Who We Are

Case Studies:
Who We Are

Our Partners

Our clients will succeed when we add partners to the team with experience and capabilities aligned with their needs. Over the years, we have built strategic relationships with colleagues in Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

Elizabeth Austin
Strategic Communication
Susan Leonis
Government Advocacy
Jim Dunlap
Government Advocacy
Barry Rubin
Stakeholder Outreach
Government Advocacy
Shayne Woodard
Government Advocacy

Jim Prescott


Jim Prescott has developed and managed public affairs programs for large-scale projects throughout his career, which began in the press office of the longest-serving governor in Illinois history and has continued with a focus on energy, transportation and other industries that require strategic communication, stakeholder outreach and government advocacy.

His approach consistently helps business, non-profit and government clients earn support for their initiatives, protect and strengthen reputations, and elevate awareness of accomplishments to help them reach objectives.

Highlights from Jim’s career include:

  • Public affairs for the successful approval and construction of the first three phases of Keystone Pipeline System, a $13 billion, 2,600-mile project. He was responsible for stakeholder outreach, media communication and government advocacy in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
  • Public affairs and stakeholder outreach in Illinois for CMS Energy in connection with the successful approval and construction of Guardian Pipeline.
  • Media communication and stakeholder outreach in connection with the effort to bring the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) to Illinois.
  • Government advocacy in Illinois for TransCanada US Pipelines, Ltd.
  • Public affairs in connection with legislative efforts to gain approval from the Illinois General Assembly to build Tenaska’s Taylorville Energy Center, a $3.5 billion clean coal power generation plant.
  • Development and management of a $1.5 million public relations and strategic communication program for the Illinois Toll Highway Authority for the I-Pass electronic toll collection system.
  • Development and management of “Operation Kennedy,” an award-winning, three-year integrated communication program for the Illinois Department of Transportation to support the reconstruction of the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago.
  • Strategic communication for the construction and grand opening of New Comiskey Park, the first major sports facility built in Illinois in 50 years.
  • Strategic communication and stakeholder outreach in connection with commercial development projects valued at $200 million.

On an international platform, Jim developed a global communication program for the leading research conference on Alzheimer’s disease, which was held in Stockholm and where he provided on-site program management. He also has delivered on-the-ground crisis communication for clients in Europe and Australia.

Prior to opening his firm in 2003, Jim was with public affairs and advertising firms in Chicago. He began his career in public affairs as Assistant Press Secretary and Chicago Press Secretary to former Gov. James R. Thompson.

He is a graduate of Illinois State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

Email Jim at jprescott@prescottgroupllc.com.

Sally Prescott

Event Management + Client Services

Sally Prescott brings an entrepreneurial approach to event management. As the first Special Events Manager at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, she understands the challenges associated with creating events from scratch and executing them flawlessly.

In addition to event management, Sally has successfully managed her own businesses for more than 20 years, which enables her to efficiently direct client services for Prescott Group.

Sally has leadership roles with charitable and community organizations, including the board of directors of West Suburban PADS (now known as Housing Forward), Oak Park-River Forest Infant Welfare Society, Oak Park Women’s Guild, Newcomers Club and BRAVO, the award-winning performing arts program at Brooks Middle School.

She also is co-founder/owner of Ovation Performing Arts Academy, which opened its doors in Oak Park in September 2014.

Sally was graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business.

Email Sally at sprescott@prescottgroupllc.com.

Sarah Knaus

Project Manager

Sarah Knaus worked at Prescott Group in 2008 and following a move back to her hometown of Chicago in 2015, has returned to manage stakeholder outreach, government advocacy and media relations.

Sarah has worked in public policy and strategic communication in Chicago, Washington DC, and London. Most recently, she was Manager of Policy and Government Affairs for the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which is the largest British business organization. Prior to joining the CBI, Sarah worked in political and public affairs in Washington, focusing on issues impacting energy, education, and financial services. During this time, she was recruited to join the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a Congressional commission established to investigate the causes of the financial crisis. She has also worked for BGR Group, a government relations and PR firm based in Washington, and was the Deputy Field Director for Roskam for Congress during the 2008 election cycle.

