Ladenburg proposes communications department for county with Ron Klein named as director

“Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg announced today the proposed creation of a communications department in his new administration and that former advertising and marketing executive Ron Klein will be communications director. A proposed ordinance creating the department will be sent this week to the County Council for consideration.Ladenburg said his transition team, composed of public and private sector leaders, advised him the county should have a formal communications department. The county had a one-person public information office starting in 1989 that expanded to a three-person communications services office in 1996.The new department director will be responsible for developing policy and coordinating activities for the county’s external and internal communication efforts. A major thrust will be working with the Economic Development Board of Pierce County and other agencies in marketing the county. Having Ron Klein available makes it possible to create this department and begin working with the private sector in marketing Pierce County. This isn’t something that most other counties are doing, but not many have someone who is known internationally in advertising and marketing who is willing to come and work in county govern-ment, Ladenburg said.Klein, 49, a Tacoma native, spent the better part of the past two decades commuting to advertising agencies in Seattle. Until June, Klein served as creative director for Cole & Weber and its parent company, Ogilvy & Mather. Clients during his tenure included Boeing, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and British Petroleum. It was a wonderful job, just too far away, Klein said. With I-5 traffic the way it is, I spent more than 500 hours a year commuting to and from Seattle. When you add the travel to London for British Petroleum, I was either on the freeway or in an airplane. It left no time for the truly important things in life – like family.Klein is married to the former Margo Hass, an executive with Coldwell Banker real estate. They have three children at home and one at Washington State University. Freelance assignments kept Klein busy until Ladenburg offered him the director of communications position.This is a remarkable opportunity to make a difference and work with someone I respect, Klein said. Transportation, public safety and salmon restoration are just a few issues that will require intense communications if we want to be successful. Working with the EDB, the chambers of commerce, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and others to market Pierce County is another area of interest. When you add citizen and employee communications, it quickly becomes obvious this will be an important department with a full agenda.Fortunately, I’m not walking into a wasteland of communications. Excellent work is being done by the existing staff, and we plan on building on that.Ladenburg previously announced the appointment of Lyle Quasim as chief of staff and that interim Sheriff Paul Pastor would be nominated to the County Council for the permanent position. “