Hermocillo-Azevedo Strategic Communications LLC (HASC) is an independent crisis and policy communications firm headquartered in Sacramento. The partners have 60 years of experience working on a wide range of state and local government issues. Our clients are corporations, coalitions, trade associations, nonprofits, universities and colleges, and state and local government agencies.
We specialize in providing communications consulting services that are critical to influencing public policy debates and managing threats from litigation, media scrutiny, government investigations, and other disruptions to normal operations.
Crisis Planning And Response
HASC works with organizations at every stage in the crisis life-cycle to mitigate risks to their reputation. Our services include scenario planning and risk assessment to prepare for different crises, protocol development and media training, and communications management and counseling during a crisis.
Whether on local issues or high-profile statewide legislative, regulatory or ballot measure issues, HASC provides the full suite of communications support services to amplify the voices of clients and their allies.
As crisis and issue managers, HASC knows how to leverage earned, owned and paid media channels for clients to tell their story when the stakes are high and their reputation is at risk.
Through decades of experience as front-line spokespersons and media trainers, HASC helps leaders sharpen their message and prepare to answer tough questions from reporters and key stakeholders.
We are experts in the issues and sectors where we work: education, labor and employment, public finance, public safety, land use, and water resources.
Crisis and issue management for public universities, private colleges and K-12 school districts.
Property and Casualty Insurance
Legislative and regulatory issue management on workers’ compensation and liability issues.
Renewable energy project approvals, transmission infrastructure permitting, and regulation of transportation fuels.
Communications and campaign management on assessment districts and tax proposals.
Communications for health plans, providers, drug manufacturers and health foundations.
Communications for pension plans and employers on investments, benefit levels, and member contributions.
Labor and Employment
Communications counsel for employers and labor regarding collective bargaining, personnel matters and immigration.
Crisis and issue management for fire districts and law enforcement.
Outreach and media relations to support community planning and project approvals.
Issue management and media relations for water districts on supply, conveyance and conservation issues.
Who We Are
For decades, Jose Hermocillo and Jerry Azevedo have provided strategic communications counsel at the highest levels of the government, private industry and nonprofit worlds regarding complex and high-stakes issues. After working together for 15 years at one of the largest PR agencies in Sacramento, they formed HASC to offer specialized crisis and policy communications services. In addition, we have assembled a network of senior-level business associates to work with us and our clients.
- Jose Hermocillo
- Jerry Azevedo
- Christina Ragsdall
- Tupper Hull
- Michael Perri
- Chuck Dalldorf
- John Shirey
- Bob Waste
A veteran communications strategist and attorney, Jose helps corporations, public agencies and nonprofits influence public policy outcomes and protect their reputations during times of crisis and transition.
With a career spanning four decades, Jose has been at the center of dozens of high-profile ballot measure, legislative and regulatory battles in California on workplace, natural resources, land use, energy, healthcare, insurance, and public finance issues. He has been an adviser to statewide office holders, government agencies, trade associations and coalitions, as well as foundations and nonprofit organizations.
Early in his consulting career, Jose was one of the pioneers who used coalitions and grassroots advocacy to support legislative advocacy campaigns and secure land use entitlements and permits for land development, waste disposal and energy companies. After serving as one of the lead negotiators for the business community on workers’ compensation reform legislation, he authored “The Employer’s Survival Guide to Workers’ Compensation” (four editions published by California Chamber of Commerce, 1989-94). Jose also led the organization that sponsored legislation allowing formation of property-based improvement districts in California. He then directed the first successful campaign in the state under this new law to form such a district.
Jose was an executive director of APCO Worldwide and for nearly two decades served as the managing director of its Sacramento office. Before joining APCO, he was a partner in one of the state’s top political consulting and public affairs firms for six years. In the 1980s, he was a lobbyist in the State Capitol and practiced law with a firm specializing in bankruptcy law and civil litigation. His career began in 1976 as a Senate Fellow assigned to the labor and employment committee, where he subsequently worked as a consultant.
Sacramento Magazine, which named Jose among the 100 most powerful and influential people in the region, described him as “the power behind state and local power for more than three decades.” He also was recognized as “Public Affairs Executive of the Year” by PR News, the industry’s leading national publication.
Jose earned his Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College, where he was recognized with distinction in the government department. He went on to obtain a Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, where he won top honors for Moot Court Competition. After being admitted to the State Bar of California, he received a certificate in trial and appellate advocacy from University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
Jose is a senior fellow of the Mt. Valley Chapter of the American Leadership Forum. He currently serves on the board of directors for Sierra Health Foundation. He also has served on numerous boards for such organizations as Valley Vision, Umpqua Bank/Holdings Corporation, Capital Public Radio, and United Way (California Capital Region).
A certified crisis communication manager with 20 years in the issue management business, Jerry is an expert in message development and communications planning.
