Clients:: FairPoint Communications
:: Citizens Bank
:: Waste Management
:: International Woodfuels
:: NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development
:: Lubert-Adler Real Estate Funds
:: Pennichuck Corporation
:: Cathartes Private Investments
:: Chelsea Property Group
:: National Grid
:: Atlanta Motorsports
:: Hawthorne Development Partners
:: The Club at Lime Rock Park
:: Qroe Farm Preservation Development
:: Z food and drink
:: American Institute of Architects-NH
:: NH Oncology-Hematology
When it was announced that a relatively small phone company from North Carolina was proposing to buy all of Verizon’s landlines in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont - very few considered the deal a good bet for approval. The press was skeptical. Regulators were cautious. And Verizon’s own unionized employees were downright hostile. That’s when FairPoint called on Montagne Communications to join the core group of strategic advisors who were asked to turn the tide of negative perception and help create a more favorable environment for regulatory review.
For the next nine months, Montagne provided strategic counsel and critical community and media relations services in New Hampshire and Vermont, including spokesperson duties, supporter-turnout, letter writing, and desk-side briefings/editorial board meetings for FairPoint’s CEO and Executive Vice President. By the end of February, 2008, the Public Utilities Commissions in all three states had approved the transaction. On March 31, 2008, FairPoint closed the deal with Verizon and became the eighth largest telephone company in America. And Montagne continues to call FairPoint a client.
When Citizens Bank New Hampshire needed an agency to handle all aspects of its public, community, and government relations activity, they chose Montagne Communications. With assets of $10 billion and 79 banking offices in the state, Citizens is New Hampshire’s leading financial institution. The agency works hand-in-hand with the public affairs department at the bank in designing and implementing communications programs that assist the bank in profiling its various products, services, and community outreach programs. With an aggressive media relations campaign for its consumer and business products and services, as well as development of special events and promotions and crisis communications, we provide necessary counsel and expertise in publicizing all of the bank’s important activities.
Waste Management’s Rochester, NH solid waste landfill facility (Turnkey) is the largest of its kind in New England. The company sought to extend its local and state operating permits through the year 2020. Like virtually all landfills located within any proximity to residential and business districts the Turnkey landfill expansion plan faced opposition from local neighborhood groups. The principals of Montagne Communications were responsible for coordinating all aspects of the permit extension community planning and outreach designed to: mitigate concerns about landfill odors and health issues, provide accurate information regarding the facility improvements and proposed plans, manage press planning and media inquires, coordinate public hearing communication strategy and develop a fully-integrated communications project plan and timeline.
Cathartes Private Investments
Cathartes Private Investments is a private real estate investment and development company. Cathartes turned to Montagne Communications during the redevelopment of the Parade Office Park in downtown Portsmouth, NH to lead the community relations effort and securing passage of their landmark project, Portwalk. Portwalk, is a vibrant, active, pedestrian-friendly mixed-use development featuring 70,000 square feet of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, twenty-eight residences, 150,000 s/f of office space, and a 128 room extended stay hotel.
Chelsea Property Group
We are currently working with Chelsea Property Group, a division of Simon, and the world’s largest developer of Premium Outlet centers. Chelsea turned to us to help it gain support at the polls for a zoning change that would allow Chelsea to proceed with a 550,000 square foot premium outlet center in Merrimack, NH.
We first developed a community relations campaign to place the zoning amendment on the ballot and then executed a successful referendum campaign to approve the zoning change at Town Meeting. We continued to provide strategic counsel and media relations through successful litigation that nullified a protest petition. Today, we are supporting Chelsea through its permit review process.
For almost four years, we have provided Chelsea with a full array of strategic consulting and campaign services including: drafting key messaging, building and maintaining a dynamic project website (www.outletsyes.com), providing 24/7 media relations, producing print and radio ads, campaign signs, and direct mail pieces, and executing a grassroots petition campaign that resulted in more than 1,000 signatures from supporters and a victory at the polls.
In 2006, the principals of Montagne Communications worked with Cabela’s, the World’s Foremost Outfitter®, to gain local approval to build one of its destination retail stores in Hooksett, NH. In order for Cabela’s to proceed, they needed to pass an $18 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) bond article at the annual Hooksett Town Meeting in May 2006. To be approved, the bond article needed supermajority (60%) support from the voters. We worked closely with Cabela’s and its engineering firm to develop and execute a successful communications campaign that identified supporters, neutralized opponents, and delivered a favorable vote at Town Meeting. We drafted all campaign messaging, provided 24/7 media relations, produced print ads, campaign signs, and direct mail pieces, and conducted a voter turnout effort that resulted in the required super-majority victory at the polls with 62% approval.
Hawthorne Development Partners
Hawthorne Development Partners is a real estate development company with expertise in residential development, most notably in age-restricted (55+) active adult communities. Hawthorne has turned to Montagne Communication for community relations counsel on many of their projects throughout the northeast. Montagne is leading the strategic communications outreach effort, collaborating with project engineers, legal counsel, and environmentalists to ensure that the benefits of each project highlighted. We have also opened direct lines of communication with abutters and interveners of these projects, working through design elements, listening to their concerns and even turning some of the most ardent opponents into supporters.
The Club at Lime Rock Park
It’s been called the Hidden Valley of Racing – a motorsports gem nestled in the foothills of the Connecticut Berkshires. Racing legends Mario Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Roger Penske and Jeff Gordon have all raced there. And some pretty famous amateurs like Paul Newman and Jerry Seinfeld call it their home track. Lime Rock Park - the fastest and most challenging road course in America – and a destination for racing enthusiasts and tourists alike. But the facility was also in dire need of a facelift. So the Club at Lime Rock Park was created to raise revenue, offering an exclusive opportunity to be a “member” at Lime Rock Park for fifty years, at a price of $110,000. Montagne Communications was called on to provide media relations to launch The Club and create a targeted public relations campaign to support membership sales. To date, we have helped the Club at Lime Rock Park gain favorable media coverage in Conde Nast Traveler, The New York Times, AutoWeek, Road and Track, Fortune, and many other regional and national print publications. In addition, we have helped secure feature stories on New England Cable News, MSNBC’s High Net Worth, and network affiliate television stations in Connecticut and New York. In less than ten months, more than 125 members have joined, and Montagne Communications continues to help the Club at Lime Rock Park attract national exposure and more members.