St. Mary's County is very fortunate to have an engaged and involved business community that supports countless community and non-profit ventures. This award was specifically designed to recognize just such a business.
Our 2017 award winner has supported the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum through its in-kind services and donations for the past four years. Company founders Kevin and Judy Switick and John Slaughter approached the museum with a proposal to assist with promotion and marketing. At a meeting in 2013 with members of the museum's Board of Directors, the Switicks and John Slaughter presented a tentative plan to donate the services of AVIAN's Director of Communications, Tara Strickland. The museum directors were thrilled; the museum's new building was soon to be under construction, and the museum had several part-time staff members but no resources to create the type of marketing plan envisioned by AVIAN. The gift was a tremendous boost to morale.
Over the first 18 months of AVIAN's involvement, Tara Strickland worked with members of the museum's exhibit team to develop a new logo and style guide. The logo is now in use on business cards and letterhead. This aspect alone required many hours beyond what AVAIn had initially proposed.
Tara is still involved with exhibit development, and museum communications continue to evolve with her astute guidance. She has either completely authored or edited five press releases published within the last year, and has also taken the lead on creating a branding plan for the museum to maintain logo, font and tone consistency in communications with the public. She has developed several tabletop signs fro the museum including one membership promotion. Most of all, Tara has always maintained an "on call" attitude with regard to emails and calls from the museum.
While work was underway, AVIAN proposed assistance with developing a new website for the museum. The museum provided the content, but the design and development of the website were carried out by AVIAN staff. The new website, http://paxmuseum.com, gives the museum, which is still a mostly volunteer effort, a professional face to the world.
AVIAN came on board with the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum when many in the community doubted that the museum would ever succeed. The company has stayed with the museum and has continued to help the museum staff think strategically about communications. AVIAN is a true partner with the museum and has contributed vital resources that do not contribute to the company's bottom line. This partnership has been entirely about investing in the St. Mary's community.
The St. Mary's County Chamber of Commerce is pleased to present the 2017 Community Service Award to AVIAN LLC.