Knope of the Week: Justin Finestone, City of Bend and Anna Johnson, Deschutes County

Posted on July 26, 2013

American City & County Magazine Highlights Knope of the Week

What is the Knope of the Week? It’s ELGL’s way of recognizing an individual or group of individuals who have excelled in promoting the public sector. Recipients may come from the public or private sector and are nominated by ELGL members. Recipients receive an incredible amount of recognition and prizes that we are not at liberty to disclose. The storied history of the award dates back to 2012.

This week’s recipients are:

Anna Johnson


Deschutes County, Communications Coordinator

Prior Work:  marketing consultant and trainer for Lee Enterprises, and  Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau, Group
Sales Representative.

Education: Arizona State University, Walter Cronkite School of Broadcasting

Justin Finestone


City of Bend, Communications Manager

Prior work:  Communications Director, Eagle County; Marketing and Communications Specialist, City of Mesa;  and Public Information Officer, Maricopa County

Education: University of Southern California, Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Broadcast Journalism and Political Science

Connect: LinkedIn

Knope-Worthy Contributions

Justin Finestone, Bend communications manager and Anna Johnson, Deschutes County communications coordinator are two of the leaders in public sector communications. They both run one person communication departments for large organizations. Bend is Central Oregon’s largest city with a population of near 80,000. Deschutes County is the fastest growing county in Oregon with a current population of 157,000.

Attendees at yesterday’s ELGL Central Oregon forum had a chance to hear the details on their approach to effectively communicating within an organization. Anna and Justin stressed the need for all employees to be ambassadors for their organizations. No matter your role in your organization, you should be part of the effort to promote the positives of your organization. For many of our organizations, that lack a communications person or are short staffed in the communications department, we are the only ones that can promote the good works of the public sector

Examples of  our presenters work can be seen in the social media tools used by their respective organization. Anna has become a Facebook pro by managing eight different Facebook pages for various County departments. While Justin has helped provide Bend with a social media presence including a very educational YouTube channel.

Below is a glimpse into Justin’s profile.

  • ODOT and the City are partners on the Murphy Crossing project, which will dramatically alter transportation on the south end of Bend.
  • Every summer, Public Works crews use thousands of gallons of paint to stipe hundreds of miles of roads.  It’s a big effort that helps keep traffic flowing safely.
  • The American League of Bicyclists recognized Bend for bike and pedestrian safety.  Find out what that means and what work is left to be done.
  • Bend Research is a prominent local company with big clients from around the country.  Hear why they chose to do business in Bend.

….and here are all eight of Anna’s Facebook pages:

What They’re Saying About Justin and Anna?

Jennifer Engels, Bend senior administrative specialist

Anna and Justin did an excellent job of explaining various communication methods for the City of Bend and County of Deschutes. A relaxed, interesting presentation.

Randy James, Bend IT director1

Justin did a good job of detailing the importance of an integrated communications approach from traditional methods such as print to more modern methods of Facebook and Twitter.  Anna really hit home the key of message repetition to ensure that the audience is retaining the content – potentially up to 7 times! Both did an excellent job.

Robyn Christie, Bend city recorder

The City of Bend and Deschutes County are lucky to have great communicators like Justin and Anna.  They are each a one person communications department responsible for communicating about a wide range of services and programs. They are both committed to providing good information to residents and empowering employees to serve as ambassadors of the organization.  Great tips and information were shared today, thanks!

Fun fact, I learned that Anna is the only person I know (besides my mom) that has a Brussels Griffon.  I won’t hold that against her!

 Supplemental Reading

Previous Winner: Bonnie Svrcek, ICMA President and Lynchburg (VA) Deputy City Manager


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