Our Team

The Wixted & Company Team

Wixted & Company’s communication professionals are all familiar with the media—as Emmy Award-winning television reporters and anchors, newsroom journalists and longtime public relations professionals. They know how the media think. What’s more, they understand how communication decisions translate in the court of public opinion and work to prepare executives, leaders and spokespersons to handle the toughest communication situations with clear and consistent messaging.

EileenWixted

EILEEN WIXTED

Principal
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: ewixted@thinkwixted.com

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As the principal of Wixted & Company—and a founding partner of Wixted Pope Nora Thompson & Associates (WPNT)—Eileen is a nationally recognized expert in strategic communication and crisis management. She actively helps clients effectively manage potentially brand-damaging issues and prepares them to face media interviews, shareholder meetings, presentations and government investigations.

With more than two decades of experience, Eileen has a keen understanding of issues affecting the nuclear, health care, energy and manufacturing industries. In fact, two-thirds of commercially owned and operated nuclear power plants in North America and over 500 of the nation’s hospitals depend on Eileen for expert counsel, media support, training and drills.

Eileen is a native of Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Michigan State University with a mass communications degree, she spent a decade as a broadcast journalist and anchor, during which time she received an Emmy Award and her health segments were nationally syndicated. Eileen also authored Media Guide to Radiological Issues; served as interim senior vice president of communications and government affairs for Advocate Health Care, Illinois’ largest health care system; and was a faculty member for the U.S. Naval Academy Homeland Security Leadership Program.

Jake

JAKE BRUS

Communications Advisor
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: jbrus@thinkwixted.com

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When it comes to helping clients develop communication plans with compelling messages, Jake’s track record demonstrates that he knows how to share information effectively. Whether writing long-term strategic plans, handling crisis communication development or creating strategies and collateral, Jake works closely with clients to ensure their key messages are communicated accurately, clearly and consistently.

Jake brings a background in communication plan development and marketing for diverse clients that include multi-million-dollar corporations and nationally recognized nonprofits. He is experienced in writing, marketing and enterprise communication management.

Jake is a graduate of the University of Iowa and earned his master’s degree in public communication from the American University.

Lauri

LAURI FREKING

Senior Trainer & Consultant
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: lfreking@thinkwixted.com

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Lauri combines her wealth of training experience with her journalism background to provide fresh perspectives and customized training for executives in the energy, electric utility, manufacturing, healthcare and retail industries.

A native of Bancroft, Iowa, Lauri has 11 years of experience in television news and video production in the public and private sectors. She spent five years as a television news reporter, photographer and video editor for the NBC affiliate in Sioux City, Iowa, and the CBS affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin, where she ran the station’s news bureau. As a general assignment reporter, Lauri covered a broad range of news events ranging from human interest stories to crime and business news.

During her six years as a producer and writer for Iowa Public Television, Lauri created award-winning educational content for K—12 schools and produced content for the local programs, Student Voices and Zoom Iowa. She also produced and hosted live, interactive field trips using video conferencing technology. A familiar face to Iowans, Lauri is a past host for Festival, IPTV’s fundraising broadcast.

Lauri earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Iowa State University.

Jeff

JEFFREY GAUNT

Consultant & Trainer
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: jgaunt@thinkwixted.com

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Jeff brings a unique and impressive communications background to Wixted & Company. His broad industry experience allows him to work closely with clients to develop high-impact communications strategies. He is also a skilled trainer, able to guide clients in handling even the toughest media interviews in a way that projects a positive image for the person and business.

Jeff began his career as a reporter with a daily newspaper in the Chicago area, and then served as a political campaign manager, analyst and speechwriter in the Illinois State Senate. In 2010, he moved to Thailand to work as a foreign media advisor under former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Most recently, he oversaw internal and external communications for an urban school district with 22 schools and 1,800 employees in Central Illinois.

Jeff earned his bachelor of science degree in newspaper reporting from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Illinois.

getterweb

JOHN GETTER

Trainer
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: info@thinkwixted.com

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A trainer and press corps member with Wixted & Company, John is a veteran and award-winning journalist and television producer. His ability to present complex stories in clear and compelling ways helps clients learn to impact stories about their business and build a strong communication profile in the court of public opinion.

A broadcast journalist since 1967, John joined KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas, in 1981, where he covered the first mission of the space shuttle. He spent the next 10 years as a space and science reporter, providing in-depth coverage of the first 35 shuttle missions and serving as a regular contributor to and consultant for CBS News. His stories were syndicated to CBS affiliates and other outlets in more than 100 countries and on CNN. In 2006, ABC News brought John on board as a field producer responsible for creating content for World News, Good Morning America and Nightline.

John has earned numerous awards for his work, including from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (three Emmy Awards), National Telly Awards and Aviation and Space Writers’ Association. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Tamera

TAMERA HANSON

Senior Communications Advisor
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: thanson@thinkwixted.com

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Tamera brings more than 25 years of communication experience as a writer, marketer and public relations specialist to Wixted & Company clients, for whom she creates and often executes results-driven communication materials and presentations. These range from company announcements to media relations plans that generate press coverage.

In addition to spending more than a decade as a corporate marketing director, Tamera has led a variety of organizations in the areas of branding, graphic design, advertising, media relations, copywriting, event management, web development and strategic marketing planning.

