This issue of Communication Command contains an interview about "How Professional Investigators Can Help with Crisis Management" and an article about "Lawyers Need to Understand the Changing Dynamics of Today's Newsroom." We hope you will enjoy our e-Newsletter.
Fall 2019
E4 Carolinas: Energy Communicators Event
C4CS® is sponsoring E4 Carolinas' Energy Communicators Event on December 12, 2019. C4CS® Senior Vice President Dianne Chase will function as Day Chair and present on effective message development and message delivery. The event will provide the opportunity to conduct on-camera practice interviews. Additional information is available via this link.
TRPRC Crisis Communication & Media Training
C4CS® Vice President Anne Linaberger and President & CEO Oliver S. Schmidt will conduct a Crisis Communication & Media Training for members of the Three Rivers Pollution Response Council (TRPRC) on November 12, 2019.
If your organization would like to have C4CS® make a presentation or conduct a workshop, please contact us at
IABC Charlotte Luncheon
C4CS® Senior Vice President Dianne Chase and her fellow IABC Charlotte board members will host "Niner Nation Unites: Telling the Story through Social Media - A walk through of the messaging decisions and outcomes immediately after, and in the days and weeks following, the April 30 shooting at UNCC" on November 13, 2019. More information regarding the event is available here.
Crisis Management CLE Class
C4CS® Senior Strategist Cynthia Cavendish-Carey and President & CEO Oliver S. Schmidt will conduct a Continuing Legal Education class on "Crisis Management: A Guide for Effective Preparedness and Response" for the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) on January 24, 2020. Our partner company CSI Investigators will contribute a case study. CLE classes on other topics including Crisis Communication and Presentation & Public Speaking Skills will also be offered by C4CS® in the coming months.
Annual Profitable Communication for Nonprofits Workshop
C4CS® Senior Vice President Dianne Chase, C4CS® Vice President Joe Pepe, and their fellow IABC Charlotte board members successfully hosted the 18th Annual Profitable Communication for Nonprofits Workshop. Dianne and Joe (far right) are pictured with keynote presenters Rob Boisvert (far left) and Ken Garfield.
2019 KEMA Conference
C4CS® President & CEO Oliver S. Schmidt attended the Keystone Emergency Management Association's 2019 Emergency Preparedness Conference in Altoona, Pennsylvania. He is pictured with Chief Matt Brown (center) and Steve Imbarlina (right), Assistant Chief of Fire/EMS, both of Allegheny County Emergency Services.
New C4CS®
Partner Company
Clean Air Engineering, Inc. (CleanAir®) is a full-service, environmental consulting company that specializes in data-driven consultation for air quality management. This consultation approach is centered around finding engineering solutions to often complex measurement problems in the field of smoke stack emissions testing, air pollution control equipment optimization, and ambient air monitoring.
C4CS® e-Learning Course
Professionals interested in our e-Learning course on Harnessing the Power of Social Media in a Crisis may download the course brochure via this link.
Congratulations to those who completed the course work and obtained a Certificate in Social Media Crisis Management Planning accredited by ICOR.
If you have questions concerning our e-Learning course, please contact us at
Please click here if you would like to access past issues of our Communication Command e-Newsletter, which reaches professionals in several dozen countries around the world.
Five Questions about How Professional Investigators Can Help with Crisis Management

Bill Hickman is the President & CEO of CSI Investigators, which is based near Pittsburgh.

Bill Hickman

What is CSI Investigators and how did your career prepare you for the role of CEO?

CSI is a full-service investigation, security consulting, and risk management firm that specializes in providing information and intelligence. We provide life-changing information to executives, boards of directors, leaders of organizations, and government entities. CSI’s objective is to gather intelligence so decision-makers can make informed decisions and devise an operationally sound strategy. Our internal motto is “We, the men and women of CSI, are mindful that our work transforms the lives and destinies of the people we serve.”
Prior to CSI, I held several diverse and intense field investigative positions. I served as a Prosecution Agent for the Office of Inspector General, where I received several promotions and retired as the Regional Director leading the Bureau of Fraud Prevention and Prosecution for the Western District. I also served as CSI’s Chief Operating Officer for 12 years, learning and understanding the needs and expectations of our diverse clientele. Most importantly, I have been blessed with having leaders and mentors, who were wonderful role models. 

Can you share an interesting example of your investigative work for a corporate client?

Right now, CSI is working for a large multi-national corporation with operations in Mexico. CSI was contacted when the company’s local HR representative was kidnapped at gunpoint and later released by what is believed to be the Mexican Cartel. CSI was subsequently tasked with creating a safety and security solution for the plant, its managers and team leads. Communication and coordination were key elements of the solution we developed, as messaging to staff members, the perpetrators, the FBI, and the Mexican authorities was of critical importance. 

Is effective crisis communication important to CSI’s clients and how does monitoring traditional and social media support your investigations?

Effective crisis communication is of paramount importance to CSI’s clients. Our team never receives a call or request when life is good. We are hence usually responding to a crisis or pending legal matter. Our team members are advocates of prevention and smart strategy, but all too often the necessary steps are implemented after a crisis has already occurred. Because we have faced many intense and critical situations, CSI staff members bring real-life experiences and perspectives to the table that lead to effective crisis resolution. And we are glad that C4CS® is a CSI partner company. Being able to pull in highly regarded consultants, trainers and executive coaches who have profound expertise in crisis management, reputation management, crisis communication, internet and media monitoring, media training, and related areas makes a big difference.
Monitoring the internet and especially social media content may be the most powerful, efficient, and cost-effective way to gather intelligence by casting a wide net search. Investigators can quickly create a profile on targets and determine where they live, who their family members are, where they work, where they go outside of work, as well as hobbies, thoughts, emotions, religious and political views, etc. Social media investigations are part of every investigation we initiate. Additionally, traditional media outlets serve as a valuable source of information. The bottom line is that continuously monitoring traditional and social media, as well as other critical internet content, enables our team to systematically identify relevant information and respond appropriately on behalf of our clients.

