Before joining WrightIMC, I spent nine years in American Airlines’ corporate communications department, culminating as senior PR manager and corporate spokesman. I specialized in reputation management and crisis communications during the volatile time following Sept. 11, 2001, when several economic shocks devastated the airline industry. It was an adventure – a brutal one – but one that led me to discover strengths I never knew I possessed.
In addition, I directed proactive public relations efforts for the operational areas of American Airlines, resulting in feature coverage of maintenance practices and pilot operations in the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and other national and regional media outlets. I also managed communications for corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, as well as some financial communications, for American. I don’t know how to put this, but I was kind of a big deal. Much like Ron Burgundy…
I began my career at Walmart in Bentonville, Ark., as a copywriter for their employee magazine and intranet. I wrote and designed for the monthly news publication distributed to more than 1 million employees worldwide. In 1997, I was co-producer of an internal online magazine, Wal-Mart Now! – one of the first employee intranet publications. Walmart was nice to have on my resume, but it also taught me a behavior that serves me well in my life – a sense of urgency. My public relations and Internet skills led me on to positions in the sporting event management and grocery industries before landing at American Airlines in 2001.
I earned my B.S. in Public Relations from John Brown University in 1996, graduating cum laude, with honors, and with a minor in Business Administration. After college, I learned HTML/Web development, photography, publication, and graphic design skills. Being a jack of all communications trades let my employers utilize me in ways that might have taken three employees with only specialized skills. That fact probably kept me around at AA when the company downsized year after year.
I’m married to the sister of two of my best friends – and that’s a long, funny story best told over cocktails. We have a young son who starts my day laughing or shaking my head and ends it pretty much the same way. In my spare time, I refurbish antique furniture and firearms. I’m an avid outdoorsman. I’d rather be outside, right now and always. In 2009 I wrote a short essay that was selected from 3,000 others by Outdoor Life Magazine as the winner of its Grand Slam Adventure contest. I traveled to South Africa for a week-long safari that was filmed and photographed. A feature article ran in Outdoor Life’s December 2009 issue, and I have some amazing trophies on my wall as a result.