Tamera’s experience also crosses a range of industries including hospitality, real estate, industrial technology, construction, retail and publishing. She is a graduate of Iowa State University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Gerri

GERRI HEINRICH

Accounting & Contracts Manager
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: gheinrich@thinkwixted.com

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Gerri oversees Wixted & Company’s financial operations, including client contracts, accounts receivable, accounts payable and the company’s financial reporting. She is also responsible for employee benefits and payroll functions. Before joining Wixted & Company, Gerri worked in human resources, customer service and employee benefits at such companies as EMC Insurance, the former companies Johnson & Higgins/KVI, and Iowa Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Gerri earned an associate’s degree in business administration from Des Moines Area Community College and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas.

JJ

JEFF JOHNSON

Trainer
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: info@thinkwixted.com

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With over 25 years of broadcast experience as a television news anchor, reporter and producer, Jeff understands every facet of news—including what makes news and how news is made. Comfortable on both sides of the camera, Jeff delivers realistic communication training, which helps participants develop highly effective communication skills.

During his years working for CBS and ABC affiliates in the Midwest, Jeff covered state and national events—including the World Series and the NCAA Basketball Tournament—and interviewed former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, football great Walter Payton and baseball legend Bob Feller. Having experience in writing, producing and editing newscasts on a daily basis gives Jeff an intimate knowledge of the news media and how to best tailor messages for their audiences.

Jeff earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from Iowa State University with a minor in psychology. In 2010, Jeff was honored with a regional Emmy Award for his directing work with Mediacom Communications.

ashleypanzi

ASHLEY PANZI

Training Program Manager
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: apanzi@thinkwixted.com

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Ashley is the key coordinator for all Wixted & Company training programs. She supports clients and team members through the production of pre-training and training materials, oversight of training logistics and organization of schedules. She also serves as the point person for Wixted clients on pre and post training coordination.

Prior to joining Wixted & Company, Ashley was a consultant for a global provider of HR services where she managed a database of clients in both manufacturing and administrative fields.

Ashley graduated from Iowa State University with degrees in Mathematics and Economics.

Diane Roberts

DIANE ROBERTS

Trainer
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: info@thinkwixted.com

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Diane Roberts has been working in the communications industry for over 25 years. With experience ranging from television journalism and radio, to communication coaching and theatre, Diane constantly strives to build her skill set for the benefit of her clients. She continues to use her experience and passion to deliver meaningful information in insightful ways.

As a television journalist, Diane worked as an anchor and reporter in diverse markets from Des Moines, Iowa, to St. Petersburg, Florida. Over her career, she has had the opportunity to interview public figures like Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld and Miss America, athletes like Alexander Ovechkin and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, along with many others. She is known for her fair and balanced reporting, and is adept at putting people at ease during the interview to allow their true personality to show through.

Diane won the 2006 Sports Feature Award from the Associated Press, and has been nominated for several Emmy Awards. She earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in journalism and broadcast news from Georgia State University.

Jordan

JORDAN ROSE

Communications Advisor
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: jrose@thinkwixted.com

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As Communications Advisor, Jordan specializes in writing communications including, crisis communication plans, blog content, news releases and more. From strategic communication writing to implementation, Jordan works closely with clients to ensure key messages are communicated effectively and reflect the organization’s brand and image.

Throughout her career she has gained diverse communications experience in the fields of manufacturing, agriculture and association management, bringing a unique outlook to the Wixted team.

A graduate of Central College, Jordan earned her bachelor of arts degree in English and minor in Spanish.

alsetka

AL SETKA

Consultant & Trainer
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: asetka@thinkwixted.com

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As a consultant and trainer with Wixted & Company, Al helps clients succeed on camera and off by utilizing more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism, media relations and marketing.

His 20-year career in television and radio includes serving as news director at WHO-TV in Des Moines. Under Al’s leadership, WHO-TV ranked among the top-rated NBC affiliates nationwide, earned three Emmy Awards and was recognized six consecutive years as Iowa’s best television news department. His broadcast news experience also includes WHO-AM and radio stations in Omaha, Neb., North Dakota and Montana.

Al garnered extensive media relations experience as communications director for a world-class scientific research center and as the public relations director at a full-service marketing agency. He coordinated coverage from such notable media outlets as TIME magazine, National Public Radio, The New York Times and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

Al is a military veteran who served six years in the U.S. Army including a four-year tour with Allied military intelligence in Berlin. He attended the University of Maryland-University College Europe and Brown College in Minneapolis.

Cindi

CINDI TREVILLYAN

Office Manager
Office: 515.226.0818
Email: ctrevillyan@thinkwixted.com

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Cindi handles Wixted & Company’s account management and office coordination—and everything in between. Whatever task she is undertaking, she calls upon her years of customer service and marketing experience to ensure that every Wixted & Company client, vendor and associate is given the information necessary to keep projects on track, both in and out of the office.

Cindi began her career in California in the Coldwell Banker Real Estate regional office, where she organized Million Dollar Club events for salespeople. After returning to the Midwest, she spent 15 years at Kragie/Newell-Integer advertising agency in various marketing and client services roles, including media buyer and national accounts manager working primarily on the NAPA Auto Parts account. Also, she spent five years with OnMedia/Mediacom Cable as a research analyst for the TV ad sales department.

Cindi earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Iowa State University, with an emphasis in advertising.