|Founder(s)||Tom Synhorst, Doug Goodyear and Tim Hyde|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., United States|
|Key people||Chairman Tom Synhorst
CEO Doug Goodyear
|Services||Communications services, lobbying, public affairs consulting|
DCI Group is an American public relations, lobbying and business consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. The company was founded in 1996 as a consulting firm, and has since expanded its practice to become a public affairs company offering a range of services. DCI Group provides communications and advocacy services to clients including large US corporations, trade associations, non-profit organizations, and government organizations including educational institutions. Services include communication campaigns to solicit public action on legislative issues, the creation of grass-roots fronts for corporate campaigns, and campaigns for clients on social media websites.
DCI has been described as a "Republican public relations firm". Oil company ExxonMobil is a confirmed client (by an Exxon spokesman), and DCI Group has engaged in climate change denial campaigns, paying skeptical scientists to write editorial pieces. Other notable clients of the firm have included Boeing, General Motors Corporation, Microsoft, the U.S. Telecom Association and the military dictatorship of Myanmar.
DCI Group was founded in 1996 by Tom Synhorst, Doug Goodyear and Tim Hyde as a grassroots consulting firm based in Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, Arizona. Early work included organizing leadership seminars for corporate and political leaders, plus direct mail, telephone and grassroots communications.
In the early 2000s, DCI launched its government affairs practice to provide advocacy services for clients, among them are companies such as AT&T and institutions such as the University of Arizona.
By 2005 the company had more than a hundred employees, and counted blue-chip and Fortune 50 companies among its clients. Notable clients have included Microsoft, VeriChip Corporation, Boeing, General Motors Corporation, and the U.S. Telecom Association.
DCI Group provides public relations, communications, government affairs and lobbying, and business consulting services to a wide range of clients, including international corporations, non-profit organizations and trade associations. In addition, the firm develops and manages grassroots communications campaigns and uses social media to create communications and PR campaigns for clients.
DCI has offices in Washington, D.C., Brussels, and Houston, TX. It has managed public affairs and communications campaigns worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Personnel and structure
As of July 2011[update], DCI Group leadership comprises a team of sixteen partners, including founding partners Tom Synhorst, Douglas Goodyear and Tim Hyde. Synhorst currently serves as the company's chairman. Goodyear is the CEO of the company, and previously held the role of vice president at a marketing and PR firm in North Carolina. During the 1980s he was involved in campaign politics in Colorado and New Jersey, and was the political director of the Colorado Republican Party from 1985 to 1987. Hyde is a partner at DCI and has been responsible for a number of the firm's long standing technology industry clients. Prior to the founding of DCI, Hyde was the senior director of public issues at R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for 10 years. DCI's president is Jim Murphy, who previously ran a political consulting company for 15 years and had also worked in political roles, including two years at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Brian McCabe serves as a managing partner of DCI Group. McCabe was also president of Progress for America and led the 1996 New Hampshire primary campaign for Bob Dole. Justin Peterson is a managing partner in the firm and oversees issue areas including energy and international expansion. Prior to joining DCI he worked for Representative Jon Lynn Christensen and also served as Iowa political director for Elizabeth Dole's 2000 presidential campaign. Other notable individuals formerly associated with DCI Group include James Tobin and Chris LaCivita who were both publicly linked to the 2002 New Hampshire Senate election phone jamming scandal.
The firm is structured into five areas of work: public relations; message development; DCI Digital; Field Force; and Strategic Alliances. Message development is DCI's communications practice, while DCI Digital focuses on digital communications, Field Force is the company's grassroots communications practice and Strategic Alliances focuses on constituency relationship management.
Public relations & communications
DCI Group's main areas of expertise are in public relations and communications, and the company has developed campaigns for major companies and organizations worldwide. The firm provides public relations services using new media to communicate a client's message, in addition to more traditional methods. Among its public relations campaigns was the 2006 launch of Aqua Sciences' water harvesting technology, which was named by Time magazine as one of its best inventions of 2006. DCI Group offers a number of different communications services, including corporate communication, crisis management, new media development and message development.
