Schenectady County

SCCC hires firm to expand PR effort

Schenectady County Community College has hired a marketing consultant to do additional public relati

Schenectady County Community College has hired a marketing consultant to do additional public relations for the college.

Existing marketing staff include spokeswoman Heather Meaney and Darren Johnson, assistant dean of planning, accountability and advancement. College officials decided they needed more help. It hired the Troy-based Gramercy Communications this past spring at a cost of $3,000 per month as part of an overall communications effort, according to SCCC Board of Trustees Chairwoman Denise Murphy McGraw.

“We have so much going on right now,” she said.

Among the college’s projects include the student housing facility that just opened across the street, the expansion of classes downtown at Center City and the new 12,600-square-foot music building addition to Elston Hall that will be formally dedicated Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Gramercy has expertise in dealing with local newsrooms and working with the television media, according to Murphy McGraw. They are also helping to shoot videos for various college programs such as the aviation and music courses.

“I think they’ve really been a great addition for us,” she said.

Enrollment at SCCC is up 10 percent, which she attributed to the increased awareness about the college’s programs and initiatives. Other community college enrollments are down anywhere from 3 percent to 10 percent, according to Murphy McGraw.

The contract is for 12 months. Murphy McGraw said the money was included in the marketing budget. She added that the rate is reasonable. “I’m sure that their other clients pay a lot more than that. They know full well that we are a nonprofit institution so we get a different rate.”

The company has a diverse range of clients who represent more than $3 billion in economic development projects, according to its website. They include Fortune 500 companies, high tech startups, retailers and restaurants, industrial and manufacturing facilities, renewable energy operators, statewide associations, local municipalities and Tech Valley commercial office campuses.

This is not the college’s first foray into external relations. In 2009, the college hired Wally Altes, the former president of the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, at a cost of $30,000 annually to use his contacts to help introduce SCCC President Quintin Bullock to business officials. That contract was renewed for the 2010-2011 year at the same rate. Altes’ duties were broadened to include helping the college’s new director of development to find new sources of revenue and working with local companies to identify potential partnerships on new programs.

Altes’ consulting contract ended in 2011, according to college officials.

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