Rob Odom is vice president for University Relations and Marketing. Odom joined Oregon State University in 2023 after serving as chief marketing and communications officer and vice president for Duke University Health System. Recognized for his collaborative leadership style, equity focus and mentorship, Odom is known for building and bridging teams across large complex organizations, promoting partnership and improving performance. Under his leadership, brand, earned media, digital marketing and social media campaigns have achieved remarkable results, increasing brand awareness and preference for each organization he has served.
Odom’s experience leading marketing and communications functions has been predominantly in academia and health care. Prior to joining Duke, Odom served as vice president of marketing and brand management at the University of California San Francisco Health. Before UCSF, he led marketing and communications teams at Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Providence Health and Services in Oregon. Odom’s roots are in writing, editing and visual storytelling, beginning his career in book and magazine publishing where he collaborated with dozens of writers, designers, illustrators and photographers on award-winning and commercially successful fiction and nonfiction.
An R1 land grant university graduate, Odom earned his M.A. in English from Cornell University and a B.A. in English from Duke University. He and his husband, Chas Lopez, live in Corvallis after being part-time visitors to their second home on the Oregon Coast in Manzanita.
Associate Vice President
A former journalist and executive communications specialist, Annie Athon Heck joined Oregon State University in March 2013. She works with URM Vice President Rob Odom and others in the division to lead Oregon State’s strategic communications and marketing efforts. In her role, Heck helps lead executive communications, marketing-communications for the Oregon State University Advantage, research enterprise communications and university events.
Prior to arriving at Oregon State, Heck spent 13 years at Hewlett-Packard, where she helped develop communication and messaging strategies for the company. She later led a global public relations program for the printing business’s graphics segment and provided executive communications support for HP leaders.
From 1995-99, Heck was the communications director for the Corvallis School District 509J, where she also served as chief spokesperson. She was a political reporter for the Statesman-Journal newspaper in Salem from 1991-95, covering the state legislature and governor’s office.
Heck earned undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley in English and French literature. She later earned a master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.