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Howard Fencl, APR

Howard Fencl serves of counsel to Hennes Communications after more than 11 years on staff as vice president. Fencl brings more than 30 years of experience in public relations and in television news production and management. He is responsible for the development, management and implementation of communication strategies for clients of the firm, focusing on crisis communications, reputation management, media strategy, media training, and cross-platform media monitoring in on-air, on-line, social and mobile media.

Fencl has extensive experience coaching executives in every business sector to effectively tell their stories to the media in crisis situations. From his front-line experience working in television news, he knows how to anticipate tough questions from the media, which is essential to developing the powerful responses clients need to get in front of crisis issues and emerge with their reputations intact.

Prior to joining Hennes Communications, Fencl served as assistant news director at WKYC-TV. He was vice president at Edward Howard & Co. (now Fahlgren Mortine) and served a diverse client base including Hoover, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Rubbermaid, Ben Venue Laboratories, Lifebanc and the Greater Cleveland Growth Association (now the Greater Cleveland Partnership). He has written speeches for numerous executives, including former Congressman Dennis Eckart and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gayle Sayers. In the 1990s, he was president and general manager of Multiverse, one of the pioneer Internet service providers in Northeast Ohio. Fencl was pivotal in creating and launching the city of Cleveland’s first presence on the web in late 1994 in his capacity as director of communications for The New Cleveland Campaign. And, he was a television news producer and executive producer for a dozen years, working at WKYC-TV and WEWS-TV in Cleveland and WBNS-TV in Columbus.

As assistant news director at WKYC, the news team won a regional Edward R. Murrow Award for breaking news coverage of the February 2012 Chardon school shootings. Fencl was also responsible for crafting the news department’s pioneering cross-platform strategic content delivery plan, successfully launching one of the first social media sites for a Gannett-owned television station in 2007. The plan was subsequently adapted by other Gannett television stations across the country.

Fencl graduated as valedictorian from Denison University, and received his M.A. at Hiram College. He studied the Russian language as part of his undergraduate work at the University of Moscow’s Pushkin Russian Language Institute. Fencl was named a trustee to the board of the Cleveland Association of Phi Beta Kappa, where he served as president for three years. He is a past board member of the Press Club of Cleveland and the Near West Theatre. He earned the accreditation of the Public Relations Society of America.

Awards & Recognition

2014 Public Relations Society of America “Gold” Cleveland Rocks Award,

In the category of Crisis Communications for a program it created and carried out for a forestry client in Australia, titled “Plantation Owner Regains Certification and Reputation after Koala Injuries and Deaths.”

2013 Edward R. Murrow Award,

for the WKYC-TV news team's breaking news coverage of the Chardon, Ohio school shootings in 2012. The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971.

2013 Sigma Delta Chi award,

first place for the WKYC-TV news team's breaking news coverage of the 2012 Chardon, Ohio school shootings. Awarded by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Telly Award,

the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions. Fencl won Telly Awards for agency and client video productions between 2000-2007 including Rubbermaid, Laurel School, Cuyahoga County Workforce Investment Board and Edward Howard & Co.