Principal: Sam Singer, president

Ownership: Independent
Office: San Francisco
Revenue: $5,063,344
Headcount: 17

Client successes at San Francisco-based Singer Associates in 2013 came at the local and international level.

There was the city of San Bruno, embroiled in a battle for regulatory reform after a gas plant explosion caused by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Singer Associates was able to levy pressure through the media, elected officials, and regulatory agencies that helped increase the fine against the utility from $500 million to $2.5 billion, according to agency president Sam Singer.

Singer Associates has been working for Chevron since 2007. In March 2014, Chevron, accused of damaging the Ecuadorean rainforest, won in court by exposing the lawsuit as fraudulent and “the result of bribery and fraud by the plaintiffs,” says Singer.

The agency focused heavily on using online and social media to tell Chevron’s story, part of which was the creation of the website, Singer calls the site “a key weapon in Chevron’s battle.”

The firm recently hired executive editor of the Bay Area News Group Kevin Keane as a senior consultant and award-winning reporter for The San Francisco Examiner, Mike Aldax, as a senior account executive.

Aldax edits a community news website called the Richmond Standard that is supported by Chevron, which owns an oil refinery based in the California town.

Singer, which focuses on crisis, reputation and issues management, public affairs and litigation, added clients internationally and close to home on the West Coast – and specifically in the Bay Area.

The agency won 13 new accounts last year, including the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office to help with media relations in the US. Locally, the firm is working with landfill-diversion company Recology, Airbnb, and A-11, creators of a spring football league.

Singer is also working with the California Hospital Association to beat back a proposal by unions to increase healthcare costs in the state.

“All of our work comes through referrals of our existing clients,” says Singer, who adds the agency did not lose any clients that went on to work with another firm.

The agency’s three top-performing areas were healthcare, energy, and renewable resources, while tourism, education, and real estate lagged.

The agency’s 2013 revenue was up 3% compared to 2012 and profit margin was 7%. Eighty percent of business was from existing clients, the remainder new business.

Q1 2014 was “probably up 10%” compared to last year, says Singer, and the agency is looking to hire mid-level staff. In the past year, agency staff has grown from 12 to 17, but the biggest challenge, both in-office and industrywide, says Singer, is finding high-quality talent.