QUESTIONS & ANSWERS: Randy Fordice

He's Mr. Utility, and probably the only man alive who will admit to loving both ABBA and The Grateful Dead. Meet Randy Fordice, account coordinator at Alliant Energy in Cedar Rapids, IA.

He's Mr. Utility, and probably the only man alive who will admit to loving both ABBA and The Grateful Dead. Meet Randy Fordice, account coordinator at Alliant Energy in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Describe the company you work for Alliant Energy is an energy services firm with more than 6,000 employees worldwide. I work in the communications and external affairs department that houses roughly 80 employees and operates as an internal agency to a variety of client groups.

My clients include agribusiness, economic development, energy efficiency, and alternative energy. So I write a huge variety of communications material, everything from news releases to brochures to advertisements, and manage those projects from inception to design and printing.

Tell us something interesting about your company As a utility, we're pretty straight-laced, so what I find interesting may not interest others.

My friends tend to tune me out when I talk about the industry. It can be a huge challenge to manage marketing and communications initiatives in a regulated environment, but it's a fun job.

How did you get into PR? When I was an undergrad I wanted to go into broadcasting, but then I learned about the broadcasting industry and wanted to stay away from it. My first job was in a broadcast monitoring firm selling news clips to PR firms. The more I got to know about the industry, the more I liked it and the surer I became that I'd be good at it.My first "real

PR gig was working for an internet start-up - I had no idea what I was doing and just had to figure it out as I went along.

What is your greatest achievement? Getting out of the dot-com rush right before the bust.

What was your biggest screw-up? Like I'm going to admit to screwing anything up! Actually, my biggest PR mistakes have been when I took orders from the client that I knew were void of solid strategy. Our education and experience is worth every dollar they pay and every ounce of sweat it took to get where we are. We shouldn't do what the client or executive wants if it's a bad idea, regardless of the consequences.

Who would you most like to work with? I love the rush of crisis communications, so I would have loved to be on Bill Clinton's press team. Knowing that everything we were doing was in the interests of saving a presidential administration would have been great.

What's your party trick? No tricks, but I'll be the one requesting ABBA from the DJ.

Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn I followed the Grateful Dead for a summer when I was in college, catching about 20 shows.

What skill would you most like to have? Dunking a basketball, or at least a good fadeaway jumper.

What historical figure would you most like to represent? Abraham Lincoln, greatest president the US has ever seen. He knew what was right and refused to back down from his beliefs.

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