Oct. 11, 12, 16: Open forums for Communication Director finalists

Three candidates will visit campus Oct. 11, 12, and 16 to interview for Director of Communications in the Division of Marketing and Communications. This position will develop and implement media and communications strategies for UND, develop strategic media plans, coordinate public relations, UND Today, manage media contacts, pitch stories, and respond to media inquiries.

Biographies have been provided by each candidate.

William Ritter – Oct. 11, 1-2 p.m., River Valley Room, Memorial Union

Colonel William Ritter is an integrated communication marketing specialist with over 28-years of civilian and military mass communication experience. He’s a Bronze Star Award recipient and a combat veteran who has served over 31-years leadership and teambuilding experience in the Army.

Currently, Ritter is an Assistant Professor of Public Relations at Campbellsville University and the senior Public Affairs Observer/Control/Trainer in the Army Reserve, working with mass communication units and Soldiers.

Ritter earned a BFA in Communication Design, with minors in photography and military science, a MA in Business Communications (Advertising and PR emphasis) and has completed nine credit hours towards his Ph.D. in Communications (though is on a leave of absence). He holds multiple military degrees from the Defense Information School in photojournalism and public affairs and is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College.

His previous experience includes Chief of Media Relations and Chief Executive Communications for an organization whose size/scope in business terms would rank it as a Fortune 50 company, with approximately 215,000 members with over 1,100 locations.

He originally hales from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Outside of his current military and academic responsibilities, Ritter volunteers with various veteran support organizations and spiritual-based groups. Additionally, he sits on the board of directors for the county homeless shelter and provides pro bono graphic design and public relations services to area non-profit organizations.

Mark Gillespie, Oct. 12, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Badlands Room, Memorial Union

Mark Gillespie is a seasoned communicator with more than 25 years of experience in both academia and journalism. He began his career as news director of KMXT Public Radio in Kodiak, Alaska, and his journey in the media has led him to cover the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, serve as editor of two small town newspapers, launch a city-regional magazine, and develop a proposed television documentary called Big Science.

Mark’s academic experience includes two years as media relations coordinator at Emporia State University in Kansas, and four years as communications manager for the College of Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. He has also taught media arts, freshmen comp, and public speaking at community colleges. Most recently, he is a technical consultant for a national high school curriculum for migrant farmworkers.

Mark brings a broad range of creative, technical, and organizational skills as a writer, project manager, web developer, publication designer, and event planner. He hopes to advance the University of North Dakota theme of “Leaders in Action” through compelling themes and visual impact.

Milo Smith, Oct. 16, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Education, Room 5

Milo Smith is the Senior Director of Public Relations for the University of North Dakota Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF). He has been with the fundraising organization for eight years.

Working in marketing and communications for a nonprofit was a new career path for Smith, who had spent more than 20 years working in television news as a reporter, producer and anchor. He worked at stations in North Dakota and Washington state before spending nearly 15 years at WDAZ in Grand Forks.

One of his main responsibilities with the UNDAAF is to act as the editor of the Alumni Review magazine, which is sent to more than 90,000 UND alumni and friends. Smith writes extensively for the magazine as well.

He also writes speeches for UNDAAF executives, creates scripts for events and ceremonies, handles public and media relations, acts as a spokesperson, works on marketing campaigns, produces videos, and puts together a biweekly newsletter.

Smith is also a lecturer with the UND Department of Communication.

Smith lives in Grand Forks with his wife, Fawn, and son, Mason, a senior at Grand Forks Central High School. His daughter, Carolyn, is a sophomore at Bemidji State University.

— Meloney Linder, Vice President for Marketing & Communications