At Byrum & Fisk, the only thing that matters is you. Your issue. Your crisis. Your reputation. Your success. Your bottom line.
Your story can’t wait for later. It can’t be told by others. At Byrum & Fisk, we’ll help you tell your story, on your own terms, in creative and attention-grabbing ways. We’ll help you shape your future – and we’ll do it now.
Other people talk about pushing the envelope. We make the envelope.
Other firms say they think outside the box. We build the box.
That’s the Byrum & Fisk way.
Three words describe our culture and our team at Byrum & Fisk.
Dianne Byrum is widely recognized nationally and statewide as one of the most effective political strategists around. Today, she works with many of Michigan’s leading industries, helping position them for the 21st century economy. She has extensive experience successfully directing complex multi-layered projects that are national in scope and bridge diverse inter-related industries.
Dianne has more than 24 years’ experience as an Ingham County commissioner and in the Michigan Legislature, including serving two terms as the Michigan House Democratic leader – the first woman to lead a caucus in the state Capitol. Her focused, disciplined approach was credited with flipping the House from Republican to Democratic control over 2 cycles – a feat few believed was possible. One of her signature tactics was sustained, repetitive, creative communications designed to systematically bolster or weaken lawmakers, depending on the target.
In 2008, Dianne was elected to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees with nearly 2.2 million votes statewide.
Dianne has been active on many presidential campaigns and has served with national political organizations, including on the board of directors for EMILY’S List. She speaks frequently on government and politics, and news media frequently seeks her for analyses on the latest issues.
Mark Fisk is widely acknowledged as one of Michigan’s best political strategists, and a paid and earned media expert who gets results for his clients and his projects.
An award-winning journalist and a veteran of numerous communications projects and campaigns at the national, statewide and local levels, Mark is viewed as one of the best practitioners of the craft of message development. His expertise in this field has led him to give presentations and seminars across the nation on crisis communications, rapid response, public relations and advocacy communications.
Prior to forming Byrum & Fisk in 2007, Mark was the political and communications director for the Michigan House Democratic Caucus, playing the lead role in rebuilding the caucus and retaking the majority in 2006. His hard-nosed approach to campaigns, relentless drive and desire to win led him to be nicknamed “Iron Fisk” and won him respect from both parties. In 2002, Mark served as communications director for Democratic attorney general candidate Gary Peters. He also served as press secretary and spokesman for U.S. Congressman David Bonior during his 2002 bid for Michigan governor.
Mark is an award-winning print journalist who worked for The Oakland Press, The Herald-Palladium and The Kalamazoo Gazette. His articles have also appeared in The Detroit News, The Detroit Free Press and The Philadelphia Inquirer. While at the Gazette, Mark won the first place award from the Associated Press for enterprise reporting. In 2000, he won first place from the Michigan Press Association for feature writing.
Olivia Adams is a communications strategist for Byrum & Fisk’s growing Grand Rapids office where she works with clients in real estate, healthcare, nonprofit and technology industries. As a passionate digital PR professional, Olivia brings a wealth of experience in social media, content marketing and public relations. She is also always one step ahead of the next, big social media trend.
Before joining Byrum & Fisk Communications, Olivia was the social media and communications specialist for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce where she researched, developed and implemented strategic social media and digital marketing tactics, and led a number of successful social media campaigns. Because of her savvy social media skills, she was nominated for the Grand Rapids Young Professionals Social Media Maven Award in 2015. She also has experience in the HR tech industry and has ghostwritten content for popular blogs including The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Tech Cocktail and Mashable.
When Olivia isn’t busy tweeting for a client, you can find her blogging at a coffee shop in Grand Rapids or trying out the latest social media network. A native of West Michigan, Olivia has a Bachelor of Science in public relations from Ferris State University.
Christopher Behnan is a communications strategist at Byrum & Fisk Communications. A veteran print journalist, Christopher brings years of experience covering the Michigan Legislature and Congress with a keen eye on policy that can change lives.
