Hailing from the Windy City, Frank Orrico is the global director of Weber Shandwick’s new Element Scientific Communications™ (Element), an industry-leading team of communicators dedicated to inciting change through science. He visited our Seattle office this week to share how science communications is evolving, and of course, to visit a few of his favorite Seattle hot spots. We caught up with him for a second go-around here on the blog.
Science communications is a really unique specialty that Weber Shandwick offers. Can you tell us more about Element and how it’s helping clients?
Element comprises a group of specialists – 14 Ph.D.’s, 2 M.D.’s and a bunch of people with master’s degrees in science writing and related fields – who help science-driven clients around the globe achieve their communications and business goals. While the credentials and the numbers are impressive, what really sets us apart is that we are scientists who understand the big picture and know how to tell stories that engage people – from consumers to bench researchers – and, ultimately, change the way they think or behave.
What are the biggest issues that we’re helping our healthcare clients navigate today?
The shifting funding landscape is a huge challenge for the entire life sciences and biomedical research community. We’re increasingly being called on to help clients engage with new types of partners and donors.
What part of your job gets you most excited?
Partnering with colleagues all over the world. In my 16 years at Weber Shandwick, I’ve had the pleasure and the privilege to work with hundreds of people across the network. The breadth and depth of expertise and talent at Weber Shandwick never ceases to inspire me. I can honestly say that I’ve learned something from just about everyone I’ve encountered. I’ve also made some great friends along the way.
We know you love to walk a lot when you’re here in Seattle. Tell us about your favorite places to visit.
Seattle is a great walking – and biking – town. My favorite places include:
- The Melrose Market (on Melrose off Pine Street). This is a former auto body shop that’s been beautifully converted into a marketplace that includes a butcher shop, a sandwich joint, a great wine bar and coffee shop, a restaurant that allows you to sit at the prep table, etc. There’s a fantastic, no-frills seafood place called Taylor Shellfish in the same building.
- The path along Puget Sound. I’ve hoofed pretty much as far as you can on the paved trails. I particularly like the sculpture park, the Amgen DNA bridge, the fishing piers and that gigantic grain mill (or whatever it is). Amazing views at sundown.
- Although Pike Place is flocked with tourists, I still enjoy talking to the fishmongers and grabbing a bite at Matt’s. Great view of the back of the big Pike Place sign.
- On my first visit to Seattle, I rented a bike and rode to Golden Gardens Park. It was one of the most memorable rides I’ve ever taken – spectacular juxtapositions of nature and industry at every turn. I crossed the train yards and the Ballard Locks, walked on the floor of Salmon Bay (which was at extremely low tide), hiked up the side of a cliff (and came upon a shanty town), ate at Ray’s (stupendous!) and made it back in time to catch my flight home.
Also, I’m an avid amateur shutterbug. Here’s a few pics from my first Seattle adventure.