Since 1987

2015 …

Paris offices were attacked. Syrian refugees surged. A deal was reached with Iran. Marriage equality was affirmed. Police violence was protested. Volkswagen emitted a scandal. Drug lord “El Chapo” escaped. John Boehner exited. Paul Ryan became Speaker. Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn. NASA flew by Pluto. Pope Francis stopped by the U.S. Adele sang “Hello.” Letterman said goodbye. Tom Brady was deflated. The Blackhawks goaled The Cup. Star Wars smashed records. Donald Trump stumped. The Rodgers Group pumped.

As health benefits, wellness incentives and plan options continued to be an important focus for employers, clients relied on The Rodgers Group to streamline and target messaging for key employee communication programs. Through a cleanly designed poster campaign and overview materials, RGL helped direct employees of Cook County to “connect to information about your benefits.”

Taking a slightly lighter approach in spotlighting the savings associates can put back in their pockets through premium reductions and free HSA cash contributions, we created an attention-getting program for True Value Company’s annual enrollment aimed at the benefits of considering plan options, comparing costs and making the right health care decisions.

Finally, our group teamed with Enrollment Benefit Concepts, a provider of comprehensive worksite benefits implementation, communication, education and national enrollment services. The branding project involved logo development along with creative and strategic consultation on the launch of a new website, including design elements, copy editing and organization, blog content and compelling new bios reflecting the organization’s personal approach to service.

 

2014 …

The Ebola virus took hold. ISIS gained ground. The U.S. and Cuba eased up. Protestors stormed Ferguson. Hackers invaded Sony. Colorado inhaled pot. Sochi gamed the Olympics. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral. The Senate went Republican. Barbara Walters and Derek Jeter called it a day. Jay Leno left The Tonight Show. Robin Williams left a loss. The polar vortex took a plunge. The Rodgers Group stepped up.

As clients continued to seek solutions that help employees navigate complex medical and dental benefit plan options, our team delivered several communication programs that met the challenge with streamlined materials, compelling graphics and clear messages.COOK2014slide

In revitalizing benefits communication for long-standing client Cook County, RGL freshened the program to capture attention and motivate employees to review all options during open enrollment. An aggressive poster series based on the theme “Take Simple Steps to Enroll” was supported by an enrollment brochure designed with a “Step Ahead to Enroll” message that highlighted dates, locations and informational events.
Designed for multi-use beyond open enrollment, a benefits overview brochure and resources insert also served as an orientation tool for new employees throughout the year.

As True Value Company strengthened its focus on educating associates about high-deductible plan options and wellness incentives, The Rodgers Group developed annual benefits materials based on visuals and messages wrapped around an engaging “fall path” theme. Through posters, postcards, on-site table tents and a redesigned enrollment guide, the well-designed awareness campaign featured consistent messages, clear comparison charts and easy access to informational videos to help True Value associates understand options, review plans, consider changes and gather information to enroll online.

 

2013 …

Tragedy struck the Boston Marathon. North Korea threatened. The crisis in Syria escalated. The world mourned Nelson Mandela. Edward Snowden sought asylum. George Zimmerman went to trial. Pope Francis was elected. Breaking Bad was watched. Roger Ebert was missed. The Blackhawks captured the cup. The Royals gave birth. “The Fiscal Cliff” loomed. Miley Cyrus twerked. Diana Nyad swam. “Selfie” was word of the year. Argo was best picture. The government shut down. The Rodgers Group ramped up.

We launched the year in our new office space at 161 N. Clark, complete with conference room and inspiring views of Chicago’s skyline and lakefront. We also took off with an energizing new client – a trio of entrepreneurial brothers establishing the first dedicated electric bike shop in Chicago. To help roll out and promote the concept, The Rodgers Group strategized names and branding for the business (WanderBikes™) and created a memorable identity for the brothers (The Wander Boys) as Chicago’s electric bike experts.

We continued building momentum with marketing projects for Parkview Orthopaedic Group, including advertising, specialty brochures and business cards, in addition to design, writing and photography support. The Affordable Care Act played an important role in communication campaigns for our clients. Cook County Benefits Office, True Value Company, Cetera Financial Group and Lou Malnati‘s Pizzeria continued to rely on The Rodgers Group to provide clear, engaging, easy-to-follow messages and materials as employees navigated changes in annual benefits open enrollment.

