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Looking to work in an exciting communications role for AECOM?

Looking to work in an exciting communications role for AECOM?

 October 25, 2023

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Jennifer Kellar is a Strategic Communications Services Leader from AECOM's Water business in the U.S. East region.

AECOM's Strategic Communications Services group functions like a public relations agency within the infrastructure consulting firm, and partners with clients to create opportunities for equitable, outcome-driven engagement. Leading the eatm, Jennifer and her colleagues advance projects and support communities through strategic communications.

A passion for meaningful stories 

With a background in journalism and public relations, Jennifer has a passion for sharing meaningful stories and a knack for distilling complicated information to help audiences understand and accept what is going on around them.

"At AECOM, we have the opportunity to support complex, transformative projects, so the communications efforts are challenging, impactful, and rewarding. We get to collaborate directly with communities and that is the best kind of public relations," shares Jennifer. 

Being part of an iconic infrastructure project

When considering her favorite AECOM project she has worked on, Jennifer says: "It’s really special to be able to say you were part of an iconic infrastructure project. The Arlington Memorial Bridge, a monument to the sacrifices and valor of our nation’s military and an important part of the Capital Region’s infrastructure, is one of those projects. At 90 years old, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Highway Administration – Eastern Federal Lands worked with partners Kiewit and AECOM to rehabilitate the bridge to stand strong for another century. One of the largest infrastructure projects in NPS history, the rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge reinvigorated the capital’s ceremonial entrance while respecting its character, history, and national significance."

Keeping the public informed 

As part of the design-build project team, Strategic Communications Services led public information and outreach for the project.

"We developed and implemented a robust strategic communications plan that addressed the various audiences interested in the bridge and impacted by the project including all bridge users — tourists, commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, and boaters," shares Jennifer. 

"In close collaboration with NPS, we communicated with the goal of minimizing inconvenience for drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists on Arlington Memorial Bridge through frequent, clear, concise dissemination of content about construction progress, closures, lane shifts, and more via email blasts and social media. We developed and implemented a robust strategic communications plan that addressed the various audiences interested in the bridge and impacted by the project including all bridge users — tourists, commuters, pedestrians, cyclists, and boaters.”

Jennifer's team developed a micro-site within the NPS website to serve as an information hub. It developed written content, a video simulation of each phase of the project, graphic representations of roadway and river impacts, a project fact sheet, and an electronic media kit to support the National Park Service’s media relations efforts.

"We communicated about safe pedestrian routes to the bridge, Arlington National Cemetery, the Mount Vernon Trail, and the National Mall throughout the project. We also actively engaged with the boater community, letting river users know to look out for construction traffic, especially south of the bridge where workers moved materials from a staging area to the construction site on an ongoing basis," explains Jennifer. 

"Prior to the start of construction, public meetings were held to let bridge users know where to find information and regular updates. At the end of the project, in lieu of a ribbon-cutting event during the pandemic, we developed the “More than a bridge” capstone video to celebrate completion of this important milestone."

Positively impacting the community

Supporting the New York City Department of Small Business Services, Jennifer's team promoted the availability of resilience assessments and grants to hundreds of small businesses in all five boroughs of New York City.

"The assessments and grants were offered through the City’s Business Preparedness and Resiliency Program aimed at helping small businesses prepare for emergencies and enhancing the resilience of their operations, assets, and physical space in the event of a disaster or business interruption," says Jennifer. "Through this program, small business owners impacted by Superstorm Sandy were eligible for an on-site risk assessment. Following the visit, our resilience experts prepared customized reports, offering recommendations for each business to improve their resilience. Businesses participating in the assessment qualified for a grant of up to $3,000, which could be used to purchase items or equipment to support them in their resilience efforts. As a result, the hundreds of small business owners who participated in this valuable program are now substantially more resilient against future flooding events, other potential disasters, and business interruptions.”

Strategic Communications Services led a comprehensive outreach campaign that included partnerships with community-based organizations, multilingual door-to-door outreach, media relations, and advertising to raise awareness of the program and encourage participation. As a result, the hundreds of small business owners who participated in this valuable program are now substantially more resilient against future flooding events, other potential disasters, and business interruptions.

Listening is effective communication 

Sharing a piece of career advice, Jennifer says: "Listening is a vital component of effective communication. Listen and learn from the people around you — your projects will be more successful, and you will grow as a person."


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