Bruce E. Hicks
General Manager - Houston

Bruce Hicks is a senior public relations and crisis management consultant with 49 years of experience in the news media and public relations fields.

He has operated the Houston offices of The Alliant Group and its predecessor firm, Darcy Communications, since 1989, serving a wide range of international, national and local clients in travel and tourism, airlines, energy, commercial real estate development, legal, technical and manufacturing industries. His clients have included American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Marriott International, Wyndham Worldwide, United Airlines, Virgin America, Aeromexico airlines, World Airways, AirTran Airways, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, Allstate Insurance, KPMG Peat Marwick, American Express Travel Related Services Company, Ethyl Corporation, Coastal Corporation, Crown Central Petroleum, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Tara Lipinski, Mexico City Tourism Board, Hawaiian Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Midway Airlines and others.

Hicks is recognized as an expert in crisis management with experience in labor (contract negotiations, strikes, lockouts, corporate campaigns, union organizing), financial (bankruptcy, takeovers), legal and regulatory (lawsuits, government investigations and hearings), and physical (airline crashes, office building fires) crises.

His crisis work also includes developing crisis and emergency operating plans for clients. He has directed or supported communications during six major airline fatal accidents.

For Starwood Hotels, Hicks was the senior crisis consultant from 2003 until the merger with Marriott in late 2016 and continued to assist Marriott during the transition through May 2017. He developed Starwood's emergency and crisis management plans as well as assisting directly with all major crisis events. He went to New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina spending six weeks assisting in Starwood's crisis management efforts and leadership in the city's recovery.

From January 2012 through March 2013, Hicks served as chief spokesman for American Airlines on labor and bankruptcy related issues. From 1992 through 2005, Hicks consulted with American Airlines on a wide variety of issues, including labor organizing attempts, contract disputes and strikes, the September 11th tragedy and the November 2001 A300 crash in New York. For more than a year, he served as internal and external communication strategist and public media spokesperson in the successful effort in 2003 to restructure all labor agreements and avoid bankruptcy.

In 2006 and 2008, respectively, Hicks consulted with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines on labor issues facing those carriers. Additionally, he consulted with Delta and subsidiary Comair on the NTSB investigation of Comair's tragic accident in Lexington, the sixth commercial airline accident investigation in which Hicks was involved.

In his 41 years as a public relations executive, he has both agency and corporate experience, including his highly public role as vice president, corporate communications for Continental Airlines and Texas Air Corporation for the first decade of deregulation. As a journalist, Hicks was the spaceflight bureau chief for both United Press International and the Houston Chronicle, night city editor of the Austin American-Statesman and editor of the weekly Austin Citizen.

He has won numerous awards, including the Public Relations Society of America's top national honor, the Silver Anvil, twice (crisis communications and special events). Hicks holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Houston. He is active in community affairs. He has been a volunteer Little League umpire for more than 20 years and was selected to umpire at the 2017 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.

Most memorable inspiration:
  An early mentor taught me that creativity requires a broad brush for the panoramic view and a fine brush to paint in all the details to make it come alive.

Best career moment:
  I hope I haven't had it yet.  To date, it would have to be the feeling of having contributed something worthwhile through my clients, American Airlines, in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001, or Starwood Hotels, in New Orleans immediately after Katrina in 2005.

Worst career moment:
  Walking through a throng of laid-off fellow employees the morning after Continental Airlines' first bankruptcy in 1983, feeling guilty to still have a job and knowing that how well I did my job could be the difference in how soon they would have theirs back.

When not working:
  The opportunity to serve as a leader of the local Little League’s Challenger Division for special needs children and as a 20+ year volunteer umpire, reaching the pinnacle of being selected to umpire at the 2017 Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.