HRSA Awards New Five-Year Contract to Akoya

Continuing a partnership that began in 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded Akoya a new contract for the next five and a half years. Our work for HRSA comprises communications and outreach for the Workplace Partnership for Life, a program recruiting and engaging workplaces across the nation to help increase the number of people registered as organ, eye, and tissue donors. We’ve designed, branded, and implemented campaigns that have resulted in more than 1.1 million people registering on their state donor registries. We value our longstanding partnership with HRSA and are excited to continue this important work.

Akoyan Amy Oriss Earns CMP Certification

Congratulations to Amy Oriss, who recently earned the Convention Industry Council’s Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. The CMP credential is recognized globally as the badge of excellence in the events industry, andthe qualifications for certification are based on professional experience, education, and a rigorous exam. By earning the CMP, Amy demonstrates her comprehensive knowledge of meeting management as well as a commitment to the meeting profession.

“Congratulations to Amy on this achievement,” Akoya President Holly Wray says. “Not only are we proud to support our team members’ personal and professional growth, we are also making Akoya an even stronger organization for our clients.”

Focus on Accessibility

Bringing sound science to all citizens is central to the mission of the Centers for Disease Control. That’s why the CDC is focusing on ensuring that its environmental health assessments comply fully with Section 508 accessibility requirements. Under a new subcontract, Akoya is enthusiastic about working with Guidehouse to support the CDC in this effort.

Akoya Stacks Up MarCom Awards for Second Consecutive Year

We are proud to announce that for the second year in a row, our work has earned recognition in the MarCom Awards, an annual, international competition that recognizes excellence in marketing and communication. Akoya received three awards and two honorable mentions, all for work produced for the Military Health System (MHS).

Our campaign to celebrate MHS’s second annual observance of National Nurses Week is a Platinum Winner. The campaign included an extensive communications toolkit for entities throughout the MHS to use as well as outreach events and articles.

Two of our articles are Gold Winners. “African-American D-Day veterans recall battlefield contributions, conflicts at home” features reflections of two African-American soldiers on D-Day and on fighting for freedoms in World War II that they did not have at home. “Let’s talk about sex, occupational therapist says” spotlights an occupational therapist who works with wounded warriors to address sex and intimacy. 

Two additional articles, “The journey to military nursing is different for all” and “Deep vein thrombosis: What you need to know,” earned honorable mentions.

Each year, MarCom receives about 6,000 entries from dozens of countries. Approximately 15 percent of entries are Platinum Winners and 20 percent are Gold Winners. 

Bringing Innovative Solutions to National Security

Contract Announcement

Nothing less than the best solutions of American industry, competitively sourced and rapidly deployed, will keep our nation ahead of pressing homeland security problems in an ever-changing threat environment. Akoya is proud to be contributing to ongoing procurement innovation efforts of the Department of Homeland Security under a new contract awarded in September by the DHS Office of the Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO). Through a dedicated onsite team, Akoya will be providing a range of communications and marketing services, including communications planning, writing and facilitation, graphic design, event planning and management, and webinar management.

We look forward to supporting the OCPO in cultivating a learning organization and in promoting innovative procurement approaches. Overarching goals are to help the OCPO leverage innovative approaches for the benefit of DHS program and contracting organizations, engage industry partners, train and empower employees, and position DHS as a leader among federal agencies in piloting and validating new models.

Courtside Fun: An Evening at the Citi Open

Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) and Donald Young (U.S.)

On July 31, Akoyans in the Washington, DC, area enjoyed an evening of camaraderie, food, and professional tennis at the 2018 Citi Open. The previous night’s wet weather became our boon: we had the opportunity to watch three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland take on Donald Young of the U.S. in a match that had been postponed by rain. Young bested Wawrinka in three sets, which included two tie-breaks. Akoya’s tennis aficionados deemed the action on the court excellent.

Celebrating its 50th year, the Citi Open benefits the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation, of which Akoya is a proud supporter.

Dana Reid Joins Akoya as Communications Director, Project Manager

We’re excited to announce that Dana Reid joined our team as a communications director and project manager on July 11 and is currently supporting the Defense Health Agency.  Dana recently celebrated her retirement from a 20+ year career with the U.S. Coast Guard, where she specialized in strategic planning and policy analysis for national security.

In her spare time, Dana can be found sharpening her pencil for the NY Times and LA Times Sunday crosswords or sharpening her knives to cook signature dishes for friends and family, including her husband and 13-year-old daughter.

Akoya’s Conference Planning Team Hits Bean Town

DLC annual conference in Boston, MA, July 9 – July 11, 2018

Since 2016, Akoya has worked with the DesignLights ConsortiumTM to plan and execute its annual Stakeholder Meeting — a marquee event that draws 250 attendees for three days of education, collaboration, and networking. This year’s meeting, held this past July, had particular significance, as the host city was none other than Boston, MA — the DLC’s hometown.

Planning for the 2018 meeting began last summer with an extensive, city-wide venue search, where we worked closely with the DLC to select the beautiful and historic Boston Park Plaza for the meeting itself and the unique Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum for the offsite reception. From there, we handled all aspects of pre-event management, including negotiating contracts, coordinating over 20 exhibits and sponsor stations, tracking registration, developing a comprehensive food and beverage package, and managing the space plan and schedule for more than a dozen meeting rooms. On site, we were the liaison between the DLC and the hotel to oversee all behind-the-scenes details and problem-solve as needed.

