Vijay S Chattha, 28, the San Francisco, California-based VSC Consulting's 'Chief Talker,' is up for the PRWeek magazine's 2005 Young Professional of the Year Award.
Nominees for the award, which honours individual who represent the best in public relations each year, are judged by their career path and professional qualifications, including evidence of outstanding achievement in handling clients or staff, developing PR strategy, and for their business savvy, creativity, knowledge of PR tactics and contributions to business objectives.
PRWeek is considered the leading trade publication in the United States for the public relations and communications industries and is recognised as a credible source of news, analysis, and in-depth coverage in these sectors and is regarded as required reading for the country's top communications professionals.
VSC Consulting is a strategic public relations and marketing firm providing creative solutions for enterprises in the fields of high-tech, entertainment, real estate and ethnic marketing, and, over the years led by Chattha, has registered over 110 per cent annual revenue growth.
According to one of its partners Robert Anton Patterson, it has "demonstrated the power of strategic publicity in emerging markets."
In recent years, Chattha has helped develop a strong base of South Asian American clients, particularly after 9/11. "I was strongly affected by hate crimes targetting Sikh and Muslim Americans and realised that public relations was a resource that our community desperately needed," said Chattha.
Chattha was responsible for establishing awareness and visibility for the Sikh Heritage Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution and for hate-crimes victims through fund-raisers organised by Project Ahimsa. He also helped the National South Asian Bar Association generate visibility for its efforts to pass the Waqar Hasan hate-crime relief bill.
In the last year alone, VSC Consulting, which was launched in November 2002, has worked with its clients to generate over 1,200 media hits, including coverage in mainstream media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, Forbes, Red Herring, Adweek, Associated Press, Reuters, etc.
VSC client Nihal Mehta, CEO of ipsh!, a leader in mobile marketing strategies, said: "We owe a great deal of our success to Vijay's creative thinking and proactive approach to publicity."
Another client, Paul Grewal, former vice president and a founding member of the North American South Asia Bar Association, said: "Thanks to Vijay and VSC, NASABA has established itself as the 'go-to' organisation for South Asian lawyers in North America. VSC thinks outside the box, responds to calls/e-mails 24x7 and puts the client's needs first."
Chattha told rediff.com: "It is nice to see that our values of creativity, affordability, and accountability are being recognised by the industry," and noted that "our future plans include developing a scientific PR analysis technology which will be available to all clients in 2006."
He said he hoped to expand into Asia and Europe without losing the personal touch.
The West Virginia-born Chattha noted, "this is an award mostly based on result-oriented initiatives and results, which makes being up for the award a tremendous vote of confidence."
Chattha is the youngest director of a PR agency that serves a unit of the world's largest advertising group, Omnicom, and a division of Sony Corporation (Metreon).
He speaks regularly at events like the Young Entrepreneur's Forum at the Wharton School of Business and at Future-M -- a lecture series he created at the University of California at Berkeley's Hass School of Business.
Chattha also balances his work with charity work. He -- along with three of his clients -- serves on the board of Project Ahimsa, a global effort to empower youth through music and the organisation has offices in Tampa, Florida and San Francisco providing music education resources and instruments to over 20,000 children in India and the US.