Legend Labs is a brand and reputation consulting firm for the digital age. We operate at the intersection of strategy, data and creativity, bringing deep experience and innovative thinking to the brand, communications and reputation management challenges posed by accelerating digital disruption.
We capture who you are, where you are going, and why no one else can compete with a narrative and identity that moves you and your audiences.
- Visual Identity
- Brand Architecture
We help you tell compelling stories and cultivate a storytelling culture; blending strategy, data, digital listening intelligence, and creativity to build a reputation that drives success.
- Communications Strategy
- Content & Digital Experiences
- Digital Listening & Analytics
- Training & Executive Coaching
We help organizations manage reputation in the digital age, with deep expertise in every phase of a crisis: preparedness, response, and post-crisis change management.
- Vulnerability Assessment
- Issues Monitoring
- Crisis Planning & Playbooks
- Crisis Communications
Ahmed Khamash leads branding and digital strategy projects and manages the firm’s business and operations. Over his career, Ahmed has led successful initiatives for Wells Fargo, Target, Caterpillar, Red Lobster, The University of Texas, Brooks Koepka, and more. He specializes in helping organizations build and grow their brands in an increasingly mobile and socially-connected world.
Before founding Legend Labs, Ahmed was Director of Strategy at management consulting firm PulsePoint Group where he led a number of high impact branding projects, communications campaigns, and digital education programs.
Previously, Ahmed was a consultant at Dachis Group, helping large companies like Nestle, Target, and Estee Lauder successfully navigate the early days of social media. Ahmed also spent several years as a digital strategist at interactive agency Tocquigny (now Archer Malmo).
Ahmed is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and is based in New York City.
James Wakefield focuses on brand strategy, reputation management, and product design under the firm’s Ventures arm. At Legend Labs, James has led branding projects for the West Coast Conference and Dustin Johnson, and has overseen communications strategy development and implementation efforts for clients including Johns Hopkins University and the Pac-12 Conference.
Prior to Legend Labs, James operated in a hybrid role as Creative Director and Director of Strategy at PulsePoint Group, a communications and brand consulting firm. James oversaw a team of designers, developers, and animators to deliver world-class creative and digital experiences for clients including Penn State University, Virgin Australia, and Purdue University. As a Director of Strategy, James was a leader in the firm’s brand reputation and crisis management practice, leading engagements with clients like Tokyo Electric Power Company in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
James has built a career on the use of digital listening technology to shape proprietary strategies in brand reputation management and vulnerability analysis. He operates at the intersection of data, strategy, and design to build platforms that enable more effective threat detection and subsequent issues response.
James is a graduate of The University of Texas and is based in Austin.
Jeff Hunt specializes in crisis management and preparedness, branding, CEO communications, and reputation management. During the course of his 35-year career, he has worked with DuPont, IBM, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Dell, Nike, Whole Foods, and many other companies.
Jeff has lived throughout the world and navigated many cultures on behalf of clients. Prior to Legend Labs, Jeff co-founded PulsePoint Group and before that was president of Cohn & Wolfe, a global public relations firm formed following a merger with GCI Group. He has also served as CEO of GCI and Read Poland Associates. He spent 18 years at Burson-Marsteller, ultimately serving as chief operating officer for Europe, with responsibility for 16 offices throughout the continent. He also established the firm’s presence in Korea and Mexico.
Based in Austin and a graduate of The University of Texas, Jeff serves as adjunct professor of Strategies in Public Relations at the university’s Moody College of Communications and is a frequent lecturer at its McCombs School of Business.
Alison, an Associate at Legend Labs, is a digital listening, communications, and research strategist well-versed in software such as Meltwater, Radarly, BuzzSumo, and Critical Mention. She focuses primarily on brand health, issues monitoring and reporting, strategic brand research projects, and helping clients track and understand their key vulnerabilities as well as growth and development opportunities.
She has worked with a variety of higher education, sports, and tech clients, such as the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Johns Hopkins University, The University of Texas Athletics, The University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, the United States Tennis Association, Dell Technologies, and PGM of Texas.
