The Stevens Group has been presenting the PR Masters Series Podcast for almost two years now. This series is part of the ongoing partnership between The Stevens Group and CommPRO to bring to PR,digital/interactive and marketing communications agencies the wisdom of those who have reached the top of the PR profession. Today’s special guest is Ron Culp, PRAD Professional in Residence, Instructor and Professional Director, Graduate Professional Program Director – Public Relations and Advertising at DePaul.
Prior to joining DePaul and becoming an independent public relations consultant, Ron Culp held senior public relations positions at four Fortune 500 corporations and two major agencies. Ron’s career spans a broad range of communications responsibilities in government and industry sectors including business-to-business, consumer products, pharmaceutical and retailing.
Ron’s two agency stints include being partner and managing director of Ketchum’s Midwest offices and head of the agency’s North American Corporate Practice. Prior to Ketchum, he opened and served as managing director of the Chicago office of Sard Verbinnen and Company, a leading financial communications firm.
Previously, Ron was a corporate officer and senior vice president, public relations and government affairs, at Sears. During his Sears career, Ron managed internal and external communications, marketing public relations support, state and federal government affairs, community relations and the Sears-Roebuck Foundation. Earlier in his corporate career, he held senior communications positions at Sara Lee Corporation, Pitney Bowes and Eli Lilly.
Following graduation from Indiana State, Ron began his career as a reporter for The Columbus (Ind.) Republic before moving to the New York State Assembly where he served as director of member services (the public relations support unit) under both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Ron is active in several civic organizations including the Economic Club of Chicago where he is a former board member and past vice chair. Culp serves on the board of Gilda’s Club Chicago, Public Relations Museum and Library, PRSA Foundation, Indiana State Foundation and the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations, which he also chaired for five years. He was listed in Crain’s “Who in Chicago Business” from 2009 to 2017.
Culp is the only individual to receive both the Distinguished Service Award and the Hall of Fame Award from the Arthur W. Page Society, which is comprised of senior communication professionals, agency heads and leading academics. In 2011 he was honored with the John W. Hill Award by the New York Chapter of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), and a year later he received the PR Professional of the Year from the Chicago chapter of PRSA. He also is featured in the PRSSA book, “Legacies from Legends in Public Relations” (2007) and was named to the PR News Hall of Fame in 2008. In 2012, Ron received the David Ferguson Award for Outstanding Contributions to Public Relations Education by a Practitioner, and in 2017 he received PRSA’s Gold Anvil, the organization’s lifetime achievement award.
Ron and his DePaul colleague Matt Ragas are co-authors of a business basics book for PR professionals entitled “Business Essentials for Strategic Communicators” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and they jointly edited “Mastering Business for Strategic Communicators” (Emerald, 2018). Also in 2018, Ron compiled and edited an eBook entitled, “The New Rules of Crisis Management.”
Ron and his wife, Sandra, fund a scholarship at their alma mater, Indiana State, for first-generation college students. In addition, Ron sponsors an annual PRSSA scholarship for student mentors.