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Bruce M. Hennes

As chief executive officer, Bruce M. Hennes has grown Hennes Communications into one of the few firms in North America focused exclusively on crisis management, crisis communications and litigation communications consulting.

Following years of political campaign work at the local, state and federal levels, Hennes spent three years managing a 1200-family nonprofit followed by three years in the automotive industry providing government and public relations counsel. He opened his own communications firm in 1989.

Today, Hennes Communications counts among its current and former clients the American Public Power Association, Avery Dennison, ThyssenKrupp, Evonik, Interlake Steamship Company, Kent State University, Ohio University, Lubrizol, NASA, Northeast Ohio Medical University and The Riverside Company, as well as scores of other public and private companies, law firms, schools (public/private/parochial/independent), nursing homes and other senior adult communities, hospitals, universities, larger nonprofits and government agencies. The firm’s recent assignments have spanned the United States and include work in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Japan and South America. Recently, the firm won two Silver Anvils, the public relations profession’s most prestigious award, from the Public Relations Society of America, as part of the communications team, led by one of its clients, Destination Cleveland, in recognition of the nonpartisan work done by the firm to support the non-partisan Cleveland Host Committee for the 2016 Republican National Convention.

As a nationally-known crisis communication specialist and media trainer, Hennes is an in-demand speaker on the many facets of crisis communications and crisis management, speaking frequently to bar and trade associations, elected officials, police, fire, education and health officials.  He is especially noted for his insights on handling extreme situations involving threats to life and limb, and often is invited to speak at events sponsored by emergency management agencies. For the last 19 years, he has published Crisis Management Today, a twice-monthly newsletter with more than 8,500 subscribers.

Hennes is a longtime member of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s board of directors and executive committee, making him one of just a few non-attorneys to sit on the board of a major metropolitan bar association. He is recipient of the bar association’s President’s Award in 2008 and 2018 and on the faculty of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Leadership Academy. He was a four-time keynoter for the American Bar Association’s Bar Leadership Institute in Chicago, on the faculty of the Winding River Managing Partner Bootcamp and he annually teaches more than 40 continuing legal education seminars to law firms and state and local bar associations across the country. He is a recipient of the President’s Special Award for Extraordinary Service from the Cuyahoga County Bar Association and two Vega awards from the American Red Cross. In 2011, he received the Communicator of the Year award from the International Association of Business Communicators, Cleveland; and in 2013, he received a Gold “Rocks” award and “Best of Show” award from the Public Relations Society of America, Greater Cleveland Chapter, for his crisis communications work related to a ferry boat crash in New York City’s Financial District. In addition, he was named one of the “50 Game-Changers of PR for 2017” by industry publication PRNews. In 2019, 2020 and 2021 he was named to the Lawdragon 100 Leading Consultants and Strategists, the definitive guide to the financiers, recruiters, marketing and communication gurus on whom the legal profession relies.  “These are 100 of the most trusted advisors to the legal profession,” said Lawdragon.  Recently, he was named by the National Law Review (founded in 1888) as one of 2020’s “Go-To Thought Leaders” for columns he has contributed to the publication’s website, one of the most widely read business law websites in the U.S.  And in 2021, he was named to the Cleveland 500 list of the Most Powerful Individuals by Cleveland Magazine’s Community Leader publication.

Hennes is past chairman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s public affairs committee and past chairman of The Cleveland Jewish News.  Currently, he is an adjunct professor at the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, an instructor in the university’s Ohio Certified Public Manager Program and president of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2008. In 2010, he was inducted into the Plain Local Schools (Canton, Ohio) Hall of Fame. A member of The 50 Club of Cleveland, comprised of the city’s top CEOs, Hennes has a degree in political science from York University in Toronto, Canada and he is certified in effective communications by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  He is also of counsel to Levick Strategic Communications in Washington, DC.


Awards & Recognition

Hennes Named to LAWDRAGON Global 100 Leaders in Legal Strategy and Consulting,

Hennes Communications is proud to announce that Chief Executive Officer Bruce Hennes has been named to the 2021 LAWDRAGON Global 100 Leaders in Legal Strategy and Consulting, the definitive guide to the experts in management, marketing, communication and recruiting most valued by law firm leaders.   This is the second year in a row that Hennes has been named to this prestigious list.

A Place on The 2021 Cleveland 500 List of the Most Powerful People in Cleveland,

published by Cleveland Magazine's Cleveland Leader publication for Bruce's work in the business community.

National Law Review 2020 "Go To Thought Leader" Award,

was awarded to Bruce Hennes for columns he contributed to one of the most widely read business law websites in the U.S.  In making the award, the NLR particularly noted his commentaries related to law firms and the federal Paycheck Protection Program, as well as his perspective on how to handle difficult public relations decisions in the era of COVID-19.  One of his most popular pieces included tips for delivering an effective Zoom apology - a skill set that didn't even exist a year ago.  For further information, click here.

2008 President’s Award,

from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

2017 PRNews’ 50 “Game Changers of PR for 2017",

PRNews names Bruce Hennes one of its 50 “Game Changers of PR for 2017,” noting his 30 years of experience helping CEOs, executive directors, government officials and other leaders preserve and protect their reputation; see more here

2017 Public Relations Society Silver Anvil Award,

In 2017, Hennes Communications received two Silver Anvil Awards, the public relations profession's most prestigious award, in conjunction with a number of other agencies, from the Public Relations Society of America for our crisis planning work on behalf of the Cleveland Host Committee for the 2016 Republican Convention held in Cleveland

2013 Public Relations Society of America “Best of Show” Cleveland Rocks Award,

for our work on a passenger ferry boat crash in Manhattan’s Financial District that attracted international attention

2013 Public Relations Society of America “Gold” Cleveland Rocks Award,

in the category of Crisis Communications for work on a passenger ferry boat crash in Manhattan’s Financial District, titled “Doing the Right Thing: How a Company’s Forthright Crisis Response Preserved its Reputation and Maintained Customer Confidence”

2012 Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award,

from the Sales & Marketing Executives - Akron

2012 Public Relations Society of American (PRSA) Cleveland Rocks “Gold” Award,

in the category of newsletters for the Hennes Crisis Comm & Media Relations E-Newsletter

2011 Communicator of the Year Award,

from the International Association of Business Communicators

2010 Induction into the Plain Local Schools (Canton, Ohio) Alumni Association’s Hall of Distinction,

2008 President’s Award,

from the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

2006 Vega Award,

for Education and Training from the American Red Cross

2005 President’s Special Award,

for Outstanding Service from the Cuyahoga County Bar Association

2003 Award for Continued and Valuable Contributions,

from the American Red Cross and the Business Industry Council for Emergency Planning and Preparedness

2003 Vega Award,

for Education and Training from the American Red Cross

1998 Most Interesting People Award,

from Cleveland Magazine