The Institute for Crisis Management team comprises experienced professionals with deep expertise in strategic communications, print, broadcast and online journalism, risk management, social media, website development, media relations, branding, investor communications, change management, crisis and reputation management, training and coaching. Our experts are available at a moment’s notice to provide support for virtually any issue.
Among our senior consulting staff:
Deborah Hileman, CMP, President and CEO. A certified communication management professional (CMP), business leader, coach and consultant with more than 30 years’ experience in public and private companies and non-profit organizations, Ms. Hileman has led high-performing communications and marketing teams in health care, manufacturing, insurance and financial services, nonprofits and higher education. Her most significant areas of expertise include strategic communications planning and reputation/crisis management, change management, employee engagement and communication training. She is a FEMA-trained NIMS incident commander with experience as a national EMS public information officer during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), Dean (2007), Ike and Gustav (2008).
Known as a voice of calm in the midst of chaos and crisis, Ms. Hileman has earned a reputation as a trusted communication strategist and advisor to board members and C-suite executives, operations leaders and other organizational stakeholders. She has developed and implemented successful communication strategies for numerous business issues, including mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcies, natural disasters, labor strikes, criminal prosecutions and federal civil investigations, workplace violence, executive malfeasance, investor litigation, wrongful death, harassment and abuse investigations, among others.
A regular writer and blogger on business communication topics, she is the author of “Building a Crisis Early Warning System by Empowering Employees to Speak Up”, published in The Book of Employee Communications Strategies & Tactics, vol. 5, PR News Press, and “Attorneys as Allies: Balancing Stakeholder Needs with Legal Concerns During a Crisis”, published in The Writer’s Guidebook, Vol. 2, PR News Press.
Ms. Hileman lives and works in metro Denver, Colorado. An avid proponent of lifelong learning, she earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Purdue University, and has completed post-graduate studies in public administration at Indiana University and executive education programs at the University of Michigan, the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University, the Stanford University School of Business and the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
Ms. Hileman is involved with several community and professional organizations, including the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, the Public Relations Society of America, the International Association of Business Communicators and other organizations. She is the 2017-18 chair of the Global Communications Certification Council, and serves as a Board member of the Invisible Disabilities Association, a Colorado-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Larry Smith, ICM Senior Consultant. Larry is a master communicator when it comes to managing crisis. He has 50 years’ experience in the news and public relations business—as a former television news director, press secretary to a Senator, and newspaper editor, and works with executives of organizations seeking to minimize the negative public reaction to a business crisis.
Larry also helps organizations be prepared for a crisis by developing proactive crisis communications plans, and leads many of ICM’s workshops and custom leadership training programs, including the ICM Crisis Certification course. His expertise and history with ICM has been instrumental in identifying trends and contributing to the ICM Annual Crisis Report. Larry joined ICM in the mid-90s as a Senior Consultant and was president of the company from 1999-2012.
Dan Larson, ICM Senior Consultant. Dan is a communications professional with three decades experience in corporate public affairs and independent journalism. His early career as a reporter and editor developed journalistic skills that serve him well today. His “inside the tent” experience at multinational energy companies provides insight into the dynamics of large organizations, the key roles and qualities of leadership.
Dan has led Joint Information Center operations and worn the Public Information Officer vest, or parka as the response required. He has provided crisis response media and stakeholder training for executives, operations managers and field techs.
A regular correspondent for industry trade publications, Dan’s articles appear in American Oil & Gas Reporter, Shale Play Water Management and Bakken Oil Report magazines. He has been invited to speak at industry events, community forums and tribal conventions.
Dan chaired the communications committee at state and regional trade groups, testified before legislative panels and developed briefing materials for industry lobbying efforts. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, the Denver Press Club and Denver Petroleum Club. In 2013, Dan was awarded an Outstanding Career Achievement in Public Affairs Award from the Western Energy Alliance.
Jon Pushkin, APR, ICM Senior Consultant. Jon is president of Pushkin Public Relations and a senior consultant with ICM. His candid, proactive approach to public relations has made him one of Denver’s most widely respected PR practitioners. Jon is a past chair of the Independent Practitioner’s Alliance of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and a past president of the Colorado Chapter of PRSA. He is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by PRSA and his work has been recognized with awards from PRSA, Colorado Healthcare Communicators and the American Marketing Association.
Jon has deep experience in health care public relations and crisis communication. He has designed and implemented dozens of successful integrated strategic communications programs including: Mission Driven Careers, a primary care workforce recruitment campaign for Colorado Community Health Centers; Checkoff Colorado, a groundbreaking, collaborative, statewide public awareness campaign for the charitable funds on Colorado’s tax checkoff program; Be Stroke Smart, a national public awareness campaign for the National Stroke Association; Beat the Bug, a flu shot awareness program for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment; Suspect Sepsis, a public education campaign about a leading cause of hospital deaths; and GettingUSCovered, a new Colorado health plan for uninsured people with pre-existing conditions.
Ray Hutchins, Senior Cyber Security Advisor. Over the span of a wide-ranging career, Ray Hutchins has acquired extensive experience in a variety of businesses and industries and has bootstrapped and successfully sold several companies – including the sale of a chain of primary care medical centers to HCA. All of his previous businesses were built around an IT core, and in order to make those businesses succeed, Ray had to master the IT side of things.
Today he leads two cyber security companies – CyberCecurity (CC) and Data1Qbit (D1QB).
CC provides comprehensive cyber security solutions to medium-sized companies and their boards of directors. D1QB is a nationally significant cyber security start-up focused on intelligence gathering related to cyber security companies and products.
Ray Hutchins is a rare commodity in our digital economy. He is an experienced, CISSP-trained IT and business executive who seamlessly straddles both the corporate and cyber security worlds. He guides the technical and business teams as they fight the front-line cyber security battles that are part and parcel of today’s corporate landscape.
Robert Irvine, APR, ICM Founder and Senior Consultant Emeritus. Robert is dedicated to reducing the likelihood of a crisis occurring and helping organizations minimize the impact of crisis situations when they cannot be avoided. Robert has provided crisis consulting in the aftermath of a variety of industrial and environmental accidents. He spent nine days in Alaska after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, advising the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, which was involved in the initial response. The handling of this crisis by Exxon still serves as a benchmark when comparing other similar disasters that have occurred in the years since.
More recently he has advised clients on appropriate internal and external communications and media relations in crisis situations involving violent strikes, executives facing grand jury indictment, product recalls, plant closings, unfounded rumors about AIDS, a wrongful death investigation, threats by animal rights activists, boycotts, and a variety of other business disruptions. His expertise spans industries and crosses domestic and international borders.
Robert is the author of When You Are the Headline, a book for management and public relations professionals whose organizations may be involved in a major news story. He is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of the PRSA Counselors Academy.