President, CEO of Atkinson Strategic Communications
Bill Atkinson launched Atkinson Strategic Communications in January 2020 after 15 years in the public relations business and 21 years as a newspaper reporter. Clients include, Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the country, the American Beverage Association, Howard Bank, Ambu, a Danish medical device maker with its U.S. headquarters in Columbia, Md., and Think Systems, a Baltimore-based management consulting firm.
Prior to starting his own firm, Atkinson was a partner in 212 Communications, which he joined in June 2015, and focused on strategic and crisis communications, media relations and grassroots strategies. Before that he was a senior vice president at global public relations agency Weber Shandwick. At Weber’s Baltimore office Atkinson specialized in strategic and crisis communications as well as reputation management. Clients included Constellation Energy, Honeywell, General Motors, Bank of America, Promontory Financial Group and 1st Mariner Bank.
Before becoming a public relations practitioner in 2005, Atkinson was a business columnist and financial reporter at the Baltimore Sun where he wrote a twice-weekly column that tracked the personal dimensions of top executives of Maryland corporations.
He was also the newspaper’s economics correspondent and covered the banking industry, stock market, mutual funds, brokerage houses, investment banking and white-collar crime. A series of stories on Allfirst Bank was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism. Atkinson also appeared on CNBC’s American Greed.
Atkinson was an editor at American Banker newspaper in Washington, D.C., and a reporter covering federal regulators and regional and community banking issues. He also worked as a reporter for the Washington Business Journal and for American City Business Journals newspapers in San Jose, Calif., Columbus, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wis.
Atkinson is on the board of directors of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland and Banner Neighborhoods, a non-profit neighborhood association focused on East Baltimore.
Atkinson holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Norbert College in DePere, Wis.
Director, Atkinson Strategic Communications
Emily Atkinson is a strategist with Atkinson Strategic Communications. She leads the firm’s grassroots communication initiatives, project management, data analysis, and social media.
Emily has been in public relations for six years, previously with 212 Communications and IMRE. She leads Atkinson’s beverage business with clients that include Coca-Cola Consolidated, the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the U.S., and the American Beverage Association.
Many of our clients want to reach key individuals in neighborhoods to form partnerships that open the doors to communications. Emily spearheads those initiatives and develops creative solutions to build bridges. For example, she connected Coca-Cola Consolidated with Arts & Parks, an urban greenspace restorative organization. The year-long project took place in Bocek Park neighborhood in East Baltimore and resulted in a new pavilion, donated park picnic tables and benches, green space restoration, eight murals, and a commitment from Baltimore City to restore the local Recreation Center. The work was covered in Baltimore Magazine.
Emily graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She also was captain of the school’s women’s lacrosse team.
As an Account Executive, Will is responsible for writing press releases, assembling media lists, and tracking client coverage in newspapers, blogs and electronic media. He also works closely with reporters pitching client stories and on grassroots marketing engagements in Baltimore and other cities.
Since joining Atkinson Strategic Communications in 2020, Will has placed clients in publications that include the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, the Maryland Daily Record, Multi-Housing News, the Washington Business Journal and Technical.ly as well as area television stations.
Prior to joining Atkinson, Will worked for Baltimore-based 212 Communications in 2016 as an intern and moved into the Assistant Account Executive role after graduating from the University of Mary Washington with a bachelor’s degree in English.
While at Mary Washington, Will wrote for the University’s newspaper, The Blue and Gray Press. Outside of the office Will plays pick-up basketball and has volunteered at Habitat for Humanity in Baltimore and Fredericksburg, Va.
As a Communications Associate, Haley is responsible for helping clients conceptualize and develop engaging content to tell their stories and increase their impact. He works closely with clients to develop and implement strategies that put their accomplishments in the spotlight to strengthen their reputation and increase their visibility.
Chitty brings more than 15 years of public/media relations, marketing and communications experience to Atkinson. Over his career he has built and run communications departments at nonprofit trade associations in Washington, DC. At the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) he led the redevelopment of websites and launched their social media presence, helping the associations engage and persuade diverse audiences.
Throughout his career, he’s effectively leveraged new and traditional media to increase outreach, impact and engagement by identifying and telling compelling stories.
Chitty earned a News/Editorial Bachelor’s Degree in 2004 from the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. He moved to Baltimore from Washington, DC with his wife and son in 2015. A Colorado transplant, he enjoys hiking, biking and snowboarding. He has been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) for more than a decade and currently trains and teaches at Baltimore Gracie Jiu Jitsu.