President and CEO
Retired Army Colonel Rudy Burwell brings the Burwell Group more than 20+ years of management and crisis communications experience spanning from war zones to Capitol Hill to corporate boardrooms. Prior to forming the Burwell Group, Rudy was the Executive Vice President for Hellerman Baretz Communications, an award-winning strategic communications firm. He led the firm’s expansion into government contracting, and its growing crisis communications and litigation public relations practice.
During Rudy’s time on the Army Staff in the Pentagon, he was the senior public affairs representative for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology, the office responsible for all equipment fielding, procurement and new technology. Rudy ascended to the role of Chief of Media Operations for the Multi-National Corps during the intensely observed military “surge” of 2007 in Iraq. In that post, he formulated the coalition’s response to international media crises ranging from the alleged shooting of Iraqi civilians by private security forces to the pullout of British troops from Basra, Iraq. In addition to his crisis communications responsibilities, Rudy managed the world’s largest continuing media-embed program, which placed 1,200 journalists annually—including high-visibility reporters such as Katie Couric, Anderson Cooper, and Geraldo Rivera—into combat units. Rudy also coordinated press activities for several Congressional delegations and served as a personal media escort to former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on his visit to Iraq.
Closer to home, Rudy directed the Army Reserve’s crisis communication strategy in the aftermath of the Fort Hood, Texas shootings in 2009. In 2010 he coordinated the response to Congress following the theft of government laptops containing the personal information of thousands of soldiers. He left the military as Director of Army Reserve Communications, where he oversaw a $5 million budget, 50 public affairs professionals, and among other duties, prepared senior Army personnel for Congressional testimony.
Rudy’s extensive involvement with the private sector includes his work for the Employer Partnership of the Armed Forces, a public-private partnership to increase employment opportunities for service members. Rudy’s communications campaign helped drive the partnership from just a handful of companies in 2008 to more than 1,500 today, including Fortune 500 companies such as Walmart, IBM, GE, and Amazon.com. The program, which began within the Army Reserve, became so successful with Rudy directing its communications effort that it expanded to other military services.
In 2005–06, Rudy served a National Security Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He holds a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco in Human Resources and Organization Development and a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Mass Communications.
Since Rudy’s retirement in 2011, he continues to maintain close contacts with senior officials on both the Army and Department of Defense staffs.
Rudy is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators. He is also a graduate of Leadership Arlington, an executive leadership program aimed at strengthening the Arlington, Virginia community, and is a current member of the Board of Regents. Related to his work with Leadership Arlington, Rudy recently sat on the Board of Directors of the Arlington YMCA, to which he also contributed his marketing and communications expertise and has long served as a mentor to at-risk youth.
Rudolph Burwell Sr.
Senior Account Executive
Chief Rudolph L. Burwell is a 30-year veteran of the Norfolk Police Department and recently retired as the Chief of Police for Old Dominion University. During his NPD career, Chief Burwell has served in all the police districts, the First Patrol Division, Second Patrol Division, K-9 Unit, Emergency Response Unit, Detective Division, Training Division, and the Inspections Division.
He received his undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Saint Leo University, Applied Science Degree Tidewater Community College, Police Science Degree Saint Leo University, Florida, and a certificate of public management from the University of Virginia. He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, VA.
His professional training includes certification in all levels of (NIMS) National Incident Management Systems, Certification in (VDEM) Virginia Department of Emergency Management. He is also skilled in Grant Writing and has been instrumental in receiving major Federal and State grant funding for both agencies.
He has received a variety of awards and commendations, including the Administration Award for Public Service, Noble’s Outstanding Service Award, and Old Dominion University’s Community Partnership Award. Chief Burwell is an active member of numerous community and volunteer organizations to include: National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE,) Hampton Roads Police Chiefs Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), Federal Bureau of Investigation Association, and the Virginia Campus Law Enforcement Association.
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