Professional Achievement Award

Each year, SPRF member organizations (ECPRO, PRAL, PRAM, and PRCA) are invited to nominate one outstanding public relations professional for the SPRF Professional Achievement Award, formerly known as the Practitioner of the Year. The recipient of this award is announced at the SPRF annual conference. SPRF established this award to recognize an individual that has continually demonstrated the highest ideals of the profession as well as a commitment to advance the profession of public relations.


2019 Recipient

Checky Herrington, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRAM

SPRF Honors Mississippi’s Checky Herrington, APR, with the 2019 Professional Achievement Award

ORANGE BEACH, AL – Each year, the Southern Public Relations Federation (SPRF) honors one of its members with the organization’s highest individual honor, the Professional Achievement Award. SPRF established this award to recognize an individual that has continually demonstrated the highest ideals of the profession as well as a commitment to advance the profession of public relations.

The 2019 SPRF Professional Achievement Award winner is Checky Herrington, APR, Fellow PRSA. Herrington is a senior member of the public affairs team at Mississippi State University (MSU). His work at the university has gained national attention and has generated higher enrollment and has positively reflected the school’s reputation and increased giving.

Before his career at MSU, Herrington was an employee of Entergy Corporation for nearly 30 years, where he was responsible for making the utility’s customer satisfaction ratings among the highest in the nation. He also worked for Mississippi Governor William Winter and was a reporter for the Clarion Ledger.

Herrington is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), is Accredited in Public Relations and was inducted into the PRSA’s prestigious College of Fellows in 2015 and, more recently, into the SPRF Hall of Fame. He has received statewide, regional and national recognition for his public relations efforts.

He holds a bachelor's degree in communication from Mississippi State University. Herrington and his wife, Chellie, are the parents of two children and have two grandchildren.

One of the judges said of Herrington, “He has had a positive impact on education in Mississippi, the energy industry and the individuals it serves, and the image of an important institution of higher education in his state. Checky represents the best in public relations.”

The Southern Public Relations Federation is a network of public relations professionals from Alabama, North Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi who share a common interest in the public relations profession. Membership in the Federation is automatic for members of the Public Relations Council of Alabama (PRCA), the Emerald Coast Public Relations Organization (ECPRO), the Public Relations Association of Louisiana (PRAL), and the Public Relations Association of Mississippi (PRAM).

Past Professional Achievement Award Recipients:

  • 2018: Lt. Col. Christian Patterson, APR+M, PRAM Central
  • 2017: Tracie Bertaut, PRAL New Orleans
  • 2016: Kristina L. Hendrix, APR, PRCA
  • 2015: Holly Houk Cullen, APR, PRAL
  • 2014: Robin Street, APR, PRAM
  • 2013: Mary Cracchiolo Spain, APR, PRAM
  • 2012: Lea Ivey Stone, APR, PRAM
  • 2011: Jennifer Jenkins, APR, PRCA
  • 2010: Susan Broussard, APR, PRAL
  • 2009: Kristie Aylett, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRAM
  • 2008: Glen Duncan, APR, PRAL
  • 2007: Denise D’Oliveira, APR, PRCA
  • 2006: Suzanne Fornaro, APR, PRCA
  • 2005: Michael Tullier, APR, PRCA
  • 2004: Carol Mann, APR, PRCA
  • 2003: Missy LaBorde, APR, PRAL
  • 2002: Delia Adams Taylor, APR, PRAL
  • 2001: Deirdre McGowan, Ph.D., APR, CAE, PRAM
  • 2000: Sherry Harlow, APR, ECPRO
  • 1999: John Forde, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, PRAM
  • 1998: Bill Todd, APR, PRCA
  • 1997: Dave Rickey, APR, PRCA
  • 1996: Karla Shackleford Conway, APR, PRCA
  • 1995: Jamie Palmer, APR, PRCA
  • 1994: Rosemary W. Blackmon, APR, PRCA
  • 1993: Bill Michelet, APR, Fellow PRSA, PRAL
  • 1992: Philip Shirley, APR, PRAM
  • 1991: Peri Widener, APR, PRCA