Many agencies claim to provide crisis communications, but few can approach the high level of public relations counsel and experience found at Marx Layne & Company.

Marx Layne professionals have years of experience with issues management. We are frequently retained by leading law firms to help guide their clients through the media frenzy that often erupts during a company’s most trying times.

Critical issues including industrial accidents, death on the premises, food-borne illnesses and environmental pollution, boycotts, strikes and corporate fraud have all been expertly handled.

During crisis events, Marx Layne public relations counselors are on-call 24/7/365. Crisis communications team members are experienced in working with legal advisors, police departments, municipalities and hazmat teams, while keeping company executives apprised at all times of the crisis situation as it unfolds.

We also train company spokespersons in the development of key speaking points and delivery of messaging. Using the latest media technology, we respond rapidly, whether the crisis occurs in Detroit or in any other major metropolitan area throughout the nation.

Like a community with an outstanding emergency response system, a company with an established crisis management plan always fares better during a crisis. That is why it is crucial to have a complete communications plan in place before, during, and after a potential crisis.

What We Do


Nearly every organization at some point will have to deal with adversity — whether it’s a minor incident that barely attracts attention or a major event that makes national headlines and is splashed across the internet. At the rate of speed that news now spreads — from instant worldwide web headlines to social media word-of-mouth — having a crisis plan in place is a necessity. The more prepared you are, the quicker and more effectively disruptions can be managed and resolved. Our team of crisis management experts can prepare your organization by developing a comprehensive crisis communications plan for company leadership detailing potential scenarios and recommended outcomes; message development; facilitating media training; and serving as spokesperson when your brand is under scrutiny.

Our crisis planning expertise includes:
  • Risk assessment
  • Communication strategy and development of a crisis plan specific to your organization
  • Crisis response flowcharts and reference manuals
  • Scenario and response planning
  • Crisis management preparation and simulation
  • Media training
Crisis Response

Our crisis response team is available 24/7/365, offering expertise, critical thinking and strategic support for managing all aspects of a crisis. Marx Layne offers a broad range of services by our highly skilled crisis management professionals include:

  • Message development tailored for customers, vendors, media and the public (statements, press releases, op-eds, articles and more)
  • Media relations
  • Digital media management, including content development, active listening and monitoring and managing dialogues
  • Stakeholder development and community relations
  • Crisis response “War Room”
  • Online reputation management
Post-Crisis Recovery
  • Post-crisis impact analysis
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Community relations
  • Reputation recovery and fortification

Crisis Team


The Marx Layne crisis management team includes seasoned experts with wide-ranging experience working with the news media and other key audiences when managing a crisis. Our professionals have a keen understanding of how the media works and know best how to engage with all stakeholders during and after a crisis. From the media, customers and suppliers, to employees, civic and community groups, elected officials and others, we are well-versed in mitigating risk while helping manage the message and control the narrative.

Michael LayneMichael Layne has been serving established and growing companies in the Detroit metropolitan area since the early 1980s. He is highly respected for his strategic communications counsel, keen insights, and ability to seamlessly shift tactics and messaging across numerous industries as an extension of his clients’ brands.

Layne works with clients in a broad range of industry sectors, including real estate, hospitality/food service, technology, entertainment, professional services, sports, manufacturing, retail, financial services, consumer products and communications.
A founding partner of Marx Layne & Company, Layne is widely regarded for his crisis communications expertise. Layne has skillfully managed a wide array of crises, from labor issues, alleged discrimination and product recalls to foodborne illness, armed robbery, death on property, and the list goes on.

Layne has guided brands through volatile crises and for many clients, has served as spokesman in high-profile media interviews. Layne has deftly crafted media statements and talking points, facilitated media training to prepare leadership for news interviews and served as liaison between client brands and the media. Large law firms often call upon Layne to provide responsive and strategic communications counsel to their clients.
He strongly believes in personalized service, responsiveness and accountability. Layne respects the correlation between dollars spent by a client and results and takes very seriously his role in protecting clients facing a crisis.

Michael SzudarekMichael Szudarek counsels clients in the automotive, high-tech and consumer product sectors. He previously served with a Fortune 500 Company and has been on both the corporate and agency side of the communications business, understanding first-hand the many issues and challenges businesses face today in this fast paced, competitive world.

Szudarek has managed high-level crises for clients facing labor issues, product recalls and alleged discrimination. He has developed comprehensive crisis communications plans for organizations that did not have processes in place. Szudarek has served as a liaison between his clients, the media and other stakeholders, drafting employee and customer communications, talking points and media statements.

Leslie PardoLeslie Pardo has expertise in several industry sectors, including retail, restaurants, education, hotels, professional services, nonprofit and health care.

Pardo is highly regarded for her ability to manage a crisis, seeking ways to limit exposure for her clients and minimize the news cycle. She has expertly managed such crises as death on property, armed robbery, assault, product tampering, foodborne illness, labor issues and alleged discrimination. Large law firms often contact Pardo for clients in need of crisis communications counsel.

She has drafted crisis communication plans for companies seeking to establish protocol. Pardo has facilitated media training; drafted media statements, key messages, employee and customer communication and social media content in response to customer allegations; served as spokesperson for clients; and liaison between clients and the media.

Al UpchurchAlan Upchurch counsels clients in the tech, financial services, retail, legal, health care and nonprofit sectors.

A former news director for WXYZ, the local ABC television station, Upchurch specializes in media training and crisis communications helping executives and business owners interact effectively with the media. Upchurch counsels clients facing labor issues, product recalls and alleged discrimination. He has drafted messaging for customers, employees, investors and other key stakeholders.

Case Studies



Whether it is public backlash and organized campaigns against a plant expansion or new shopping center or retail outlet; consumer product safety or food safety campaigns; workplace discrimination issues; or even mismanagement by key executives, organizations need to develop a stakeholder engagement plan as part of any crisis plan.
Al Upchurch, Senior Vice President of Marx Layne & Company shares five tips designed to help an organization effectively communicate in the event of a crisis. Upchurch has 24 years of experience as a television news producer and manager, and 10 years of experience working on media relations and crisis communication initiatives for a variety of organizations.

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