Get to know us!
Jon Schmid, President and CEO
Jon is president and CEO of Cook + Schmid. His prior experience includes more than a decade of
work as a professional journalist at a number of publications, including the Chicago Sun-Times,
one of the nation’s largest metropolitan daily newspapers. As a journalist, Jon was twice
nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Specializing in strategic counsel and media relations, Jon helps corporate, non-profit and
governmental clients better manage their reputations with media and other key stakeholders. His
clients have included NASSCO, M Ship Co., Koehler Kraft, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Forward Ventures, and others. Jon’s work in developing a four-page newspaper insert for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s (SDCRAA) site selection initiative was awarded a 2005 Bronze Anvil by the Public Relations Society of America. Before founding Cook + Schmid, Jon was a founding partner of Gable Cook Schmid Public Relations (GCS-PR), which grew to become the seventh largest public relations firm in San Diego in five years.
In addition to his experience with the Chicago Sun-Times, Jon was a database editor for the
Raleigh News & Observer, an editor for a news wire service in Los Angeles, and a bureau chief for a boating publication. Jon continues to practice freelance journalism, often combining his love of writing with his passion for sailing and travel. His story about former America’s Cup skipper
Dennis Conner’s restoration of a 1925 Q-class sailboat ran as the cover story in the English
publication, Classic Boat.
Jon grew up in San Diego and he is active with a number of local civic and industry organizations. He is a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. Jon is also a 2004 graduate of LEAD San Diego. Since 2001, he has donated his time to provide public relations and media relations support for the annual San Diego Wooden Boat Festival, which donates all proceeds to Challenged America.
Jon earned an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri. He has won numerous
journalism awards for investigative reporting. Jon led the Cook + Schmid teams that captured a
Silver Anvil and a Bronze Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America in 2007, 2009 and 2010. In 2007, Cook + Schmid was the only San Diego Agency to win the national industry awards both for its strategic programs (Silver Anvil for branding and reputation management) and creative tactics (Bronze Anvil for media relations).
Emily Anderson, Account Executive
Emily is an account coordinator at Cook + Schmid and focuses on community outreach, media relations and account support for clients including SCS Engineers and San Diego County Department of Mental Health Services. She is a blossoming public relations professional fresh from graduating San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations, and minors in French and interdisciplinary studies.
Emily previously interned with Scatena Daniels Communications, an award-winning boutique communications agency, where she garnered media coverage for a variety of nonprofit clients.
Emily graduated summa cum laude and was named the outstanding graduate in public relations of her May 2011 class. In 2010, Emily received the Glen Broom PRSA San Diego Scholarship, a prestigious award given annually to a PRSSA member pursuing a career in public relations.
John Carpenter, Writer
John Carpenter is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.He has also appeared on many regional and national television and radio programs, primarily discussing events he has covered. He has travelled all over the United States and as far away as Northern Ireland covering major breaking stories on deadline. Over the course of more than 25 years in the business, he has produced thousands of stories on a wide variety of subjects. Now based in Chicago, he is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune Business Section, and also specializes in corporate writing projects and public relations consulting.
Cheryl Dye, Director of Economic Development
Cheryl has managed award-winning city and county community and economic development (ED) programs for more than two decades. She has specialized in founding and advancing ED departments for communities ranking among the fastest-growing in the country. Cheryl has developed economic development strategic plans and marketing plans and been responsible for overseeing comprehensive business recruitment, assistance, and retention activities. She has also served as vice chancellor of community relations for a private university campus, responsible for all advertising, public relations and media relations. Cheryl has established and/or managed three state-designated Enterprise Zones and a Recycling Market Development Zone.
As ED Director for the City of Moreno Valley in the Inland Empire, Cheryl developed a comprehensive Council-adopted ED Strategy which included a target market analysis and strategic marketing agenda. She initiated broad-based promotional activities, including record-breaking business conferences targeting LA and Orange Counties, newsletters, special events, advertising and media campaigns, award-winning videos, collateral materials, city exhibits, a foreign trade mission, and targeted outreach efforts. She established a Business Loan Program, launched the 12,000-acre Oleander Industrial complex, and coordinated issuance of IDBs.
As ED Manager for the City of Chula Vista in San Diego County, Cheryl created an inter-departmental ED Team and again spearheaded development and implementation of the city’s first ED Strategy as well as first ED element of the city’s General Plan. A key strategic goal was to “enhance the City’s image to encourage business investment.” Cheryl played an instrumental role in establishing the city’s Hitech Zone and recruiting tech-based firms, including Leviton, Hitachi and Dai Nippon. She also played a leadership role in creating the award-winning Border Environmental Commerce Alliance (BECA), a public-private partnership dedicated to advancing the environmental technology industry in the San Diego-Tijuana region. Cheryl was Project Manager for recruitment of a four-year university campus and secured designation of land for a future regional technology park.
