RICHMOND, VA: Carter Ryley Thomas (CRT) has opened a Hampton Roads office and has charged healthcare PR vet Debbie Myers with running it.
The office is CRT's fifth, joining the firm's Richmond headquarters and outposts in Baton Rouge, Indianapolis and Los Angeles.
CRT sees the Hampton Roads region (which comprises several towns, among them Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Williamsburg) as rife with opportunities in the health sciences sector. To that end, Myers seems an ideal hire to establish the agency's beachhead there.
She has worked for Sentara Healthcare since 1985, serving as director of corporate communications for the last stretch of her tenure. In this role, she balanced internal and external communications activities and coordinated government relations for Sentara's six hospitals. Before that, Myers worked for local television affiliates and radio stations.
Sentara has not named a replacement. Vicky Gray, VP of marketing and communications, is currently presiding over the company's communications and will likely lead the search for Myers' successor.
Ironically, Sentara is one of two main clients for the Hampton Roads office, along with AT&T subsidiary Suncom. It was through this client relationship that Myers and CRT's staff became familiar with one another.
'Our goals seemed to be very compatible,' said Myers, whose official title is associate VP/GM of the Hampton Roads office. 'They wanted more of a presence in the region, and I wanted to stay in PR without having to move.'
For now, Myers is manning the office by herself, with support from CRT's Richmond HQ. She anticipates 'fairly rapid' growth for the office, and plans on a staff of four to six by the end of its first year.