2012 …

Unrest rattled Syria. A ceasefire took hold in Gaza. Obama took on Romney. Unemployment dropped. Chicago teachers went on strike. Facebook went public. Abraham Lincoln went Hollywood. Twinkies went under. David Petraeus resigned. Whitney Houston was mourned. Fifty Shades of Grey was read. Hurricane Sandy slammed the east coast. San Francisco scored the World Series. Serena Williams reclaimed Wimbledon. Michael Phelps made a splashback. Food trucks were on a roll. Rover landed on Mars. The Rodgers Group landed new clients.

We launched the year with an important project – establishing a web presence for The Barbara and Stephen Miller Foundation, a new grassroots philanthropic foundation providing emergency fund grants to low-income individuals. At the same time, we began rolling out the redesign of www.therodgersgroup.com.

By mid-year, Altair Engineering Inc. tapped into The Rodgers Group’s expertise. As part of an image campaign targeting the academic market, we helped create ads, recruiting materials and a blueprint for a redesigned Careers site, including freshened copy, engineer interviews and intern profiles. In addition, we developed a critical alma mater survey to gather key information. In tandem, we engaged in comprehensive research to provide strategic recommendations on global brand messaging for Altair.

We also began work on an extensive identity program for new client Parkview Orthopaedic Group, including a redesigned logo, business cards and marketing and informational brochures. Several new clients called on us to assist with benefits communication projects, including Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and Loyola University. Once again, we worked with True Value Company and Cetera Financial Group to create compelling campaigns to communicate important changes related to annual benefits open enrollment.

We capped 2012 by refreshing the identity of Sommers & Fahrenbach, a supplier of full-service printing to the Chicagoland area for over 90 years. In addition to a redesigned retro logo that reflects the company’s long-standing reputation, RGL also developed print materials highlighting the updated look while reinforcing S&F’s experience, service and quality.

2011 …

Arabs revolted. Protestors occupied Wall Street. Japan was rocked by a 9.0 quake. Gabrielle Giffords inspired. Charlie Sheen was fired. The Royals wed. Kim Kardashian split. Bin Laden was taken down. Republican debates heated up. Casey Anthony was on trial. Moammar Gadhafi was targeted. Steve Jobs was remembered. The Iraq War ended. The economy stalled. Wellness was the word in the workplace. The Rodgers Group delivered the message.

As companies adopted critical changes in health care strategies, clients continued to rely on our expertise to clearly communicate medical plan options focused on health and wellness. The Rodgers Group vigorously steered comprehensive annual open enrollment benefits communication programs for the Cook County Benefits Office (our 20th year), Cetera Financial Group and True Value Company. From posters and print materials to web banners and e-blast campaigns, our team distilled complex information to create compelling messages.

In August, we were saddened by the loss of longtime illustrator and collaborator Bill Petersen. As part of the RGL team for 20 years, Bill applied his artistic talent throughout the RGL portfolio on accounts that included Sears, Material Sciences Corporation and Travel Technology Group. Bill’s humorous cartoons brought our annual desktop calendar to life and were displayed in a special 2012 “Best of Bill Petersen” commemorative calendar. His wit, warmth and creative spirit will always be remembered.

2010 …

Haiti and Chile quaked. Iceland spewed ash. Spain won the World Cup. Chicago scored the Stanley Cup. Airport passengers were scanned. BP oil was spilled. Chilean miners were saved. Conan O’Brien was displaced. Democrats were replaced. Tea Partiers emerged. Lou Pinella retired. Home sales stalled. Prince William engaged. United and Continental merged. Bristol Palin danced. Health care reform advanced. The Rodgers Group spread the word.

The urgent need for clarity in benefits communication kept our team busy throughout 2010.  Long-standing clients relied on our strategic skills in helping employees grasp the impact of health care reform on their medical benefits. In addition to providing communication materials for True Value Company’s 2010 annual enrollment, for the 19th year we created a unique and comprehensive open enrollment communication program for the Cook County Benefits Office.

True Value also relied on The Rodgers Group to once again provide design expertise in updating the company’s Code of Conduct and Business Ethics handbook. Based on associate survey results, the communication program has been cited as key to providing a better understanding of important workplace issues. Additionally, our team supplied timely content for an intranet microsite and museum-style presentation directed at retailers to spotlight the benefits of remodeling to the successful Destination True Value store format.

