Ian Dawson was named executive producer of Steele VFX, a specialist in visual-effects production, compositing and animation for commercials, music videos and television. Dawson, 36, will oversee day-to-day operations, sales and marketing, and long-term strategic planning for the Santa Monica company. He most recently was senior producer at R!ot in Santa Monica, where he was involved in commercial projects for Skittles, Chevrolet, Jeep and Samsung.

Chris Canning was promoted from assistant mixer to mixer at RavensWork, a Venice studio that provides audio post-production services, sound design and original-music composition for commercials. Canning, 34, has been with RavensWork for six years and recently served as mixer on spots for Chevy Impala, Pontiac and Toyota.


VogtGoldstein in Westport hired two new employees and promoted two staffers. The account team added Deirdre Fletcher as vice president, management supervisor. Fletcher worked for Gateway Bank in Norwalk and Citibank in Stamford prior to joining VogtGoldstein as a consultant in June 2002. Heather Hellmann was hired as an account executive. Previously, Hellmann was an account executive and media buyer at Flem- ing & Roskelly in Newport, R.I. Michele Olson was promoted from human resources and office manager to vice president of operations. Before joining VogtGoldstein, Olson held various positions at Marketing Corp. of America in Westport. Cortney Lawrence was named a senior art director. She previously freelanced and served as art director at Marketing Corp. of America.


The Zimmerman Agency hired David Shaw as vice president, management supervisor. Shaw comes to the Tallahassee shop from Suissa Miller in Los Angeles, where he was group account director, working with clients such as Iomega, Chanel and Princess Cruises. His résumé also includes stops at BBDO in New York, where he was an account supervisor on Pizza Hut and DuPont, and TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, where he was a management supervisor on Kinko’s and Sony PlayStation.

Starmark International installed Mark Reino as vice president of technology markets. He will handle technology accounts such as Motorola at the Fort Lauderdale shop. Reino, who has more than 10 years of experience in marketing and technology, most recently was director of marketing at BluePoint Data Storage in Boca Raton.


Sears, Roebuck and Co. in Hoffman Estates named Robert O’Leary senior vice president of public relations, communications and government affairs. O’Leary, 52, will lead all aspects of the company’s internal and external communications and will report to Sears chairman and chief executive officer Alan Lacy. His appointment is effective July 1. O’Leary joins Sears from The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., where he was senior vice president of global communications since March of last year, overseeing external and internal communications, community relations and corporate philanthropy. Prior to that, he was chief public relations officer for Mobil Corp. He also served in senior public relations and marketing- and advertising-communications roles for IBM Corp., United Technologies, Unisys Corp. and Bacardi.


Len Witham joined medical-specialty shop Lowe Grob in Cambridge as a senior writer, working on various accounts. Witham previously had served in creative positions at numerous ad agencies in the New England area, concentrating on high-technology and life-sciences clients such as Bayer Diagnostics, FTP Software, Genzyme and NEC.


Colle+McVoy Public Relations named Bernice Neumann a counselor to help lead its food-marketing practice. Neumann, who is based in the shop’s Minneapolis office, will handle the North American Olive Oil Association and other consumer work and will also help with new business. She formerly was at Morgan&Myers in Minneapolis, where she worked on accounts such as the California Raisin Marketing Board, ConAgra Foods, General Mills and Pillsbury. Colle+McVoy, which also has an office in Los Angeles, is owned by Toronto-based Maxxcom, a subsidiary of MDC Corp.


Relay Sports and Event Marketing appointed Chris Bryan vice president of North American operations and managing director of its St. Louis office. Bryan, 34, was director of Relay’s Italian office.


Vita Harris, executive vice president, director of strategic planning and research at Draft New York, was elected to the shop’s board of directors. Harris, who joined the Interpublic Group agency in 1996, has more than 13 years of experience at N.W. Ayer, Ted Bates and Saatchi & Saatchi Compton, working with clients that included AT&T, Gillette, Citibank and British Airways.

Andrew Malenda, 28, joined Northern Lights Post in New York as an editor. Before arriving at the post- production house, which specializes in advertising, broadcast promos and long-form TV and movie projects, Malenda worked at The Refinery in New York, where he cut spots for the Independent Film Channel, Bravo, Lifetime and ESPN, among others. He also has worked on indie films such as Garmento and Amnesia. His motion-picture experience began in 1996, when he started working as a negative cutter at N&D Film & Video in New York.

Syracuse-based MRA hired three new employees. Jonathan Richman was appointed a junior copywriter; he previously interned at Eric Mower and Associates in Rochester as a copywriter. John Fazio joined as an account executive; he most recently was an account executive at Ryan Communications in Syracuse. Kathleen Kuhnen was named an assistant account executive; she formerly interned at MRA in the account- services department.


Sullivan Direct, a direct marketing agency in Cincinnati, hired three new associates: Dave Rinaldi, vice president, business development; Ross Schlemmer, group creative director; and Anand Matthew, data analyst.


Maryanne Keeney was named senior account executive in public relations for RDW Group in Providence. She had been with Schneider & Associates in Boston for more than two years as an account supervisor. At RDW, she will work on Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, TransCanada and Consumer Credit Counseling.


Rawle-Murdy Associates promoted Melissa Flynn to director of public relations. She joined the Charleston shop last year as an account executive. Prior to joining RMA, Flynn was a public relations manager at Laine Communications in Knoxville, Tenn.