It’s safe to say that this year’s DLC Stakeholder Meeting was “wicked awesome” — we’re already hard at work on the site search for 2019 and look forward to our continued partnership with the DLC.

Tennis, Anyone?


Especially during warm-weather months, it’s common to see our president, Holly Wray, sporting her tennis whites in the office before an after-work match. Holly’s love for the sport and Akoya’s work in the Washington, DC, area are what inspired us to support the venerable Washington Tennis & Education Foundation. Since 1955, the nonprofit has built “life champions” by giving underserved kids a safe environment in which they can excel in tennis and academics. Hundreds of children ages two and older participate in WTEF’s afterschool programs and summer camps annually.

WTEF’s annual Tennis Ball is something we look forward to each year, and not only are we proud to be a bronze sponsor for the recent gala, we are proud that Team Akoya made it all the way to the finals of the VIP Round Robin Tennis Tournament! Watch out, Roger and Serena!


Akoyans Volunteer at Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank

A team of Akoyans and their kids volunteered at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in early April.

After an inspiring Round One in Washington, DC, a team of Akoyans supported the fight against hunger with a volunteer event at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Together, we rolled up our sleeves and in just a few hours bagged and packed an estimated 3,200 pounds of dry pasta for distribution. Special thanks and commendation goes to Ike, Roy, and Fiona, whose youthful energy helped keep the old folks in gear!

The Food Bank was founded in 1980 to help families affected by the closing of Pittsburgh’s famous steel mills. Today, its reach extends across 11 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, providing healthy food to more than 360,000 people each year — people who often have to make daily decisions about which essential items they need to sacrifice just to buy food. And well over 90,000 children in the area are food insecure, defined as having limited or uncertain access to adequate food. Consistent hunger and worrying when their next meal will be — especially in summer months when school meals are not available — impacts not only children’s physical health, but also their mental and emotional health, leaving scars that can last a lifetime. For these reasons alone, it’s clear the work of the Food Bank is far from over.

Akoya is grateful for the work and commitment of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The team was proud to participate and looks forward to our next staff-wide volunteer event, planned for later this year.

Akoya Wins 2018 Communitas Award for Excellence in Community Service

Under the leadership of Chief Creative Officer Nancy Reese, Akoya’s pro bono work with the Women’s Law Project has won a 2018 Communitas Award for excellence in company community service. Administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, the Communitas Awards honor excellence in social responsibility and community service among individuals and organizations.

Akoya was recognized for its work on FAIR:PLAY, a website designed to help parents, students, and communities advocate for a fair share of sports opportunities for girls in Pennsylvania’s public secondary schools. The concept was born when Nancy – also a Women’s Law Project board member – identified that the Department of Education’s abundant but unwieldy raw data made it nearly impossible to determine if a school is out of compliance with Title IX law.

After collaborating with WLP on the game plan, Akoya created the website’s branding and homepage design; recruited volunteer mentors, programmers, and coders (nearly all women); and, with support from the FISA Foundation, hosted a weekend-long hackathon to crunch the data and create an easy-to-use interface. And while ultimately the result was a website providing meaningful and actionable information, the hackathon itself was a remarkable STEM learning experience showcasing the region’s technical talent and the participants’ dedication to fairness and equality.

The Communitas Award is a testament to Akoya’s ongoing commitment to giving back and using its talents to help nonprofits and organizations that may not have the funding or resources to do so. We are grateful for the honor and for the opportunity to bring attention to the advocacy work of the Women’s Law Project.  

D.C. Akoyans Enter the Ring for the Fight Against Hunger

Akoyans and friends volunteer at DC Central Kitchen.

One evening in late January, Akoyans from our Falls Church office laced up their proverbial gloves and entered the ring to battle a formidable foe: systemic hunger in the Washington, D.C. area.

At DC Central Kitchen—the nation’s first and leading community kitchen—food isn’t just used to nourish and strengthen bodies. It is central to breaking the cycle of hunger and poverty. DCCK’s holistic strategy diverts millions of pounds of food waste toward millions of meals for homeless shelters, schools, and nonprofits; expands access to healthful, local options in urban food deserts; and develops meaningful career training and job assistance for at-risk individuals.

DCCK’s mission resonates with Akoyan Katie Walker, who grew up volunteering, often to help the food insecure. As a first year student at American University in 2001, Katie lived on a floor dedicated to students interested in volunteering locally. DCCK was among the different locations students on the floor were introduced to each week. It wasn’t long before Katie started volunteering there regularly—sometimes several times a month.

“The people who work, train, and volunteer there have—and continue to be—a great source of inspiration for me,” Katie says.

Katie decided to introduce Akoyans to DCCK not only because she has a strong connection to the organization but also because it’s a great place for groups to volunteer. “It’s a chance to interact with coworkers, other volunteers, and the people who work there,” she says. “You’re helping others, having fun, and as an added bonus, learning new skills in the kitchen.”

And in true Akoya fashion, we had a good time for a good cause: we rolled up our sleeves, donned our hairnets, and joined the ranks of volunteers who’ve dedicated time to fighting hunger in the nation’s capital.