DCI's digital communications team, DCI Group Digital, was founded in the late 2000s and provides online outreach for its clients, including campaigns using social networking services to raise awareness for clients and related issues. Notable online campaigns developed by DCI include the launch of a nationwide social networking campaign in 2008 for "A Complaint-Free World", a movement started by a reverend in Kansas, and a campaign with The Stafford Foundation, featuring Bill Cosby, encouraging volunteership for charitable causes in the U.S. by sharing stories of "good deeds". In May 2010, DCI was involved in creating a Facebook campaign with video game developers Activision Blizzard, the Call of Duty Endowment 2010 Memorial Day Campaign, which aimed to raise funds for veteran's charity Hire Heroes USA. The company was also retained by the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign to build support for repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy related to gay and lesbian personnel.
In addition to its client campaigns, DCI's digital team carries out research into the use of social media. In early 2011 it released a report which compared the use of social media services such as Twitter and Facebook on a state-by-state basis.
In 2006 the author of a YouTube video parodying Al Gore's global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth was traced back to DCI Group through routing information in e-mails from the author to the Wall Street Journal. The alleged production of the video by DCI Group led to critical coverage of the company in the media, due in part to its work for ExxonMobil. DCI Group did not admit or deny producing the video.
In addition to its traditional public relations and communications work, DCI Group specializes in "grassroots" communications, i.e. the creation of front groups that serve corporate interests while posing as grassroots activists. This type of campaigning was an early focus for the firm, which has continued to develop and manage such campaigns using such strategies as direct mail and social media. In 2008 it was reported that the company had done extensive work for Freddie Mac, running a multi-state effort against Republican Senator Chuck Hagel's bill to tightly regulate the company. Freddie Mac acknowledged the hire, and DCI stated it had complied with "all applicable federal and state laws and regulations".
DCI's recent work has included a campaign mobilizing employees of the Education Management Corporation against a proposed regulation focused on for-profit colleges. It was one part of an overall industry effort that resulted in more than 90,000 comments being received by the Department of Education, more than for any previous rule. In 2011, the company produced a campaign for the Retail Industry Leaders Association, arranging for small business owners to meet with their senators and holding press events, as part of the organization's campaign supporting the Durbin Amendment regulating bank debit card transaction fees.
According to Corporate Europe Observatory, DCI Group also has close ties to the European Privacy Association, an EU lobby group.  EDRi asserts that EPA has used the services of both DCI and an Italian lobbying firm, Competere, the staff of which "overlaps" with DCI Group.
DCI Group has developed campaigns for clients in areas of public policy including telecommunications policy, overseas trade, copyrights, patents and intellectual property issues, and federal appropriations. Clients for its government advocacy services have included organizations in the education, pharmaceutical, health care, technology and telecommunications industries, and corporate clients, non-profit groups and trade associations. Specific past clients have included ExxonMobil, for whom the company has lobbied Congress, the United States Telecom Association, and General Motors. Since 2008, DCI Group's income from lobbying has decreased from over $3 million to less than $400,000 per year.
In addition to client representation, DCI has also established forums for individuals working in politics and policy arenas to meet and discuss important public issues. In 2011, the firm offered a series of policy discussion events for U.S. and European political and policy figures called "American Conversations".
Its first overseas project and only foreign client to date, according to Doug Goodyear, came in 2002, when DCI Group was hired by Myanmar's military junta, following the release of political prisoners in the state, including Aung San Suu Kyi. DCI's work for the government included public relations efforts to improve the leadership's image in the U.S., raising the profile of more moderate officials and emphasizing its negotiations with Suu Kyi. According to media reports, the firm was paid $348,000 to represent the Myanmar government. DCI Group ended its contract with the Myanmar government in 2003.
In May 2008, DCI Group's Doug Goodyear and Doug Davenport resigned from the John McCain presidential campaign following media coverage that was critical of the company's work for the Myanmar government. According to Goodyear, they resigned in order to prevent further distraction from McCain's campaign.
In 2000, DCI Group began publishing an online magazine, Tech Central Station, "hosted" by James K. Glassman. In its original incarnation, TCS was primarily funded by sponsors, including some DCI clients, a fact reported in the Washington Monthly. The magazine reached a readership of around 100,000 per week by September 2006, when it was sold by DCI to its editor, Nick Shulz.
In 2009 DCI Group won several industry awards for its work with The Stafford Foundation and its "People's Inaugural Project", including PR News's Platinum PR Award for best pro-bono campaign. In 2011 the company was awarded a Reed Award for use of social networking technology for its work with Activision Blizzard on its Call of Duty Memorial Day Campaign to raise money for Hire Heroes USA.
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