Chicago-based Wight & Company has announced the launch of Beyond Your Base, a new public affairs and pre-referendum consulting group that will focus on the development and implementation of comprehensive public engagement programs that incorporate voter analytics, public opinion research and strategic communications. The public entities Beyond Your Base serves include municipalities, counties, school districts, community colleges and special districts, among others.
Paul Hanley joins Wight & Company as managing director of Beyond Your Base in the firm’s new Denver office. He brings more than 27 years of experience to lead the new consulting group, including work with more than 100 public clients located throughout the nation, with a special focus on the Intermountain West and Midwest.
“After working with Paul on several high-profile school expansions, new park district buildings and other projects, we knew bringing him to Wight & Company to lead Beyond Your Base would offer our clients a more comprehensive depth of service,” said Brad Paulsen, senior vice president and chief development officer at Wight & Company. “Though not every Beyond Your Base client will work with a Wight & Company design team, when integrated with our facility assessment and master planning process, the pre-referendum work will help public entities seeking funding for capital improvements achieve a higher level of synergy and efficiency in preparing for a possible referendum.”
Prior to joining Wight & Company, Hanley partnered with the firm for referendum projects in suburban Chicago, including New Trier Township High School District 203, Maine Township High School District 207 and Glenview Park District. Most recently, Hanley assisted Wight and its client, Community High School District 99, to secure public support for a $136.6 million bond issuance for the renovation and expansion of Downers Grove North High School and Downers Grove South High School, in Downers Grove, Illinois. Wight & Company designed and is currently constructing both high schools through its design-led, design-build approach.
“Involving local taxpayers, especially those who aren’t regularly connected to your district, early in the planning process for possible ballot measures yields significantly better results for our clients and is a win-win for everyone,” said Hanley. “In order to draw strong voter support for tax-related referenda, the community needs to have influence in the planning. Everything we do is designed to bring the voice of the constituent into the process, making the end result truly the community’s proposal and a success at the polls and beyond.”