Friday, June 27, 2014

Three Degrees of Separation

At the risk of mixing metaphors, the puzzle pieces involving Joseph in the three vignettes presented here could show dramatically the big small town in which we live. Without over elaboration on exactly how, they provide links that bring us together. So many ways to connect the dots. Small world.   

At the request of EVP Kurt Kruger I provided a bundle of information about advertising and marketing between 1998-2006. It seems that much of that material had been discarded. I hadn’t expected to become the default and self-appointed archivist for HBE but I found it amusing nonetheless. It took a few weeks to orchestrate the copies and conversion to PDF documents, but Kurt (true to his word) arranged to meet me for lunch at the Granite City Brewing Company (GCBC) on June 27, 2014 to return my original documents. I suggested Joseph Lehrer join us.  

Joseph Lehrer was appointed President/CEO of the HBE effective October 2013 while Chairman and Founder Fred S Kummer, approaching his 85th Birthday (in April, 2014) plans to continue to managing day-to-day operations. Josesph had been with Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. and served as HBE’s corporate attorney for a dozen years.
Starting with a Pale Ale (for me), an Arnold Palmer (for Joe) and a Coke (for Kurt) our 50 minutes at GCBC revealed once again that phenomenon of Six Degrees of Separation (which I pointed out was more like three degrees in St. Louis). Consider: 

One: St. Louis based McCarthy Holdings, Inc., founded as a family-owned business in 1864 became one of America’s oldest and largest privately-held construction companies. In April 2002, Michael M. McCarthy sold his majority ownership interest in the company to its employees. As the great grandson of company founder and Irish immigrant Timothy McCarthy, he was the final family member to have an ownership interest in the firm. McCarthy is now structured as an S corporation employee stock ownership plan (S ESOP). “Our new adventure began in an extremely difficult time for our nation, right after the events of September 11, 2001,” explained McCarthy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael Bolen.

Two: Deanna Jent (a theater professor at Fontbonne University) wrote the play based on her own experiences as the mother of a severely autistic son. St. Louis native Terry Schnuck, a theatre producer was so impressed with the production that he acquired the rights to the play. His efforts, through his own Falling Feathers production company, led the play, Falling to New York (2012).

Three: Michael Switzer had spent his career in advertising. He and Dan Kerlick founded the Kerlick, Switzer and Johnson ad agency here in 1980. Kerlick drowned in a boating accident in 1989, and Switzer merged the agency with TBWA the following year. Upon the completion of his five-year employment contract with TBWA in 1995, Switzer sold his stock in the agency to TBWA and left the St. Louis area. Another merger led to the agency becoming TBWA/Chiat-Day. Bill Tragos, the Co-Founder and CEO of TBWA along with 3 other men, took TBWA from nothing to an agency that was doing $3 billion dollars a year by the time Bill retired in 1999.

1 comment:

  1. Joe Lehrer, in that space space of time over lunch showed some powerful connections that easily bring us within "3 degrees." McCarthy - A/E/C connections with HBE abound. The Playwrite and play about an autistic child and the impact on his family (connects with my current career at Special School District) and of course TBWA/Chiat Day is the agency that brought me to St. Louis in the first place.