During his 26-year public relations career, Jerry Franz has worked for only two companies. "I don't like change," the 48-year-old Baltimore native admitted, laughing.
His new job brings him back to the company where he started, Omnicom Group's Porter Novelli. Franz recently joined the PR firm's Washington office as evp and director of strategic health alliances in PN's health and social marketing practice.
Most recently national vp of communications at the American Diabetes Association, Franz now oversees 10 staffers and reports to Rob Gould, senior partner and general manager of PN in Washington. His clients include the Alzheimer's Association and the National Cancer Institute.
"What's really great about having Jerry come back is [that] he's an alumnus," said Gould, who worked with Franz for eight years during his first tour with the agency.
Franz first arrived at PN after earning his bachelor's degree in speech communications from the University of Maryland in 1977. "When I joined Porter Novelli, it was one office; I was the 18th staff member," Franz recalled. "It was dynamic. I got to work with some bright, tremendous people."
After 15 years at PN, Franz put in 11 years at the ADA. He helped develop alliances between the ADA and federal government agencies such as U.S. Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An avid runner who enjoys movies and the theater, Franz was turned on to PN by a professor at UM. He worked with the shop's founders, Bill Novelli and Jack Porter, and counts them among his most influential mentors.
Franz said he hopes to give similar lessons to young PR execs. "I had great mentors," he said. "I'm a big believer in staff development and training."