Public Relations

Marketing is not the only way to get your message out. Where advertising ends, public relations, or PR, begins. How can you get the attention of local or industry media? Which development at your organization might make a great story for a wider audience?

Imagine helps clients strategically communicate with their audiences through public relations and reputation management. We provide the following public relations services: media, community, member, employee, industry and customer relations; award nominations; content creation and client announcements; photography; promotions; coaching and more. Below are just some ways Imagine’s PR team helped clients raise their community profiles. What story do you want to tell?

Sheet Metal Workers Local 88 Training Center

The recruitment and retention of workers in the unionized sheet metal industry is an ongoing effort on the national stage as well as in the local unions. Since 2005, Imagine Communications has worked with the Sheet Metal Workers Local 88 Training Center in Las Vegas on ongoing initiatives to bring in quality apprentices first with a secondary focus on the recruitment of women and people of color.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 5% of all (union and non-union) sheet metal workers are female, so two sisters in one program was something special. When it was discovered in early 2023, through Ed Abraham, Local 88’s training director, that Crystal Arias was a second-year apprentice while her sister, Ruby, was in her fourth year, set to graduate in June, we knew it was a story that had to be told.

The experiences of these two sisters illustrated how inclusive and supportive the unionized sheet metal trade can be. The tactic chosen was a feature article highlighting the sisters and their apprenticeship journey. Crystal Arias is a math whiz who got interested in apprenticeship by helping her sister study for the entry exam. Ruby Arias had two children while in the apprenticeship, and helped shape the Las Vegas skyline by working on Allegiant Stadium and the MSG Sphere while pregnant. These bright, capable young women were perfect examples of Las Vegas union sheet metal workers.

The Arias sisters were both open to publicity — to quote Ruby Arias, “yeah, make us famous” — so Celestia Ward, Imagine’s public relations coordinator, interviewed them. The Instagram and Facebook posts went out with the hashtag #WomenInConstruction on March 10, and Imagine’s public relations team began work on a feature article that could be sent out to industry outlets.

The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR) News published the piece as part of its SNIPS curated content for April 12, 2023, and then in its “In the Cut” e-newsletter on April 20, 2023, which is emailed to approximately 10,000 recipients. Over the next few days, the AFL-CIO reposted the story on its Facebook page and then-Twitter feed, which led to more reposts by other organizations. ACHR News later ran an updated version of the story for its October print edition, with a print run of 27,000 — 1,000 of which were handed out at the annual Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning National Association (SMACNA) convention. Leadership at Local 88’s training center was pleased with the coverage and reported pride at being celebrated by the AFL-CIO.