Jerry has served as a trusted advisor to senior executives at corporations, industry groups and public agencies looking to advance a policy agenda or when facing heightened scrutiny from the media or government officials. He is adept at using diverse communications platforms ranging from traditional media to digital advertising to help position clients with their key audiences.
Jerry manages the firm’s media training and crisis communication training curriculum for clients. In this capacity, Jerry prepares clients to engage in public debates with both champions and critics through research and messaging that avoids “spin” and stands up to public scrutiny.
During his career, Jerry has worked with universities and colleges to protect their reputations; served as the grassroots director and on-the-record spokesperson for a statewide coalition on workers’ compensation issues; helped cities and special districts build support for taxes, assessments and other revenue enhancing measures; and worked with a wide range of clients facing litigation, investigations and other reputational threats.
Jerry worked for APCO Worldwide’s Sacramento office for 15 years. While at APCO, he helped to direct coalition building and media relations efforts on two successful statewide initiative campaigns, as well as legislative campaigns on dozens of policy issues, including workers’ compensation, health care, tort reform, consumer privacy, water, financial services, recycling, environmental toxics, and transportation fuels. Jerry also helped to build the office’s crisis and issue management practice on behalf of public sector clients, including universities, fire districts, cities, pension systems, and water agencies.
Prior to joining APCO, he worked for Burson-Marsteller as an account manager, working on legislative and ballot measure campaigns.
Jerry is certified in Crisis Communication Management by the Institute for Crisis Management. He graduated with honors from California State University, Sacramento, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English.
Christina is a seasoned communications professional with extensive experience advising clients on issues dealing with water, utilities, transportation and healthcare. She has a long record of achieving client goals in all aspects of public relations, marketing communications, issues management, strategic planning, organizational development, and conflict resolution.
Prior to becoming a consultant, Christina led the communications office of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, a national leader in air quality and climate programs. She launched or restructured communications programs in a variety of large organizations, such as Sacramento Regional Transit District, County of Sacramento and Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District. While at the County of Sacramento, she led development of award-winning internet/intranet sites and launched an award-winning internal online newsletter.
Christina has received training from FEMA and California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) for emergency management, public safety, homeland security, hazardous materials, disaster recovery, and crisis communications. At CSTI, she has served as a media trainer, emergency exercise developer, simulator, and evaluator.
Christina is a frequent speaker and has published or presented many case studies at the state, national and international level. She was named “Influencer of the Year” by the California Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America in 2015.
Christina received a Bachelor of Arts from Lone Mountain College (now part of the University of San Francisco) and a Master of Arts in Communications from California State University, Sacramento, where she has developed and taught courses in public relations, public speaking and writing. She is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America.
Tupper is a veteran communications professional with extensive experience in the area of public affairs and crisis communications.
As Vice President of Strategic Communications for the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) for a decade, Tupper directed numerous public affairs campaigns representing the major petroleum companies in five western states, served as the primary industry spokesperson and testified before local, state and federal government agencies. He has extensive experience working with companies, government agencies, news media, political activists and community-based organizations on legislation, regulations, oil spills, pipeline incidents, and maritime and refinery accidents.
Prior to joining WSPA, Tupper was an independent communications consultant specializing in energy and natural resource issues. He also managed the communications arm of California’s largest lobbying firm and, before that, worked for a public affairs firm based in San Francisco.
Before launching his career as a communications consultant, Tupper was a political and general assignment reporter for several major metropolitan newspapers, including the San Francisco Examiner, the Los Herald Examiner, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Houston Post.
Tupper earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Colorado.
He currently serves as board chair of the California Automobile Museum.
Michael develops strategies to ensure value-driven organizations have a strong voice in the crowded market place of ideas.
Michael has a background in news reporting, public policy, marketing, and political campaigns. He crafts compelling stories to shape public debates, strategically positions those stories in appropriate media, and builds organizational capacity to sustain effective communications for businesses, government agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and community groups.
A former newspaper reporter, Michael covered government and politics at the local, state, and national level. He left full-time journalism in the late 1980s to work on union and political campaigns, writing feature and opinion pieces in addition to marketing and campaign materials.
Since 1990, Michael has developed and managed winning campaigns for local, state and national candidates, as well as initiative and legislative campaigns across the country with a focus on the western states. He continues to consult with issue-oriented political campaigns and help activist organizations with capacity building and internal development.
Michael co-founded Lincoln Crow Strategic Communications in 2000, specializing in issue-oriented marketing and public affairs campaigns. He transformed the full-service agency to focus on strategic planning and design after founding partner Michael Picker (currently President of the California Public Utilities Commission) was recruited as special energy advisor to the governor of California.
Michael received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland College Park, Master of Arts in Organization Development from Fielding Graduate University, and a certificate in Enology and Viticulture from the University of California in Davis.
Chuck is a veteran communications professional with extensive government experience, crisis planning and response assignments, and political campaign experience.
