Meet the Crisis Experts
We’re experienced professionals with decades of experience and deep expertise in strategic communications, print, journalism, risk management, marketing, social media, website development, media relations and public affairs, cyber security, branding, investor communications, change management, crisis and reputation management, training and coaching. ICM experts are available at a moment’s notice to provide support for virtually any issue.
Over the years, ICM and its team of crisis experts have provided communication planning, training and consulting services across scores of industries and virtually every kind of crisis. Our work spans much of North America and several overseas locations.
ICM has forged a strategic partnership with the Unified Strategies Public Relations international network to supplement our consulting staff. As a charter member of USPR, ICM’s strategic partnership enables us to deliver additional on-site consulting support and expertise across virtually every major market in the US and several international locations.
ICM Senior Consultants are crisis management experts in their industries, each with more than 20 years’ executive experience.
Deborah Hileman, SCMP
President and CEO
A certified strategic communication management professional (SCMP), 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, media relations, 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 chaos and crisis, Ms. Hileman has earned a reputation as a trusted 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 deaths, 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 business education programs at the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Stanford University, the University of Virginia and the University of Denver.
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 Communication Certification Council and serves as a Board member of the Invisible Disabilities Association, a Colorado-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
ICM Vice President, Business Development/ Senior Consultant
Industry Specialty: Manufacturing
Concurrent with Sean being an ICM senior consultant, he is president and managing director of Evolving World Communications, a Charlotte, NC-based communications agency. ICM clients benefit from Sean’s 20+ years as a chief communications strategist and advisor to the President/CEO and senior leadership teams of global FORTUNE 500 companies. His knowledge and tactical proficiency stems from guiding the C-suite through such public policy, major crises and change management issues as:
- Multi-billion dollar merger integrations;
- The lingering aftermath of the Bhopal, India chemical accident;
- Asbestos litigation;
- Global tobacco industry litigation and settlement;
- Security & Exchange Commission and Internal Revenue Service investigations stemming from Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues;
- National Labor Relations Board investigations and hearings;
- Class-Action Shareholder litigation;
- Child cancer cluster related to Illegal chemical dumping;
- Environmental releases during chemical plant operations;
- Chemical plant explosions; and,
- Workplace fatalities.
Applying knowledge as a former state and federal lobbyist, he created and executed a consolidated media relations, government affairs & community relations strategy that netted a chemical manufacturer three federal permits to incinerate liquid hazardous waste, including the first such permit granted in U.S. EPA history.
A former award-winning print journalist and credible, articulate corporate spokesperson, Sean coached senior executives for high profile interviews on 60 MINUTES, DATELINE, FRONTLINE and scores of other significant print & electronic placements. During his tenure with the National Safety Council, Sean designed and led grassroots campaigns that culminated in 50 states passing legislation mandating automobile front-seat safety belt usage and later, rear-seat child safety seats for infants and developing children.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Sean earned a B.S. in Public Relations from Northern Illinois University and has completed the Program on Negotiation at MIT-Harvard University Law School and coursework in Content Strategy for Professionals from Northwestern University.
Rita Chappelle, APR
ICM Senior Consultant
Industry Specialty: Food and Drug Manufacturing and Distribution
Rita leads the firm’s Food & Drug sector group after serving as a senior level communicator for U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Small Business Administration. She was also an award-winning television reporter and producer and a print journalist for The Washington Post, Detroit Free Press, the Afro-American Newspaper and for the Valley News Dispatch/USA Today. As a political aide, Ms. Chappelle served as Public Information and Crisis Communications Officer for the late D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and managed communications for the State of Maryland’s finance programs under two governors.
MaryAnn Freeman, Ph.D.
ICM Senior Consultant
ICM Senior Consultant
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.
ICM Senior Consultant
Industry Specialty: Energy/ Oil & Gas
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.
ICM Senior Consultant
Industry Specialty: Health Care
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.
ICM President Emeritus and 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.