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Robert Johnson

Photo By: Michael Robillard

For forty years, Robert Johnson has reported, managed, or campaigned issues on stages of all sizes, working with reporters covering the world and local communities.  As a co-owner and leader of RIESTER Public Affairs, Robert develops strategies to communicate important information to target audiences, and directs successful public relations plans for dozens of clients and organizations.

Among his career highlights, Robert took the reins of the Bush White House’s disorganized public affairs office at the newly formed Transportation Security Administration following the terror attacks of 9/11, turning the organization into an effective messaging operation that accurately and strongly delivered security messages that intelligence resources understood were being viewed by Al-Qaeda terrorists.  His performance won him a Bush Administration promotion as head of communications for the U.S. Department of Transportation, finally promoted again, this time as the department’s Chief of Staff, with responsibility for daily operations, 60,000 employees, and a $60 billion budget.

Robert has extensive crisis and storytelling experience, forged during his time with former Arizona Governors Fife Symington and Jane Dee Hull, and retired Arizona Members of Congress Jim Kolbe and Jon Kyl. He also is credited with helping change policies and the make-up of several local elected bodies through his diligent messaging and audience targeting work. 

His media experience includes time spent reporting for national radio networks ABC and Mutual; managing television newsrooms in Denver, Phoenix, and Tucson; and writing for United Press International.

He is the winner of several regional Emmy Awards while a television news assignment editor; an Associated Press Managing Editor’s Award for coverage of breaking news as a radio journalist; numerous Associated Press statewide awards; and an IABC Gold Quill and several PRSA awards for public relations campaigns. His podcasting work recently was recognized with a national award from PR Daily.

Robert holds a BA in communications with a public relations emphasis from Southern New Hampshire University, and is a frequent writer and lecturer on public relations topics, theory, and best practices.