Finally, RGL was called on to provide creative and tactical consultation aimed at streamlining the website of The Hadley School for the Blind. We also forged a new relationship with JMB Insurance, delivering several benefits communication programs and overseeing public relations projects addressing changes in senior management.

2009 …

Obama was in the White House. Tiger Woods was in the doghouse. The Chicago Cubs were sold. Unemployment rose. The Balloon Boy was deflated. Health care was debated. Swine flu advanced. Vampires romanced. “John & Kate Plus 8″ was out. Thrifty was in. Lady Gaga made an entrance. Oprah announced her exit. Michael Jackson was remembered. The Hubble was repaired. The Rodgers Group recharged.

In spite of a challenging economy, it was an energizing year. Long-standing clients leaned on our team to collaborate on significant projects. We helped design and implement fundraising materials in support of Painting a Brighter FutureSM – the signature philanthropic program of True Value Foundation. True Value also relied on our expertise to develop communication materials to successfully guide associates through 2010 benefits program annual enrollment.

“Get Off to a Healthy Start” was the wellness message launching our compelling poster series for the Cook County Benefits Office. We also provided writing, design, production and fulfillment for communication materials overviewing benefits to facilitate annual enrollment. The campaign marked our 18th year providing benefits communication services to Cook County.

Finally, reflecting our strengthened resources, consulting capabilities and commitment to make communication and technology accessible to all, we redesigned therodgersgroup.com. Improving navigation and optimizing content to follow accessibility guidelines, we’ve opened our doors even wider to remove barriers for people with disabilities.

2008 …

The economy melted down. The presidential race heated up. Obama made history. Madonna made fifty. Castro resigned. Consumer spending declined. The government bailed out. Batman cashed in. General Motors stalled. Sarah Palin spoke. Tina Fey spoofed. Michael Phelps made a splash. The Rodgers Group made strides.

True Value Company relied on our team to provide strategic direction and writing in the redesign of their corporate web site -www.truevaluecompany.com. We also helped coordinate research and direct a user group focused on steering the content and redesign of Associatesonline, True Value’s intranet. True Value’s legal department called on our team to assist with the updating and packaging of the company’s Code of Conduct and Business Ethics. Throughout the year we continued to help communicate the success stories behind the rollout of True Value’s new retail store format.

We also continued to play a valuable role in supporting the annual “open enrollment” process for long-standing client Cook County. Providing writing, design, production and fulfillment, this year we updated communication materials for the Cook County Benefits Office with eye-catching new visuals and a focus on the message of wellness.

2007 …

Pelosi headed the House. Toys were recalled. Hollywood rehabbed. Barack took on Hillary. Wildfires whipped California. Home foreclosures spiked. The writers took a strike. Barry Bonds took a hit. David Beckham had some kicks. Al Gore was prized. Paris Hilton was jailed. Karl Rove was history. Hannah Montana cashed in. The Sopranos cashed out. Pavarotti took a final bow. Harry Potter closed a chapter. The Rodgers Group turned another page.

The year was significant on fronts both professional and personal. We continued to strengthen our role as communication partner with True Value Company in the launch of the company’s inaugural President’s Award honoring excellence. Our strategic and creative skills also were applied in the rollout of the client’s innovative new store format – Destination True Value – and continue to serve as an extension of their communication department.

Our work with long-standing clients also moved forward. We remained involved in helping to implement an Intranet redesign for the Technical Center at Baxter Healthcare. Once again we delivered communication materials to support the annual “open enrollment” process for the Cook County Benefits Office and the Office of the Retirement Board.

Finally, the year was marked by the loss of our friend and colleague Cheryl Greene, senior consultant, writer and editor. Following an extended battle with ovarian cancer, Cheryl died in September. Cheryl always will be a part of The Rodgers Group. She had a hand in every project and, during her 17 years with us, helped the firm earn a myriad of awards and recognition. Her presence remains in the outstanding work she completed, the relationships she forged and the respect she earned.

2006 …

Consumers monitored trans fats. Bagged spinach was sacked. Enron executives were convicted. Iraq remained conflicted. New England flooded. Tom Cruised with Katie. Borat blazed the box office. Ugly Betty glowed on the tube. George Ryan was corrupt. Saddam Hussein was sentenced. Tom DeLay was demoted. Britney Spears became untethered. Paul McCartney went un-Heathered. Stem cell research heated up. Immigration issues ignited. North Korea went nuclear. Pluto was reclassified. Rumsfeld resigned. The Democrats rallied. The Rodgers Group revved.