He received numerous Associated Press awards while a reporter for the Livingston Daily in Howell, Michigan. They include 1st Place Investigative Reporting for coverage of Michigan’s film incentives; 1st Place Enterprise Reporting for his story on veterans with “invisible wounds”; and 1st place Best Public Service for his profile of a man whose cancer trial was jeopardized by the 2013 congressional shutdown.
Christopher was previously a reporter, photographer and editor for other publications in Michigan and Illinois, and his byline has also appeared in the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Metro Times, the former Real Detroit Weekly, and Review Magazine in Saginaw. Throughout his nearly 20-year career, Christopher has developed a reputation for unearthing the human impact of decisions made in Lansing and Washington, D.C.
He is a trained classical saxophonist, having first studied music at Western Michigan University. A Detroit area native with deep family roots in the Motor City, Christopher is a proud Michigan State University journalism graduate and member of Lansing’s Groesbeck community.
Nick Dodge is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University. He holds degrees in Social Relations & Policy and Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy.
No stranger to the political realm, Nick has experience in both the U.S. Senate and Michigan State Senate. He spent summer 2015 in Washington, D.C. working on Energy and Natural Resource policy for Senator Debbie Stabenow. Nick is an avid outdoorsman, and he had the opportunity to express his passion for Michigan’s natural resources through a legislative internship with Michigan United Conservation Clubs in 2014. There, Nick lent his skills in the form of writing blogs and conducting political research for the organization.
The rigorous and writing intensive coursework of James Madison College has left Nick with polished composition and editing skills. At Michigan State, Nick was an active member of the Spartan Forensics Team and competed against other colleges and universities in the categories of extemporaneous and impromptu speaking.
As Byrum & Fisk’s West Michigan team leader, Steve Faber will sustain and drive our firm’s growth in Grand Rapids and across the region. Steve is an experienced, proven executive who helped guide the growth of nonprofit organizations, community change initiatives and local campaigns. Before joining Byrum & Fisk, Steve was executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, a nonprofit startup that is widely credited with implementing some of the most innovative community programs in the region. Steve’s expertise is translating vision into actionable organizing, by engaging stakeholders, building coalitions and solving problems. He is the recipient of numerous community, professional and academic awards, including the David D. Hunting Humanitarian Award (2012), the GVSU’s Pi Alpha Alpha Distinguished Alumni Award (2013), the Center for Community Leadership’s Champion Award for Systems Thinking (2010) and the LocalMotion Local Hero Award (2011). In 2010, he was recognized by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as a “Forty under 40.”
A native of the Pacific Northwest, with deep roots in the Grand Rapids area, Steve received his bachelor’s from Calvin College and his master’s from Grand Valley State University.
Steve, his wife and their two sons live at Belknap Lookout’s Newberry Place, the only urban co-housing development in Michigan designed by residents to reflect their common values, including environmental sustainability and community connections.
Anne Hamming brings extensive writing experience from her years as a reporter and editor at the Muskegon Chronicle and the Kalamazoo Gazette. Anne has an eye for the big-picture stories, the stories that connect the dots and make sense out of seemingly random events. Anne also uses her training as a life coach to see trends and underlying assumptions that drive people’s actions and decisions. Anne is deeply involved in volunteering in her local schools and advocating for public schools through her role as a board member at Thornapple Kellogg Schools near Grand Rapids. Anne is a lifelong Michigan resident, the mother of two children, and the author of Saving Lee: Finding Grace, a memoir of her family’s journey through a child’s life-threatening illness and remarkable recovery.
Ryan is a communications strategist at Byrum and Fisk communications working with clients in a wide range of industries. He uses a learn and turn writing style honed by nearly 20 years in broadcast journalism to quickly respond to clients’ needs.
Prior to joining the Byrum & Fisk team, Ryan was the bureau chief for the Michigan Radio Network providing award-winning coverage of the Michigan legislature to commercial radio stations across the state. While at the Michigan Radio Network, he led the network’s day-to-day coverage of the Capitol and breaking news throughout Michigan. In 2015 and 2016, Ryan was recognized by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for breaking news coverage, investigative reporting and use of audio in storytelling.
