Firehouse Subs PR team

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Alaina Bundy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – August 8, 2019 – This week, the Jacksonville-based Firehouse Subs headquarters public relations team was celebrated at the 81st Annual Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) conference in Tampa, Fla. FPRA, which is dedicated to developing public relations practitioners and enhancing the public relations profession, recognized Firehouse Subs for its excellence in public relations programs and strategies, as well as its constant dedication to personal and professional development.

At FPRA’s Annual Golden Image Awards Banquet on August 6, the Firehouse Subs Public Relations Team was presented with two Awards of Distinction for excellence in public relations programming, honoring their “Firehouse Subs Debuts in Rhode Island” news release and special event “Boardman, Ohio New Restaurant Opening.” The Golden Image Awards have become the standard of public relations excellence in the State of Florida, and winners demonstrate the very best examples of innovation, planning and design.

The award-winning “Firehouse Subs Debuts in Rhode Island” project consisted of a precise development strategy of a news release for local, national and restaurant industry trade media announcing the growing brand presence in the Northeast region with Firehouse Subs’ 46th state. Through strategic media relations outreach, the Firehouse Subs team secured record-breaking PR results by generating more earned coverage than any new restaurant opening in the 25-year history of Firehouse Subs, resulting in two national restaurant trade publication features and 12 local and statewide features across digital and print. With a 32.4 percent increase of the team’s original objective for the restaurant’s opening week sales, these publicity results undoubtedly contributed to the final results.

The team’s special event Award of Distinction for the “Boardman, Ohio New Restaurant Opening” consisted of a custom news release announcing the grand opening while sharing the business stories of the franchisees, generating brand awareness around Firehouse Subs and Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation. In the days leading up to the opening, the public relations team began proactive pitching to local media, resulting in six news stories, a more than 66 percent increase from the team’s original objective. This included a series of morning live shots with a local broadcast station and a cooking segment, resulting in 13 minutes of free air time. Despite local temperatures dropping to 11 degrees with high winds, ice and snow on opening day, Boardman, Ohio residents flocked to the newest restaurant in their city after hearing the news from local media. The Boardman restaurant generated a 79.2 percent increase of the team’s original objective for the restaurant’s opening week sales, a record-breaking public relations new restaurant opening campaign.

 “Last year we expanded the Firehouse Subs headquarters public relations team to include two new Local Public Relations Manager roles filled by Vanessa De La Vina and Jane Shehane, in an effort to place a dedicated focus on telling the entrepreneurial stories of our family of franchisees while helping drive sales,” said Liz Anderson Slobodian, APR, who leads the Firehouse Subs public relations team and the PR strategy for more than 1,175 Firehouse Subs locations in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. “The success we’ve seen from the PR support of this new restaurant opening, and others across the map, are the direct results of the newly expanded headquarters PR team and our continued synergy with 10-year vendor partner, The Zimmerman Agency.”

In addition to demonstrating exceptional success through their Firehouse Subs roles, the public relations team has also continued its dedication to professional development with consistent involvement in a variety of leadership certifications and accreditation programs, as well as state and national associations including FPRA, Public Relations Society of America and more. Here are some of the team’s distinguishable accomplishments that were also recognized at the 81st Annual FPRA Conference this week:


Liz Anderson Slobodian, APR: Senior Public Relations Manager at Firehouse Subs

  • APR Designation – The Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) administered through the Universal Accreditation Board is a mark of professional distinction for public relations professionals who demonstrate their commitment to the profession and to its ethical practice, and who are selected based on broad knowledge, strategic perspective and sound professional judgment. Only 4,500 practicing public relations/communications professionals worldwide have achieved the APR designation. Liz achieved her APR in late June and was recognized at FPRA Annual Conference on August 5.
  • LeadershipFPRA Class III Graduate – LeadershipFPRA is a program developed as an exclusive premium member benefit for those who wish to take their leadership skills to the next level. The curriculum is challenging and consists of orientation, graduation and five independent classes of the program instruction. Graduates of the program leave as better equipped PR professionals and will have strengthened their abilities to evolve into future leadership roles.
  • Tapped to serve as FPRA State Executive Committee Vice President of Student Chapter Services 2019-2020 – At FPRA Annual Conference this week Liz was appointed and sworn into the Florida Public Relations Association State Executive Committee as Vice President of Student Chapter Services, where she’ll travel the state, continuing her passion mission to mentor and grow the public relations profession through Florida’s universities and colleges.


Laura Beth Huber: Manager of Public Relations at Firehouse Subs

  • Recipient of the Joe Curley Rising Leader Award from the FPRA Jacksonville Chapter – An award intended to identify and honor up-and-coming FPRA members who demonstrate dedication and engagement within their chapter’s activities, programs, functions and events. Laura Beth was one of 15 FPRA chapter leaders recognized for this achievement.


Alaina Bundy: Public Relations Coordinator at Firehouse Subs

  • Inducted into LeadershipFPRA Class IV for 2019-2020 – At just 21-years-old, and a recent accomplished Flagler College graduate, Alaina is the youngest member of this year’s incoming class. As a chosen recipient of two scholarships from generous FPRA donors and the FPRA Jacksonville Chapter, she will be attending on a full scholarship representing her FPRA Chapter and Firehouse Subs. Alaina follows in the footsteps of Firehouse Subs PR teammates and LeadershipFPRA Graduates Liz Anderson Slobodian, APR, (Class III) and Laura Beth Huber (Class II).


About Firehouse Subs:

Celebrating 25 years of business in 2019, Firehouse Subs® is a fast casual restaurant chain with a passion for Hearty and Flavorful Food, Heartfelt Service and Public Safety. Founded in 1994 by brothers and former firefighters Chris Sorensen and Robin Sorensen, Firehouse Subs is a brand built on decades of fire and police service, hot subs, steamed and piled high with the highest quality meats and cheeses and its commitment to saving lives through the establishment of the non-profit Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation®. The founders are the real deal, the food is their creation and the restaurant is built upon a family of franchise operators who share their same passion for generously serving food and community. This year, Firehouse of America, LLC (franchisor for the brand) will donate a portion of all purchases at U.S. Firehouse Subs restaurants to Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, resulting in a minimum donation of one million dollars. Firehouse Subs is consistently recognized as one of the leading brands in the U.S. among consumers. Newsweek recently named Firehouse Subs No. 1 in the fast casual restaurant industry on its 2019 list of America’s Best Customer Service Brands. In 2018, Firehouse Subs was named the No. 1 brand in the restaurant industry that “Supports Local Community Activities” and ranks No. 1 among Fast Casual brands in “Food Quality” and “Taste and Flavor” in Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics rankings. Firehouse Subs was also named No. 2 in “America’s Favorite Fast Casual Chain” rankings by Technomic Ignite.


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Quick Facts:

More than 1,175 restaurants in 46 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and non-traditional locations

$44+ million granted to public safety organizations via Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation®

Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla.


About Florida Public Relations Association:

The Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) is dedicated to developing public relations practitioners who, through ethical and standardized practices, enhance the public relations profession in Florida. The organization’s 15 professional and 12 student chapters provide professional development, networking and recognition opportunities for nearly 1,500 members across the state. FPRA is the nation’s oldest public relations organization, established by Lt. Col. John Dillin, APR, CPRC in 1938. For more information, visit