Paul Werth Associates
60 years and counting

In the Beginning

Paul Werth Associates began in May 1963 when its namesake, a veteran corporate marketing executive, hung a sign outside a former candy shop on Olentangy River Road.

Paul’s first client was the young Worthington Industries. One at a time, his growing list of clients would eventually include Anheuser-Busch, Homewood Corporation, Ohio National Bank, CompuServe, Brown Steel Company, IBM Borden, Inc., American Electric Power and a host of others.

Competitors have come and gone, but Werth remains the only Columbus PR firm that was in business in 1963 that still operates under the same ownership.

Family-Owned Through Three Generations

Paul Werth died on July 1, 2002, after elevating a small, one-man shop to a firm known throughout the country for its integrity, professionalism and excellence. Paul’s legacy has survived through Sandy Harbrecht Ratchford, who succeeded her father as president and CEO in 1986; and granddaughter Julie Granillo, who joined in 2019 and now serves as president and CEO. While family-owned and led, it is the scores of associates, former associates and partners who have helped build the Werth brand into something lasting.

Evolving With the Times

Several key milestones attest to Werth’s consistent pursuit of new capabilities and excellence in a changing landscape. In 2004, Werth acquired the Haunty Group to add advertising, brand development and video production services to Werth’s specialties. In 2005, Werth’s acquisition of MMD Research brought more sophisticated capabilities in house to encompass all phases of market and public policy research. And in 2010, Werth acquired huber+co. interactive, specialists in internet marketing, web design and development, social media integration, e-commerce, search engine optimization and analytics.

Committing to Senior Talent

For many years, Werth followed the traditional industry staffing pattern: Hire mostly junior associates to handle the bulk of the client work and a few senior managers to oversee them. The result was a revolving door of young talent and struggles to provide the sophisticated services required by clients. Sandy shifted the company’s approach and began filling new openings with associates who had at least 10 years of experience in government, media, business and other relevant disciplines. Today, Werth’s atypical staffing model allows the team to engage at the C-suite level, where most of Werth’s work is done, and contributes to our associate tenure being well above the industry average.

Making a Local Impact

While Werth has worked diligently to advance the profession over the years, it has played an even more important role in the advancement of the state and the communities it serves. The firm played crucial roles in supporting the moves of major corporations and thousands of new jobs to the Columbus region, including and tackled some of the most difficult problems faced by Ohio companies and its industries. Among the most meaningful work was developing communications programs to combat infant mortality and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the years, Werth also has tackled some of the most difficult, and sometimes controversial, problems faced by Ohio companies and its industries.

Read our full history in our 60th anniversary book here.