Don Martin (public affairs)

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Donald G. Martin
Donald G. Martin
  Donald G. Martin
  • Publisher and Editor of the weeky "Texas Government Newsletter" and the biennial "A Voter's Guide to the Texas Legislature."
  • Was a co-founder of Legi/Slate, an early computerized bill and vote tracking service on the Texas Legislature, and later the US Congress and later sold to the Washington PostWashington Post Newsweek Interactive
  • Developed real estate including townhomes, office, office condos and land development in Austin prior to starting his public affairs business;
  • In 1989 formed Don Martin Public Affairs in Austin, Texas to consult on public affairs, public relations, issues management, crisis communications, and legal / litigation PR for local, regional, state and national clients.   The firm is 23 years old.
  • Managed Bruce Todd's successful campaign for Austin mayor in 1991 and was general consultant for his 1994 re-election, chaired the campaign for the Austin Austin Bergstrom International Airport referendum to create Austin's first international airport, was campaign manager for the Round Rock Express stadium referendum, and ran other campaigns such as the Westbank Library bond campaign, and a half-cent sales tax for transportation in Round Rock, Texas; and many others.
  • While running a full-time public affairs business, Martin co-developed with his partner Bill Smalling (1952-2009) several significant land development projects including San Gabriel Village in Georgetown, Texasand the 328-acre master-planned, mixed use La Frontera commercial center in Round Rock, Texas with approximately 1 million s.f. of retail as well as offices and urban-density apartments. The project was one of Austin area's first "New Urbanism" projects for live-work-shop lifestyles.
  • In 2009 Martin wrote a local history book called "Austin" featuring Austin history as told through vintage Austin area postcards from the 1890's to 1930'd. Published by Arcadia Publishing's Postcard History Series.
  • In 2012 Martin wrote an e-book the  "Do It Yourself Internet Reputation Repair and Management Workbook." Available at

Early career

 Born April 18, 1954, Martin grew up  in Baytown, Texas  and he attended Robert E. Lee High School and Lee College before entering the University of Texas at Austin. While majoring in Journalism (Public Relations) at the University of Texas (1972-1976) Martin also worked in the Texas Legislature for State Representative Joe Allen and interned with Congressman Robert C. “Bob” Eckhardt in Washington, DC

In 1976 Martin along with other partners co-founded Legi/Slate, an early computerized bill and vote tracking service for lobbyists to follow the actions of the Texas Legislature, and later expanded it to cover the United States Congress in 1978. In 1981 the partners sold Legi/Slate to  The Washington Post Company. It is now part of Congressional Quarterly, under the name State Net, providing data, legislative intelligence and in-depth reporting for government advocates.

At the same time Martin also wrote and published a weekly newsletter on Texas government and politics, Texas Government Newsletter, as well as writing and self-publishing  A Voter’s Guide to the Texas Legislature after each legislative session.  The business was later sold to Thomas L. Whatley, currently director of the House Research Organization.

Don Martin Public Affairs

In 1989 Martin founded  Don Martin Public Affairs in Austin, Texas, specializing in public affairs, public relations, crisis management, issues management, media relations and Internet reputation services. Over the years the firm has represented a number of high-profile clients, as well as small businesses and individuals, and managed numerous campaigns for political and business clients. Public clients include Dell, Tokyo Electron, Sun City Texas, Round Rock Express, Del Webb Corporation, TXU, Energy Future Holdings Corporation, U.S. Postal Service, AT&T Wireless, D.R. Horton, Southland Corporation, and THe Seton Family of Hospitals.  A more complete list of clients is available at [http/ HERE].

Re public campaigns:  Martin was the 1991 manager of Bruce Todd's successful Austin mayoral campaign, and general consultant for Todd’s successful 1994 re-election effort.  Martin also managed the campaign for the Round Rock Express stadium referendum, and later a City of Round Rock referendum to approve a half-cent sales tax dedicated to roads and transportation. He no longer runs campaigns, however.

In 2001, Don Martin Public Affairs changed its name to Martin & Salinas Public Affairs to reflect the firm's new partner Trey Salinas, a former aide to Mayor Todd.   The company also spun-off a Hispanic marketing business called Adelante Solutions, run by Paul Saldana.  Martin eventually sold his interest in the company to Salinas in 2008 and reverted back to Don Martin Public Affairs.

