Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay will benefit from locally-created program to diversify nonprofit boards

June 29, 2021

Not only is diversity critical to foster an equitable community, but it is also essential to strengthen board governance, the guest columnists write.

Creating an equitable Tampa Bay starts with ensuring we have a diverse pool of leaders and offering them opportunities to lead. Great business and community leaders are trained, prepared, and mentored to help develop and maximize their leadership potential. Great leaders help provide solutions to the many challenges facing our community.

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Tampa Bay Business Journal

Diversifying Tampa Bay’s nonprofit boards needed a good idea and an action plan

June 25, 2021

Brian Butler and Ernest Hooper are good friends.

Butler, Vistra Communications CEO, and Hooper, former Tampa Bay Times columnist and now United Way Suncoast VP of communications, discovered they both were being bombarded with invitations to join nonprofit boards.

"Sometimes, it was two a week," Butler said.

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WFTS ABC Action News Logo

Applications open now for Hillsborough State Attorney's Community Council

April 30, 2021

You have a chance to help make changes in your community. Applications are open for the Hillsborough County State Attorney Office Community Council.

Brian Butler is the CEO of Vistra Communications but decided to dedicate his spare time to the Community Council. "There's not many better ways to get involved, to help shape policy, to have a platform, to talk with decision-makers that really are responsible for effecting change in our community," Butler said.

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On Message Podcast

From Army officer to CEO

March 5, 2021

On this episode of On Message, we chat with Brian Butler, president and CEO of Tampa-based Vistra Communications.

• The leadership lessons from the Army that have helped him build a successful PR firm
• Why he decided to write a personal op-ed about race relations and his own experiences as a Black man in the U.S
• His thoughts on the future of the PR and communications industry

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Fox 13 WTVT

After 26 years in the military, retired lieutenant colonel finds success with his own business

February 15, 2021

After nearly 30 years of serving his country, retired Lt. Col. Brian Butler started his own business which has been has open for over a decade.

Butler is the founder of Vistra Communications, based out of Lutz. He started it in his garage in 2007.

"We wanted to make it a fun place to work." Lt. Col. Butler said. "I've been in business for 14 years and we have about 100 employees today with offices in Tampa and another one in the Washington, D. C. area."

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Tampa Bay Business & Wealth

The year that changed everything

December 1, 2020

If this year was a movie, it would have everything. Horror, comedy, tragedy … it would be an Oscar winner, no doubt. Down the road, we will look back and have a different version of this experience in our heads. But for now, it’s still fresh, not to mention ongoing.

TBBW wanted to do something different to end the year. We checked in with some of our past cover story subjects to find out what the year has been like for them, both personally and professionally.

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LOGO - 83 Degrees

Commentary: Calling business leaders to commit to young learners, teachers

November 24, 2020

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -- Nelson Mandela.

These words ring especially true as our society reflects on the integral role our educators play in shaping and positively influencing our children. This entire year has thrust our society into uncertainty and angst; our school systems are no different.

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Tampa Bay Times

We must stop further spread of the virus

November 24, 2020

As Tampa Bay small business owners, we are pleading with our fellow citizens to practice safety protocols and serve as stewards of our overall public health.

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Six Small Business Leaders on What It Takes to Survive the Pandemic Economy

October 1, 2020

From Florida to San Francisco, six managers went through the biggest challenge of their professional lives this year. Here's how they’re adapting and learning to rethink growth.

Building a business is never easy, but 2020 has been a unique calamity. In the U.S., which has suffered more Covid-19 deaths than any other nation, the economy entered its worst downturn in generations. Although central bank stimulus and government programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program have helped cushion the blow, a return to growth will depend on the creativity and resilience of millions of entrepreneurs and business managers.

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LOGO - 83 Degrees

Tampa Bay Area Blacks face stark economic inequities, adversity

September 29, 2020

Tampa Bay Area Businessman Brian Butler doesn’t want other Black men to repeat his experiences entering the local job market.

