Founder and Owner, Tri-Cities Public Relations, Kennewick, Wash.
Thirty-year public relations veteran Mike Paoli established Tri-Cities PR in August 2019. His specialty is media and crisis management training, and expertise covers the full spectrum of public relations. He is a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and serves as Co-President of the Mid-Columbia Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.
Since 1990, Mike has worked with leaders and news media reacting to terrorism, aircraft disasters, humanitarian crises, national labor disputes, executive malfeasance, crime and environmental mistakes. He has advised cabinet members, theater-of-war commanding generals and Fortune Global 500 CEOs on issues ranging from unauthorized nuclear weapon movements to corporate takeovers. He co-led the first U.S.-Japan crisis management exercise on Okinawa, lectured at the Defense Information School, and led a joint information center assessed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency as “best seen in the nation.”
Prior to Tri-Cities PR, Mike spent a decade advocating for public power employees and clean energy solutions on behalf of Energy Northwest, where he last served as Chief Communication Officer. His team drove inclusion of nuclear in the state’s clean energy standard; improved the capability of two governing boards; helped leaders strengthen connections with employees; and helped secure a 20-year license extension for the Northwest’s only nuclear power plant.
Mike joined Energy Northwest after leaving the Air Force in 2009 as the leading Defense expert in risk and crisis communication. During 20 years he commanded an air station supporting a 1,000-strong NATO community, directed the Pentagon’s Air Force Press Desk team, managed the reputation of America’s largest combat wing (7,200 servicemembers), served on five aircraft accident investigations (including the Croatia crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others, and the Italy collision that killed 21 Europeans), responded on scene to the Khobar Towers terrorist attack, directed earned media work for the largest two-day airshow in North America, and orchestrated all on-site news media logistics for two presidential visits and the knighting of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf by Queen Elizabeth II.
Mike studied business administration at the New Mexico Military Institute; and holds a bachelor’s degree in English from New Mexico State University, a master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma, and a master’s degree in military operational art and science from Air University. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Nuclear Reactor Course for Utility Executives, the University of Idaho’s Utility Executive Course and the Air Force's Air War College.
Mike Paoli, Lt. Col., U.S. Air Force retired