Public opposition to infrastructure projects is increasingly becoming
the norm, costing companies millions of dollars in delays and associated
costs. Pipelines and other energy infrastructure projects are the most
tangible examples, but other industries are being affected as well
(think opposition to Amazon HQ2), potentially halting development across
the nation and, at worst, slowing down America’s economy.
In light of this current climate, the Houston chapter of International
Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is hosting “Digital
Advocacy: Engaging Stakeholders with Technology to Support Project
Success” with Renzi Stone, founder and CEO of the integrated
communications consulting firm Saxum.
He will be presenting at the organization’s February luncheon from 11:30
a.m. to 1 p.m. CST Thursday, Feb. 21 at Masraff’s in Houston, 1753 Post
Stone will focus on social permitting, which is the process of securing
the public’s permission and acceptance for a project, even if it’s not
technically or legally required. Furthermore, he will discuss how social
permitting and stakeholder engagement are crucial components of
effectively managing corporate initiatives, campaigns and development
projects, providing concrete examples in which communicators are
incorporating technology in strategic efforts to better engage diverse
stakeholders and community leaders.
“Gone are the days where regulatory permits for infrastructure projects
are enough,” Stone said. “Opponents and activists now have the power to
delay a project, leading to millions of dollars in added costs. It is
critical that organizations understand the tools now necessary to
effectively communicate with key stakeholders to change hearts and minds
in support of major projects. Social permitting is that solution, in
addition to an array of other digital and communication strategies.”
Currently in the energy industry, there are more than 9,000 miles of
pipeline under construction in North America with more than 26,000 miles
of pipeline planned. As the United States continues to develop its
energy independence, energy companies, as well as other industries, need
these social permitting solutions to advance their infrastructure
For example, through opponents, activists and public disapproval, the
recent Dakota Access Pipeline experienced $503 million in delays and
associated costs. Similarly, the Bayou Bridge Pipeline project was
stalled at a construction cost of $2 million per day.
“There’s a fundamental public mistrust of the energy industry and its
ability to protect the environment and consumer’s pocketbooks,” Stone
said. “These stakeholder concerns and others need to be considered in
advance, and many of the delay costs can be avoided with social
For more information and to register for this Feb. 21 IABC Houston
luncheon, visit iabchouston.com.
About International Association of Business Communicators
International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) is a global
network of communication professionals committed to improving
organizational effectiveness through strategic communication.
Established in 1970, IABC serves over 14,000 members in more than 70
countries for networking, career development and personal growth. The
IABC Houston chapter is the fourth largest in the world, and is
dedicated to continually improving professional abilities, sharing
information and resources, setting standards for excellence and building
credibility in the business world. Members work in employee
communication, public relations, marketing, investor relations,
writing/editing, videography, photography, and graphic and website
design. For more information, visit www.iabchouston.com.
Launched in 2003, Saxum is an integrated marketing communications agency
offering public relations, advertising and digital services to help
clients elevate their brand and reputation. With offices in Oklahoma
City, Houston and Tulsa, Saxum serves a diverse national, regional and
local client base in a variety of industries. The agency has been named
to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies
consecutively since 2011 and has been named to the Metro 50 as one of
the fastest-growing companies in the Oklahoma City metro area for the
past 10 years. For more information, visit www.saxum.com.
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