Modernize Your Communication Strategy | Our Takeaways from the IBTTA Summit

Author: Carly Schaefer Published: August 20, 2019

International Bridges, Tunnels and Turnpikes Association Summit
Recently, Charla Skaggs and I attended the IBTTA Communication and Change Management Summit in Seattle. This conference is especially relevant to the work of MFA’s communications team as we provide services to Washington State Department of Transportation’s Toll Division. The key discussion items in the conference program were new communications tools and tactics, challenges and how to address them, and change management.

Who Was There
There was a star-studded presenter lineup, including WSDOT Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar, University of Washington Transportation Center Director Mark Hallenbeck, several directors and communications managers from roadway and toll authorities across the U.S., and MFA’s very own Charla Skaggs. Charla put together a great panel of women discussing the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement program that has been at the forefront of transportation conversations in the Puget Sound for nearly 20 years.

Why We Attended
MFA has extensive experience supporting the WSDOT Toll Division in developing and implementing a comprehensive communication, stakeholder engagement, and government relations strategy around the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program.

Serving as an extension of the Toll Division team, we’ve worked directly with the WSDOT secretary and assistant secretary to support ongoing division initiatives and coordination with partner agencies and the Office of the Governor to make sure efforts remain consistent with statewide priorities and incorporate ongoing legislative and statutory requirements.

We were able to touch base with industry leaders from around the country on best practices for disseminating public information at this conference. We learned that video is still a popular tool, and when it comes to effective and timely communication, social media still beats out traditional media.

Key Takeaways
In each of the sessions at the IBTTA conference, the importance of a communications and public engagement plan when dealing with an infrastructure change was a reoccurring theme.

I believe MFA clients truly benefit from working with us because we provide integrated communication services while other in-house staff consult on the technical aspects of their projects. Our communications team is highly skilled at presenting integrated communications approaches to challenging situations affecting communities across Washington and Oregon.

We believe that in order to effectively engage community members, we need to meet them where they’re at—in the grocery store, online, and through face-to-face communication. We are excited to implement new tools and technologies into our public engagement plans as we help clients modernize their communication strategy.

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Our Work with WSDOT
  • Communication and Government Relations

    Client: Washington State Department of Transportation, Toll Division

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