Before joining Legend Labs, Alison was a student-athlete at the University of Texas and graduated with her undergraduate degree in strategy and media planning and a master’s degree in advertising with a focus on consumer behavior research. She also competed at the highest levels in her sport, qualifying for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games and winning an NCAA championship title during her time at Texas. During her time in college, she also served as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, where she developed an initiative called Developing Neighborhood Athletes (DNA), which is still running.
Andrew Barlow has spent his career in the ear of significant leaders, helping them navigate communications challenges in the realm of government, politics, the military, nonprofits and business. Time and again, he has helped them articulate a compelling vision, an authentic motivation and a trustworthy expertise. Equally at home counseling a Navy battle group commander on discussing a red-flare encounter with a Chinese submarine, state officials navigating a once-in-a-millennium winter storm or a hospital CEO on improving employee engagement, Andrew’s calming presence, incisive reasoning and ego-less collaboration have helped those leaders excel.
While he has mastered a broad array of communications skills, from strategic campaigns to crisis, his core competence is writing for the spoken word, in which he leverages his amiable relationship skills, keen listening abilities and outside-the-box creativity to help leaders move people. He has written countless brand positions, video scripts, political stump speeches, gubernatorial inaugural and state-of-the-state addresses, university commencement remarks, high-tech and healthcare conference keynotes, merger announcement scripts, earnings call Q&As, legislative panel testimony, and more. In addition, he is skilled in critical executive correspondence (including a letter that saved a multibillion-dollar nuclear power plant, but that’s a story for another time.)
During his career, this Notre Dame graduate has served his country as an officer in the U.S. Navy (including a wartime Tomahawk-firing deployment), an associate pastor at a startup church he helped grow from 150 to 3,000 in Sunday attendance, speechwriter to the Texas governor, communications director to the lieutenant governor, director of external affairs at the Public Utility Commission of Texas and founder of his own executive communications firm.
He and his wife, Trina, make their home in Austin.
As an associate at Legend Labs, Ava Fitzsimons brings a unique combination of analytical and creative skills to the team. A summa-cum-laude graduate from the University of Florida, she has a strong foundation in Public Relations and Public Affairs, enabling effective communication across multiple media platforms in today’s dynamic digital landscape.
Ava is a highly trained brand and reputation consultant with a focus on issues monitoring, reporting, and content writing. She helps clients identify vulnerabilities, monitor online conversations, and create brand messaging that resonates with key stakeholders.
Bill Feldman is a lawyer and former journalist who combines both backgrounds to help clients navigate communications challenges in environments where litigation, liability, and regulations can pose significant risks. His work has taken him seven times to Japan to work on the Fukushima nuclear crisis, and he has also advised clients in higher education, health care and pharmaceuticals, banking and finance, and more. His work has included guidance on managing human rights issues for a global telecom firm, providing communications counsel for several major law firms regarding cyber breaches and ransomware attacks on their clients, and the development of crisis preparedness programs, including crisis simulations, for several Fortune 500 organizations.
Bill has more than 40 years’ experience at the intersection of law, journalism, politics and public policy. Prior to his work with Legend Labs, Bill was Senior Counselor with PulsePoint Group. Before that, he was president of Agra Informa, Inc. (a unit of Informa plc), the leading information company in the U.S. covering food and nutrition regulation and policy. Prior to that he held several positions in legal journalism and publishing, including the period 1982-1990 at the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., now Bloomberg/BNA.
Bill holds a B.S. in Journalism, magna cum laude, from Boston University, and a Juris Doctor from George Washington University. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia.
Chris Hunt is an Emmy-award-winning producer with a focus on content, branding and, crisis communications response. He specializes in creating diverse content for multiple media formats and channels and has worked with a number of clients in sports, entertainment, higher education and, corporate governance. Past clients have included: the Pac-12 Conference, Quidel, the West Coast Conference, the University of Tennessee, Brooks Koepka, the Houston Astros, Dimensional Fund Advisors and, the National Recording Academy.
