Kevin M. Waetke
Vice President, Strategic Communications
National Pork Board
As vice president of strategic communications, Kevin Waetke, APR leads internal and external communications efforts for the National Pork Board based in Des Moines, Iowa. With other members of the Board's senior management team, he plays a critical role in defining and leading the national communications strategy, and delivering clear and consistent messages to America’s pork producers, national media, opinion leaders, consumers and other key audiences.
Prior to joining the National Pork Board, Waetke spent 10 years leading communications in the U.S. financial services industry. He previously worked at life insurance and annuity leader Aviva USA, and, prior to that, as the communications director for Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. At Aviva USA, Waetke was the Assistant Vice President of corporate communications and had dual roles of building the Aviva brand in the U.S. following its acquisition by London-based Aviva plc, and defending the life insurance and annuity business model from critics.
Professionally, Waetke has also led public relations for Maytag Corporation (Newton, Iowa) in 2003, just prior to its acquisition by Whirlpool. He was director of corporate communications for MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (1997-2003) and was recognized for his crisis communications and emergency preparedness. He began is PR career in health care at Mercy Medical Center (1992-1997).
He is also a former news reporter and assignment editor for WHO-TV (1986-1991), and also worked in television news at KWWL-TV (Waterloo, Iowa), WQAD-TV (Moline, Illinois) and KWQCTV (Davenport, Iowa). Waetke credits his years as a news reporter in shaping his professional public and media relations skills, and his ability to distill complex information into easily understandable concepts. The ability to connect with individuals on a personal basis and then share their stories through words and video are the building blocks of proactive communications.
In 2013, he served as an adjunct professor to the Drake University School of Journalism and Mass Communications, teaching a course in crisis communications and reputation management. He has both graduate and undergraduate degrees in Journalism and Mass Communications from Drake University, Des Moines.