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
Southern California Office
Scott Summerfield is an expert in strategic communications counsel with over three decades of award-winning public information/public participation experience, along with tenures at several organizations focused on community issues. Scott specializes in assisting our clients with their media training programs and strategic counsel.
Scott is the former Public Information Officer for the City of Newark and also served as project manager for 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.
Scott also served as Director of Communications for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. The Oakland native is a graduate of San Diego State University in Telecommunications/Film. He is a past president of the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) and recipient of their lifetime achievement award; grants chair of the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame; a former executive board member of the City-County Communications and Marketing Association (3CMA); a board member of the Bay Area Cable Excellence Awards; a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles; and is a course manager and crisis communications instructor at the California Specialized Training Institute.
Find Scott on LinkedIn.
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 corporations and public agencies develop strategic public relations programs. As one of two principals of SAE Communications, she serves of counsel to the firm’s public agency clients. Areas of expertise include writing public agency communications plans, writing National Incident Management System (NIMS)-compliant crisis communications plans, counseling agencies when crisis strikes (from mass casualty incidents to “crises of confidence”), teaching key message development and delivery, and executive coaching.
Sheri is a former member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles and a former Vice President/Group Manager and Global Account Director for Ketchum Public Relations.
She served as Public Information Officer for the City of Anaheim; is a past president of the California Capital Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, from which she’s accredited; a 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 is a founder/instructor at the California Specialized Training Institute’s (CSTI) crisis communications program.
A graduate of California State University, Fullerton in Communications and Public Relations – and recipient of their alumni professional achievement award — she also graduated from the Public Sector Marketing program from Public Technology, Incorporated (PTI) in Washington, DC.
Sheri is a past volunteer with the American Red Cross, was appointed to the first City of Santa Barbara Creeks Commission and is active in her home parish of All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, where she has served as senior warden.
Find Sheri on LinkedIn.