Mark Kaley Wins Bronze Stevie for Maverick of the Year – Business Services Industries

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When the American Business Awards (ABA) announced its 2024 winners this past April, Mark Kaley, PR Manager for Otter Public Relations, was among the top honorees. Kaley was named Maverick of the Year in the Business Services Industries category by the ABA, placing him among the Bronze Stevie award winners.

“I am thrilled to have received this award,” Kaley said. “This incredible achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire Otter PR team and the collaborative environment we’ve fostered. I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve accomplished by bringing our unique skills together to pursue success for our clients.”

More than 3,700 business professionals vied for this year’s ABA awards, seeking commendation in a wide range of categories. The Maverick of the Year award recognizes executives or managers who have affected the most positive change in their company or industry over the previous year.

“While growth in much of the world economy has recovered slowly from the COVID-19 pandemic, the American economy continues to show remarkable resilience and growth,” said Stevie Awards president Maggie Miller. “Our 2024 Stevie winners have contributed to that successful recovery through their innovation, persistence, and hard work. We congratulate all our winners in the 2024 ABAs and look forward to celebrating their achievements during our June 11 awards banquet in New York.”

Recognizing and celebrating Kaley’s career accomplishments

Kaley is a creative, driven, analytical, and business-savvy marketing professional who joined the Otter PR team as a publicist in October 2021. Less than a year later, he was promoted from publicist to account strategist, where he began utilizing his talent and experience to lead a team of publicists. Three months later, he became the company’s first PR Team Manager. 

Throughout his long and productive career, he has consulted with hundreds of clients, including over 500 small businesses, guiding them in the nuances of the public relations process. Clients in virtually every sector of the business world turn to Kaley for assistance in getting their products and services to market, securing financing, and working with management to improve efficiency and profitability. 

On many occasions, Kaley has introduced his clients to Fortune 500 companies for joint ventures, marketing partnerships, and other similar business efforts. He also regularly utilizes his extensive network of contacts to introduce clients to sports and entertainment celebrities for local and national endorsement opportunities.

When it comes to overall media coverage, Kaley has experienced overwhelming success with his PR clients. The opportunities he has secured include placements in top-tier publications including CNBC, Yahoo! News, CBS News, Time, Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch, U.S. News & World Report, Investor’s Business Daily, Tech Crunch, Tech Target, Bloomberg, Insider, Spectrum News, Miami Herald, The Street, Charlotte Observer, Forbes, Fortune, and more.

Reshaping business operations with optimization and creativity

As PR Team Manager for Otter PR, Kaley has implemented a series of enhanced processes and procedures that have helped Otter PR grow its client portfolio by over 300%. His expert insights have empowered the firm to optimize its client management strategies and give its publicists the capacity to handle a larger client load while supporting a healthy work-life balance.

“The work Mark has accomplished as PR Team Manager has helped take our entire team to the next level,” says Otter PR co-founder and CEO Scott Bartnick. “We can now handle more clients and increase profits tremendously, while still having high satisfaction from the team in terms of work-life balance.”

Kaley has also been instrumental in creating and developing new revenue streams for Otter PR, including a social media program that adds considerable value to the brand boosting Otter PR clients’ experience.

“Enhancing brand awareness through media relations has been Otter PR’s focus since the beginning, which has allowed us to become a global leader in that space,” Kaley says. “In today’s market, however, a strong and healthy social media presence can massively support brand awareness. I saw the opportunity to enhance the services we offer to our clients by assisting them with their social media efforts. Our social media services provide businesses with the obvious benefit of carrying out the day-to-day posting that every business needs, but more importantly, it helps them get the most out of their placements. By expanding our clients’ social media efforts, we create a process that informs their followers of key media coverage and helps forge stronger connections with the reporters who cover them, leading to even more valuable coverage throughout their PR campaigns.”

Kaley’s contributions to Otter PR also include playing an instrumental role in fine-tuning the company’s sales process. His influence raised the performance of the entire Otter PR team to new heights in 2023, earning the company the No. 33 spot on Inc. Magazine’s 2024 list of fastest-growing private companies in the Southeast US.

“Moving forward, I’m excited to continue innovating and driving success for our clients and the agency in the years to come,” Kaley says. “I want to offer my utmost thanks to everyone who has supported us and helped make this achievement possible.”

American Business Awards: An elite achievement for business professionals

Each year, a new round of ABA winners join a prestigious group acknowledged by a panel of business professionals for their significant contributions to the business landscape. Created in 2002, the ABAs acknowledge professionals in a wide range of fields, including business management, marketing, human resources, public relations, and technology. Its highest-ranking award — The Stevie — has been bestowed upon some of the business world’s most inspiring and accomplished executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, and thought leaders.

More than 12,000 business professionals are nominated for Stevie Awards each year, with separate categories for US, Asia-Pacific, Middle Eastern and North African, German, and International markets, as well as awards for outstanding women in business. Over 250 judges serving on 10 specialized committees participated in the judging process for the 2024 ABAs, evaluating applicants based on integrity, innovation, and creativity. 

ABA awards are bestowed upon companies for specific categories including Startup of the Year, Innovation of the Year, Best New Product of the Year, App of the Year, Fastest Growing Company of the Year, and more. All organizations operating in the US, regardless of size, are eligible to nominate employees for the American Business Awards category, including public and private organizations in both the for-profit and non-profit categories.

“We are delighted to acknowledge the wide range of American organizations in The 2024 American Business Awards,” stated Michael Gallagher, founder and Executive Chairman of the Stevie Awards. “This year, we witnessed a surge in nominations in categories like Product Innovation, Innovation of the Year across diverse industries, and Technology Categories, mirroring the influence of new and emerging technologies shaping our nation.”

Otter PR continues to collect coveted awards

Kaley’s Stevie Award win follows a long list of honors earned by Otter PR and its team members in recent years. Greg Linelli, an account strategist for the firm, also received the 2024 Silver Stevie Award for Communications Professional of the Year.

On the company level, Otter PR’s inclusion on the list of 2024 Inc. Magazine’s fastest-growing private companies in the Southeast US was a major victory. The list — an extension of the Inc. 5000 regional rankings — honored Otter PR for “innovative achievements” in the business world resulting in “sustainable growth and jobs.”

“We are incredibly proud to be acknowledged by Inc. as one of the top job creators in the Southeast,” says Otter PR co-founder and CMO Dr. Jay Feldman. “We have worked hard to optimize our operations and maximize the value we add to our clients’ businesses, which has resulted in significant and sustained growth over the past few years. It’s enabled us to add dozens of well-paying jobs to the community and contribute to the health of our local economy. Being named among the high-performing businesses on the Inc. list has made us even more committed to growing our agency in a way that allows our team, clients, and community to thrive. We are excited to see how our continued growth and success will impact our team and our clients’ businesses in the future.”

Otter PR received the People’s Choice Stevie® Award for Favorite Public Relations Company as part of the ABA’s 2023 presentations. The coveted award is decided by public vote and signifies the highest level of prestige and appreciation in the PR space.

In 2022, Otter PR received the Company of the Year award from the BIG Awards for Business and a Manifest Global Award for Most Reviewed Company. That same year, Otter PR was also inducted into the prestigious Two Comma Club, which acknowledges companies that make more than $1 million in revenue through a ClickFunnels marketing campaign. 

“Our ongoing focus on increasing PR impact through innovative practices has placed us at the top of our industry,” says Bartnick. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of [Mark] Kaley and the dozens of other Otter PR employees who serve our clients every day, we have been able to consistently deliver results that not only impress our clients but also stand out within the PR industry as a new standard of excellence.”

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