Hennes has more than 30 years’ experience working in politics, having managed or served as a senior campaign consultant and fundraiser for campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. Hennes also served three years as executive director for The Temple on the Heights in Pepper Pike, Ohio, and three years doing government and public relations in the automotive industry. He opened Hennes Communications in 1989, which later became Hennes/Haslett & Associates, handling government relations, public relations, community relations and media training. In 2002, the firm was renamed Hennes Paynter Communications and in 2015, the firm reverted back to Hennes Communications.
As one of Cleveland’s best-known crisis communication specialists and media trainers, Hennes is also an in-demand speaker before bar and trade associations on the subject of crisis communications. Under the auspices of Red Cross chapters, county emergency management agencies and boards of health, he frequently speaks to mayors, police, fire, education and other government officials on the subject of “Extreme Crisis Communications” (i.e. how to handle mass casualty incidents and other “extreme” situations involving threats to life & limb).
Hennes is past chairman of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Public Affairs Committee and The Cleveland Jewish News. He currently serves on the boards of The Business Emergency Planning Institute, the Cleveland Leadership Center and The Judicial Candidates Rating Coalition (Judge4Yourself.com). He was one of the founding board members of the FBI Citizens Academy Foundation of Cleveland. He is also an adjunct professor teaching Advanced Communications/Media Relations in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University and a frequent guest lecturer at John Carroll University, Kent State University, Case Western Reserve University and Ohio State University. Hennes is a member of The Press Club of Cleveland, and of the board and Executive Committee of The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, which awarded him its first-ever President’s Award. Hennes is president of the Leadership Cleveland Class of 2008. He has a degree in political science from York University in Toronto, Canada.
Hennes is recipient of the President’s Special Award for Extraordinary Service from the Cuyahoga County Bar Association and two Vega awards from The American Red Cross. In 2011, he received the “Communicator of the Year Award” from the International Association of Business Communicators – Cleveland Chapter and in 2013, his work won a gold “Rocks” award from the Cleveland Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America on behalf of a client, SeaStreak, in the crisis communications category. The campaign also was named “Best of Show,” which is awarded to the entry that receives the highest score among all the entries from a panel of judges. The entry, titled “Doing the Right Thing: How a Company’s Forthright Crisis Response Preserved its Reputation and Maintained Customer Confidence,” recounted the communications strategy the company adopted in January 2013 when one of SeaStreak’s passenger ferries crashed into a dock in lower Manhattan’s Financial District.
Hennes received certification in Effective Communications from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and The Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is also of counsel to Levick Strategic Communications in Washington, DC.