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Travers Collins forms alliance with Rochester-based PR firm

Eight months after the sudden defection of its entire investor relations department left it unable to serve clients in that field, Travers Collins has teamed up with a Rochester-based firm to restore that part of its business.

The Buffalo-based public relations and advertising agency said it has formed an alliance with Park Avenue Investor Relations, under which the two firms will provide services to each other's clients.

The two firms will remain independent, with their own offices. McDougall Travers Collins, a sister agency of the Buffalo firm that was formed last September with veteran Rochester public relations executive Mike McDougall, is also participating.

"Travers Collins had built a strong reputation in the investor relations field over the past two decades," said William M. Collins, principal of Travers Collins. "By aligning with Park Avenue, we plan to not only re-engage past clients, but also work together to identify and secure new opportunities across multiple industries."

Last September, Travers Collins was stunned when principals Lynn E. Casteel and Jeffrey A. Schoenborn abruptly packed up their offices on a Saturday morning, announced their departures, and opened their own firm, Casteel Schoenborn, on the following Monday. Three other investor relations staffers from Travers Collins also went with them.

The departures left Travers Collins without an investor relations department, though it could still offer its other services. And it sparked a bitter image battle between the two firms, leading ultimately to a lawsuit that Travers Collins filed against its former principals. The suit is still pending.

Park Avenue was founded earlier this year by Tom Morabito, who formerly led in-house investor relations for TJX Companies, Developer's Diversified Realty and Paetec Communications. Previously, he was an equity analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, KeyBanc Capital Markets and Susquehanna Financial Group.

"The possibilities for collaboration are significant," said Tom Morabito, founder of Park Avenue. "Park Avenue's deep IR and capital markets experience, coupled with Travers Collins' distinguished track record in PR and advertising, will provide a compelling combination for our clients."