Randy Richardson named National
Communicator of Achievement

Man at podium holding plaque alongside two women.Sept. 8, 2017 — Randy Richardson of Evanston, Ill., has received the 2017 Communicator of Achievement Award from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW). He is the first male winner in the 60 years the award has been given.

He received the award during the organization’s annual conference, held this year in Birmingham, Alabama. NFPW, celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2017, is a nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum.

The Communicator of Achievement award is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their field. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates from around the country, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to NFPW and to the community.

Richardson, a member of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, is a senior attorney advisor with the Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Evanston, as well as a freelance writer, author and literary community builder.

He started his career as a newspaper journalist in California and Illinois. After switching to law, he continued writing numerous articles and essays for print and online publications on a freelance basis. He authored two highly regarded novels published by Eckhartz Press: “Lost in the Ivy,” which the online publication Gapers Block named one of the notable books of 2005, and “Cheeseland,” named by Conversation’s Book Club as one of its top 100 books of 2012.

Essays from Richardson’s blog about his experiences in publishing a book and being a new dad in his early 40s were published in Chicago Parent magazine and several anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Father and Son Soul.” He also has written many essays about baseball and, particularly the Chicago Cubs. He was a contributor to the Lovable Losers Literary Revue and to the anthology, “Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year.” Currently, he writes regularly for the Wrigley Nation blog.

In addition to his own writing, Richardson is a founding member and president of a nonprofit writers group called The Chicago Writers Association. This group has grown to more than 500 dues-paying members and established itself as one of Chicago’s leading writing communities. The group has its own annual book awards, speakers’ bureau, online literary magazine, writing contest and book review service and also launched the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

Through this work, he has helped build a bridge to unite the city’s diverse literary groups. This has included organizing numerous literary events, including the Summer Social, a popular annual networking event with the Illinois Woman’s Press Association. Richardson has received many honors for both his legal and writing efforts, including state and national awards in the NFPW Communications Contest.

Runner up in the Communicator of Achievement competition was Elaine Hobson Miller of Ashville, Ala., past president of Alabama Media Professionals. A former journalist and current freelance writer, she has written for 60 publications and authored two books.

Loretta Hall of New Mexico Named National Communicator of Achievement

Sept. 9, 2016 – Loretta Hall of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has received the 2016 Communicator of Achievement Award from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW). She received the award during the organization’s annual conference, held this year in Wichita, Kansas.

Loretta Hall (New Mexico) named NFPW 2016 National Communicator of Achievement.
Loretta Hall (New Mexico) named NFPW 2016 National Communicator of Achievement.

NFPW is a nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the communications spectrum.

The Communicator of Achievement award is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their field. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to NFPW and to the community.

Hall, president of New Mexico Press Women, is a prolific freelance writer and author of seven nonfiction books.   She writes for many technical publications in the engineering and construction fields. A former high school mathematics teacher, she enjoys explaining technical subjects to nontechnical people.

She teaches short courses for writers and speaks to diverse audiences about the topics of her architecture and space history books.

Her 2011 book, “Out of This World: New Mexico’s Contribution to Space Travel,” won first place (nonfiction book, general) in the New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Contest.  Her 2014 book, “Space Pioneers in Their Own Words,” was named Best Book in the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.  Her latest book, “The Complete Space Buff’s Bucket List,” was released in January 2016.

This spring, she was named one of the top 10 speakers in the National Space Society’s Space Ambassadors program.

Barbara Awalt of LPD Press/Rio Grande Books says, “Loretta is a great example of women in science and math for the younger generation.  It is an example that we need more of in every state.”

Hall also is a member of Albuquerque Press Women, SouthWest Writers, and the Historical Society of New Mexico’s speakers bureau. Her community service includes speaking about writing as a profession at schools; serving in her church; judging science and engineering fairs; and coaching volleyball and soccer teams.

Bonnie Atwood of Virginia named National Communicator of Achievement runnerup

Sept. 9, 2016—Bonnie Atwood of Richmond, Virginia, was named runner-up for the 2016 Communicator of Achievement Award given by the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW).  She was recognized during the organization’s annual conference, held this year in Wichita, Kansas.

Bonnie Atwood (Virginia) named NFPW 2016 National Communicator of Achievement runnerup.
Bonnie Atwood (Virginia) named NFPW 2016 National Communicator of Achievement runner-up.

NFPW is a nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing career across the communications spectrum. The Communicator of Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond  their field.

Atwood, who owns Tall Poppies Freelance Writing LLC,   writes about family, health and human rights. She is an experienced professional lobbyist for professional associations and nonprofits, and is a founding member of the Virginia Association of Professional Lobbyists.  She also is a  longtime supporter of the cause of children with disabilities.

In 2007, her proposal for a historical marker to recognize Black Hawk, leader of the Sauk Nation, was accepted, and the marker was erected at the former site of the Eagle Hotel in Richmond.

The immediate past president and a  longtime board member of Virginia Professional Communicators (VPC), Atwood fought—and conquered leukemia while holding the presidency from 2012-14, leading the organization during one of its most productive terms. She  received the Communicator of Achievement Award at the state level from VPC this spring, making her eligible for the national competition.

The winner of the 2016 national Communicator of Achievement Award was Loretta Hall of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a freelance writer and author of seven nonfiction books.

Communicator of Achievement Nominees 2016

Communicator of Achievement 2016 affiliate winners and national nominees: Donna Francavilla (Alabama), Mark Fowser (Delaware), Elizabeth Granger (Indiana), Cheryl Miller (Kansas), Lori Potter (Nebraska), Loretta Hall (New Mexico), Pamela Gibb (North Dakota), and Bonnie Atwood (Virginia). Not pictured: Lynda Exley (Arizona), Carol McCandless Anderson (Colorado), and Arthur Brauer (Illinois). Photo by Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas.
Communicator of Achievement 2016 affiliate winners and national nominees: Donna Francavilla (Alabama), Mark Fowser (Delaware), Elizabeth Granger (Indiana), Cheryl Miller (Kansas), Lori Potter (Nebraska), Loretta Hall (New Mexico), Pamela Gibb (North Dakota), and Bonnie Atwood (Virginia). Not pictured: Lynda Exley (Arizona), Carol McCandless Anderson (Colorado), and Arthur Brauer (Illinois). Photo by Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas.