Crisis comms firms team up in wake of September 11

WASHINGTON and SAN FRANCISCO: Two crisis communications firms with

ties to the transportation industry have decided to join forces in order

to maximize their impact in a post-September 11 marketplace.

Xenophon Strategies, a Washington, DC-based agency specializing in

aviation issues, and Kamer Consulting Group, a new San Francisco-based

crisis firm, began collaborating on strategies for select clients and

pitching potential business together last month. Xenophon president

David Fuscus said that the transportation world's sudden focus on crisis

communications precipitated the move.

"We're bringing together The Kamer Group's expertise on the West Coast

with Xenophon's expertise in the aviation world," he said.

The two will not limit their work together to transportation issues,

however. The first piece of business jointly won was Israel 21c, a

nonprofit that promotes positive news about Israel outside the

Palestinian conflict.

Fuscus said the alliance proved useful following the crash of American

Airlines flight 587 in Queens, NY on November 12, as the plane's

manufacturer, Airbus, is a Xenophon client. Fuscus called upon his new

strategic partner to aid in the ensuing media melee.

"During no crash before September 11 did anyone think, 'OK, there's

another crash coming now,'" Fuscus said of the challenges of handling

the first domestic air disaster since the terrorist attacks. "But that

day, everyone thought, 'What's going to happen next?'"

A former deputy chief of staff to director of homeland security Tom

Ridge, Fuscus said his people worked closely with Ridge's office in the

hours after the crash. "Ridge and even the President were being briefed,

because everyone wanted to know if this was an act of terrorism."

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