The new year kept us busy with a new client. True Value Company called on us to help develop a communication strategy to deliver awareness and education messages to employees during the rollout of a critical new consumer brand campaign targeting do-it-yourself enthusiasts. In addition to concept development, design and writing for two printed news vehicles, we provided content and design input for the co-op’s quarterly newsletter and assisted with the redesign of associate intranet pages linked to timely co-op news and events.

We continued to move forward with key projects for long-term client Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Working with the Medication Delivery division, we completed a new element for that division’s Technical Center web site – an element focused on new employee orientation. We also received positive feedback regarding a new link that makes information easily accessible to engineers when they are writing protocols.

Our long-standing project work with Cook County also continued with writing, designing, producing and fulfilling communication materials that supported the annual “open enrollment” process for the Cook County Benefits Office and the Office of the Retirement Board.

2005 …

Tsunami aid poured in. The new Food Pyramid rolled out. The Bird Flu loomed. Saddam Hussein fumed. Jessica Simpson degroomed. Pro hockey slid to a halt. The Shuttle relaunched. Watergate’s “Deep Throat” was revealed. Pope John Paul II was revered. Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Terrorists bombed London. Rioters pounded Paris. Everybody loved Raymond. Everybody missed Johnny Carson. Prince Charles was hitched. Martha Stewart was released. Michael Jackson was absolved. Sandra Day O’Connor walked away. John Roberts stepped up to the plate. The Chicago White Sox hit it out of the park. The Rodgers Group scored.

In many ways, it was a winning year. We completed an important research project designed to help the Greater Illinois chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association determine what types of programs will be needed in the development of training for those who work with Alzheimer’s patients. We continued our long-standing benefits communication work with Cook County, including timely information for retirees regarding new Medicare prescription drug plan options.

Ongoing projects with Baxter involved a new employee orientation program for Baxter’s Technical Center and working with engineers to help tailor an online writer’s guide and training program to support more efficient preparation of protocols and reports. We continued to be a key strategic resource to Hewlett-Packard management with surveys developed to target information tools needed to help managers achieve timely communication with employees. We also helped Total Resource Management with a wide variety of marketing and public relations assignments and played an important role in the development of an online training program for a system designed to handle information management to guide projects underway within a third world country. We started work with True Value Hardware and helped Travel Technology Group with an award-winning series of eblasts that complement their marketing offer for clients.

Finally, we were proud to mentor students at Chicago’s Beaubien Elementary School with design, copy and programming assistance as they redesigned their web site.

2004 …

Bush beat Kerry. Hurricanes trounced Florida. The Boston Red Sox crushed the curse. Google launched its IPO. Rover landed on Mars. Martha Stewart landed behind bars. Bill Clinton bypassed. Friends parted ways. Mt. St. Helens spouted. Same-sex marriage simmered.Desperate Housewives surged. Reagan was mourned. Brando left a legacy. War in Iraq spiraled. Gas prices pumped. Flu vaccines dwindled. Michael Moore’s movie mocked. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe shocked. Poker fans flocked. The Rodgers Group rolled and rocked.

Launching the year with new client Total Resource Management (TRM), we provided communication strategy, support and e-training development for this asset management consulting and technology solutions provider based in Alexandria, Virginia. One of their projects, the design and deployment of technology systems to support reconstruction efforts in Iraq. We continued to tap into the technology of electronic surveys to help Hewlett-Packard’s communication group assess how managers perceive their role as communicators and identify training and support resources.

Working with Ivantage Group, an independent agency subsidiary of Allstate, RGL helped the new management team define audiences and develop a strategic communication plan. And we worked with Allstate on several key communication projects for other divisions of the corporation. We also were pleased to help the people of Irving Park Methodist Church launch a first-time web site so that they can take advantage of today’s technology to communicate on a timely basis with an increasingly diverse and younger congregation.

Travel Technology Group called on us to provide creative, marketing and public relations support for numerous projects as they celebrated their 20th “platinum” year as an industry leader in housing, registration and travel management. We capped the year with an exciting project for long-time client Baxter. We are working to develop a new employee orientation program and a protocol writing workshop for engineers.

