Crisis Communication

As an accredited communicator, both with the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators, Ben has demonstrated his expertise in evaluating and writing communication plans. Proficiency in communication planning is a requirement for accreditation in both professional organizations.

Throughout his career, Ben has written dozens of communication plans designed to help companies in a wide variety of industries achieve key objectives among target audiences and prepare for crisis communication situations.

The following are a  few examples:


Aramco Services Company (ASC):

For eight years, Ben Wheatley served as a senior-level counselor in ASC’s Oil Spill Response Team (OSRT) training held annually in various Gulf Coast cities. The two-day drill is designed to test ASC’s preparedness and response to simulated oil spill situations. In these drills, Ben served on the company’s communication team by staffing and supervising telephone banks that received calls from the media, concerned citizens and government entities. He coached designated spokespeople, preparing them for effective participation in press conferences, and also wrote news materials for simulated release to the media and public. Following each drill, he provided evaluation and feedback to improve the entire process.


Cherry Companies:

Ben guided Cherry Demolition, one of the Houston-based Cherry Companies, through a communication crisis that was created when an amateur video surfaced and depicted the company’s demolition of a hotel in the Texas Medical Center. The video made it appear that a person was moving in the building just seconds before its implosion. (In fact, no person was in the building at the time of the implosion.) Ben, working with Cherry’s leadership team, wrote key messages and prepared the CEO for interaction with the media. He wrote and distributed a series of news releases that updated the public on the resulting investigation and its positive conclusion. And, he coached Cherry’s internal team on appropriate responses to ongoing media inquiries. At the conclusion of the crisis, Ben wrote and implemented a comprehensive media relations and marketing plan that helped restore a positive image of Cherry Companies, which had been damaged by the implosion crisis.


BP Exploration:

(now BP). While he was providing extensive internal communication assistance, Ben was tapped to serve on BP Exploration’s emergency preparedness team. As a member of the communication team, Ben regularly drilled with the company’s overall response team to prepare for emergencies. Then, when a pipeline leak occurred, Ben was activated and served for several days with the communication response team as the company handled the pipeline emergency.


Wood Group:

For more than five years, Ben led a communication team that prepared Wood Group’s global senior leaders for effective interaction with the news media. Ben prepared individual scenarios to train and then test the managers in mock crisis communication situations. He and his team conducted simulated media interviews and provided one-on-one coaching for improvement. Further, Ben served as a member of Wood Group’s communication team that was prepared to respond to real crisis communication situations.