Address/Contact Information:
901 Rio Grande
Austin, TX 78701
Office (512-328-2900

Web site:        Don Martin Public Affairs
Services:         Company Services
Bio:                 Don Martin bio

Community involvement

Martin is a current member of the Seton Williamson Foundation Board of Trustees, part of the Seton Family of Hospitals. He founded the Austin Chamber of Commerce's Project Greenscape program, in the 1980's, dedicated to the restoration of the Texas State Capitol grounds, the planting of 50,000 trees in Austin, and the replacement of trees along Congress Avenue. He has served on the Boards of Directors for the  Austin Chamber of Commerce, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) Board,  Executive Committee and Transportation Chair,  The Nature Conservancy of Texas Austin Board of Directors, and on many other boards.  He also led the effort and was a founder of the Northern Edwards Aquifer Resource Council (NEARC), a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the Georgetown Salamander population, which later became the Williamson County Karst Foundation.

Organization memberships and boards:
Seton Williamson Foundation (Board of Directors)
Real Estate Council of Austin (Board of Directors, Transportation Chair, Exec Committee)
Interntional Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
Austin Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors)
Founder Project Greenscape  (Chair)
Georgetown Chamber of Commerce (Board of Directors)
Round Rock Chamber of Commerce (Membership Chair)
Leadership Austin, Class of 1985-1985 (Chair 1991-1992)
Opportunity Austin 1 and 2.0 contributor
Round Rock Momentum contributor
Urban Land Institute (ULI)
Downtown Austin Alliance
Hill Country Conservancy
Sierra Club (since 1981)
Save Barton Creek Association
Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ-Sigma Delta Chi)
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
PRSA Austin Chapter (Board of Directors)
Texas Public Relations Association (TPRA)
National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE)

Real estate development

In addition to his public affairs business, Martin has also developed and co-developed numerous Central Texas real estate projects with business partner Bill Smalling (1952-2008) over some 20 years.  He and Smalling developed the 52-acre San Gabriel Village project, a "walk friendly" commercial center in Georgetown, Texas located on the San Gabriel River. They also joint venutred with Larry Peel the construction of 54 luxury condominium units overlooking the river. 

La Frontera
La Frontera

Martin & Smalling also co-developed La Frontera, a 328 acre mixed-use, master-planned commercial business center in Williamson County, purchasing the land from dairy farmer Tom Kouri in 1999. Their financial partner in the La Frontera project was Fort Worth philanthropist and businessman Ed Bass. The project was completed in 2008 when all parcels had been sold.

See site:  La Frontera


As part of Arcadia Publishing's Postcard History Series, Martin wrote a book offering highlights of his extensive collection of historic Austin-area postcards.  Titled simply "Austin]"  "[1] the book presents 247 vintage postcards showcasing historic Austin-area landmarks,
such as the Old Main Building on the University of Texas campus, Scarborough Building, French Legation, and the Texas Governor's Mansion. “Austin” was published March 23, 2009.  The book is available at all major on-line book sites (Collecting postcards is called "Deltiology and they are the third most collected item behind stamps and coins).

Personal references

"Don is the absolute best communcations and community relations consultant in Central Texas. He is experienced, wired, and a pro in every sense of the word." - Ken Plonski, Owner, Master Planned Communications

"Don is an outstanding and experienced professional in PR / Public Affairs with a great grasp of what is essential to the clients needs and problems. He is also a pleasure to work with both for his skill, perspective, and for his sense of humor."  - Peck Young, Executive Director, ACC’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies

  More Company and Personal References HERE

Citations and Footnotes

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Article Citations:

1. Martin, Don | page=2 | date=21 April 1954 | The Baytown Sun | Baytown, TX

2. Baytonian Is On Publishing Board At UT | 17 Feb 1975 | The Baytown Sun |  Baytown, TX

3, Journal | Vol 24 | publisher Texas Pub. Co. |Austin, TX | 7209574

4. “A voters guide to the 67th Legislature by Don Martin Library of Congress Online Catalog. Retrieved 2010-05-11

5. "Competition heating up", Austin Business Journal, Outon, Chantal, 2 June 2006. Retrieved on 2010-05-09

6. Mike | Todd | The winners: Todd, Mitchell. Mayor gets second term with narrow win over Slusher" | page A1 | 5 June 1994 | Austin American-Statesman | Austin, TX | Retrieved on 2010-05-05

