Andrew Lawson, former Public Information Officer for the City of Arkansas City, has been hired as the new Communications Manager and Public Information Officer for the City of Manhattan.
Lawson will be responsible for the strategic development and implementation of citywide communications plans for external and internal stakeholders, including public relations, media relations, crisis communications, and communication with City employees and elected officials.
He will also provide and coordinate communication activities on a broad range of programs, services, issues and policies, including the day-to-day operations of the City, as part of a newly formed Communications Division comprising two additional marketing positions.
“We are thrilled to have Andrew on board leading our new Communications Division,” said Jared Wasinger, Assistant City Manager. “Andrew brings a wealth of experience in local government marketing and communications. Manhattan is an engaged community across multiple platforms, so consistent, timely, and accurate communication efforts are vital.”
Lawson is a native of Arkansas City, KS who studied print journalism at Kansas State University, graduating in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in political science before pursuing graduate studies through 2008, also at K-State. He returned to Ark City and in 2009 and began working for his hometown newspaper, The Arkansas City Traveler, as a part-time webmaster before working his way up to City Commission reporter, news/online editor and ultimately managing editor.
In 2015, Lawson was hired by the City of Arkansas City as its first-ever Public Information Officer and Special Projects Coordinator, a position he held until recently. In this capacity, he was part of the city’s 2019 flooding response and COVID-19 crisis communications teams. He also assisted with numerous special projects, wrote and administered several grants, and was instrumental in the creation of Ark City’s new annual Tacolalah multicultural festival in 2019.
“I am thrilled to have this chance to return to my ‘second home’ in the Manhattan community and serve its residents,” Lawson said. “The seven years I spent here in college were some of the best of my life and the opportunity to come back to ‘a spot that I love full well’ was too exciting to pass up. I look forward to continuing to build up this division and helping to promote the amazing work being done every day by our capable and dedicated City of Manhattan workers!”
Lawson replaces Vivienne Uccello, who has since taken a position as Public Information Officer for Riley County. Both previously worked together as members of the Board of Directors for the Kansas Association of Public Information Officers (KAPIO), of which Lawson served as President from 2018 to 2021. He also was a founding member of the Cowley County PIO Working Group, served on the inaugural steering committee for the RISE Cowley health coalition and served as Secretary for the Arkansas City Optimist Club. He is a 2018 graduate of the Leadership Cowley County program and holds several FEMA certifications.
Lawson and his wife, Kayleigh, who met while working together at The Arkansas City Traveler, will be relocating to the Manhattan area soon.
More information about the City can be found online at www.cityofmhk.com, or by following the City on Facebook @cityofmanhattan or Twitter @cityofmhk.