Sarah holds a Master’s degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College in Easton, PA.

Email Sarah at sknaus@prescottgroupllc.com.

Jeff Rauh

Stakeholder Outreach
Strategic Communication

Jeff is a public affairs professional with expertise building trust. He has managed energy policy issues and testified before legislative, regulatory and local permitting panels. He has directed and managed public aspects of the siting of controversial pipelines, nuclear waste storage facilities and electric transmission facilities. He is a seasoned representative with a proven track record managing relationships with key stakeholders, conducting public meetings that sometimes involve emotionally charged settings, and communicating with media and all levels of government representatives. He understands how to listen and appreciates emotional aspects of risk communication. As a former Navy submarine officer and Chief Nuclear Engineer, Jeff brings integrity, technical ability and an even keel to his work.

Scott McPherson

Stakeholder Outreach
Strategic Communication

A senior strategist and thought leader with a proven track record of excellence, Scott McPherson has 32 years of public affairs, government relations, strategic communication, issue management and media relations experience. His expertise in developing grassroots and grass tops support for clients’ initiatives and projects is focused on such industries as energy, transportation, technology, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. His public affairs career was built a foundation of political campaigns and consulting that involved multi-state field operations and activities.

Franc Fennessy

Strategic Communication
Stakeholder Outreach

Franc Fennessy provides expert public affairs counsel and program implementation to energy infrastructure clients. His extensive experience in the energy industry includes facility siting, permitting and project team management. His strengths include environmental policy (NEPA and EIS processes); federal, tribal, state and local government/stakeholder relations; media relations and corporate communication; public involvement and participation; and wetland and water quality policy. His accomplishments include: managing environmental programs, local and community relations, real estate and corporate communication; creating a Local Relations Department from the ground up, designed public involvement programs for right-of-way projects, and developed and deployed landowner and stakeholder contact tracking systems; and serving as Deputy Secretary and other senior roles at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, where he was the principal executive for high-profile permitting cases and cleanup cases.

Mary Frances Fagan

Strategic Communication

Mary Frances Fagan is an award-winning public relations professional in the government and transportation sectors who worked for the world’s largest airline, American Airlines, served as a press secretary for two popular Illinois governors, and was the voice of Illinois Public Radio at the State Capitol in Springfield. She has extensive experience in corporate, crisis and marketing communication; media and government relations; public affairs and reputation management. She is a proven leader and a team player who possesses strategic and creative thinking, speechwriting, and event organizing skills.

David R. Gilbert

Strategic Communication

Dave Gilbert draws on more than 30 years of communication experience providing clients with strategic thinking designed to get results and solve problems. He provides communication guidance and senior level counseling to corporations, associations, government, non-profits and individuals. He also specializes in crisis communication.

Gilbert started his career with City News Bureau of Chicago, and then became a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, covering government, politics and transportation for nine years. He was Transportation Editor at the Tribune when he was named Press Secretary for James R. Thompson’s first successful campaign for Governor of Illinois. After guiding media strategies for the State of Illinois and Office of the Governor for a decade, Gilbert was named Vice President of Corporate Communication for Continental Illinois Bank before joining Lesnik Public Relations as President.

From there he moved to GolinHarris International and serving as President, the Chicago-based public relations agency grew in size to be the seventh largest PR agency in the world. During his career, Gilbert has counseled clients including McDonald’s, Gerber, Owens-Corning, Chrysler Corporation, GlaxoWellcome (now GlaxoSmithKline) and was a member of the transition team that merged Chrysler and Daimler-Benz. He helped lead public relations strategies for Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City of Chicago to bring The Boeing Company’s international headquarters to Chicago.

As an independent consultant, Gilbert’s extensive experience has made him a politically savvy and astute adviser.