Everyone is in the public relations business...or at least they should be. It's how people win friends (and influence people!), satisfy customers and collaborate with co-workers.
After ten years as a respected and award-winning radio sportscaster--a profession benefitting from the public-relations work of others--Tim landed his "dream job" as PR director on the Virginia Slims World Championship women's tennis tour. While the issue of a tobacco company sponsoring athletic competition was somewhat "old news" in those days (and common in a wide range of sporting pursuits), the tour's popularity had stagnated thanks to the "Chris and Martina" show. Legendary champions Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova cast a sizable shadow over their rivals.
Thus, Tim's principle charge was to instill new energy into the sport by broadening its appeal beyond the top two players. Those efforts were aided by a young German player. It was in Paris that a then-seventeen-year-old Steffi Graf upset Navratilova for her first Grand Slam championship. That's the post-match press conference--for the German media---in the bottom left corner of the montage above.
One of the other new storylines centered on a contingent of young players from the then-Soviet Union. Tim had taken Russian in college and, as a result, developed a level of trust with the players that helped to slowly thaw relations with the western press.
The Soviet "coming-out party," unofficially took place at Wimbledon in 1987, when 16-year-old Natasha Zvereva unexpectedly reached the quarterfinals of the singles draw. There, she lost a three-set match to sixth-seed Gabriela Sabatini of Argentina. Afterwards, Zvereva was invited into the media center to meet with reporters.
Tim remembers: "Natasha was cowering in fear in a corner in the hallway leading to Wimbledon's media center under Centre Court. At first she was unwilling to face the throng of reporters, primarily because she had little confidence in her command of the English language. I reminded her of just how poor my Russian was and she laughed. I encouraged her to take a deep breath and just have fun. 'Reporters are nothing compared to the competition you've been facing on the courts here,' I told her. With that advice a pair of deep breaths and the promise that I would sit with her during the interview, she stepped to the dais and in less-broken English than I expected charmed the international press corps. In fact, when she finished, the press--for the first time in anyone's memory--gave her a standing ovation.
"Natasha went on to win 18 Grand Slam doubles titles and her insistence that she be allowed to keep more of her prize money may have played a very small part in the fall of the Iron Curtain.
"At least a good PR person might spin it that way"
Other Public Relations Experience
Public Relations Manager--Southwestern Bell Telephone Company
After accepting a position as media relations director for the U.S. Olympic Festival in his home state of Oklahoma, Tim recalls the local phone company "made me an offer I couldn't refuse" adding him to the state public relations staff--during a hiring freeze. As the newest-hire in the department, Tim was given the "unenviable" task of coordinating the company's statewide United Way campaign. Embracing the opportunity, Tim led the company to record-setting levels of employee participation and financial contribution, thus earning the first of a dozen departmental commendations.
He was soon promoted into a community-relations position in Bartlesville, OK, where he spearheaded a city-wide United Way campaign as vice chairman...and in his additional efforts to gain visibility and notoriety for his employer, performed in local community theater, free-lanced as a sportswriter for a nearby small-town weekly newspaper, and even donned period attire to promote the city's annual OK Mozart Festival.
Through the years, Turn-Key Enterprises has built and managed websites for gubernatorial, Congressional and local political campaigns. In addition to providing those services, Tim also served as a public relations consultant to Frankie Robbins in his quest for Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District seat (photo above bottom right).
Frankie had little hope of unseating the long-time Republican incumbent, but thanks to Tim's advice and support, Robbins succeeded in establishing himself as a respected voice on the Oklahoma political scene.
"We Are One" relief effort in support of victims of the May 2013 Moore, Oklahoma, tornado
As communications chair for the OU Club of Houston, Tim proved to be the "logical" target for media seeking a local story angle on the devastating storm which hit central Oklahoma on May 20, 2013. At least the NBC television affiliate seemed to think so:
The next day, Houston's ABC affiliate, KTRK-TV, visited Tim's home. He took advantage of the occasion to promote a victims' relief initiative (which he had created overnight), a cause which other media outlets were quick to pick up on:
Along the way, OU alums in Houston got a little help from their "friends." The Houston chapter of Texas Exes volunteered to put the "Red River Rivalry" on hold to help those in need. And the University of Texas's alumni magazine reported on the outcome:
"While my role in promoting the 'We Are One' event did not require a powdered wig and satin breeches," says Tim, "as you can see in the photo with Texas Exes chapter president David Bain (right in photo above), a good cause sometimes requires going above and beyond...in a sartorial sense."
"Moon Shots: Reflections on a Baseball Life" book tour
What do you do after you've written a memoir for a beloved ex-big-league baseball player? Why, you promote the book, of course. Which Tim did for Wally Moon in St. Louis after publication of his book in late 2010.
Wally is still remembered and revered more than 60 years after earning NL Rookie of the Year honors for the 1954 Cardinals. That good will made the Moon book tour in the Gateway City a success. To paraphrase a famous baseball dictum, "If you build it, they will come" (top left photo in montage above). And come they did, to book-signings and public appearances.
Watch a book-tour video here