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Media Contact Information
Regional Communications Staff
David Fierro, Northwest Region Communications Director
After working in newspapers as both a reporter and editor in his native California, Utah, Wyoming, North Carolina and Florida, Fierro joined state government as a director of public information with the Florida Department of Transportation in Northwest Florida and later South Florida. He also served as assistant director for public affairs for Virginia DOT and chief public information officer for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Fierro owned and operated his own public relations consulting firm for 14 years, working primarily for transportation clients in Florida and Utah. He spent four years as a vice-president for SmartRoute Systems, a subsidiary of Westwood One, marketing state government contracts for traveler information systems.
Most recently, Fierro worked as Publications Editor for the Florida Department of Revenue before joining DCF. Fierro has experience in media relations, social and general media campaigns, marketing, public relations, advertising, community outreach, publishing and web content.
Fierro attended East Los Angeles College, Winston-Salem State University, University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Florida State University where he majored in journalism and mass communications.
Circuits: 1, 2 and 14
Counties: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton and Washington
Media Markets: Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahassee
John Harrell, Northeast Region Communications Director
John Harrell has been with DCF since 2004. He has been interviewed and quoted by numerous media outlets. Harrell has done several live interviews on the national cable program Prime News on the HLN cable network, where he’s discussed child welfare issues and how agencies investigate high-profile cases. He’s also appeared on Inside Edition and Nancy Grace. Prior to joining DCF, John spent twelve years working in broadcast and print media in Jacksonville. He was the news director at one of the city’s leading radio stations and a traffic reporter for two television stations. He also worked as a freelance writer for several publications, including The Florida Times-Union and HealthSource magazine. For his work with the Florida Public Relations Association’s Jacksonville chapter, John was honored with a President’s Award for helping to increase the membership and overall visibility of the organization.
Circuits: 3, 4, 7 and 8
Counties: Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Dixie, Duval, Flagler, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Suwannee, Taylor, Union and Volusia
Media Markets: Daytona Beach, Gainesville and Jacksonville
David Ocasio, Central Region Communications Director
Prior to joining DCF in June 2014, David Ocasio served eight years as the Media Director for the Mayor’s Office in New York City working under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He was a media first responder to emergencies and crises such as the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ Flight 1549 Hudson River crash, Hurricane Sandy, MTA strike and Occupy Wall Street. He was instrumental in the productions of several government shows, two inaugural addresses, eight state of the city and budget addresses and three championship parades.
In addition, his efforts for providing tri-state region government informational transparency rewarded him with the 2011 Commissioners Award for Excellence in Technology for enabling the connected city.
His overall media experience as a writer, producer, director and editor spans more than ten years in the New York market. David graduated from Long Island University in 1997 where he earned his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Broadcasting/Communications.
Circuits: 5, 9,10, and 18
Counties: Brevard, Citrus, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Sumter
Media Markets: Ocala and Orlando
Natalie Harrell, SunCoast Region Communications Director
Natalie Harrell joined DCF as Regional Communications Director for the SunCoast region in January 2014. She began her career as a television news producer in the Sarasota and Tampa media markets before becoming the City of St. Pete Beach’s first-ever Public Information Officer. As the official spokesperson for the city hall, police, fire and public works departments, she responded to all crisis communications while managing department strategies for improving public relations and citizen outreach. Following St. Pete Beach, Natalie managed all media relations for Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance as well as several other non-profit organizations throughout Tampa Bay. Most recently, she served as Interactive Marketing Manager for the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. Natalie graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.
Circuits: 6, 12, 13 and 20
Counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas and Sarasota
Media Markets: Fort Myers, Naples, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Tampa
Paige Patterson-Hughes, Southeast Region Communications Director
Location: Fort Lauderdale
Paige Patterson-Hughes joined DCF in 2012 as the director of communications for Broward and Palm Beach counties after having served for 12 years as the South Florida public information officer for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where she handled media relations for Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. Paige handled high-profile cases including voter fraud investigations, high-rise burglaries, public corruption and Internet crimes against children. She also has prior experience as a public relations executive and journalist. Paige is a graduate of the University of Florida and holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism.
Circuits: 15, 17 and 19
Counties: Broward, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee and Palm Beach
Media Markets: Treasure Coast, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale
Beatriz Lopez de Martinez , Southern Region Communications Director
Beatriz Lopez de Martinez joined as Regional Communications Director for the Southern Region in May 2016 after having served in Voices For Children Foundation and The Florida House of Representatives. She was born in Venezuela and raised in Naples, Florida, she later moved to Miami in 2006 to pursue her bachelor’s degree. Beatriz is a graduate of Florida International University and received a Master of Science in Mass Communications with a specialization in Global Strategic Communication.
Circuits: 11 and 16
Counties: Miami-Dade and Monroe
Media Markets: Miami and Key West