2003 …

War with Iraq erupted. The Columbia Space Shuttle exploded. The Middle East Peace Plan stalled. SARS struck Asia. Heat waves hit Europe. Sammy Sosa corked his bat. Ben & J. Lo almost tied the knot. POW Jessica Lynch was rescued. Governor Gray Davis was recalled. Rush Limbaugh was rehabbed. Katherine Hepburn was remembered. Chicago garbage piled up. Telemarketers piped down. David Letterman entered into fatherhood. Schwarzenegger muscled into politics. The Cubs slammed their way to a division pennant. The Rodgers Group drove home exciting research.

If ever there was a prevailing theme, the focus in 2003 proved to be on our expanding expertise in using technology to facilitate customized research for our clients. A breakthrough project for the Alzheimer’s Association enabled its targeted survey audience (the scientific community) to link online and complete electronic information, resulting in a streamlined, more efficient process.

Hewlett-Packard continued to turn to The Rodgers Group for guidance in assessing its internal communication resources. In addition to developing a survey to determine how business groups used the company’s internal electronic news and information site, RGL also steered research and focus groups to evaluate and examine the role that managers play in the communication process.

Finally, our team spent the year plunging into a satisfying personal project: coordinating the editing and design of a compelling memoir tracing the career and accomplishments of Washington journalist Gertrude L. Poe, the first female elected to the post of president for a state press association and named the first lady of journalism by the University of Maryland.

2002 …

The war on terrorism took hold. Corporate corruption let loose. Bin Laden was under cover. Arafat was confined. Enron collapsed. An oil tanker took a spill. Martha Stewart got crafty with stocks. England’s queen celebrated a golden jubilee. American Idol was a TV jamboree. Vote rigging chilled Olympic skaters. My Big Fat Greek Wedding scored hot at the box office. Church scandals shocked. The Osbournes rocked. Weapons inspectors returned to Iraq. Pennsylvania miners emerged from below. Steve Fossett ballooned the globe. The Rodgers Group sailed aloft.

It was a challenging year for many companies. They didn’t hesitate to contact The Rodgers Group to steer a variety of communication projects. With a stronger-than-ever senior level team, we had the experience in place to help clients introduce new products, bring the personalities of their companies to the web and expand to other communication ­ from print to high-end electronic.

Entering our 16th year with a client that’s been with us from the start, we created a new employee newsletter for a major business group of Material Sciences Corporation. New clients tapped into our web expertise ­ from spa and salon developer Lenny LaCour to United Financial Group. Progeny called on us to help conduct research with dentists on how to distribute a new product. Hewlett-Packard relied on our advanced technology resources to develop media communication training for members of its executive team. We continued to support Travel Technology Group with ongoing web content, the launch of electronic newsletters, development of a sales CD and public relations and marketing strategies for the rollout of Trek-Quest.com.

On the lighter side, we jazzed the IABC 2002 International Conference by coordinating and promoting a soul-stirring lineup of blues music and dance performances to showcase “the rhythm of Chicago.”

2001 …

Bush was inaugurated. Taxes were rebated. Michael Jordan rebounded. The economy receded. The Chicago Bears revived. Michael Jackson and the Cubs tried. The Mir space station retired. Fans loved Lucy for 50 years. 15 minutes of fame was prolonged by Britney Spears. Venus Williams “Grand Slammed” Serena. The Producersstormed Broadway. Sharks assaulted Florida. Hurricane Michelle pounded Cuba. Terrorism assailed the nation. New York was ground zero. Resilience inspired heroes. Americans came to grips with war. The Rodgers Group held out hope for peace.

In a year marked by the unsettling events of September, The Rodgers Group stood steady as a reliable strategic resource to clients. Our collaboration with Hallmark Cards resulted in a presentation of the award-winning communication audit results at IABC’s International Conference in New York City. We teamed up with Encompass Insurance (formerly CNA Personal Insurance) to prepare a communication plan for its innovative, web-based policy administration system. Ongoing creative work for Travel Technology Group’s web site prompted the client to praise the design and layout as “first class” and the content “solid and eye-catching.”

Our long-standing relationship with Cook County continued. Beyond updating “open enrollment” communication packages for active and retired employees, we produced a procedures manual for the “Timekeepers” who administer benefits for each department. We judged the Best of the Best competition for Sears’ communication professionals and assisted with the awards program. We started work with Hewlett Packard on executive communication training. And we continued work with image and identity programs for several Chicago law firms.

Finally, while helping clients maintain business-as-usual in a climate that was anything but, we responded to world events by launching a Peace Project to promote a message of hope.