Chuck has served in a number of state, federal and local government positions. He most recently served as chief of staff to California State Senator Richard Roth. His state government service also includes press secretary and senior policy consultant for two other California State Senators, Assembly Speaker Willie Brown and Congressman Vic Fazio. He also served as the chief of staff to three mayors of Sacramento, including Joe Serna, Jimmie Yee and Heather Fargo, and has worked on many state and local political campaigns for candidates and state and local ballot measures. During his tenure with the City of Sacramento, Chuck served as Public Information Officer in Emergency Operations Command Posts.
Chuck was the owner of a government, media and community relations consulting business, working with clients on local land use, transportation, water and municipal service issues. His private sector experience includes state and local government relations with the League of California Cities as its regional representative in the North Bay and Redwood Empire Divisions, Kaiser Permanente, and the former global computer company Packard Bell NEC, Inc.
Chuck earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from St. Mary’s College and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy from Norwich University, Vermont. He is certified in FEMA Incident Command System operations (ICS 100, 200, 700 and 800). He has served as a part-time lecturer at California State University, Sacramento and the University of Aberdeen and the University of Stirling in Scotland. Chuck is a U.S. Air Force veteran and an active boat crewmember in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.
John has four decades of proven expertise in local government management. As a top executive for public and nonprofit agencies, he has extensive experience in crisis and issue management pertaining to land use, economic and community development, human resources, public safety, and budgeting and public finance.
John served in senior executive positions as city manager of Sacramento and Cincinnati, assistant city manager of Long Beach, and assistant chief administrative officer of Los Angeles County. He also worked as the executive director of the California Redevelopment Association and as legislative counsel for the National League of Cities. In these roles, John was responsible for managing a wide range of issues, developing policy proposals, building alliances with community groups and business interests, and working with the media.
Major projects he has overseen include the development of the Golden 1 Center (entertainment and sports arena) in downtown Sacramento and development of the Central Riverfront Master Plan in downtown Cincinnati that lead to the siting of two sports stadiums, a museum, a public park, and major mixed-use development.
John’s areas of focus include assessing strengths and weaknesses of organizations, leadership development, improving and measuring performance, making government services more effective, and managing public communications.
John is a Credentialed Manager through the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). He is a Fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration and was presented the National Public Service Award in 2014. He was honored with the Wes McClure Award of Distinction by the City Managers Department of the League of California Cities and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence from the International Economic Development Council.
John earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Southern California.
John is a Certified Master Official with USA Track & Field and has officiated numerous Olympic Trials, National Championships, and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.
A veteran of many high-stakes policy debates and projects, Bob specializes in research, stakeholder engagement and consensus building with extensive experience in health care, land use and economic development.
Most recently, Bob served as Director of Government and Community Relations for UC Davis Health for seven years. He was responsible for more than 30 counties from Sacramento to the Oregon and Nevada borders, and south to Merced. While there, Bob used his knowledge of state and federal government to secure $7.5 million for the Center for Behavioral Health Excellence (at UC’s Davis and Los Angeles campuses) and $5 million for the Burns Outcomes Research Infrastructure Project, which finds the best practices for treating traumatic burn injuries.
Before working for UC Davis Health, Bob had a successful career as a public affairs consultant. Some of his clients included the offices of the Governor, the state Assembly Speaker and the state Senate President Pro Tem. He also played key roles on such successful regional issues as the Sacramento County Mental Health Collaborative, Sacramento County’s transportation sales tax ballot proposal (Measure A), Yolo County’s Economic Development Plan, and Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ Blueprint Land Use Planning Project.
Bob was a tenured professor for 12 years and chaired the Public Policy and Administration Department at California State University, Sacramento. He also chaired the City of Sacramento Planning Commission and the City of Sacramento Campaign Reform Commission.
Bob received a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Arts in Government from California State University, Sacramento; a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Davis; a pre-doctoral fellowship in political science from Yale University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in political science from Harvard University. Bob is a Health Sciences Clinical Professor for the UC Davis Health System. He also has authored several books and has been a commentator on politics and policy with such newspapers as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee.
In the past decade, the market has changed for both the buyers and sellers of communications services. Rather than get locked into an “agency of record” relationship where the client doesn’t receive enough attention from senior-level consultants, organizations looking for communications services increasingly want to partner with a seasoned practitioner or boutique firm that offers specialized skills or strategically valuable relationships.
In a similar vein, many practitioners in the communications field are choosing to stay “lean and mean.” Because there is an amazing pool of talented freelancers in the market, independent shops can find the specialized services – such as research, digital advertising or grassroots advocacy – needed to support the client’s needs.
Our firm embraces both of these market dynamics. The partners and their business associates work directly with clients who want strategic counsel for planning and messaging, as well as stakeholder outreach and media relations services.
2100 21st Street
Sacramento, CA 95818
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