How I define Public Relations:
Helping publics engage and communicate with one another
Hat you most identify with:
I identify most with a baseball hat. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d wear one to work on a regular basis. I’m a student of the game, as a fan and currently both as a player and umpire. Just when you think you’ve seen it all in baseball or in public relations – something new pops up, whether it is a crisis communication situation, a creative community relations initiative or a twist to a routine special event. Baseball, like business, can be a grind. Nobody hits home runs every day – but being good every day is something to strive for.
Between Little League games and riding my bike as a kid delivering newspapers through Phoenix neighborhoods, I should have known then I’d become very “close” with the media for the rest of my life. And when I was going door-to-door, mowing yards all summer to earn spending money, I should have known how much I’d learn to love the green grass outdoors. And, when I began umpiring high school baseball some 30 years ago, I should have known then that it was an indication of how to make good decisions, deliver outstanding customer service and handle some tough public relations issues.
It should also have been an indication that I would eventually write a book, “Who Is Gym?” It’s an Arizona history book that captures the fascinating stories about the names behind high schools and their sports venues.
When I earned a Eugene C. Pulliam scholarship from The Arizona Republic/Phoenix Gazette as a high school student or the Arizona Broadcasters Association scholarship I won as a college student at Northern Arizona University, I should have realized then the signs of things to come. I have since earned numerous Copper Anvil Awards from the Public Relations Society of America, numerous writing awards from Associated Press a Gold Award from the Public Relations Global Network for crisis communication and a Gold Award for media relations from Bulldog Reporter Magazine. I have been recognized for my communications expertise by numerous client-related industries, including a President’s Award from the Arizona Association for Economic Development.
Now, as president of HMA Public Relations, I am one of only about 500 PR practitioners to be admitted to the Public Relations Society of America’s distinguished College of Fellows and among only 20 percent of public relations practitioners nationwide to have earned his Accredited in Public Relations certificate from the PRSA.
I’ve been with the firm since 1986, after working as a TV sportscaster for years. You can still find me on TV every now and then, whether it’s for the Valley’s PBS station, one of the network affiliates or one of the cable stations.
And on top of that, I stay busy in my spare time – not that I have much spare time. I’m a member of Valley Leadership Class XX and am the professional advisor for NAU’s PRSSA chapter. I sit on the board of directors for Junior Achievement of Arizona and served for more than a decade on the board for The Arthritis Foundation’s Greater Southwest Chapter, as well as representing the chapter on the foundation’s National Awareness and Planning committees. I also served on the board for the NAU School of Communication and the Society of Professional Journalists’ Phoenix Chapter. That’s plenty of board – and no bored.