CAMPAIGNS: Pond View opens its doors in effort to recycle image

PR Team: Trion Communications (Providence, RI) and Pond View Recycling (East Providence, RI) Campaign: Pond View Recycling Becomes a Good Neighbor Time Frame: March 2001-present Budget: $3,500-$5,000 a month

PR Team: Trion Communications (Providence, RI) and Pond View Recycling (East Providence, RI) Campaign: Pond View Recycling Becomes a Good Neighbor Time Frame: March 2001-present Budget: $3,500-$5,000 a month

Pond View Recycling, a construction and demolition plant located in East Providence, RI, had a problem with its neighbors back in 2001. In East Providence and nearby Rumsfeld, residents were concerned and angered over activity at the plant. However, the main problem was that neighbors didn't know what the facility actually did. Pond View Recycling is a facility where material used at construction and demolition sites can be brought, treated, and recycled. For example, wood left over from a construction project can be chipped and sold to fuel power plants in Maine. Pond View's president Ken Foley explains, "I was having some trouble in the community. Nobody wants a waste facility in their backyard. A neighborhood group decided that they didn't want us, so they started a campaign to get us out of business." According to Foley, the company employs 65 people and brings in revenues of $10 million per year. In addition to its reputation problems, Pond View was cited by the city's zoning officer for violations, which resulted in a cease-and-desist order. Following the advice of his lawyer, Foley decided to hire Providence-based PR firm Trion Communications to help his reputation in the community and get the cease-and-desist order dropped. Strategy To disprove detractors, the Trion team advised Foley in a plan of complete transparency, the Good Neighbor campaign. Keith Farrelly, an account executive on the Pond View business, says, "We literally opened up the facility to neighbors, media, and the public. What it enabled people to do was tour the facility and open the communication gap. They got to see what a large demolition facility does." Tactics Shortly after being hired, the Trion team drew up a brochure with frequently asked questions about Pond View's operations, addressing issues of execution, employment, noise, and capacity. They mailed it to neighbors, along with a letter from Foley, which read, "I realized something important - that my company needs to do a better job communicating with our neighbors. An important part of being a good neighbor is answering some of the basic questions people have about us." The Trion team then worked with Foley to create neighborhood open-house days, when neighbors, the media, and officials could tour the facility and learn about its operations. The most successful event, which has become an annual occurrence, is the "Big Truck Little Kid" program, where kids can sit and play in Pond View's vehicles. Results In April of 2003, East Providence's zoning board overturned the two-year-old cease-and-desist order, recognizing that the zoning officer had acted prematurely. Pond View received the East Providence Chamber of Commerce's Recognition of the Year award, and a spot on Fleet Bank's Top 100 list of businesses in the Northeast. In addition, Foley was named to the East Providence Chamber of Commerce's board of directors. Pond View was also issued a new license by state regulators to accept and process more than three-and-a-half times the amount of material it previously was allowed to handle - a business-growth landmark that it could not have imagined two years ago. "Honestly," Foley says, "I wouldn't be here if it weren't for [Trion]. I'm an honest, hard-working guy. I haven't done one thing different since hiring them, but it's been able to make me a positive force." Future Pond View will continue to work with Trion for neighborhood-relations programs.

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