In 2006, Butler moved to the area as a retired U.S. Army officer with two master’s degrees. He expected to land a good job quickly but got no offers that met his qualifications. So, Butler took matters into his own hands. He started his own public relations and marketing firm, Vistra Communications in Lutz, and built it from the ground up into a success.

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The Laker Lutz News

CEO discusses resilience, giving back

June 16, 2020

When Brian Butler moved to Lutz roughly 14 years ago, he figured he would have plenty of time to assume a meaningful role at a Tampa Bay company, play golf and go fishing. It didn’t quite work out that way.

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Boots About Business with Frank Strong

Leaving the Army and Starting a Business During a Recession: Brian Butler of Vistra Communications

June 15, 2020

By any measure, Brian Butler was having a successful career in the Army. He served in Desert Storm, was chosen to work on the Homeland Security Council in The White House (where he worked on preparing for a pandemic no less!), and was selected for promotion to colonel (O6).

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St Pete Catalyst

Local business leaders on race relations: ‘Find a way to get comfortable with being uncomfortable’

June 8, 2020

Tough conversations and intentional efforts to diversify personal and professional relationships are among the steps four business leaders in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area say are needed to improve the state of race relations.

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Florida Courier

I Could Have Been George Floyd

June 5, 2020

I am a veteran, business owner, leader in our community, and a Black father. We can open our eyes and ears wide and help make things better, or we can close them and face the consequences of inaction.

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WFLA News Channel 8 - On Your Side

African American business leaders discuss Tampa Bay race relations

June 4, 2020

African American business leaders from the Tampa Bay area discuss current race relations and racial tension within the community through a virtual and interactive panel hosted and moderated by Bridgette Bello, the CEO and publisher of Tampa Bay Business and Wealth magazine and Rick Homans, the president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Partnership. According to Bello, the catalyst for their discussion titled “Listen to Learn and Lead: A discussion with African-American community and business leaders,” was not only the death of George Floyd in late May but the conversation is also a result of a recent article written by Brian Butler, the CEO of Vistra Communications.

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Florida Matters: Black Voices In Tampa Bay Matter

June 2, 2020

Brian Butler is a former Army officer, is president and CEO of his own Tampa company - and is African-American. That last definition has defined much of his life - including being stopped several times for no reason other than his color. He was moved to write an opinion piece in the Tampa Bay Times, in the wake of riots after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Florida Matters talks to Butler about whether he's grown accustomed to being profiled - and whether he harbors any bitterness because of it.

Read more>

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Tampa Bay Times

I’m a CEO, a retired Army officer and a black man

May 29, 2020

I shudder with each death of a black man killed by a police officer. I often shed another tear, reflecting upon the times I was stopped, for little more than driving while black or being followed while shopping in stores. I’ve been stopped and searched far more times than my white colleagues and through intimate discussions with them, most simply can’t or won’t try to understand.

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Florida Company Helping Georgia Town

May 1, 2020

A public relations company in Lutz is helping a small Georgia town that has been really badly affected by coronavirus. Albany is a town of about 75,000 people located in Dougherty County ranking third in the state with the amount of COVID-19 cases.

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Florida Courier

Small Business Owners Must Act Now to Mitigate COVID-19 Impact

April 10, 2020

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were over 30 million small businesses which employed over 58 million people in 2018. The reality is that COVID-19 will devastating for many of those businesses, especially minority owned small businesses in our country.

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How This Army Veteran's Business Survived Launching During the Great Recession

January 27, 2020

Over the course of his 22-year commitment to the U.S. Army, Brian Butler commanded troops through combat, served on the Homeland Security Council in The White House, and visited 68 countries. Butler retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2006 but still applies the guideposts of dedication, teamwork, and integrity that were fostered in the military to a different assignment.

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Florida Courier

Hundreds of CEOs Spend a Day at Hillsborough Public Schools

November 3, 2019

Nearly 180 Tampa Bay area CEOs volunteered for an entire day on Oct. 18 at Hillsborough County public elementary schools. The new educational initiative, CEOs in Schools, is a Vistra Communications (Vistra)-spurred ambition designed to inspire youth. Vistra is a Tampa Bay-based public relations and marketing agency.

