Copernio's roots date to September 20, 1959 where a small two man agency began without clients, cash or agency experience. Founded by John van Barneveld and a partner for the first year, Joe Valen, the firm began in a private residence at 702 N. Grand, across the street from The Register in Santa Ana, CA. After the first few months in very cramped quarters, the firm moved and then again a year later to a newer building where it grew to be the largest PR & Ad firm in Orange County in those days.
PC/W founder John van Barneveld insisted on high standards and in addition to providing quality services to clients, maintained a public service support role for the agency. This included pro-bono work for Boy Scouts of America, Young Men’s Christian Assn., City of La Habra Heights, Smithsonian Aerospace Museum in Washington DC, La Puente Historical Society, Operation Family Fund and others. He was a past president of the Orange County Advertising Club, founder of Orange County Ad Federation, founding member of Orange County Chapter Public Relations Society of America, Accredited APR and Counselor Academy member, and Seminar Co-Chairman and Director of Western States Advertising Assn.
1960's to early 1990's: Public Communications/West
By 1963 the firm had split its advertising and public relations services into separate specialized firms and had opened a second office on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills. Staff now totaled 14 talented writers and designers, many attracted from prominent Madison Avenue agencies. While the Orange County aerospace market and some retail clients provided new growth opportunities, it was a burgeoning real estate industry that nearly collapsed the firm in its first recession experience of 1964 when many builders could not pay their bills.
Among the builder accounts spanning four western states surviving the 1964 recession were: Standard Pacific, Shattuck & McHone, American Beauty Homes, Braewood Financial, First Financial Group, Henry C Cox Homes, Louis Lesser Enterprises, Daniel E Cohn and Companies, Landmark, and The Irvine Company.
Public Communications/West clients sold over 35,000 homes aggregating over $3 billion in sales using innovative PR and advertising campaigns. Among the new approaches introduced to builder marketing were sophisticated sales office and model compound displays, 3D topographic site plans and 3D miniature model homes with removable roofs.
In June 1964 the firm was selected to represent The Irvine Ranch for its Centennial Celebration, together with the launch of the William Pereira master plan for the 88,256 acre ranch. Detailed presentations were prepared for all relevant interests and an August press conference hosted at the Newporter Inn covered key elements such as: water, transportation, education, recreation, government, housing, agriculture, and business. Self guided tours of the 120 square mile ranch were enjoyed by thousands of visitors throughout a week long celebration.
A reenactment of the Irvine family arrival by stagecoach 100 years earlier included Irvine president, Charles Thomas, entering eastern Orange County driving a horse drawn stagecoach, which was filmed by helicopter, with the footage then delivered to Hollywood networks and studios. Attendees included Governor Edmund G Brown, Hollywood celebrities and early Orange County pioneers. Editorial coverage for the event included nearly all major US business media and television networks.
For 10 years beginning in the early 1960’s the firm represented many travel and recreation focused clients: Movieland of the Air, Movieland Wax Museum, Newporter Inn, The Dunes, June Lake Sport & Ski Lift, June Lake Chamber of Commerce, Saddleback Inns, Charterhouse Hotel, Howard Johnson’s and others. The agency also represented Financial and Savings & Loan clients.
For 25 years beginning in the early 1960’s the agency represented some 20 clients in the environmental, landscape and architectural fields. These included: California Landscape Contractors Assn., California Pest Control Operators Assn., Target Specialty Products, Moulder Brothers, Valley Crest Landscape, as well as many Architectural, Design and Consulting firms.
During the 1980 to 1990 period a dozen clients in the food industry used the firm’s skills to expand retail presence for snack foods, frozen pizza, preserves, pastries, ice cream, grocery products, produce, food marketing and brokerage.
1990's to 2013: Public Communications Worldwide
Beginning in 1992, the client roster shifted dramatically to technology focused firms in the US, Europe and Asia. At that point (and continuing to this date) fully 70% of business was foreign headquartered; adding "Worldwide" to our name, Public Communications Worldwide. PC/W was an early adopter of new media and Internet technologies and grew an impressive roster of clients in ten countries. In addition, PC/W was advising local broadcast stations in how to utilize the Internet.
It was during REPLItech Singapore and REPLItech Dusseldorf that PC/W introduced DVD technologies to the world following adoption of final standards. In 1998 the agency launched the first consumer MP3 player MP Man for Saehan Media.
In 1999, PC/W's current CEO was a co-chair of the first International Public Relations conference dedicated to the Internet that was hosted by the Public Relations Society of America in Anaheim, CA.
Among Technology clients served are: Digital Matrix, Technotrans, Panasonic Media products, Panasonic Factory Automation, DVD6C Licensing Agency, Saehan Media, Sony Media, Sony Factory Automation, Sony Precision Technologies, Sony Manufacturing Systems of America, Fairchild Fasteners, Condor Engineering, MediaTech Association, Samsung, Raytheon, Magellan and REPLItech Association.
In 2009, the fiftieth year of continuous business by PC/W and its predecessors, John van Barneveld's daughter Susan’s took over running the firm giving it youthful energy to carry on its mission of providing the best communications services to its clients through its Garden Grove headquarters. The 50th anniversary also marked the retirement of the firm’s founder to chairman emeritus.
2013 to the Future: Copernio
To reflect who the company is today, and the leadership role that the company has taken over the past five decades and in the communications revolution that has occurred as a result of the Internet, the current CEO, Susan van Barneveld, changed the company's name to Copernio in 2013. Copernio is derived from Nicolaus Copernicus, the revolutionary Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a heliocentric model of the universe which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center.