Arlington, Va. – David J. Shea, a longtime public relations practitioner with more than fifty years of experience, has been selected to receive the 2012 Lauren D. Lyman Award for outstanding achievement in aerospace communications.
Shea’s career began in 1959, when he was commissioned in the U.S. Air Force. He served in Greece, Japan, Korea, Germany and various stateside locations and held the top communications job in three major Air Force commands. He handled intense media relations assignments such as the return of more than 500 U.S. prisoners of war from Vietnam in 1973 and the hospitalization of the exiled Shah of Iran at an Air Force hospital in San Antonio for six weeks in 1979. He was the Air Force spokesman for closing out Project Blue Book, the official program to investigate over 12,000 official UFO sightings and chose this subject for his Master’s thesis in communications. He finished up his time in uniform as the Director of Defense Information at the Pentagon where he ran press operations for the Department of Defense.
Shea retired from the Air Force in 1988 and immediately joined the Hughes Aircraft Company, which joined with Raytheon Company in 1997, where he served as Director of Media Relations Training and Development and was a mentor to communicators across the company. He is co-author of “Media Isn’t a Four Letter Word,” a guidebook that has been praised as a “must-read” for media relations professionals, providing tips and techniques for executives on how to deal with the press. He is a founding member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association, a worldwide Air Force Organization with more than 650 members representing all areas of the public affairs profession.
Shea will receive the award at AIA's 48th Annual Year-End Review and Forecast luncheon Dec. 5.
The award is named after Lauren "Deac" Lyman, a Pulitzer-prize winning aviation reporter with the New York Times who later had a distinguished career as a public relations executive with United Aircraft, a predecessor to United Technologies Corporation. First awarded in 1972, the prize goes to a journalist or public relations professional in aviation who exhibits Lyman’s high standard of excellence. UTC is the longtime sponsor of the award.