While I knew that I wanted to be in public relations after discovering it in college, it was still a relatively new career. Many times I found I had to create my own job or at least add it the list of “duties as assigned” by my initial employers.
But it was inevitable that I would become an advocate of networking given my career and the many people who have positively affected it. Starting in high school with a small radio station manager in rural western Colorado who first encouraged me to work for him (who met me through my favorite eighth grade teacher and his wife), I have had a succession of opportunities provided to me by others. Often, I found I had to challenge myself and grow in order to achieve what others clearly expected me to deliver. Which brings me to the second reason for a successful career – amazing mentors which continue even today! This is clearly a profession of life-long learning.
I worked as a production manager for the university paper, The Collegian, and continued at the radio station during summers until I graduated. After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in Technical Journalism/Public Relations Concentration, my contacts/networking landed me my first job.
- Director of Public Relations, Colorado Women’s College – Clearly a job over my head and experience at the time, but I got the interview via a classmate’s mother who was a member of the board of the directors for the school when PR jobs were scarce. Six months later the private all-girls school closed because of financial difficulties, but the ensuing national press made for a lot of contacts and some great experience.
- PR Associate/Production, Benson & Associates – Speaking of contacts, this local agency did pro-bono work for the college and offered me a job with them when the college closed. I was there for over a year till love beckoned me to follow my wife to her home in Alabama and my next job.
- News/Production, WDHN-TV – Six months in the South, and this boy returned to Denver – bride in tow – with an interview and job offer garnered from former media contacts.
- News/Production, KCNC-TV (then KOA-TV) – Worked in news and then in promotion/production/ad sales for NBC affiliate for a year and half, which turned up my next career opportunity.
- Writer/Reporter/Production – Denver Downtowner Newspaper – Produced a weekly downtown shopper newspaper for capital venture group for two years.
- Marketing/Sales, University of Phoenix – Introduced for-profit degrees into the Denver market for then fledgling organization. Less than a year into the job, my wife had a great job offer (back to the South) and away we went.
- Program Manager – Division Manager, Public Affairs, SAIC – For over 10 years worked on multiple groundbreaking public affairs contracts for the government, pioneering many community relations programs in environmental areas.
- Principal, McCormick-Barnes Public Relations – Joined a colleague to start our own agency as the company “outsourced” public affairs work; I refer to this as my “non-profit” experience over the next two years.
- Strategic Communications Manager, Public Affairs, Coleman Research – Recruited back to the corporate public affairs sector by a former client to market and manage government procurements for the next two years.
- Project Manager, URS Coleman – After winning a major procurement, asked to move into the management of the program for three years of the five-year contract.
- Director of PR, DIY/Fine Living network – Referred by a PR colleague who I had helped find a job years earlier, I moved to Scripps Networks and entertainment PR – completely divergent to public affairs – for three years.
- Director of Partnership Development – HGTV – Internal promotion to the fully distributed and well-known lifestyle network, current position. A new area for PR and loving the integrated communications possibilities with marketing, social media, media relations and talent all wrapped into one job.
- Principal Owner at GMc Communications (2016 – Present)