Wednesday, August 16, 2006

CIRM Hires Senior Communications Executive

The California stem cell agency has found a communications director, a man with considerable business experience who has also wrestled in the public policy arena in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere.

Dale Carlson officially begins work next Monday. As communications director, his responsibilities will include developing a "clear and consistent message about the new frontier of stem cell research in California" and promoting "a deeper and more sophisticated public awareness of stem cell research and therapy." His duties go beyond dealing with the ink-stained wretches of the fourth estate and include developing communications programs with the public, the patient advocacy community, the legislature and the scientific community.

Carlson was vice president for corporate affairs with the Pacific (stock) Exchange in San Francisco from 1987 to 2005. He dealt with the media, business, public and handled a wide range of responsibilities, including dealing with Web content. Carlson also served in a variety of volunteer positions with civic and nonprofit agencies in the Bay Area, including tours of duty as chair of the San Francisco library foundation and the Treasure Island Development Authority.

Carlson, who has a masters degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan, surfaced in February of this year as an "interim senior communications officer" at CIRM, working on a parttime, volunteer basis.

CIRM has had difficulties since its inception with its communications/PR programs, resorting to hiring Edelman PR for $378,000 for a 16-month contract that expires at the end of this month. One problem was the lack of a senior CIRM official with specific PR responsibilities, which Carlson's appointment seems to solve.

In the interests of full transparency, we must disclose that Carlson is a sailor, as are we. He describes himself as a "competitive" sailor. We are just your average sea dog.

The salary range for Carlson's position is from $130,000 to $195,000. We expect to have the specific figure soon.

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