Liz Purchia has more than a decade of crisis communications, public relations and political and government experience. Most recently she was the head of communications and national spokesperson for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Liz led the agency’s work on climate change communications under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, most significantly the agency’s Clean Power Plan roll out, the historic Paris climate agreement, methane, vehicle standards and fracking. She was the top communications advisor for EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy preparing and staffing her for interviews, hearings and domestic and international events. Liz helped change the dynamic on climate communications by framing messaging around protecting public health and growing a strong economy.
She steered the agency’s crisis communications and rapid response through national and international attention on restoring the water system in Flint, MI and the VW emissions scandal. During this time she expanded the agency’s creativity and reach on digital media to proactively push the agency’s work to protect public health and the environment. Coordinating closely with the White House, across the government and EPA offices, Liz developed effective messaging to break down complex policy or science into stories that connect with target audiences.
Liz got her start in the Obama world on the 2008 Obama Campaign in Iowa. She was the Iowa Press Secretary for the 2012 campaign, serving as the chief spokesperson, managing all day-to-day media events and inquiries, handling rapid response and team assignments. She organized and staffed nearly 40 events for President Obama, the First Lady and Vice President Biden as well as hundreds of surrogate events across the state with elected officials and celebrities. Most significantly, she defined Romney’s opposition to the Wind Production Tax Credit and other renewable energy efforts important to Iowa’s economy. And she coordinated the media roll out for the 40 days of early voting with press events in all 99-counties, which set the tone for voting both locally and nationally.
During the first term of the Obama Administration, Liz worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Secretary Tom Vilsack as a Deputy Press Secretary, focused on the Recovery Act, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative and school nutrition, the release of the agency’s MyPlate to replace the Food Pyramid and the agency’s rural development work.
After helping win both presidential campaigns in Iowa, Liz worked on both the 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inaugurations coordinating media logistics and assignments for over 4,000 press outlets from across the country and the world. She worked with local and federal law enforcement, public safety agencies and Congress on strategies for communicating safety issues for official events. In 2009, she staffed and managed the arrangements and events for friends and family of PresidentObama and the First Lady at official Inaugural events.
In the private sector, Liz led account teams for healthcare systems, insurance providers, associations and consulting companies at Solomon McCown Public Relations, helping them navigate a rapidly changing health care industry and adapting to Obamacare. She got her start in communications at Hill & Knowlton Public Relations after interning at Edelman, doing public affairs work for clients like Hewlett Packard, Deloitte, eBay and the Nuclear EnergyInstitute.
Liz graduated from Hamilton College with a major in World Politics. Although not quite 5’3, her high school soccer nickname “junkyard dog” can still be applied to her approach to issues she cares deeply about.
Follow Liz at @LizPurchia or email her at email@example.com.