And the Award Goes to …

by Dan Ward

One year ago I received a tremendous honor, being named the PR Professional of the Year for Career Excellence by the Orlando Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.

In my remarks that night, I mentioned a few professionals who I thought deserved to one day share this honor, and tops on my list was Grant Heston, associate vice president of communications and public affairs for my alma mater (and client), the University of Central Florida (UCF).

I’m glad to say my prediction came true, and tonight I look forward to watching Grant accept an award for which he is most deserving.

For nearly seven years, Grant has earned the respect and trust of UCF’s president, board of trustees, provost, deans and vice presidents through consistently strong and strategic advice and counsel, and never was this more apparent than in the days and weeks following a crisis that thrust UCF into the national spotlight.  His team jumped into action after a planned mass shooting was thwarted, and they earned well-deserved respect from the community, and from national media, for their commitment to transparency.

Grant played an instrumental role as well in the effort to save public television in the Central Florida market, leading UCF’s charge to become the primary public television provider … all while he was in the midst of earning his master’s degree from UCF.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Grant for nearly 10 years, both during his tenure at UCF and at OUC, and have always been impressed by his knowledge, his ability to stay calm under pressure, his sense of humor, and most importantly, the example he sets for his peers and colleagues.

Congratulations, Grant.  I can think of no one more deserving.

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