February 12, 2019 - 1:26 PM EST
IABC Houston Hosting Social Permitting Luncheon
IABC Houston Hosting Social Permitting Luncheon


Renzi Stone to discuss how to use digital advocacy to support infrastructure project success

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 Oak Blvd.

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 projects.

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 permitting strategies.”

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.

About Saxum

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.

Todd Gregory
(Office) 832.756.7322 or (Cell) 713.501.1116

Source: Business Wire (February 12, 2019 - 1:26 PM EST)