About SAE Communications

Our desire to bring the process of effective public information and engagement to public agencies has driven our goal of blending the tools and techniques of the private sector with the unique needs and demands of public agencies. Applying strategic communications programs in the public sector requires a passion for the needs of local and state agencies to continually educate, inform, and involve citizens and businesses. Government officials and staff are dedicated to making decisions for the betterment of their city, county, or region. We wholeheartedly believe in this commitment and want to help the public appreciate and understand this desire to make tough decisions that benefit the greater need of the society in which they reside.

Bay Area Office

2934 Victoria Meadow Court
Pleasanton, CA  94566

Southern California Office

1737 Paterna Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Scott Summerfield

Scott Summerfield is an expert in public agency strategic communications with nearly two decades of award-winning public information/public participation experience, along with tenures at several organizations focused on community issues.  Scott specializes in assisting organizations with their communications plan development and training programs, overseeing all research activities and supervises SAE Communications’ San Francisco Bay Area activities from his Pleasanton office.

Scott is the former Public Information Officer for the City of Newark and managed the largest grant program in League of California Cities history, supervising a team of nine communications consultants throughout the state who worked with local communities to implement public education and public participation projects. 

Community meeting facilitation and structuring of public input processes are a cornerstone of his municipal background, and Scott’s public participation approach of identifying all possible affected audiences and creating a communications program to reach each audience member has served his organizations well.

Scott also served as Director of Communications for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce.  The Oakland native is a graduate of San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications/Film. 

Scott is a past president of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award; Dean of Instruction at the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI); grants chair of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame; a former executive board member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA); board member of the Bay Area Cable Excellence Awards; and a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles and San Jose State University.

Find Scott on LinkedIn.

Sheri Benninghoven, APR

Sheri Benninghoven, APR, is the former Communications Director of the League of California Cities, and one of California’s most experienced public relations professionals in helping state and local governments develop strategic communications programs.

Sheri has extensive experience and working knowledge of journalism, local government operations and finance, public relations and public affairs, State government, crisis communications, and communications research.  A graduate of California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Communications and Public Relations, she also graduated from the Public Sector Marketing program from Public Technology, Incorporated (PTI) in Washington, D.C.

She is a former member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles.  She is a former Vice President/Group Manager for Ketchum Public Relations, the world’s fifth largest public relations firm.  She founded their Public Sector Marketing Group and also created their California Technology Practice Group.  Sheri also served in Ketchum’s renowned Media Training Unit, which trained corporate executives from around the world.

Sheri is formerly the Public Information Officer for the City of Anaheim, preparing and implementing communications plans for the city and each city department, including for Anaheim Stadium and the Anaheim Convention Center.  She developed an award-winning crisis communications training program, which was adopted by the California Specialized Training Institute.  She also authored portions of the State’s Multi-Function Hazard Response Plan and has counseled the California Office of Emergency Services.

She is a past president of the California Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, from which she’s accredited; a member and past board member of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and a recipient of their Lifetime Achievement Award; is a founder/past board member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA); and received California State University, Fullerton’s prestigious alumni award. 

Find Sheri on LinkedIn.

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