He's learned to be a little more careful about where he performs
the happy dance, and he certainly knows how to give clients a buzz. Meet
Jim McClellan, vice president of Florida's Ron Sachs Communications.
Describe the company you work for. Ron Sachs Communications is a
full-service, 15-member firm. Our specialties are media relations,
crisis communications and issue development, but we also are one of the
Southeast's most prolific independent television production firms.
What do you do? As EVP, I supervise our daily client operations and do
all the stuff that bores our CEO.
How did you get into PR? I entered the PR arena through the door marked
"politics" - working in various positions for three successive Florida
What is your greatest achievement? My life's journey has taken me from
hunting and fishing the swamps of Calhoun County to working for the
Florida governors to helping run one of the most innovative firms in
What was your best stunt? We conducted a "medical miracle" news
conference for our client, Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital, to announce
that an experimental surgery, performed a few months earlier, had been
successful, and a six-year-old boy's arm was saved. To illustrate, we
had the doctor present the child with a baseball, cap and glove. The two
then played a game of "catch" - as I was nearly trampled by national
news media cameras trying to capture the photo!
What was your biggest screw-up? Paging my former boss, Lt. Governor
Buddy MacKay, in the middle of a big speech. He had worn a pager for
less than a week, so the vibration startled him. Reportedly, the
audience just thought he had paused for dramatic effect.
If you could work on one account, what would it be? Penn Fishing Reels.
In fact, several years ago, I cold-called the company to see if my
services would be valued. ("No, but we'll call you if we ever do." I'm
What invention would make your job easier? The "Here-it-is-in-writing"
generator: Used when, after listening to your entire story pitch, a
reporter says, "Do you have something in writing?"
What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? "We might as well swing a
dead chicken over our heads at midnight," quoted in The Gainesville Sun
after a reporter's repeated questions about a client's frustrations in
trying to placate a state government agency. Or: "We did the happy dance
on our desks," quoted in the Tampa Tribune. That was my reaction to
learning that a popular politician would not challenge my boss in a
What's your party trick? Balancing stale jokes atop my wife's thinly
If you were an animal, what would you be? A ring-tailed bandicoot, just
because it's fun to say.
What is the secret of your success? Working for the world's greatest
boss, and never being afraid to suck up shamelessly.