2000 …

The job market accelerated. Gas prices soared. Harry Potter flew off the shelves. Yeltsin resigned. Milosevic got the boot. The Dixie Chicks had the beat. Elian Gonzalez made waves in Miami. Hillary Clinton made history in New York. Darva Conger wanted to marry a millionaire. Then she didn’t. Corn was genetically altered. So was Cher. “Survivor” swept the ratings. Regis ruled the airways. Dr. Laura rocked critics. The Subway Series rallied fans. Streisand cashed it in. Bush and Gore duked it out. The Election dragged on and on. The Rodgers Group won the popular vote.

The new millennium brought new clients. And new challenges. The Rodgers Group was called on to help companies crystallize communication messages ranging from eBusiness solutions for iLogistix to a web site developed for Travel Technology Group. Our expertise in research caught the attention of Sisters of Mercy Health Systems, resulting in the launch of an audit of its communication programs. Our collaborative efforts with Hallmark Cards in 1999 won recognition throughout 2000 and resulted in follow-up research – this time, with Gold Crown retailers.

We continued to assist Baxter Healthcare with the creation of professional development tools for its technicians, and for the ninth year, produced benefits “open enrollment” communication packages for both active and retired employees of Cook County. We continue to assist Encompass Insurance (formerly known as CNA Personal Insurance) with delivery of critical messages to employees and independent agents.

On the personal path, members of the RGL team and its circle of creative communicators took on their own eclectic challenges including climbing mountains, teaching art, promoting vision awareness, producing independent films, and putting a best foot forward to master tap dancing.

1999 …

Chicago was pummeled by snow. New York was pondered by Hillary. The economy energized. E-commerce capitalized. Microsoft monopolized. La Niña settled in. Low-carb diets took off. The Blair Witch Project went through the roof. Wayne Gretzky left the ice. Mick Jagger left his wife. Ricky Martin was “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Pokémon was in. Ally McBeal grew thin. The Cubs didn’t win. The century turned. The Rodgers Group was Y2K ready.

Although the prospect of doing business in the 21st century may have been a daunting concept to some, The Rodgers Group was fully prepared. Working for more than a decade with an eye toward the future, we long had been comfortable communicating with tomorrow’s technology. In 1999, our ever-evolving web site proved to be a user-friendly resource for clients and was honored with its first design award. Challenging projects tapped into our expertise – from production of a multimedia tribute presented at a benefit for The Chicago Lighthouse to completion of a comprehensive communication audit for Hallmark Cards. Along the way, the path led us to a rewarding “walk” in Y-Me’s Race Against Breast Cancer. With miles of experience under our belts, the RGL team was fully conditioned to cross into the next century.

1998 …

Sinatra left a void. Swing dancing filled The Gap. Titanic surged. Japan’s economy tanked. Hurricane Mitch went overboard. Sosa and McGwire were a hit. The NBA locked out. Seinfeld took a hike. Monica took the stand. Bill postured. Linda tripped. Newt tumbled. Furbys flew out the door. John Glenn returned to outer space. The Rodgers Group launched into cyberspace.

1998 was another active year. It also marked the year The Rodgers Group went interactive. The unveiling of our new web site propelled our communication capabilities on a worldwide leap. We continued collaborating with long-time clients on challenging projects. In addition to the National Alzheimer’s Educational Conference, our team also worked on benefits communication materials for Cook County’s Employee Health Care Program, which we’ve been involved with since 1992. As the year progressed, Hallmark Cards called on us to manage a major communication audit. Our efforts continued to provide rewards – and awards. A communication package for the Sears Executive Compensation Program was recognized with an IABC Silver Quill. Capping a year of growth, we were pleased to share our good fortune by joining forces with Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization to lend support in the fight to find a cure.

1997 …

El Nino blew in. Ellen came out. Chelsea went away. The Spice Girls hung around. Star Wars gained re-entry. Barbie was reconfigured. Taxes were reformed. Ground beef was recalled. Mike Tyson chomped. Frank Gifford cheated. Marv Albert chafed. The Chicago Bears choked. Al Gore was probed. The paparazzi were skewered. The McCaugheys multiplied. The Rodgers Group expanded.

