Meet The Team

We are a team of marketing professionals, communication specialists, designers, creators and filmmakers coming together as a whole to serve you.

Valerie Ciudad-Real

President | Chief Executive Officer

Plan B: Actress

As president of The Valerin Group, Valerie offers an authentic and refreshing approach to client relations, marketing and communications services. Each member of her carefully selected team possesses a wide range of knowledge and expertise, making Valerin extremely versatile in its service offerings and highly capable of achieving the client’s desired goals and outcomes. Valerie guides the firm’s mission, vision and values by promoting a high standard of excellence, and is actively engaged with and supportive of her team, facilitating creativity and collaboration. With more than 30 years of experience in public relations, marketing, and project management, Valerie realizes the importance of effective community outreach and the power of public participation in ensuring project success. Conscientious, diligent, and genuinely committed to integrity and positive outcomes, Valerie will stick with “Plan A”, and continue in her award-winning role as leading lady of a dynamic team!

William Ciudad-Real, PE

Chief Operating Officer | Senior Business Consultant

Plan B: Race Car Driver

William is a strategic, results-oriented professional with over 30 years of AEC industry experience. Through situational analyses and open lines of communication, William guides and facilitates the assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses; helps to refine goals and objectives; and identifies ways to effectively leverage and maximize relationships, resources and opportunities in helping clients to achieve their organizational goals. Until William opts to pursue “Plan B”, we are confident that he will continue to champion Valerin’s mission by keeping client projects on track to the finish!

Andy Orrell

Strategic Communications & Marketing

Plan B: Superhero

Andy brings over a quarter-century of communications and marketing leadership to the Valerin team. A former director of communications for the Florida Department of Transportation, director of marketing for American Stage Company, and strategic communications manager at Wellcare (a Fortune 200 company headquartered in Tampa), Andy specializes in finding the best solutions to the challenges facing our clients. He is a graduate of Florida Southern College, where he double majored in public relations and print journalism, and Saint Leo University’s MBA in Marketing program. Although Andy might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, he will definitely fly to the rescue if your organization needs a successful communications effort that will truly save the day.

Erin Kleinfelt

Senior Marketing & Communications Manager

Plan B: Sailboat Captain

As a public relations, marketing, and public affairs professional, Erin has served as a public relations manager for construction and engineering firms and has been responsible for leading the development and implementation of marketing strategies. Erin has also been involved with marketing and public relations programming, copy and creative content development, graphic design, and public speaking. She is experienced with crisis communications and public affairs, having spent time as a public information officer representing the American Red Cross. Erin is also a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelors Degree in Public Relations and a Master of Business Admin in Business Management from Nova Southeastern University. As Erin is “sailing” through projects, her leadership skills will keep Valerin in a “safe harbor”.

Christine Girardin

Senior Communications Specialist

Plan B: Fantabulous Tee-Shirt Designer

Christine is a seasoned communications professional with 24 years of experience whose background includes copy and creative content development, public involvement, community outreach, journalism and graphic design. During her career, she has served as a public information coordinator for Florida’s largest water management agency and for major toll road construction projects throughout Florida. Christine also has extensive writing and research experience gained during her time as an award-winning journalist. She specializes in transforming technical information into messaging useful for general audiences. Christine has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from Augusta State University, and also has an Associate of Science degree in graphic design and Associate of Arts degree in Communication. Christine’s Plan B is likely to remain a hobby, but it’s one that stokes a sense of creativity and clear communication that she brings to her work at Valerin.

Tina Allen

Senior Communications Specialist

Plan B: Glam Farmer

Tina is an experienced communications professional with over 20 years of experience whose creative flair and resourcefulness make her a valued member of the Valerin team. With nearly fifteen years of public service experience with the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA), Tina realizes the importance of public perception and uses her keen ability to communicate to create win-win scenarios. Throughout her career, Tina has been heavily relied upon for her ability to lead, promote cohesion, and maintain order in emergent and crisis situations. Her ability to connect with various audiences, combined with her strategic and creative insights, have played a vital role in establishing positive outcomes for clients and stakeholders. Had Tina gone with “Plan B”, we would all be out to pasture!