Prior to covering the legislature, Ryan was the affiliate relations director for the network where he forged relationships with news directors and reporters at more than 50 radio stations across Michigan. A native of Springfield, Ill, Ryan lives in East Lansing with his wife and two daughters.
Tracy is the operations manager for Byrum & Fisk Communications where she plays a leading role in managing day-to-day affairs, as well as handling personnel issues, customer service needs, and maintaining efficiency overall in our East Lansing office.
Tracy has extensive customer service experience, working previously for seventeen years in the banking industry in a similar role. A native of the St. Johns, Tracy spends her free time at sporting events, traveling to the Upper Peninsula, and volunteering for several community causes. She has worked with Habitat for Humanity, helping with the building of houses, cooking dinner for families at the Ronald McDonald House, as well as participating in Relay for Life both in East Lansing and St. Johns.
Tracy is the dedicated mother of Dominic, and is always ready to cheer him on during his Little League Baseball season.
Chuck Lippstreu brings a wealth of national-level communications experience to the Byrum & Fisk team.
For five years, Chuck served as a White House appointee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most recently serving as lead speechwriter for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. In this capacity, Chuck communicated a diverse range of policy issues, including production agriculture, conservation, renewable energy, rural economic development, food safety and international trade. He was also responsible for managing executive communications, policy announcements and response messaging across USDA.
Chuck also has extensive campaign experience. In 2008, he served as the state new media director and voter data manager with Obama for America in Nebraska, helping to win the first Democratic electoral vote in the state since 1964. He has worked since 2003 on numerous Congressional and municipal campaigns, and spent time covering Midwest politics for the Huffington Post and other news organizations.
Chuck earned a B.A. from the University of Nebraska and is a native of Lincoln, NE.
Marie is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from James Madison College, with an additional major in German.
Last year, Marie spent the summer in Washington, DC interning with the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, helping support refugees abroad. There, she gained experience in grant proposals, federal government practices, and research pertaining to NGOs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The year prior, she spent the summer in Bremen, Germany, where she interned for a local Senator.
In her time at Michigan State University, Marie was involved in MSU’s Model United Nations team, where she worked hands-on for the 2016-17 school year to bring 800+ high school students from around the state to participate in a weekend-long conference dedicated to learning, collaboration and innovation. In her free time, Marie enjoys baking, running and attending MSU basketball games. Go Green!
Aaron Stephens is currently a junior at Michigan State University, working towards a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in pre-law studies.
Aaron loves engaging with his community. He currently serves on the Human Relations Commission of East Lansing, as well as the Community Development Board. He is also heavily involved in many issue-driven campaigns, including mental health advocacy and sexual assault prevention. Aaron spends a lot of his free time volunteering for community issue groups, planned parenthood and at the Burcham Hills Retirement Center.
Aaron also has considerable campaign experience. During 2016 presidential election, he ran the Students for Sanders movement in the East Lansing area, worked as an organizer for the Michigan Democratic Coordinated campaign, and then served as a regional organizing director during the recount in Michigan. He has worked with several different candidates on a wide range of levels, and has gained legislative experience while interning in the Michigan House of Representatives and the Michigan Senate.
Aaron is a Political Science Scholar and hopes to graduate in the spring of 2018.
Abby Walls brings national and statewide media experience to Byrum & Fisk Communications.
Abby most recently served as a member of the Capitol press corps, covering the Michigan House of Representatives for MIRS News. She also appeared on WKAR’s “Off The Record,” South Bend public television’s “Politically Speaking” and weighed in on the issues driving the day for radio programs across the state. Abby also freelanced on national politics for outlets based in New York City and Florida.
Abby began working in media as a press assistant during the 2010 Michigan gubernatorial election. She has also worked in Washington, D.C. heading up the research department for an advertising and public relation firm, helping craft narratives for a range of clients from mayoral races to issue ads to presidential campaigns. She also worked as a research analyst for multiple successful U.S. Senate campaigns.
When she’s off the clock, Abby is most often found out on Lake Lansing, sailing, kayaking or ice skating with friends. She is a native of Dearborn and received her B.A. from Albion College. Abby is also a 2013 graduate of the Michigan Political Leadership Program at Michigan State University.