The finale of another eventful year signaled the start of our second decade in a business that continued to challenge and satisfy. It was a good time to catch our collective breath and reflect. Since first opening our doors in 1987, The Rodgers Group family had grown – not only professionally, but personally. Marriages had bloomed; babies had brightened our lives (and enlivened our schedules); new friends had entered (and departed) the bursting folds of our growing network. Determination and hard work may have helped us thrive, but the opportunity to work with the best clients and colleagues was why we continued to enjoy the ride.

1996 …

Sears Tower relinquished its world title. The Bulls reclaimed theirs. JFK Jr. tied the knot. Bob Dole was in a bind. Madonna became maternal. The Macarena droned eternal. Cigars were hot. Cappuccino was cool. Dennis Rodman wore a dress. Demi Moore wore somewhat less. Di and Charles called it a day. The Rodgers Group called it a decade.

Approaching ten years at the forefront, The Rodgers Group had come full circle. As corporate clients continued to face the evolving challenge of reorganizing, divesting and acquiring new business, the demand for sophisticated and strategic communication expertise was greater than ever. The Rodgers Group integrated new technologies and internal efficiencies. The company took on projects that pulled on its full spectrum of capabilities, technologies and creative solutions. From compensation programs aimed at top executives to policy communication targeting service employees, The Rodgers Group did what it does best – got the message across with integrity, innovation and impact.

1995 …

The baseball strike ended. The trial of the century began. The Republicans heated up Congress. The midwest sweltered. Cal Ripken ripped a record. The 49ers smashed the Super Bowl. Shannon Faulkner shattered the Citadel. The Million Man March made strides. Bob Packwood took a hike. The Rodgers Group picked up the pace.

The initial growing pains had subsided. The Rodgers Group stood ready to flex its muscles. IBM called for assistance with marketing to small business. Sears asked for help in the lead it was taking to introduce a drug-free workplace. The Rodgers Group was challenged with creating an integrated, bi-lingual communication and training package for roll-out to more than 350,000 associates. A communication audit for a West Coast-based health care alliance became the second Touchstone Award winning research project for The Rodgers Group in three years. The network was in place to provide clients with the talent they needed when and where they needed it. People were in place and adrenaline was in force. The Rodgers Group had what it took to run at the front of the pack.

1994 …

George Foreman pulled off the heavyweight title. Air Jordan tried his hand at the minor leagues. Tonya Harding took a whack at the Olympics. The Lion King roared. Whitewater gurgled. Michael Jackson took a bride. Kato Kaelin took the stand. The Wonderbra took hold. Men were from Mars. Women were from Venus. The Rodgers Group was virtually everywhere.

The traditional company no longer existed. Small business was booming. More women were taking charge. Organizations were discovering strategic new ways of working – from flex schedules to satellite offices. New ways of working required new ways of communicating. As entrepreneurs whose business was pioneered on pliability, The Rodgers Group was equipped to guide others through this dynamic transition. By serving clients as an adjunct resource, it was possible to provide structure in a workplace no longer centralized. For those clients who no longer had communication functions, The Rodgers Group filled in. Asea Brown Boveri called on this team to help integrate its Westinghouse purchase by assisting human resources staffs at 20+ U.S. locations. Whirlpool needed clearly stated relocation information for employees around the globe. The Rodgers Group was the virtual communication company at work.

1993 …

The Fugitive escaped. Heidi Fleiss got caught. The Bobbitts went to court. Elvis was sighted on a stamp. Jurassic Park made a killing. Barney survived. The east coast was snowed in. The midwest was soaked. The Hubble telescope put the world in perspective. The Rodgers Group kept its eyes on the road.

Paved with promise, the path to the information highway was daunting. As technology continued to drive communication, the challenge ahead became clear. It would require keeping up to speed with the latest tools and steering clients to the most appropriate means of applying technology without compromising quality practices. Technology brought less required time on the road and more opportunities to build alliances with Chicago talents and clients. The strategy was simple: allow clients to plug into a reliable network of well-grounded professionals. Understand what works. Use technology and talent effectively. Offer solutions based on solid experience, not hard sell.

1992 …

Bill Clinton edged his way to the Oval office. Johnny Carson stepped away from his desk. Dan Quayle had family values. Howard Stern had shock value. Chicago flooded. Step aerobics pumped. Achy Breaky Heart pounded. Jackie Joyner-Kersee made a run for the gold. The Rodgers Group made a splash with the silver.