Astra Champion

Communications Specialist

Plan B: Travel Blogger

Astra joins Valerin after spending over a decade in the education and entertainment industry. Astra’s strength lies in her ability to communicate effectively with any audience. Her experience in production, research, and story development combined with her passion for establishing and building relationships with the community are invaluable in her role as a Communications Specialist. Astra earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Advertising/Marketing from the University of West Florida and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies from the University of California, Irvine. Astra has lived and worked abroad leaving her with an enduring love for travel and new adventures, something she also looks forward to in her “new journey” with Valerin.

Jim Larsen

Senior Multimedia | Communications Specialist & Videographer

Plan B: Professional Poker Player

Jim brings over 40 years of experience in the communications field with special skills to visually support Valerin’s clients’ marketing and public outreach needs. He is an accomplished communicator with strong interpersonal, organizational,  problem-solving, research and writing talents. As a former  television journalist in the Tampa Bay area, Jim spent two decades as an on-air reporter covering headline stories, but his passion has always been behind the camera. He received his training at Florida State University’s film school, and has directed, filmed, produced, supervised, and managed video production projects throughout the state of Florida and the nation. Jim has a unique talent of creating a vision by capturing powerful images that tell our client’s story. His philosophy is always about helping our clients reach their goals by weaving together moving pictures, words, and sound and shaping them into compelling videos that inspire people to act. Most recently, Jim directed “The Skyway Bridge Disaster,” a 60-minute documentary centered on Tampa’s 1980 bridge collapse (now available to rent on Amazon Prime). He also served as a cinematographer for the project. Jim is a Silver Telly award-winner and member of the prestigious Silver Council and has been nationally recognized for  his outstanding creative talents for a variety of videos, special projects, documentaries, public service announcements, and corporate and promotional presentations. Jim’s Plan B is to travel around the world as a professional poker player playing cards at some of the most lavish casinos in the world, but for right now he is “all in” with Valerin!

Kenny Gil

Webmaster | Multimedia Specialist

Plan B: Music Producer/DJ

As a talented web designer and full-stack developer, Kenny brings both creative and technical expertise to support our clients’ communication needs. His extensive experience encompasses front-end and back-end web development knowledge, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design, managing Content Management System (CMS) platforms, as well as a deep understanding of web programming languages that include: HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and the latest associated frameworks. Outside of the workplace, Kenny has over 10 years of music industry experience as a recording studio owner, audio engineer, and record producer for over 70 internationally distributed musical releases. Kenny’s “Plan B” is to be a global music producer and DJ, but until his label skyrockets towards stardom, we are happy he is bringing his cool vibe and “music” to Valerin.

Suzanne Snyder

Senior Accounting Manager

Plan B: Accounting Manager

As Valerin’s Senior Accounting Manager, Suzanne brings over 32 years of accounting experience and has managed Valerin’s day-to-day accounting functions since 2010. Suzanne is a graduate of the University of Tampa with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Here at Valerin, we can always “count” on Suzanne to help us “excel”.

Alice Ramos

Community Outreach Manager Central Florida

Plan B: Full-Time RV’er

Alice is a seasoned communications professional with over 20 years of experience in developing communications and outreach plans, creating and distributing collateral materials, and coordinating and conducting public meetings and special events. Alice is bilingual in English and Spanish and is an accomplished Spanish interpreter. She provides translation services in both verbal and written forms, using her communication skills to broaden and enhance public reach. Valerin is happy that Alice decided to camp out with our team rather than going with her “Plan B”; the journey has been amazing!

Sandra Mancil, APR

Senior Communications Specialist

Plan B: Sports Photographer

Sandra is a highly skilled public relations professional with more than 20 years of experience in providing public information and outreach support. She serves as an effective client representative in communicating with and responding to stakeholder and media inquiries and is committed to delivering results that increase public awareness. Sandra’s genuineness allows her to establish and maintain a positive interface with members of the media and the public and we are pleased to announce that she is not going to pursue her “Plan B”, but rather, has become a part of Valerin’s huddle as a true team player!

