is undertaking,” said Christopher Paolino, media relations manager at the Authority, via email.

McGinn's contract involves providing strategic communications counsel to the CEO and members of the board of directors about public affairs, public outreach, customer relations, government relations, community relations, and overall corporate reputation issues.

The airport released the RFP for this contract a few months after an inspector general's office found Authority managers and board members hired family members, gave undue bonuses, and accepted gifts from vendors, including tickets to sporting events.

The Authority's leadership was told during a Capitol Hill hearing that “the Airport Authority is the poster child for some of the corrupt practices that need to be brought to a halt” by House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica (R-FL).

The scope of work calls for the “pursuit of opportunities to reach key audiences with the goal of building and strengthening the authority's standing with key opinion leaders, the news media, congressional and government oversight entities, customers, and the general public,” according to the RFP for the contract.

The firm will also create press materials and themes for advertising, op-eds, speeches, legislative testimony, and other forms of messaging and outreach to build awareness and understanding of the Authority's views and goals, according to the RFP.

The one-year contract has a budget that will not exceed $104,000; it also includes three option years. Edelman, Porter Novelli, and a number of smaller, regional firms had expressed interest in the account, according to RFP documents.

McGinn gained national attention after it provided support to late Penn State University head football coach Joe Paterno after allegations of sexual abuse against his one-time assistant, Jerry Sandusky.

Representatives from McGinn did not return a request for comment.

Earlier this month, Concussion was hired by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to manage b-to-c marketing and advertising as well as PR. The contracts were worth $6.3 million combined.

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