Prior to joining Legend Labs, Chris was a features producer at the Pac-12 Networks, working with clients across the sports media landscape. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television and, Film from the University of Texas at Austin.
Corin Wakefield is a digital analyst highly trained in listening technologies and social media platforms. He primarily focuses on issues monitoring and reporting, helping clients understand their key vulnerabilities and tracking the online conversations around each vulnerability to identify key influencers and conversation topics.
Debbie is a leading-edge market research specialist and thought leader with over 25 years of experience in market research, marketing communications and brand planning. These skills have been applied to some of the country’s largest and most well-known domestic and global brands including: Citibank, Sears, AT&T, Colgate, Disney and United Airlines. Debbie gained those experiences during 15 years at Young & Rubicam, rising through the ranks to become EVP, Managing Director of Brand Planning.
Following Y&R, Debbie assumed these same responsibilities at Carnegie Communications, a marketing services firm for colleges and universities. As EVP, Market Research and Brand Strategy, she provided strategic guidance to senior members of colleges and universities that spanned a range of small to large institutions from The University of Texas to the University of San Francisco on issues ranging from strategic messaging to organizational assessments. She provided research-based business-building ideas for traditional and non-traditional students, and for institutions in the U.S. and Central America. She authored eleven proprietary studies including: “Effectively Engaging Alumni through the Web,” “New Messaging for Private and Public Institutions in Challenging Times,” and “Creating a Digital Leadership Brand with International Students.”
At Legend Labs, she works with a number of clients in the education space, including The University of Utah, Johns Hopkins University, and The University of Texas at Austin. Debbie is an active volunteer with Princeton, a past Chair of the Alumni Relations and Communications Committee and past Board Member of the Association of Graduate Alumni and does volunteer work with Dorchester Collegiate Academy, a public charter school in Boston. Debbie holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Kansas and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Princeton University.
Don V. Cogman is a former communications, public affairs and advertising executive with forty years of experience working in business, government and politics. He began his career in Washington D.C. as chief of staff to Senator Dewey F. Bartlett (R-Okla.). He followed that experience with leading the Washington office of an Oklahoma based energy company, MAPCO Inc., as their Vice-President of Government Affairs. Subsequently he founded the Washington based public and government affairs consulting firm, The RCF Group, which merged with the world’s leading public relations/public affairs firm, Burson-Marsteller, in 1992.
In 1996 Cogman joined Burson-Marsteller as the Chief Operating Officer World-wide, becoming President and COO in 1999 before moving to parent company, Young & Rubicam as Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs for Y&R Inc.
He has served on the Board of Trustees of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the Acting Company, the Fund for American Studies, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Scottsdale Cultural Council, the Partnership for Gender Specific Medicine, the International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES), the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). He has been appointed and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to three Presidential commissions.
Jake serves as an Associate at Legend Labs and is especially adept at the blocking and tackling of crisis communications, excelling in the construction of digital listening campaigns, insight analysis and content generation.
Jake’s skills as a writer, planner and visual artist combine to enhance his contributions to issues management. He has worked with a variety of higher education, sports and energy clients, including the University of Tennessee, the Southeastern Conference, the America East Conference and Dominion Energy.
A native of Coppell, this graduate of the Moody School at the University of Texas makes his home in Austin.
Marta Izarra De Luna serves as an Associate at Legend Labs, specializing in brand strategy, reputation management, and content production. She has successfully spearheaded brand strategy initiatives for high-profile clients such as the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), and she has played a crucial role in crisis management and issues preparedness efforts for clients including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Stony Brook University. In addition, Marta has created and refined video content for clients like QuidelOrtho and the Rockport Chamber of Commerce.
