Bob Frause

Bob Frause • Written December 2013

Bob Frause, APR, Fellow PRSA, has provided public relations and communications counsel to clients throughout the Northwest and the U.S. for more than 40 years. From the early days of his career at Merry, Calvo, Lane & Baker (Hill and Knowlton) to his current position as Founder and CEO of Frause, Bob has served hundreds of private and public sector clients.  Some of the most memorable include: Procter & Gamble, United Airlines, Duraflame, the Economic Development Council of Puget Sound, the Environmental Protection Agency, Skanska, McKinstry, Metzler, University of Maryland and Pacific Continental Bank.

Bob also provided communications counsel for many local and national environmental clients, including the King County (WA) Department of Natural Resources, the chief of the recycling division for the State of California, and the executive director of the California Integrated Waste Management Board. He also served as local counsel to the President’s Council on Sustainable Development.

Bob has a broad range of public relations and marketing experience in sectors such as commercial real estate development; architecture, engineering and construction, financial services and utilities. Creative communication and sound business strategies are base skills that have enabled Bob and his team to deliver supremely effective programs in public affairs and crisis communications.

Bob holds a BA in Journalism from Seattle University. Prior to beginning his public relations career Bob served as a US Army officer, rising to the rank of Captain. He has written extensively on public relations, marketing and related topics for local and national publications, including Total Quality Environmental Management and the Puget Sound Business Journal. Bob is co-author of The Environmental Marketing Imperative (Probus, Chicago, IL).

In addition to his many local civic activities, Frause is extensively involved the Public Relations Society of America as former Chairman of the College of Fellows, Chairman of the Board of Ethics and Professional Standards and member of the PRSA Board of Directors.  He is currently Global Chairman of PROI Worldwide, the professions largest global network of independent PR agencies.

As CEO and founder of Frause, one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading communication firms, Bob Frause’s professional history reflects his personal commitment to developing communication that works, regardless of the application.

Following four years of military service as a US Army Captain, Bob’s communication skills were honed at several communication firms, including Merry, Calvo, Lane & Baker; Hill and Knowlton; Elgin Syferd; DDB Needham, and most recently at the integrated communications firm that bears his name -- Frause, which he founded in 1998. He has also held leadership positions at Seattle University and the Economic Development Council of Puget Sound.

In addition to his 40+ years as a public relations and communications counselor, Bob is also recognized as a leader, mentor and teacher. His unique skills include the ability to get to the source of an issue or question and find creative communication solutions that produce excellent results for his regional, national and global clients.

“Bob is without a doubt one of the most creative and ethical public relations professionals,” said Jeff Julin, a past National Board President of Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). “That’s in large part why his contributions to the profession and to PRSA have been so impactful,” said Julin. “It’s also part of the reason he has been so successful as a public relations counselor. Bob is a role model in the profession, in his community and as a friend.”

Bob has been a member of the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter since 1978, where he was Accredited in 1982 and named a Fellow in 1999. Throughout his career, Bob’s professional life has been dedicated to the practice of ethical and strategic public relations and communications. With his years of expertise in the private, non-profit and agency worlds, Bob’s greatest influence has been in the agency world. He has produced award-winning programs for more than 500 clients including United Airlines, Duraflame, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Green Lights and Energy Star), Procter & Gamble, Starbucks Coffee Company, Duraflame, Sisters of Providence Health Systems, Wood Products Council, Skanska USA, McKinstry, Walmart, Red Cedar Shingle Bureau and Pacific Continental Bank. Bob has a wide range of experience in a variety of industry sectors.

While Bob has accomplished many things during his career, his greatest achievement is the growth of his agency -- Frause. Bob decided 16 years ago he wanted to run an agency where people would openly declare it as the best place to work. His vision was for it to grow, allowing individuals to excel as professionals, both as business leaders and as communications consultants. His success has been acknowledged, with Frause being the recipient of numerous local and national awards.

Frause received a BA in Journalism from Seattle University. He has written extensively on public relations, marketing and related topics for local and national publications, including Total Quality Environmental Management, Marketing and the Puget Sound Business Journal. Frause is co-author of The Environmental Marketing Imperative (Probus Publishing, Chicago, IL). In addition to his many local civic activities, Frause has been extensively involved in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and currently holds the position of Global Chairman, PROI Worldwide, a network of nearly 70 of the world’s largest independent PR agencies.

Because work alone does not define Bob, it is important to note that he is a gentleman farmer, ham radio operator, hiker, skier and blooming artist. He lives with his wife of 39 years, Sue Frause, in Langley on Whidbey Island. When asked about Farmer Bob, a phrase she coined through her online blogs and journalistic writings, Sue had this to say:  “As a freelance writer, I deal frequently with PR practitioners, and Bob is one of the best. He's that rare combination of old school (hard work and ethics) and new school (thinks out of the box and embraces new ideas). Bob is a highly creative person, whether in the office developing a communications plan or at home making dinner for family and friends. He's a respected leader and mentor to many, generously sharing his knowledge and expertise with others. I'm proud to be Bob Frause's wife and life partner.”