Susan Clary

Senior Communications Specialist

Plan B: Zoologist

A natural curiosity and deep love of writing led Susan to an early career as an award-winning reporter for the St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times) and Orlando Sentinel. Since leaving journalism, she has directed successful communication campaigns and public engagement efforts for governments, nonprofits, and businesses. Susan has also served as a spokesperson in state and national media and managed crisis communications. In addition, she was elected three times to the Orange Soil & Water Conservation District. She is a graduate of Rollins College with a Bachelors Degree in English and Communications and has an executive level certification in public administration from the University of Central Florida. She loves watching football, streaming true crime, and spending time with her menagerie. We are “wild” Susan has decided to lend her skills and experience to our team.

Sean McCarty

Communications Specialist

Plan B: International Food Critic

Sean joins Valerin after spending almost a decade in the hospitality industry. Throughout his career he has held multiple management positions with a focus on customer service. He also was responsible for designing, developing and maintaining standard operating procedures as well as training staff members to exceed company expectations. It is his attention to detail and ability to communicate effectively with customers and clients that will be invaluable in his role of community outreach specialist. Sean is a graduate of the University of Florida where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. During his time in hospitality, Sean has grown to be an avid foodie with dreams of becoming a traveling food critic but, until he’s ready to hit the road, we think he has all the right ingredients as a five-star communications professional.

Ashlee Cornett

Communications Specialist

Plan B: Park Ranger

Ashlee joins Valerin after spending twenty years as an educator and media specialist. Throughout her career, she has interacted with diverse community members and has used her organizational skills along with her knack for being detail-oriented to effectively communicate with the public. Ashlee’s patience, attention to detail, listening skills, and passion for helping others will serve her well in the role of communications specialist. Ashlee is a graduate of Florida State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. When Ashlee is not working you can find her exploring state parks and beaches. We are excited that Ashlee has decided to “explore” this new career path with Valerin.

Dakota Larsen

Multimedia Specialist | Videographer & Editor

Plan B: Film Director

As a gifted multimedia specialist and videographer, Dakota brings her creative vision and expertise to the Valerin team through video production including research, script writing, filming, and editing to visually support our clients marketing and communications needs. Dakota has a keen eye for capturing just the right image for videos, social media efforts, video brochures, newsletters, and marketing and promotional material. During her career, Dakota has been involved in producing videos ranging from 30 second spots for a national campaign on Alzheimer’s to videos for the Department of Homeland Security. She also was the cinematographer and editor for “The Skyway Bridge Disaster,” a 60-minute documentary that centered on Tampa’s 1980 bridge collapse. Dakota is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Multimedia Studies. While her lifelong dream is to be the next “Amy Heckerling,” director of such classics as “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “Clueless” we are happy as she “lens” us her services for the time being and puts her Plan B on hold.

Chuck Thompson

Creative Director

Plan B: Scuba Instructor on the Great Barrier Reef

Over the course of his 34+ year career in marketing and graphic design, Chuck has earned multiple gold and silver Addy awards, as well as a Clio award, for his design work. He specializes in both traditional and non-traditional media and has served as creative director and project manager throughout his career. Chuck has a proven track record of success in creating marketing strategies that effectively connect client messages with target audiences through the incorporation of a variety of graphic elements to achieve effective project designs. Chuck’s vast experience and knowledge has taken us to new depths in graphic design and we are happy to report that he has opted for “Plan A”

Catherine Winter, PE

Public Involvement Manager

Plan B: Record Store Owner

Catherine joins Valerin with over 18 years of professional experience in the transportation field ranging from Project Development and Environment (PD&E) studies and roadway design to traffic operations and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). As a registered Professional Engineer her work experience has included developing roadway alignments and preparing design plans for construction projects, but her passion lies with educating and engaging with residents, community leaders, and stakeholders. Her understanding of the technical aspects of transportation improvement projects and attention to detail are invaluable in her role as Public Involvement Manager. Catherine is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. While her “Plan B” is to own a record store, we’re glad her “vinyl” decision was to join Valerin!

