Kelly will oversee planning and execution of communications programs for all GRand clients, with concentration on content, publicity, social media and public/media relations. He will work closely with the GRand team on its rapidly expanding presence in IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) sports car competition and also will develop and implement GRand's brand journalism and corporate communications initiatives.
Kelly brings 20 years of motorsports PR and communications experience to GRand, bolstering the more than 40 years of combined industry experience of company co-founders Ruthie Forbes and Gene Cottingham.
"We are truly excited to bring Paul onboard this year," Forbes said. "We think his skill set will not only be complementary to our team but will elevate our communications initiatives to match our current growth and beyond. We take great care to provide innovative and cost-effective solutions for our clients, and we feel that Paul is the right fit for our evolution."
"GRand Solutions has been very fortunate to have seen tremendous growth in our first three years of operations," Cottingham said. "We offer a broad range of services to a diverse mix of customers, but our communications solutions have been our most popular offering and represent an area of focus for us as we continue our growth. Paul Kelly is the right person at the right time for GRand and our clients."
Kelly comes to GRand after serving as communications manager for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1998 and INDYCAR from 1998-2003. During that tenure, he was responsible for all public relations editorial content creation and editing, and also led the media staff at all IMS events, including the Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, United States Grand Prix Formula One race and Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP World Championship race.
He also wrote, edited and developed content for IMS and INDYCAR publications and digital platforms and was instrumental in creating an IMS presence on popular social media outlets Facebook and Twitter. Kelly also worked with local, regional, national and international media to generate and assist with coverage of IMS and INDYCAR events, and he helped to create and implement public relations, media and crisis communications plans for both organizations.
Before joining IMS and INDYCAR, Kelly served as information manager for the National Hot Rod Association from 1993-97. He began his professional career as a sports writer and assistant sports editor from 1988-93 for the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, a member of the Gannett chain, the largest newspaper publisher in America.
"GRand has quickly built a reputation and proven track record for innovative, creative solutions, with seemingly boundless energy to go above and beyond to deliver," Kelly said. "That passion matches my desire to constantly innovate while keeping a close eye on details for day-to-day execution. I can't wait to put my experience, results and personal connections from 20 years of communications to work right away for GRand and its clients."
The addition of Kelly to the GRand staff comes after the company enjoyed its third consecutive year of 200-percent growth. GRand has attracted more than 50 clients from three continents in just three years, including sanctioning bodies, event promoters, teams and drivers. GRand also managed five large-scale events in 2013, with an estimated combined attendance of 575,000 spectators, and the company's digital media department has expanded to create unique brand platforms through Web and mobile app solutions.