Irvine Co. PR Executive to Depart : Wilck's New Firm Will Have the Company as First Client

Times Staff Writer

An Irvine Co. public relations executive will leave the giant development company next month to form his own public relations firm. And, he'll take the Irvine Co. along, as his first client.

Tom Wilck, vice president of corporate relations, said Friday that he will leave the Irvine Co., where he has worked for 12 years, on April 15. Wilck declined to reveal how much the Irvine Co.'s business would be worth to his new firm.

The Irvine Co. has not yet determined how much of the work previously done by its own staff will be assumed by Wilck's new company. However, Wilck's departure will further deplete the Irvine Co.'s in-house public, community and governmental relations staff.

Brower Left Previously

Martin Brower, who had served for almost 12 years as the Irvine Co.'s vice president of public relations, left the company Jan. 11, to start a business newsletter. Brower had been one of two managers reporting directly to Wilck, who was in charge of the company's product marketing and community relations activities.

The company has not yet replaced Brower. An additional vacancy was created last August, when Robert H. Shelton resigned as the Irvine Co.'s senior vice president in charge of governmental, community and public affairs. Wilck had reported to Shelton. Shelton now has his own consulting firm and the Irvine Co. is its sole client.

Shelton, Wilck and company officials said the departures were coincidental, but the company is reassessing the public relations structure to mesh with its recently decentralized organization, according to Irvine Co. President Tom Nielsen.

Mike Manahan Remains

In the meantime, the remaining corporate relations manager, Mike Manahan, who is director of community relations, will report to Dick Sears, Irvine Co.'s vice president of administration.

Wilck's special interest has been in helping the Irvine Co. foster such agencies as the Orange County Economic Development Corporation and Orange County Chamber of Commerce, Nielsen said. He added that, as a consultant, Wilck will continue in that capacity.

Wilck said that he had been talking to Nielsen for months about wanting to start his own public relations company and both agreed that this seemed to be the best time. Wilck said he is eager to strike out on his own.

Operated PR Firm

"I'm 51 years old and I just want to do some other things . . .," he said. "I don't want everybody to think my last name is the Irvine Co."

From 1961 to 1970, Wilck operated a public relations agency, which he sold to accept an appointment as assistant administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, D.C. He left the SBA in 1972 to serve as deputy chairman of the Republican National Committee during the reelection campaign of President Nixon. Soon after Nixon was reelected, he said, he joined the Irvine Co.

Wilck's new firm, to be called Thomas Wilck Associates, initially will have its offices in the Newport Center, an Irvine Co. development in Newport Beach.

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