Justina Hicklyn

Senior Communications Specialist

Plan B: Farmer

As a public engagement, marketing and community outreach professional, Justina has served as a communications manager for a variety of public utilities and transportation projects for clients including municipalities, counties and state agencies. Justina’s professional experience includes marketing, communications and social media planning; copy and website content development; and event coordination. In addition, she was an operations / community outreach volunteer for the Florida House of Representatives, District 84, working with the State Representative, Legislative Aide and Legislative Secretary. Currently, Justina is providing outreach support as a community outreach specialist for FDOT Broward Operations through Valerin’s Districtwide Public Communications for Construction Projects contract in south Florida. Justina is a graduate of Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications. While Justina has her sights set on farming, Valerin and its clients are “sow” fortunate to have such an expert in the “field” of harvesting happy stakeholders!

Audrey Clarke

Senior Communications Specialist

Plan B: Best-Selling Author

Audrey is a highly skilled communications professional with more than 20 years of experience providing public information and outreach services. Throughout her career, she has been a public information director for a world-wide engineering firm and most recently served as the Public Information Representative for the University of South Florida Police Department. She also has extensive media relations training and worked for five years in television news in the Tampa Bay area. In addition, Audrey was a key member of the Emmy-winning video production for the USF Police lip sync challenge. Her media relations, community engagement, public speaking, crisis communications experience as well as her attention to detail will be valuable in her role as a Sr. Communications Specialist. Audrey is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a Master’s in Criminal Justice Administration. She also holds two bachelor’s degrees in Public Relations and Mass Communications from the University of Florida and the University of South Florida, respectively. Audrey is a published author of a mini book on respectful communication and wants to become a best-selling author. Until her book moves to the top, she has everything she needs to make a strong impact at Valerin.

Tiffani McClain

Marketing & Communications Specialist

Plan B: TV Personality

Tiffani is an experienced communications professional with a passion for relationship-building, public engagement and achieving client outreach goals and objectives. Her 14 years of diverse public relations, community outreach, and social media management experience gives her an excellent skill set and strong communications foundation. Tiffani has also developed and implemented strategic communication plans for both private and public-sector clients. She has an in-depth understanding of the creative collaboration process necessary to facilitate public understanding of the purpose, issues, and benefits of a project. Her positive approach and keen ability to develop relevant public relations strategies make her a versatile and effective representative for project teams and clients. Tiffani is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. While her “Plan B” is to be the next “Oprah Winfrey”, Tiffani will be the “mediator” between our clients and communities to deliver a consistent message that promotes open communication and builds trust.

Carmel Victor

Communications Specialist

Plan B: Newborn Nurse

Carmel is a creative and detail-oriented communication professional with a background in broadcasting, marketing, and administration. Her expertise includes social media campaign management, strategic communications, crisis communications, and public speaking. She is also a trained spokesperson with a strong camera presence as an anchor/reporter and producer. Her problem-solving skills, attention to detail, listening skills, and passion for aiding others serve her well in the role of Communications Specialist. Carmel is a graduate of Barry University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communication. She is also fluent in Haitian Creole and is an active professional translator for the Haitian Creole community. Over the years Carmel has applied her interpersonal skills and friendly demeanor on and off camera professionally and dreamt of someday becoming a newborn nurse. Though her “Plan B” will remain on hold, she looks forward to informing people on what is happening in their communities.

Brittany Bisacca

Marketing Coordinator

Plan B: Hockey Player

With over two years of marketing experience in the A/E industry, Brittany’s expertise includes proposal coordination and graphic design for a variety of market segments including healthcare, education, transportation, and government. Prior to working in the marketing field, Brittany was an interior designer specializing in healthcare, commercial, and residential design. She graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. Brittany’s “Plan B” is to be the next “Mario Lemieux,” but until her lifetime “goal” is realized, Valerin “scored” when she joined the team.

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