I wanted to be a forest ranger, but my freshman English teacher was a retired publishing company executive who sparked my interest in literature and writing. That caused me to choose journalism for my major at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. What a time we had at SIU and in Carbondale in the early 1970s! The faculty was superb.
I worked as a reporter for The Daily Egyptian where I learned skills that serve me still: a nose for news; solid writing ability; respect for deadlines; comfort working under pressure; empathy. My wife, Jan, and I met in that newsroom.
After graduation, I worked as a reporter and assistant city editor, at a Scripps-Howard daily newspaper in Hollywood, Florida (1.5 yrs). A life-long interest in international affairs was rewarded with an assignment in the Middle East where I traveled from the top of the Mitla Pass in the Sinai to the foot of Mount Hermon in the Golan Heights.
My next newspaper job was Metropolitan Editor at The Southern Illinoisan, a daily back in Carbondale, where I managed reporters covering six counties (4 yrs). I thrived on the exciting and fast pace in the newsroom. We earned a National Headliner Award for my team’s coverage of a dramatic domestic airline hijacking connected with attempted escape from the maximum-security penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. Then I “crossed the line” and moved from being a reporter to a source and a job in corporate communications. I seldom regretted that career transition, which led to wonderful opportunities:
- Manager, News and Information, Consumers Energy, a gas and electric utility in Jackson, Michigan, and then, Public Affairs Director at Consumers’ Big Rock Point Nuclear Plant (5 yrs)
- Director, Corporate Communications, Dow Corning Corp., Midland, Michigan, traveling frequently in Europe and Asia and “managing” the silicone breast implant crisis (10 yrs)
- Director, Corporate Communications, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana, in the early days of the “Prozac wars” and working directly with two remarkable CEOs (6 yrs)
- Vice President, Corporate and Public Affairs, Cephalon, Inc., Malvern, PA; building the PR function in a pharma company that grew at a compound annual growth rate of 75% for the seven years I was there
- President, Grupp Global Partners LLC, a management consultancy focused on international public relations (2008 – Present)
- President, The International Public Relations Association – IPRA (2008)
- President and CEO, The Institute for Public Relations (2009 – 2011)
- Graduate Program Director & Instructor at University of Florida (2013-Present)