Bob was the recipient of the PRSA Puget Sound Chapter’s Jay Rockey Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. He has been recognized for significant advancements within the profession. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Co-author, PRSA Code of Ethics (2000) --  As a member of PRSA's Board of Ethics and Professional Standards since 1991, and its chair from 1995-2001 and 2007 to present, Bob advanced the state of the profession by leading his BEPS team's effort to redefine and rewrite PRSA's 50-year-old judicial-based Code of Ethics. The two-year task, which began in 1998 and ultimately cost more than $100,000, focused on simplifying the code and shifting its foundation away from a sanction-based structure to a more inspirational and educational platform. His team’s efforts were met with approval when the PRSA Board of Directors and assembly voted to adopt the new Code of Ethics in 2000. Today the code is a vibrant, living part of PRSA. Regular practice standard advisories to members, the establishment of chapter ethics officers, September Ethics Month and professional development workshops at the international conference are just a few examples of the renewed interest in professional ethics shared by members.
  • Co-author, The Environmental Marketing Imperative.  Bob and his co-author Julie Colehour advanced the state of the profession by writing one of the early business books focused totally on environmental communications and marketing. The idea for the book came at the suggestion of the publisher, who was interested in the environmental communications work that he was pioneering in Seattle and California. Probus Publishing (Chicago, IL) published the 264-page book in 1994.
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Washington and Seattle University.  Bob has advanced the public relations profession as a guest lecturer on a variety of communications and ethics-related subjects at the University of Washington's School of Business Administration and the Department of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences. He has also lectured at Seattle University's Albers School of Business on environmental issues, marketing strategies and ethics.
  • Keynote and Program Speaker.  Bob has been a featured program and keynote speaker in more than 60 PRSA, PROI and other business association meetings and seminars including EnviroAsia Conference (Singapore), IABC, National Recycling Coalition, American Marketing Association, Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association as well as The Aspen Institute’s conference on Genetics and Ethics in the 21st Century.

Bob has also held numerous professional positions within PROI and PRSA, received numerous professional awards and been active in community service activities:

Professional Positions

  • PROI Worldwide Chairman (2011 – 2014)
  • PRSA National Board of Directors, Liaison Board of Ethics and Professional Standards, PRSA National Board of Directors (2010 – 2011)
  • PRSA College of Fellows Executive Committee (2009 – 2011)
  • PRSA Puget Sound Chapter Board of Directors (1980 – 1990)
  • PRSA College of Fellows – Chairman (2008)
  • PRSA College of Fellows -- Chair Elect (2007)
  • PRSA Strategic Planning Committee – Member (2007)
  • PRSA Audit Committee – Member (2006)
  • PRSA Foundation Advisory Board – Member (2006)
  • PRSA College of Fellows -- Vice Chairman (2006)
  • PRSA College of Fellows Executive Board Member (2005 – 2011)
  • PRSA College of Fellows -- Secretary/Treasurer (2005)
  • PRSA National Nominating Committee – Member (1984 and 2007-2008)
  • PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards – Member (1991-2001 and 2003-2010)
  • PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards – Chairman (1995-2001; 2007-2009)
  • PRSA North Pacific District – Chairman (1988 – 1999)
  • PRSA North Pacific District – Treasurer (1988)
  • PRSA North Pacific District -- Judicial Panel Member (1984 – 1986)
  • PRSA Puget Sound Chapter – President (1983)
  • PRSA Puget Sound Chapter – Treasurer (1982)

Awards and Publications


  • Public Relations Society of America, Presidential Citation (1984, 1985, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter Totem Award, Moser Lofts Marketing Campaign (2009)
  • PRSA Puget Sound Chapter President’s Award for Volunteerism Public Relations Society of America (2008)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter Totem Award, B2B: Professional and/or Financial Services, Frause identity rebrand (2008)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter, Public Relations Professional of the Year (2006)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter Totem Award, “Skanska Lets You” (2006)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter Totem Award, Edgewater Hotel’s “Fab Four-on at the Edgewater” (2005)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter Totem Award, “Train Accident Victim Changes Mayor’s Position” (2004)
  • PRSA, Silver Anvil Award (2001)
  • Public Relations Professional of the Year, Puget Sound Chapter, PRSA (2000)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter, Robert Frause for Recognition for Distinguished and Devoted Service as President (1983)
  • PRSA, Puget Sound Chapter Award of Merit, Economic Development Council of Puget Sound New Identity Program (1982)

