Building on History
has been a major presence on the communications scene
in and around Detroit – proudly serving clients and communities since 1998.
The agency now known as 98Forward was formed in 1998 as Berg Muirhead & Associates, with a commitment to moving the city and region forward and to partnering with businesses and organizations who share that goal. Founding partners Georgella Muirhead and Bob Berg were also determined to create a diverse firm that reflects the entire region that it serves. During their 18 years leading the firm, they succeeded in these objectives, and our team remains as committed to those principles now as the day we first opened our doors.
The two founding partners had previously worked as a team directing the City of Detroit’s communications efforts on a variety of extremely high-profile projects during the last eight years of Mayor Coleman Young’s time in office. Their unequaled combination of experience in both the public and private sectors, and their years of working collaboratively put them in an ideal position to form a business partnership.
In 2016, the firm was acquired and rebranded as Van Dyke Horn, with Marilyn Horn taking on the roles of president and CFO, building on a successful career as vice president of finance for Berg Muirhead. During the six years since Horn first took majority ownership, Horn has effectively stewarded the company’s exponential growth, while remaining dedicated to a philosophy of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Over the course of Horn’s career with the agency, the company has more than quadrupled its annual revenues, and diversified its roster of clients, executing successful projects that range from the city’s neighborhoods to communities across the state and region, as well as providing services to global companies and organizations.
Horn continues to lead 98Forward as president and CFO, and the 24-year-old agency remains Michigan’s largest minority- and woman-owned public relations agency. Berg continued to serve our firm and clients until shortly before his passing in May 2019, and Muirhead returned to the CEO role in 2022, after a semi-retirement where she had remained continually engaged with the firm, providing counsel to key clients and leadership on major projects.
In March 2022, 98Forward announced a strategic alliance with Lambert Global, a national integrated communications agency, joining two of Michigan’s top PR agencies. 98Forward remains a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) business as it has since its founding in 1998, and all daily operations remain managed and led by Marilyn Horn. This strategic and collaborative partnership maintains the independence of both firms, rather than a merger, and the new alliance provides both firms with enhanced opportunities and capabilities, including creative services, multimedia production, website, social media management and digital marketing. Going forward, both firms are bringing shared assets and services to the table for our clients to help achieve their goals.
Through the years, our firm has managed projects for more than 150 clients in both the public and private sectors, working on a number of successful high-profile projects benefiting Detroit, its neighborhoods and the Southeast Michigan region. In 2018, our agency expanded our statewide engagement and established a presence in Lansing, increasing our statewide portfolio.
Our firm prides itself on creating and executing high-level, focused communications campaigns that are tailored to serve clients’ individual needs. As always, our agency’s philosophy is to be deeply engrained in our community. We build lasting and trusting relationships, we work as full partners with our clients and we seek projects that manifest change. We are 98Forward.