Before joining Legend Labs, Marta amassed valuable experience through various marketing and production roles. She honed her craft at the Austin Film Festival, Publicis Groupe Spain, and Liquid Works, a boutique production company based in her home city, Madrid, Spain. Leveraging her international perspective and experience, Marta utilizes deep insights driven by extensive research and discovery to inform strategic decision-making that aligns with the business and communications objectives of her clients.
As a brand communications and strategy leader with a background in the financial, technology and social sectors, Meredith specializes in elevating brands as thought leaders and champions for communities they serve.
With more than 20 years of experience, Meredith has advised c-suite executives of nonprofits, foundations, state agencies, municipal governments, Fortune 50 firms and fast-growing startups in external consultant and in-house roles. She is particularly adept at managing, marketing and communicating on behalf of high-growth brands with complex portfolios of products, geographies, vertical markets and lines of business via media and influencer relations, messaging, executive communications, content marketing, and related programs.
Career highlights include leading rollout of $18 million in small business grants and low-interest loans for Metro Nashville small businesses; directing a 136-member coalition advocating a $6B overhaul of Nashville’s transit system; launching a group impact finance startups ranked among the 10 Most Innovative Companies in Finance by Fast Company (2011); and running point on the press conference announcing Longhorn 2006 Championship Quarterback Vince Young’s first professional endorsement. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Texas at Austin.
Michael Kehs is a Partner at Legend Labs where he specializes in client campaign strategy, message architecture, thought leadership and reputation management.
Michael leverages more than three decades of experience counseling major corporations and trade associations across a wide spectrum of sectors including energy and industrials, information tech and telecom, medical devices and healthcare. He has worked with ACC, ANGA, API, Business Roundtable, Dupont, Exxon, H-P, International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, LyondellBasell, Memorial Hermann, Medtronic, Motorola, P&G, Shell, Sun Microsystems, US Chamber of Commerce, Victaulic, Weyerhaeuser and Wyeth, among many others.
His award-winning programs for clients include PRSA’s 2017 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in Public Affairs (Extraction Oil & Gas) and PR Week’s 2007 Public Affairs Campaign of the Year (Abundant Forests Alliance).
Michael previously led the energy practice and Houston office at Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Before that, he was Vice President for Strategic Communications and Public Relations at Chesapeake Energy in Oklahoma City. He spent the first 25 years of his career in Washington, DC (including two years in Palo Alto, CA) where he served in various leadership roles at three of the world’s largest PR firms: Burson-Marsteller, Porter Novelli and Hill & Knowlton.
Michael is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College.
Steve Patterson has served as an innovative and successful executive in the NFL, NBA, NHL, professional baseball and college athletics for over 30 years. He has built championship teams and organizations, designed, financed, built and run stadia, ballparks and arenas all over the United States. Patterson successfully led the effort to bring the Houston Texans NFL team and Super Bowl XXXVIII to Houston, Texas. As General Manager of the Houston Rockets he built the 1994 NBA Championship team.
Patterson is formerly the President and CEO of the Arizona Coyotes. He is also the former Director of Men’s Athletics for the University of Texas at Austin where he oversaw the largest athletic department budget in all of college sports while setting records for academic success, revenue generation, endowment growth and philanthropic giving to the athletic department.
Prior to UT, Patterson served as Managing Director of Sun Devil Sports Group, Vice President for Athletics and Athletic Director for Sun Devil Athletics at Arizona State University. In that capacity, Patterson was responsible for all ASU Athletic Department business and sports operations, acquisition, development and operation of current and new sports facilities and assisted with the development of the 425-acre Sports Facilities District adjacent to the University in downtown Tempe.
Born and raised in Beaver Dam, WI. Patterson attended the University of Texas, graduating with honors earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1980. He graduated from UT’s Law School in 1984.
Zach Irsik is a digital-first storyteller with a unique skillset, blending strategic thinking with creative execution. He specializes in issues monitoring and brand messaging, turning data-driven insights into actionable solutions.
A graduate of the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, he has a background in creative writing, film production, and graphic design with an emphasis on telling unique stories through different mediums.
Do you have a brand or communications challenge? We’d love to help.