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Vistra News - Everything that's happening with and at Vistra Communications!

Vistra Named FSMSDC's 2019 MBE Supplier of the Year- Class III

September 27, 2019

Vistra Communications was named the 2019 MBE Supplier of the Year - Class III during the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council's (FSMSDC) Annual Awards Gala held at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. The annual gala is the Council’s signature event and recognizes the achievements of Florida’s top minority-owned businesses, dynamic industry leaders and major corporations committed to Supplier Diversity.

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LOGO - Florida Trend

Vistra President and CEO Among Florida Trend’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders

September 5, 2019

Vistra President and CEO, Brian Butler, was selected as one of Florida Trend’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders for 2019. The Florida 500 is a special section that highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout the state and were selected based on year-long research initiative by the editors of Florida Trend.

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Florida Courier

Business Leaders Sought for Hillsborough County CEOs in Schools Initiative

August 23, 2019

On Oct. 18, nearly 180 Tampa Bay area CEOs will volunteer an entire day at Hillsborough County public elementary schools as part of a new educational initiative, CEOs in Schools.

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Spectrum News | Bay News 9

Woodland Johnson and Brian Butler Talk CEOs in Schools on Spectrum News 9’s In Depth Segment

August 22, 2019

A lesson in business brought to the classroom. Vistra Communications’ Brian Butler and Hillsborough County Public Schools’ Woodland Johnson discuss the joint educational initiative, CEOs in Schools.

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Newsradio WFLA

Jeff Eakins and Brian Butler Talk CEOs in Schools on AM Tampa Bay

August 16, 2019

Brian Butler President, CEO and founder of Vistra Communications, LLC (Vistra) and Superintendent Jeff Eakins, Hillsborough County Public Schools, joined AM Tampa Bay to discuss Tampa Bay area CEOs who will volunteer an entire day at Hillsborough County public elementary schools on October 18, 2019. The goal is to have CEOs experience what educators and students do on a day to day basis so that they will have a new perspective on what goes into preparing students for success in the future workforce.

Listen here >

LOGO - 83 Degrees

Tampa Bay companies stand out on GrowFL 50 Florida Companies to Watch List

August 13, 2019

Flexing some serious economic muscle, the Tampa Bay region has landed 17 businesses on the 2019 GrowFL list of 50 Florida Companies to Watch. Now in its ninth year, the annual recognition honors second-stage companies for employee growth, revenues, and community contributions.

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Tampa Bay Business Journal

GrowFL announces the 17 best second-stage companies in Tampa Bay

August 5, 2019

After sifting through 500 second-stage companies throughout Florida, GrowFL has chosen 50 of the best in the state including 17 in the Tampa Bay area.

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Osprey Observer Logo

New Program Invites CEOs To Spend A Day At Local Schools

August 2, 2019

Local business people have the opportunity to receive a unique look at area schools this fall thanks to a new program.

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Tampa Bay Times

Hooper: Butler partners with Hillsborough Schools to launch CEOs in Schools program

July 22, 2019

For three years, Vistra CEO Brian Butler lent counsel to the faculty and staff of Mort Elementary School. Now he’s trying to help other business leaders make a difference.

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Florida Sentinel Bulletin

CEOs in Schools: Connecting Today’s Executives with Tomorrow’s Leaders

July 12, 2019

In a first of its kind program, local senior executives and CEOs will team up with the “CEO” at our schools – the principal – to see, hear and do the things that our public school teachers, staff and students experience every day.

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Tampa Bay Business & Wealth

CEO Connect with Brian Butler

June 26, 2019

Brian Butler is the president and CEO of Vistra Communications, a full-service marketing, communications and consulting agency that provides a range of integrated marketing, communications and management support services to corporate and government clients. Vistra is an SBA 8(a) and Certified Service, Disabled Veteran – owned Small Business.

