Blue Engine Message & Media and JDA Frontline will merge to form a bipartisan communications and public affairs agency that, states a release, will provide “cutting edge communications, digital and issue advocacy services for corporations, nonprofits and advocacy groups across the country. The two firms, based in Washington, D.C., together bring decades of strategic communications, digital and public affairs experience on both sides of the political aisle and a team of professionals with deep expertise executing successful communications campaigns for clients.
“Blue Engine’s acquisition of JDA Frontline comes as clients are increasingly looking for bipartisan teams to service their public affairs needs and manage a volatile, divisive and increasingly challenging political climate. The firms will maintain their respective names through the end of the year, officially combine on January 1 and relaunch with a new name in 2019.
“Blue Engine is led by Erik Smith, (shown above) David Di Martino and Allison Clear Fastow. Trevor Francis leads JDA Frontline. The four will serve as founding partners of the new agency which will include a strong team of 25 communications professionals with experience ranging from Capitol Hill to the White House, government agencies to journalism, and from large public relations agencies to political campaigns. Blue Engine and JDA have collaborated previously on several clients, helping issue advocacy coalitions, nonprofits and corporations reach diverse audiences and shape policy debates across the country.
“The two agencies offer a wide range of services, including reputation and brand management, digital strategy, coalition development, crisis management, message development, issue advocacy, grassroots mobilization and grasstops advocacy, public relations planning and media relations. The agencies also share a common approach – offering substantive senior-level engagement at all times, encouraging collaboration and delivering creative solutions for their clients.
““By bringing our two firms together, we are ushering in a new era of creative and collaborative thinking for our clients, helping them communicate successfully with any audience, anywhere,” said Erik Smith. “Blue Engine Message & Media and JDA Frontline have a track record of success working together on a number of projects in recent years and our firms both prioritize providing our clients senior level counsel at all times. Joining forces just makes sense.”
““Blue Engine and JDA Frontline combine the talent and experience found at global public relations firms with the individualized service clients expect from their agency partners,” Trevor Francis added. “We may come at politics or policy from slightly different perspectives, but in combining our practices, we will continue to approach politics the same way – by respecting differing points of view and working together collaboratively, as we think all others in Washington should.”
“Smith founded Blue Engine in 2006. Prior to starting the firm, he worked for more than a decade at the intersection of politics and policy as a lead strategist and counselor to senators, congressmen and party committees. In 2008 and 2012, he was a senior advisor for advertising and message development to the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where he designed, developed and placed television, radio and print advertising. He also produced high-profile special events for the Obama campaign, including the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions. Smith also served as creative director for the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
“Di Martino joined Blue Engine as a partner in 2011. He previously worked at the highest levels of national politics and public policy, having held senior positions on several campaigns and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and during 15 years in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. Before Blue Engine, he founded his own independent media and communications firm.
“Fastow has been with Blue Engine since 2009 and became a partner in 2013. She leads communication strategy for some of the nation’s largest corporations, nonprofits and issue advocacy campaigns. She joined the firm following her tenure managing corporate communications at a boutique agency in Boston.
“Francis has more than two decades of experience working in politics, government and public relations. He joined JDA Frontline five years ago following service as Communications Director at the Republican National Committee, as Press Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce and on numerous Republican presidential campaigns. Francis also served in leadership positions for more than 10 years at FleishmanHillard and Burson-Marsteller.
“Upon completion of the merger, JDA Frontline founder Jim “Bear” Dyke Jr. will focus on other business ventures and will not have a role in the new company.”