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

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!

Plan B: Actress

William Ciudad-Real, PE

Chief Operating Officer | Senior Business Consultant

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!

Plan B: Race Car Driver

Nicole Hawker

Director of Public Relations | Communications Strategist

Nicole is a seasoned communications professional with more than 18 years of experience in the areas of strategic communications, crisis management and public affairs. Her expertise in public information and public engagement spans several industries including water resources, transportation, utilities, infrastructure and real estate development. She has worked with engineering and construction firms, as well as government agencies on projects throughout the state of Florida, guiding strategic public outreach efforts during feasibility studies, siting, permitting and construction. Active in the community, Nicole is an alumnus of Leadership Tampa Bay’s Class of 2007 and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa Class of 2017. Currently, she serves on the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa Alumni Marketing Committee and is a volunteer swim coach with Tampa Elite Aquatics.
Plan B: Professional Triathlete

Catherine Winter, PE

Public Involvement Manager

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!

Plan B: Record Store Owner

Sean McCarty

Communications Specialist

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.

Plan B: International Food Critic

Jennifer Laxner

Communications Specialist

With a background and experience in local government communications, Jennifer is well versed in community planning and outreach. Her expertise includes graphic and web design, email marketing, social media management, and copywriting. Jennifer is also a trained spokesperson, having previously done television, radio, and newspaper interviews. She is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and a minor in Spanish. Before college, Jennifer’s dream was to be an architect, but now, she’s excited about building relationships and designing strategic communication plans for The Valerin Group.

Plan B: Architect

Dakota Larsen

Multimedia Specialist | Videographer & Editor

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.

Plan B: Film Director

Brittany Bisacca

Marketing Coordinator

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.
Plan B: Hockey Player

Cynthia McGrail

South Florida Regional Director | Marketing & Business Development

Cynthia brings over 25 years of strategic communications, marketing and media expertise to Valerin. A natural collaborator and connector, Cynthia’s commitment to improving our communities guides her daily work with clients, stakeholders and colleagues. As the Director of Incite Austin, she led an award-winning team that produced hundreds of high impact, public awareness and behavior change campaigns for government and non-profit clients in transportation, healthcare, utilities and education. In her most recent role, Cynthia led marketing and public relations for transportation technology firm Metropia, Inc. and market launches for their mobile app (Metropia) that incentivizes travelers to engage in a variety of mobility options to help reduce traffic congestion in their communities. Cynthia loves to travel and explore destinations near and far and with Valerin projects throughout the state, we can help Cynthia achieve her Plan “B” too!

Plan B: Freelance Travel Writer

Angel Streeter Gardner

Community Outreach Manager South Florida

Angel is an established communications professional experienced in community outreach and public involvement. Having worked on major infrastructure projects, Angel is adept at providing public information, serving as a media spokesperson and engaging with stakeholders. She is well versed in developing and implementing community awareness plans, organizing public meetings and developing project-specific collateral materials. As a former newspaper reporter, Angel has substantial experience working with public sector entities, community organizations, special interest groups, elected officials and the general public.

Plan B: Best-selling author

Sandra Mancil, APR

Senior Communications Specialist

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!

Plan B: Sports Photographer

Carlos Garcia

Communications Specialist

Carlos’ professional experience includes providing public relations, community outreach, Spanish translations and project management support for transportation and public infrastructure projects. Most recently, he worked as a consultant for the Florida Power and Light Storm-Secure Underground Pilot Program and was responsible for providing communications and outreach, data management and planning support for construction projects. He has also served as a subconsultant for FDOT Districts Four and Six providing public involvement and community outreach support for planning and design projects. Carlos is a graduate of Miami-Dade College and obtained his master’s in management from St. Thomas University. Outside of work, Carlos enjoys traveling and trying out new eateries. Carlos’ Plan B is to be a Professional Chef, but for now, we are excited to have such a skilled person “cooking” up great work at Valerin!

Plan B: Professional Chef

Sienna Ciudad-Real

Marketing Specialist

With over three years of digital marketing experience in the entertainment industry, Sienna specializes in utilizing creative marketing strategies and analytics to support clients’ goals. She has experience using social media and email marketing, advertising, copywriting, and Google analytics to drive engagements and brand awareness. Having worked in the radio, television, and sports industries she is passionate about using her creativity and communication skills to help organizations connect with communities, which is also key to developing and implementing successful marketing and communication plans. Sienna earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Central Florida. Outside of the work place she enjoys exercising, traveling to new destinations, and playing beach volleyball. While she is not serving up aces on the court, she is excited to serve up new marketing strategies for clients.
Plan B: Professional Beach Volleyball Player

David Herrera

Graphic Designer

David brings over three years of marketing experience in the AEC industry. His expertise includes proposal coordination and development, graphic design, social media management, event planning, and copywriting. David is bilingual and helps engage members of the Spanish-speaking community by providing verbal and written translations of various communications materials. He is a graduate of Aurora University, where he was a distance runner on the track and cross country team, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing. In his free time, David can be found enjoying nature, whether by playing disc golf at a park, sand volleyball, or at the beach surfing.

Plan B: Professional Athlete

Chuck Thompson

Creative Director

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”!

Plan B: Scuba Instructor on the Great Barrier Reef

Alice Ramos

Community Outreach Manager Central Florida

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!

Plan B: Full-Time RV’er

Justina Hicklyn

Senior Communications Specialist

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!

Plan B: Farmer

Christine Girardin

Communications Specialist

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.

Plan B: Fantabulous Tee-Shirt Designer

Jim Larsen

Senior Multimedia | Communications Specialist & Videographer

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!

Plan B: Professional Poker Player

Kenny Gil

Frontend Developer | Multimedia Specialist

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.

Plan B: Music Producer/DJ

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