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Tampa Bay Business & Wealth

CEOs In Schools Seeking Volunteers

June 4, 2019

Vistra Communications, in partnership with Hillsborough County Schools, is launching an initiative that brings CEOs from the Tampa Bay area into Hillsborough County schools for a day of volunteering. On October 18, 2019, nearly 180 CEOs will volunteer for a day at Hillsborough County elementary schools to make an impact in the lives of students and the community.

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Tampa Bay Business & Wealth

From the White House to Tampa

March 1, 2019

If Brian Butler disappears for too long from the Vistra Communications office in Lutz, his assistant, Pam Mooney, knows where to find him. He’s likely down the road at Mort Elementary School—reading books, dressing in a onesie for a laugh, or high-fiving students.

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Vistra News - Everything that's happening with and at Vistra Communications!

Vistra CEO Selected as Outstanding Leader by Greater Tampa Chamber

September 18, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. – (Sept. 18, 2018) – Brian Butler, president and CEO of integrated marketing communications agency Vistra Communications, LLC (Vistra), was honored as the 2018 Outstanding Leader during the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year awards. The annual designation recognizes an exemplary leader within the Tampa Bay area.

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WUSF Public Media Logo

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Recognizes Two Tampa Businesses

September 17, 2018

Two small public relations firms from Tampa are being recognized for their success both locally and for their plans to expand nationwide.

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The Contracting Officer Podcast

Relationships in Government Contracting with Brian Butler

September 9, 2018

If you work in the Government acquisition world, this podcast is for you (not just for Contracting Officers!).

Kevin welcomes special guest Brian Butler to discuss the power of building relationships in the government contracting world.

Read more and listen here >

Vistra Named Finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Dream Big Small Business of the Year Awards

September 4, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. — Vistra Communications, LLC (Vistra), an integrated marketing communications agency, was recently named a Minority-Owned Business Achievement Award Finalist for the 2018 Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award.

Every year, the awards program honors the achievements of small businesses and highlights their contributions to America’s economic growth. Vistra is one of 21 finalists set to be honored during the Small Business Summit in October.

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Business Observer

Marketing Firm Adds Brand Guru to Executive Team

July 12, 2018

TAMPA — Vistra Communications LLC, a full-service integrated marketing communications firm, named Jamie Needham senior vice president of marketing and communications.

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Tampa Bay Business Journal

Vistra Team Member is Honoree for Annual Heroes at Work Award

July 10, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. – Bradley Gordon, a federal programs manager at Vistra Communications, LLC (Vistra), is an honoree for the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2018 Heroes at Work Awards.

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Tampa Bay Business Journal

Meet the 2018 Heroes at Work Honorees

June 5, 2018

The Tampa Bay Business Journal’s 2018 Heroes at Work Awards aim to recognize Tampa Bay area veterans who, through their professional and personal efforts, are making a positive impact throughout the community.

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SBA Celebrates Small Business Week and These Local Leaders

May 1, 2018

Emerging Leaders across the nation have earned recognition both locally and nationally for their strong leadership and community impact by the Small Business Administration.

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Vistra CEO Named Small Business Administration’s Minority-Owned Business Person of the Year

April 13, 2018

Brian Butler, the chief executive of Vistra Communications, LLC, has been named the 2018 Small Business Administration’s minority-owned small business person of the year in the state of Florida and South Florida District.

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Florida Courier

Black-Owned Public Relations Firm Buys Marketing Company

January 26, 2018

Vistra Communications, a Black-owned public relations and marketing agency in Hillsborough County, has acquired Marketing Associates USA, a Tampa-based marketing promotional and branding agency that specializes in a broad range of services for major corporations and federal government agencies.

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Tampa Bay Business Journal

Vistra Communications Expands with Acquisition

December 21, 2017

Vistra Communications LLC, one of Tampa Bay’s largest veteran-owned businesses and the region’s largest public relations firm, is acquiring Marketing Associates USA, greatly expanding the reach of the two combined companies.