The work had always been rewarding. Now it was being noticed over and over again. A comprehensive benefits program developed for Chicago’s Cook County active and retired employees was recognized by the International Association of Business Communicators. McDonald’s chose The Rodgers Group to assist with internal research with stores throughout the U.S. Sears and Whirlpool turned to us with a variety of benefits-related communication challenges. The Rodgers Group had managed to not only keep its head above water, but make waves during its first five years. The ripple effect was creating a surge of excitement. The consulting business envisioned by Vicci Rodgers – with the help of some very special friends and mentors – was taking on some big competitors … and coming out the winner.

1991 …

Boris Yeltzin stepped in. Clarence Thomas was sworn in. Flashy neckties were wearing thin. Mount Pinatubo erupted. Desert Storm exploded. Thirtysomething was put out of its misery. Donald Trump went under. Thelma and Louise went over the top. Corporations downsized. The Rodgers Group sized it up.

What had started as consultation to the defense and manufacturing industries was growing in scope. Clients calling on The Rodgers Group ranged from industrial-based companies to organizations representing government, service and technology. The network of expertise also expanded. The link was strengthened to critical skill areas in engineering, compensation, public relations and marketing. Clients wanted more than initial consultation and research that surfaced communication issues. They wanted the talent that could help them solve their problems and implement recommendations. By tapping into consultants representing more than 25 years of experience in specialized areas and by growing the full-time staff, The Rodgers Group was fast becoming both a think tank and resource pool for our clients.

1990 …

Lech Walesa took control. Schwarzkopf took command. Moscow took to the Big Mac. Millie The Dog made the best-seller list. Milli Vanilli was in the doghouse. Cincinnati upset Oakland. Roseanne ravaged the National Anthem. Margaret Thatcher threw in the towel. Goodfellas cleaned up. The Rodgers Group continued to shine.

A rapidly evolving business climate demanded a fresh approach to reaching audiences – both internal and external. Innovative communication plans were needed for employee benefit programs, mergers and acquisitions, compensation strategies, marketing efforts and other internal and external campaigns. As The Rodgers Group continued to build a reputation, word spread. Companies were discovering the value of drawing on the experience of a network of industry experts and skilled communicators who understood their business needs. The virtual communication company was taking shape.

1989 …

Bush was inaugurated. Panama was invaded. Zsa Zsa was incarcerated. Salmon Rushdie went into hiding. The Little Mermaid surfaced. The Berlin Wall came down. Wayne and Garth were captured by aliens … not! South Carolina was hurricaned. San Francisco was badly shaken. The Rodgers Group was on steady ground.

As change and upheaval continued to send shock waves through business and industry, it would take a strong link of communication between management and labor to maintain the stability to move forward. Employees needed to be heard. Managers needed an open ear. Companies needed communication support in research and evaluation, strategies and training. Tailoring its pool of talent and services to organizations of all sizes, The Rodgers Group quickly established the key elements to its strategic approach: offering a professional team of industry specialists; practical experience in every avenue of communication; and flexibility applied to all areas of business. The Rodgers Group proved to be adept at adapting.

1988 …

America devoured oat bran. Oprah discovered Optifasting. Dustin Hoffman was in Rain Man. The U.S. was in a drought. Leona Helmsley was in deep. Jimmy Swaggert exposed his dark side. Wrigley Field saw the lights. Playboy bunnies became extinct. The Rodgers Group was hopping.

Leaping into its second year, The Rodgers Group soon discovered that clients wanted on-site consulting and an extension of their own communication functions and that’s what they got. From labor contract negotiations to reorganizations … facility shutdowns to total quality launches, clients were offered the resources to help them manage change through effective communication. The Rodgers Group team started to grow to meet the communication challenges being presented by companies like General Dynamics, Hobart, and Material Sciences Corporation. And our work was recognized with awards for outstanding research and communication program development.

In 1987 …

Spuds McKenzie was top dog. Cher was best actress. Minnesota was the major league team to beat. The Phantom of The Opera brought down the house. Oliver North shredded the evidence. Gorbachev and Reagan reached a summit. The stock market took a tumble. Corporate America felt the crunch. The rest of the nation attempted to “cocoon.”

In the midst of mergers, divestitures, buyouts and spin-offs, Vicci Rodgers pondered the future. How could she apply the diverse communication management skills honed at Borg-Warner Corporation to successfully launch a consulting firm? The business world may have been on a roller coaster, but The Rodgers Group was revving up for the ride.