He's more Tom Sawyer than log-sawyer, and regrets not having done
that nude bungee jump yet. Meet Jon Harris, VP, media development and
communications for OurHouse.com.
Describe the company you work for OurHouse.com is the Internet's premier
destination for products, services and advice for the home. Based in
lovely Evanston, IL, the company employs approximately 120 hard-working
What do you do? In addition to handling all communications for the
company, I continue to develop media opportunities and promotions for
OurHouse.com and our spokespeople, including the lovable 'Mr. Fix-It,'
Tell us something amusing about your company People think that everyone
who works here is a 'home specialist.' They come up to me all the time
and ask me how to fix their toilet.
I wisely refer them to our site.
How did you get into PR? At Rutgers University, I was majoring in
communications and took a PR theory class with Gil Bashe, then adjunct
professor and president of healthcare agency Sutton PR. One day, I
arrived late for class and Gil pulled me aside. I thought I was in
serious trouble. To my surprise, he offered me a job. It beat my other
career option at the time, a 'frame stylist' at Lens Crafters.
What was your best stunt? 'Today Builds A House with OurHouse.com,' a
12-week series with NBC's Today, benefiting Habitat for Humanity. A true
highlight of my career.
What was your biggest screw-up? Well, there are no screw-ups, only
learning experiences ... right?
What's the most daring thing you've ever done? Next month, I'm slated to
sing the national anthem at a Cubs game. I guess that's pretty
Unfortunately, I have no naked bungee jumping stories.
What time do you get up? Whenever my seven-month-old wants me to.
What invention would make your job easier? Mental telepathy, getting
people to say what you want them to say and understand that that nothing
is 'off the record.'
What is the biggest item you've ever put on expenses? Hmmm, it probably
was a fully furnished house. The folks at Visa just can't get enough of
What do you wish you hadn't said to the media? While handling the
banning of a commercial at the insistence of a top college sports
organization, I was quoted as saying, 'We agreed to disagree agreeably.'
Forgive me, it was during my Stephen Covey phase.
If you were an animal, what would you be? I'm highly allergic to animal
dander, so that may be an issue.
Name one thing about your past people would be surprised to learn I
studied voice at Carnegie Hall for several years and once played Huck
Finn in a Kodak commercial.
Who would you most like to work with? The Beatles, Frank Sinatra,
Elvises (Presley and Costello), Bruce Springsteen, Mr. Fix-It ...
they're all giants.