PR, thought leadership boost U.S. Rubber’s profile and promote second-chance hiring

U.S. Rubber Bounce Back! employee

U.S. Rubber has a compelling human and environmental sustainability story to tell: About two-thirds of its employees are formerly incarcerated people hired through the company’s Bounce Back! second-chance hiring program. They’re working hard to rebuild their lives while producing LEED-certified rubber fitness flooring and other products using truck tires that are diverted from California landfills.

In 2021, the Colton, Calif.-based company tapped Thinkshift to raise its profile in the local and national business community and to promote second-chance hiring as a practice that benefits all parties involved: businesses, communities, ex-felons and their families. The company had little visibility before Thinkshift came on board except for a nod from Jeffrey Korzenik, who included U.S. Rubber in his book Untapped Talent: How Second Chance Hiring Works for Your Business and the Community.


  • 30+ placements in under 2 years
  • U.S. Rubber is recognized as an advanced second-chance practitioner
  • Employee stories illustrate U.S. Rubber’s value and approach

To expand U.S. Rubber’s visibility, Thinkshift established the company’s executive team as second chance thought leaders through pitch campaigns and bylined articles that showcase their experience in building an effective program that prioritizes employee satisfaction and retention along with business success.

We targeted trade outlets to reach potential partners and buyers, sustainable business publications to attract attention from corporate influencers, and general news outlets to raise U.S. Rubber’s visibility broadly. We also developed ways for U.S. Rubber’s Bounce Back! employees to tell their own second chance stories.

“Thinkshift’s strong grasp on the communications landscape and the art of crafting a narrative that appeals to news organizations serving a wide range of audiences helped us capture the strengths of our Bounce Back! program and share them with the world,” says U.S. Rubber CEO Jeff Baldassari. “They helped us build out our narrative and articulate it with precision to create national and regional awareness in a very compressed time frame.”


  • Laid a foundation for strong thought leadership and pitching campaigns by interviewing U.S. Rubber’s executives on best practices for hiring and retaining second chance employees and creating an internal culture that sets a team up for success
  • Wrote a set of employee profiles which we’ve used to tell the Bounce Back! story in media pitches and bylines
  • Media trained second-chance employees, helping them to feel comfortable and confident in telling their stories, providing reporters with an intimate look at the ways that Bounce Back! has transformed their lives and the business
  • Worked with U.S. Rubber’s local government partners and likeminded second-chance organizations to showcase the company’s work in the field
  • Nominated U.S. Rubber and its leaders for awards to raise the company’s profile in the business community and show other business leaders that second chance hiring is a viable option

“Thinkshift helped us build out our narrative and articulate it with precision to create national and regional awareness in a very compressed time frame.”

—Jeff baldassari, u.S. rubber ceo


  • U.S. Rubber has been featured or mentioned positively in 30+ articles and podcasts in the first year, in outlets including the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, IndustryWeek, Spectrum 1 SoCal, This Old House and a national NBC segment.
  • U.S. Rubber authors have been published in Sustainable Brands, Triple Pundit, Industry Today and other publications.
  • Based on Thinkshift’s nomination, U.S. Rubber received the 2022 Ethics Award for Marketplace Excellence from the Better Business Bureau serving Central California and Inland Empire counties as well as the 2022 Real Leaders Impact Award.
  • U.S. Rubber has raised its profile in its community and with its business partners and media coverage has generated heartfelt calls of gratitude from people who have seen it. The robust media room we built has increased U.S. Rubber’s credibility with all audiences.

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