Charlene Wheeless to chair 2017 PRWeek US Awards jury

Bechtel Corporation's principal VP of global corporate affairs will oversee a stellar panel of 100 judges across the in-house, agency, and service sectors of the communications industry.

NEW YORK: Bechtel’s Charlene Wheeless will chair the judging panel of the 2017 PRWeek US Awards – the 18th edition of the "Oscars of the PR Industry" in the U.S.

Wheeless has been in her current post since 2009 and is credited with constructing a new positive brand image for the $32 billion construction and civil engineering behemoth, the largest in the U.S., and the 9th-largest private company in the U.S.

She previously had in-house stints at the communications departments of Raytheon, American Management Systems, and DynCorp and has been named to the PRWeek Power List for the past three years, as well as the inaugural PRWeek Hall of Femme this year.

"The PR Week Awards is the most prestigious program for our industry," said Wheeless. "It brings together PR pros from every facet of our profession to celebrate excellence and recognize the outstanding efforts of our peers—the best of the best."

This year's PRWeek US Awards have been upgraded to include five new categories that will further highlight exceptional achievement across integration, marketing, creativity, and content: Best in Integration, Best in Creative Excellence, Best Viral, Best Content, and Outstanding Marketer.

As usual, the awards will also recognize the best work in communications areas such as crisis, cause, corporate branding, internal, healthcare, and financial.

The deadline for submissions to the 2017 PRWeek Awards is Monday, October 3 - the awards ceremony will take place on March 16, 2017 in New York City.

"I encourage you to enter the awards competition," said Wheeless. "Your work and achievements deserve to be acknowledged, along with the value you deliver to some of the most important companies and clients in business today. There is no greater honor than the recognition of our peers."

In the 2016 Power List Wheeless was profiled by APCO Worldwide's Nick Ashooh, who commented: "If you find yourself in a meeting with Charlene, you can expect a very pleasant experience — as long as you know your stuff. If you don’t, she won’t degrade or humiliate you. But rest assured, she will very quickly zero in on whatever detail you don’t quite have nailed down. She will then drill into it — politely — until she is satisfied she understands it.

As last year, the entry process takes place entirely online. Both the submission and judging process will be carried out digitally; entries can be filled out using the online kit available at

Steve Barrett, editor-in-chief of PRWeek US, said: "Our judges will be looking for the work, teams, and people that best represent an industry evolving in skills and significance, from the integration of PESO media, crisis and corporate reputation, through to media relations and content marketing.

"With her wide-ranging skills and record of senior counsel, creativity, attention to detail, and innovation, Charlene is perfectly positioned to oversee the process."

At the 2016 PRWeek US Awards, MSLGroup and Abbott won the top campaign prize for the Similac Sisterhood of Motherhood campaign, which aimed to get to the heart of an issue many mothers face — pressure from society when making essential decisions about how they raise their children.

Atlantic Media’s Emily Lenzner and Omnicom Public Relations Group’ Karen van Bergen won the PR Professional of the Year awards for the client and agency sides, respectively.

Agency of the Year went to Weber Shandwick, which also won Large Agency of the Year. M Booth, Highwire Public Relations, and Kyne won the midsize, small, and boutique awards.

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