How do clients find CSI and what sort of initial assessment do you and your colleagues conduct at the beginning of a new client relationship?

New clients are often referred to us due to our reputation in the marketplace and our company history. Many of our corporate clients first make contact via their legal counsel or insurance carrier if a claim has been filed.

An initial assessment is usually conducted with the client or legal team to understand the scope of work as well as case objectives, and to outline the investigative strategy. The assessment should establish goals and parameters including who oversees the investigation. In addition, we identify any internal conflicts, potential co-conspirators, and cooperative witnesses or hostile witnesses. If it is a larger span investigation, we create defined roles for each internal and external team member, their duties, the timeline, and reporting expectations.

What is the most unusual or challenging case you and your colleagues have worked on?

I believe most of the work we do is unusual and challenging to a certain degree. I would like to share a case that was resolved just a few weeks ago that was both challenging and rewarding. CSI was contacted by a government agency looking for a mother, father, three-year-old, and seven-week-old. They had gone missing after being approached on allegations of child abuse against the seven-week-old the night prior. The client had already filed missing persons reports. The vehicle was spotted traveling south but was not picked up again on traffic cams or by police departments monitoring the highways. The CSI team worked in conjunction with various law enforcement agencies and issued warrants for the arrest of the mother and father.
The only lead the investigators had was that the mother had last mentioned she was going to be with “Uncle Bruce.” No relatives on either side were named Bruce. As a result, the FBI and law enforcement had no leads. After following breadcrumbs and conducting countless interviews over a period of several days, CSI uncovered a lead on an individual named Bruce, who resided in Tennessee. The FBI utilized the information provided by CSI and set up surveillance in Tennessee. Due to the intelligence provided by CSI, the family and children were located the next day at the address provided by our team. CSI’s investigator traveled to Tennessee to extricate the children while the parents remain in custody in Tennessee and are still awaiting extradition.

Lawyers Need to Understand the Changing Dynamics of Today’s Newsrooms
One of C4CS®’ specialties is customized media training for corporate, government, and nonprofit client partners, as well as for professional groups. We also conduct one-on-one executive media skills coaching for CEOs and other senior executives.

A recent initiative in our on-camera media training practice has been to partner with bar associations to hold seminars, customized to meet the unique media awareness challenges of lawyers while also offering their required annual Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits.
Earlier this month, we conducted an on-camera media training titled “Working with the News Media: How to Make the Most of Media Interviews” in cooperation with the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA), based in Pittsburgh, PA.
Our presenters Anne Linaberger, a former TV news director, and Oliver S. Schmidt discussed how awareness of media practices can play a big role in successfully representing a lawyer’s client. As but one example: the absolute need to help a reporter meet deadlines. The more difficult it might be for a reporter to get the interview or information needed quickly, the less likely that side of the story will be told in articles or on the air, particularly in a high-profile case.

We also discussed how technology is changing the dynamics of newsrooms. In addition to reporting for a city’s newspaper or evening broadcasts, today’s newsrooms are morphing into content producers for online information consumers anywhere around the world. Consider how often a search on Google or YouTube calls up a piece produced by a local TV station or newspaper time zones away, for example.

We held mock interviews, with immediate and specific feedback, that allowed participants to practice in a realistic environment and get a taste of what it is like to be in the “hot seat.”
Understanding the best-practices of media relations also touches on how their interest and presence at a trial can change the dynamics of the situation. One lawyer in our Pittsburgh CLE class recounted an experience he had arguing before a local magistrate. Usually a fair and impartial judge, this magistrate’s courtroom behavior changed as a local TV news crew arrived. Simply put, the magistrate started grandstanding for the reporter.
We were honored at the CLE class for the Allegheny County Bar Association to team up with local broadcast veteran Jon Delano from Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV station. Jon, well known and widely respected not only in our region, covers politics and business. He conducted mock interviews and offered keen insight.
And, we are happy to report, all of our attendees thought their investment of time was justified.
One participant, Eric Davis from Pittsburgh’s Elliott & Davis P.C., commented afterward that our seminar “was one of the most informative and entertaining CLEs that I have attended in all my years of practicing law. It was particularly great to watch actual attorneys being interviewed and listen as they received feedback about how to further improve their response to tough questions.”
Lori McMaster, current Allegheny County Bar Association president and executive director, Professional Development Office at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law, added that the C4CS® training “will allow me to be more focused, concise and intentional in media interviews, and also more confident. They did an outstanding job.”
This article was written by C4CS® Senior Consultant John Buckman, who can be reached at

C4CS® regularly conducts on-camera media training and one-on-one executive media coaching for corporate, government and nonprofit client partners. For additional information concerning our Continuing Legal Education classes or to discuss holding media training for your organization, please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.
Food For Thought

“We’re putting whatever resources are required inside
and outside of the company to help us restore the MAX
brand and then, obviously, work on the company brand.
That’s going to take whatever it’s going to take.
That’s a top priority for us.” 

Greg Smith, CFO Boeing


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Leaders in Strategic Communication
and Crisis Management