Cheryl subsequently served as ED Manager for the city of Riverside where she built a team of ED professionals and focused their efforts on highly targeted recruitment of upscale retail, restaurant, office and technology-based firms and expansion of the University Research Park. Updating the city’s marketing plan, the team developed an online property site selection program and demographic database, conducted advertising and media relations campaigns, produced collateral materials, sponsored real estate brokerage forums and VIP tours, and participated in trade shows. The team assisted property owners and developers with recruitment efforts and facilitated business park land use policy reform. Results included attraction of targeted office, retail, and tech-based firms and the structuring of a $26 million financial assistance package for a major local employer.
Virginia Green, Controller
As Controller, Virginia has over 25 years of financial management experience and expertise. Her diverse background in small business and corproate environments, makes her an asset to the Cook + Schmid team. She has experience working with both public and private sectors clients.
In her role, Virginia directs all financial aspects of the business including accounting practices, budgeting, financial planning, as well as human resource administration and benefits. By using analytical and problem-solving skills, Virginia provides the leadership necessary to keep the agency running efficiently and smoothly.
Virginia graduated from San Jose State University with a B.S in Business and an emphasis in Accounting. She is a member of several Alumni groups, Southern California Financial & Accounting Professionals, San Diego CA Accounting and Finance Professionals, and is a QuickBooks Pro Advisor. In her spare time, Virginia enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and yoga.
David Kodama, Account Manager
David Kodama is an award-winning journalist with 20 years experience creating content for business, technical, trade and consumer publications and member associations.
He has served as the Editor of BWB Magazine, Pacific Coast Sportfishing magazine and all Service Support Professionals Association (SSPA) content including the association newsletter, white papers, best practices committees, case studies, conference sessions and live webcasts. In his first year with BWB Magazine, the publication was presented with a WPA Maggie Award for Most Improved Magazine based on its content and graphic design improvements. David has also functioned as Senior Editor with Managing Automation, eCommerce Business and Advisor Media writing feature articles, columns and interviews. With Advisor Media, he directed the launch and content of seven publications and three conferences.
With Cook + Schmid, David has been involved in the creation and development of both print and online newsletters for clients including the San Bernardino County Office of Administration and Santa Fe Irrigation District. He also researches and develops content for the City of San Diego Redevelopment Agency.
David’s freelance writing has also appeared in Western Outdoors magazine and Cabelas Outdoor Journal. He has had the privilege of attending the Stanford Professional Publishing Course.
Rachel Kulis, Account Supervisor
Rachel Kulis has managed and implemented communications and public affairs programs for more than 13 years. She has dedicated her public outreach career to effectively educating stakeholders, and changing behaviors and attitudes.
Rachel’s strong project management skills are complimented by her ability to creatively write informational materials, strategically prepare marketing plans, effectively plan special events and methodically identify target audiences.
Rachel assisted the Carlsbad Municipal Water District to significantly change water use and conservation behaviors through a series of nine short public service announcements, collateral materials, news releases and social media. She also coordinated outreach efforts to support the successful implementation of mandatory water use restrictions and the approval of increased water rates.
Rachel received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Arizona and a public relations certificate from George Washington University.
Debbie Robertson, Ph.D., Director of Science Strategy
Debra Robertson, Ph.D., is a specialist in the strategic assessment of technologies and products for startup, high growth and established research, commercial and hospital environments. She helps clients define the competitive landscapes for their technologies, evaluate product development and intellectual property strategies to ensure pathways to commercialization, and position these assets positively to key audiences and the marketplace.
Robertson has more than 15 years postgraduate expertise in antibody development, enzyme and
cytokine development, protein and genomic engineering and proteomic technologies. As a former
director of intellectual property for several biotechnology companies, she is also experienced in
licensing, strategic planning and early stage fund raising.
In addition to her scientific and business background, Robertson is especially skilled at effectively
communicating detailed scientific principles to the non-scientific community, including investors,
analysts and the media. She has been a contributing writer to Nature Biotechnology for more than a dozen years.
Clients include a major cancer research center, start-up and midsize biotechnology companies and investment bankers. In 2003 she was recognized as the San Diego Business Journal’s “outstanding woman in business.” Robertson has a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.A. in biology from the University of California, San Diego.
JoAn Tamares, Graphic Designer
JoAn Tamares leads Cook + Schmid’s graphic design team, which helps clients translate identity
appropriately for branding, advertising, and communication programs. Her experience crosses travel and tourism, the education sector, and real estate development, and encompasses both print and digital media.
At Cook + Schmid she has been directly involved in the firm’s award-winning design work for public sector clients. Specific projects include: 1) the agency’s forest stewardship, fire prevention and education campaign, 2) voter outreach and education program, and 3) At Your Service program, all for San Bernardino County. Other public sector projects: a program to promote 211 and destigmatize homelessness for the Department of Health and Human Services for Riverside County; refining the brand and redesigning a family of fact sheets, brochures, banners and other collateral for the City of San Diego Redevelopment Agency; and for the
Pinnacle Award Program for Athena San Diego.
Prior to joining Cook + Schmid, JoAn worked for the Schindler Marketing Group. JoAn holds a degree in graphic design from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.