Brian A. Butler
President & CEO
Brian Butler is Founder, President and CEO of Vistra Communications LLC, (Vistra), an SBA 8(a) and service-disabled veteran-owned small business providing integrated strategic communications, marketing and consulting services to corporate, government and nonprofit clients, with offices in Tampa, FL and Northern Virginia. Vistra, founded in 2007, is an award-winning company comprised of a team of nearly 100 diverse professionals with varied experiences, backgrounds and training, producing exceptional results for clients in a variety of industries.
Brian is a combat decorated, retired career military officer. Prior to founding Vistra, Brian provided Strategic Communications counsel to senior leaders at U.S. Central Command and served as a policy director on the Homeland Security Council in the White House. He also served as a Spokesperson for an Army Secretary and on the Communications Team for a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.
Brian has instilled his personal values into Vistra’s culture including respect for others, meaningful relationships and positive community engagement. By focusing on client success first and high-quality service, Brian has grown Vistra from serving a few small nonprofit clients to managing a portfolio of dozens of clients ranging from small nonprofits to local governments, federal government agencies and Fortune 500 corporations. Vistra team members are working on client projects in seven states.
Success for Vistra has been the result of developing meaningful relationships with community, business and government leaders, clients and team members. Brian’s emphasis on developing a team that is diverse in all aspects means that client solutions are more thoughtful, relevant and effective.
With a focus on long-term growth and sustainability, Brian has participated in numerous management educational programs such as AT&T Operation Hand Salute, CVS Health and Roger Williams University Executive Learning Series for Diverse Suppliers, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Certificate in Entrepreneurship with Babson College, and National Minority Supplier Development Council Advanced Management Education Program with Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. Because of these opportunities and his previous business and military experiences, Brian has led Vistra through an acquisition, AS9100 with ISO 9001:2015 Registration and development of infrastructure and process to create a sustainable business model.
Brian is committed to the Tampa Bay community and demonstrates this through the Vistra Cares Program where team members volunteer with Trinity Café and the Laundry Project; a paid time off benefit for team members to volunteer in the community; and a partnership with Mort Elementary School involving principal mentoring, student tutoring, teacher and student recognition, engagement with student leaders in the Vistra office and volunteering to meet school needs.
Brian’s work with the Mort Elementary School principal led him to create, design and implement the CEOs in Schools initiative in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools. In the program’s first year, approximately 170 CEO volunteers spent the day in each of the county elementary schools. The outcomes of the day included financial and in-kind contributions, mentoring, process improvement assistance and help with connecting principals to needed resources. With an understanding of the long-term potential for impact and growth of this program, Brian selected the Hillsborough Education Foundation as the right nonprofit organization to lead this effort in the future with Vistra’s continued support. Brian actively serves on various boards including the Tampa Bay Partnership Council of Governors, Tampa Bay Chamber, Visit Tampa Bay, WEDU Public Broadcasting, Minority Enterprise Development Corporation and the US Chamber Small Business Advisory Council.
Brian’s 2020 Tampa Bay Times, Op-ed, I’m a CEO, a retired Army officer and a black man, garnered him national attention and multiple opportunities to not only share his story of racial inequity, but also to challenge people’s assumptions about race in America. Along with his wife, Maureen G. Butler, PhD, CPA, Brian published, Telling the Nonprofit Story Through Form 990 in a 2016 issue of the Journal of Accountancy, which helps CPAs and nonprofits use a required IRS form to communicate the activities and value of nonprofit organizations.
Brian was the 2018 Tampa Bay Chamber Outstanding Leader of the Year and the 2020 Tampa Organization of Black Affairs Corporate Leadership Award winner. He has also been recognized as one of the Florida 500 – Florida’s Most Influential Business Leaders by Florida Trend in 2019 and 2020, the 2018 SBA State of Florida & South Florida District Minority-Owned Small Business Person of the Year, and the 2016 Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association. Vistra was the 2020 Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council Doing Well While Doing Good Humanitarian Award winner, the 2019 Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council Class 3 MBE Supplier of the Year, the 2016 Tampa Bay Chamber Small Business of the Year, and the 2016 SBA South Florida District Veteran-Owned Small Business of the Year.
Brian holds master’s degrees from the National War College and Central Michigan University and a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University.