Puget Sound Business Journal

  • Puget Sound Business Journal Washington’s Best Workplaces (2007, 2008, 2009)
  • Puget Sound Business Journal One of the Companies Fastest Growing Private 100 Companies (2008, 2010)

Washington CEO Magazine

  • Washington CEO Magazine Best Small Company to Work For (2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
  • Washington CEO Magazine Best Small Company to Work For (Finalist for Small Company Category, 2005)

Summit International

  • Summit International Award, Silver Winner for Creative Excellence in the International Competition, “Skanska Lets You” (2006)
  • The Summit Creative Award, “Skanska Lets You” (2006)
  • The Summit Creative Award, Goosefoot (2006)
  • The Summit Creative Award, Mosler Lofts Campaign (2006)
  • Summit International Award, Silver Winner for Creative Excellence (2006)
  • The Summit Creative Award, “Skanska Lets You” (2005)


  • M Award, Sound Transit (2012)
  • Webby Award, DSA Website (2011)
  • W3 Award, Silver Winner, Frause Website (2008)
  • The Web Marketing Association Webaward for Public Relations Standard of Excellence, Frause Website (2008)
  • Society for Marketing Professional Services, National Marketing Communications Award, “Skanska Let’s You” (2008)
  • The Communicator Print Media Excellence Award, “Skanska Lets You” (2007)
  • Marcom Gold Award, “Communications Cocktail” (2007)
  • Mercury Excellence Award, Silver Winner, “The Frause Rebrand Launch” (2007, 2008)
  • Publications Management Magnum Opus Gold Award, “Skanska Lets You” Best Overall Design (2006)
  • Aster Awards Excellence in Medical Marketing Gold Award, “Skanska Lets You” (2006)
  • Adrian Award, Public Relations and Marketing Campaign, “Fab Four Oh! at The Edgewater hotel” (2004)
  • Hospitality Sales and Marketing International Association’s, Adrian Award, The Edgewater Hotel (2004)
  • NAPEC Excellence in Environmental Communication Merit Award, “Steel Can Recycle Public Awareness” (1993)
  • International Mercury Award – Best of Show, MerCom, Inc. (1993)
  • International Association of Business Communicators – Gold Quill Award (1982)

Community Service

  • Volunteer Waiter, FareStart – Seattle’s culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals; Seattle, WA (2009)
  • Tutor (writing and math), Treehouse – Providing foster kids throughout King County with the assistance and resources they need to both learn and have fun; Seattle, WA (2008-2009)
  • Vice-President, Board Member and Incorporator, Tune In to – NPR’s "Bird Note"; Seattle, WA (2006-2009)
  • Treasurer/Board Member, Marketing and Communications Executives International (1999-2003)
  • Board Member, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Washington Chapter; Seattle, WA (2001-2004)
  • Treasurer, Friends of King Street Station – Foundation formed to accept title to and spearhead the historic renovation of this working passenger rail station; Seattle, WA (1997-1999)
  • Commissioner, King County Commission for Marketing Recyclable Materials; Seattle, WA (1993-1995)
  • Board Member, Seattle Center Foundation – Established to encourage support of Seattle Center; I served on various committees; Seattle, WA (1986-1995)
  • Founder and Incorporating Director, Seattle-King County Emergency Housing Foundation; Seattle, WA (1984-1990)
  • Board Member, City Club (Seattle); Member of Political and Communications Committees; Seattle, WA (1983-1990)
  • Member, Seattle Chamber of Commerce – President, Seattle Chamber of Commerce Diplomatic Corps. from 1979 to 1980; Member, Community Development Roundtable from 1983 to 1984; Seattle, WA (1972-present)
  • Graduate, Leadership Tomorrow, inaugural class; Seattle, WA (1983-1984)
  • Secretary-Treasurer, Puget Sound Foreign Trade Zones Association; Seattle, WA (1983-1984)
  • Executive Director, Puget Sound Economic Development Research Foundation; Seattle, WA (1983-1984)
  • Co-Founder, Executive Board Member, Washington Technology Industry Association (formerly WSA); Seattle, WA (1984-1985)
  • City Council Member, City of Langley; Langley, WA (1980-1982)
  • Trustee, Bellevue Art Museum, Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Association; Bellevue, WA (1977-1983)
  • Chairman, Washington Division Public Information Committee, American Cancer Society, also Member, Board of Directors; and Executive Committee Member; Seattle, WA (1977-1983)
  • Assistant Director, National Governor’s Conference (Washington State Organizing Committee); Seattle, WA (1974)
  • Member, Seattle University Development Council; Seattle, WA (1976-1978 and 1984)
  • Member, Seattle University Alumni Board of Governors; Seattle, WA (1974-1976)