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Tampa Bay Business Journal

2017 People First HR Awards: Adrienne Vallejo

November 17, 2017

2017 People First HR Awards – Advertising, marketing and public relations category winner: Adrienne Vallejo, Director of Human Resources, Vistra Communications LLC Adrienne Vallejo has been at Vistra Communications for three years, and now as director for HR is a department of one. She works to serve and enhance the positive environment for the 60-plus member team. She also works with executive leaders to maintain strong business partnerships and helps to drive the company toward a culture of growth and operational excellence.

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CALIBRE Partners with Vistra Communications, LLC (Vistra) in Mentor-Protégé Agreement

March 9, 2017

Vistra Communications, LLC has teamed up with CALIBRE Systems, Inc. to participate in a mentor-protégé agreement, in which CALIBRE will provide insight on business development endeavors.

Vistra Communications, LLC (Vistra), a Tampa Bay-based communications strategy and professional solutions agency, has joined with CALIBRE Systems, Inc. (CALIBRE) to participate in a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved 8(a) mentor-protégé agreement. CALIBRE is an employee-owned management consulting and information technology solutions company supporting government and industry.

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Business Observer

Firm Plans to Double Workforce, Move into Larger Space

February 28, 2017

The public relations firm intends to add 50 jobs in the next five years

TAMPA — Public relations firm Vistra Communications plans to nearly double its workforce in the region by 2022 and invest $1.3 million into the community. To accommodate the anticipated growth and addition of 50 new jobs, Vistra has relocated its headquarters to 7,400 square feet in 18315 N. U.S. Highway 41, Lutz.

“The Vistra team is not only focused on our growth as an organization, but committed to the development and sustainability of the Tampa Bay Area,” says Brian Butler, Vistra's president and CEO.

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Telling the Not-For-Profit Story through Form 990

December 5, 2016

Reporting requirement provides an opportunity to educate potential donors, grantors and board members on the organization’s merits.

Sec. 6033 of the Internal Revenue Code requires most tax-exempt organizations to file an annual information return containing income, receipts, disbursements and other information. This seems to be a straightforward requirement — not-for-profit organizations complete and submit a Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, to the IRS for filing. Charitable organizations, however, can capitalize on this compliance requirement by using it to educate donors and market their organizations and programs.

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The Power of Perseverance

October 13, 2016

Brian Butler’s tenacity and leadership helped propel his triple-digit growth and earned him recognition as NaVOBA’s (National Veteran-Owned Business Association) 2016 Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year.

It’s been a big year for Brian Butler, founder and president of Vistra Communications. The 22-year Army veteran and the strategic marketing and communications company he built have received a host of awards and accolades over the past 12 months. In November 2015, Butler was honored as a Hero at Work by the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Then, in April of this year, Butler was named the SBA’s South Florida District 2016 Veteran-Owned Small Business Person of the Year.

Most recently, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce named Vistra Communications Small Business of the Year and recognized Butler as a finalist for Small Business Leader of the Year. And Vistra was ranked #1 this year in Tampa Bay Business Journal’s List of Public Relations Firms in the Tampa Bay Area. Vetrepreneur also honors Butler this month for his achievements, recognizing him as NaVOBA’s 2016 Minority Vetrepreneur® of the Year.

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Vistra is Ranked as the Tampa Bay Area's #1 PR Firm by the Tampa Bay Business Journal for 2021, 2020, 2018, 2017 and 2016.
FSMSDC's Doing Well While Doing Good Humanitarian Award for 2020
Vistra was awarded the GROWFL 'Florida Companies to Watch' designation in 2019.
Vistra was named as the 2019 MBE Supplier of the year by Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council (FSMSDC).
Tampa Bay Chamber named Vistra the 2016 Small Business of the Year and 2018 Small Business Leader of the Year
2018 SBA South Florida District and State of Florida Minority Owned Small Business Person of the Year and Small Business Person of the Year
2018 SBA South Florida District and State of Florida Minority Owned Small Business Person of the Year and Small Business Person of the Year
2016 Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association

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