7."PR firm's name changes to reflect partner's role.", Austin Business Journal, Hudgins, Matt  27 July 2001. Retrieved on 2010-05-10

8. "Salinas takes sole ownership of Martin & Salinas", Austin Business Journal, 3 November 2008. Retrieved on 2010-05-0

9. "Representative Client", Don Martin Public Affairs web site. Retrieved 2010-06-18

10. 1987 Austin Chamber of Commerce Annual Report; Project Greenscape| 1987 | page 7 | location Austin, TX

11. "Project Greenscape: Planing Austin's Future", "Texas Monthly", August 1986. Page 73. Retrieved 2010-06-18

12  City takes out ads on Airport referendu m| Stuart Eskenazi | page B1 | date 9 April 1993 | Austin American-Statesman | location Austin, TX  Retrieved on 2010-05-11

13. "Plan sought to protect Georgetown salamander" | Laura Heinauerpage=| 30 October 2003 | Austin American-Statesman | location Austin, TX

14.  Grant will help creepier residents. $2.35 million to save beetles, spiders and other endangered species. | Jennifer Barrios | page A1 | 30 September 2004 | Austin American-Statesman | Williamson County Edition Retrieved 2010-05-11

15 Seton Williamson Foundation Board of Trustees

16  Walk-friendly ‘Village’ planned for Georgetown | Greg Easterly | page B11 | 20 September 1996 | Austin American-Statesman | Austin, TX   Retrieved 2010-05-11

17 Deal is milestone for La Frontera |  Shonda Novak |page D1 |  30 August 2007 | Austin American-Statesman | Austin, TX  Retrieved 2010-05-11

18. "La Frontera Village for sale."  Austin Business Journal,  Matt Hudgins  | June 2002. Retrieved on 2010-05-10

19. La Frontera puts roads before retail, Project will bring intense development to busy intersection |  Janet Jacobs | page B1 | 28 June 1999 | Austin American-Statesman | Austin, TX  Retrieved 2010-05-11

20. Austin, TX (Postcard History)

21. City of Austin - APL: Meet the Author, Don Martin Press Release, Austin Public Library

22.  "A Different Look at Austin", Mistretta, A.J. Austin Business Journal, (Austin, TX) 17 April 2009. Retrieved 2010-05-05

23.  "Postcard book offers glimpse into Austin's glorious past", Westlake Picayune, Pafford, Will (Austin, TX) 30 April 2009. Retrieved on 2010-05-05

24.  "Postcards take readers into Austin's past", Austin American-Statesman, Cox, Mike  (Austin, TX) 22 November 2009. Retrieved on 2010-05-06

Don Martin "Profile" Citations:

25. "Citizen Martin" 'Austin Chronicle"  Robert Bryce  1995-05-10

26. "Don Martin ubilds "Win/Win" image with never-say-die PR Team"  "Westlake Picayune"  Ed Allen, Editor  Page 1  1995-07-26

27. Don Martin Profile:  Real Estate ringing up retail across the county  D.Ann Shiffler,  Special to the "Austin Business Journal"  1999-09-17

28.  cite coming soon)  "Austin Business Journal"  1995-6-09   

29. (article cite coming soon)  "Austin Business Journal'  200-3-21

Orphan Citations:


b. Arcadia Publishing: "Austin" by Don Martin  2009-04-30
c. "Round Rock Office Coming"  Matt Hudgins "Austin Business JournL  2000-11-10

d. "Georgetown Grows Up  Rickie Wendle, Matt Hudgins  "Austin Business Journal  197-12-05

e. "TXU brings single-service utilities to La Frontera"  Jenna Colley  "Austin Business Journal"  1999-09-17

f. "Mayors chief aide accepts job with Austin public relations firm"  Dian Dworin.  "Austin American-Statesman  page B2  1997-1-15

g. 'Salamander could affect regulations on building'  Carter Nelsen  "Austin-American-Statesman - Williamson County"  2002-3-14

h. "Martin named Texas Public Relations Association's Silver Star award for work with Del Webb"  On The Move, "Austin American-Statesman"  page B3  1996-2-8

i. "Don Martin elected chair of Leadership Austin"   On The Move  "Austin American-Statesman" Page D-5 Business  1991-6-17

j. "Don Martin launches Don Martin Public Affairs in Austin Tx"  I-Newswire  2008-11-5

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© Donald G. Martin - 2010


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