Life is a book, a series of stories, and there are chapters in each of our lifetimes.
The longest chapter in my life was my marriage. The second longest has been the past 25 years working with my friend Paul Beckham and the wonderful people who have been associated with Hope-Beckham Inc.
In my case, I have had more colorful times. I was the PR guy for the Braves when Hank Aaron set the all-time home run record, a magical time with hundreds of media traveling with a team but only interested in one player. I was then publicist and promoter for a town character named Ted Turner who took an unorthodox course to change the world of reporting news. I worked briefly at The Coca-Cola Company but soon realized the “magic touch” Ted claimed I had wasn’t so magical in a bigger and more staid company. So, I left and ended up in New York City in a top job at the largest public relations firm in the world. Simply put, the early chapters of the book of my life were colorful and remarkable. However, nothing matches the satisfaction of the past 25 years of Hope-Beckham.
First, Paul and I are friends remarkably different in our skills but also remarkably the same in the basics of life. We both started at Turner, so we understand the craziness that can happen in business. We both were married to wonderful wives and have great families. We are both Methodists and regular attendees at church. We both try hard to give back to our communities and are committed to the idea of doing good. We both like new challenges. If we weren’t so different, we’d be the same.
So, it wasn’t so odd that we would join hands in a quarter century adventure that we call a business. We have opened doors for women, starting with the creation of the first all-women professional baseball team, the Colorado Silver Bullets, a project for Coors Brewing Company. We have built and toured the world’s largest peanut for the National Peanut Board. We worked on the Olympics for The Coca-Cola Company. We helped jump-start the tech industry in Atlanta as the agency for TAG (Technology Association of Georgia). We’ve seen clients rise and shine from nothing like Priceline and the Atlanta Dream, and we’ve seen some fade to memory like Cingular, Enterpulse or BellSouth and now SunTrust. We were on the first call to address problems of two once mighty companies like Arthur Andersen and Enron. We have worked with clients through their good times and their tough ones. Antron and Stainmaster Carpets were booming, and then, the economy collapsed and suddenly no one was ordering carpet. Business went from shining bright to darkness in an instant. We were working on several new bank openings every weekend, and suddenly, banks were no longer having grand openings and were struggling to survive.
At Hope-Beckham, we have worked closely with wonderful city leaders like Ted Blum and Ernest Greer of Greenberg Traurig, Ambassador Andrew J. Young, and Hank Aaron. We have done good by helping those who do good, like MAP International, Christian City, the Lighthouse Foundation, the ALS Association of Georgia, the National Down Syndrome Congress, Covenant House and many more. We have had many adventures over the past 25 years that sometimes our staff thinks cannot be labeled as “work.” In short, we have had a wonderful 25 years.
Our business has also given us the time to pursue our passions. In Paul’s case, he has been devoted to Young Harris College and the Emory Ethics Center. In mine, I lead a group to rural Honduras each spring and am on several charitable boards.
We work each day with beautiful people who enjoy each other, are smart and talented and work very hard to do things right. There is joy in knowing that these are the people you will be with each day.
Hope-Beckham will never be the largest public relations firm in the world. It is perhaps the best; we certainly do better work than most others I’ve seen. However, the greatest value in life comes with the opportunity to do great things will great people. In that, Hope-Beckham is priceless.