Unless your idea of ritual is a panicked scramble to avoid disaster, my mornings seem to have more in common with a manhunt or perhaps the long-running TV series The Amazing Race than they do a ritual. I am usually awoken by my precious 2.5-year-old son anywhere between 5 and 6 am by involuntary and adorably sharp kicks to the stomach. I leave him with my wife and slink to the shower for alone time. After tending to my hygiene and appearance, I descend to the main floor where I usually find my son and 8-month-old daughter in various states of dress. Oftentimes, my powerful and talented wife has both of them fed and dressed. The joy of cajoling the boy into brushing his teeth is all mine though. What follows is a jumble of screaming, dressing, shoes, clean-up, packing, negotiation, enforcement, tolerance, and diaphragmatic breathing. Somehow, during all of this, I have the patience and attention to brew to-go mugs of coffee, using the painfully slow and heat-loss prone Chemex pour-over method. It’s a preciously silly brewing fashion for someone caught in such a high-stakes battle to leave the house, but for this coffee snob, it’s worth it.
By 7:50 am the whole family is out the door. I usually take the little angel by way of big red stroller, departing from wife and son with a kiss and a "bye-bye" and make my way up the hill to her daycare. I have gotten over the stigma of strolling with ear buds and usually begin my morning podcasting right off the bat. I make myself feel better by cooing at the baby, touching her nose affectionately, now and then.
Including the walk to daycare, my subway commute to Brooklyn Brewery is about 50 minutes, ample time to become immersed into the graciously affordable and prolific world of podcasts. On heavy rotation I have mostly usual suspects: This American Life (routinely causing me to become wet in the eyes), Nerdist, The Moth, Here’s The Thing, and RadioLab. The latter is, honestly, a bit of a challenge. My ability to zone out during science-talk remains intact from my high school days. For professional development, I’ve just started listening to the excellent Michael Kiser on his Good Beer Hunting podcast.
If I’m feeling ambitious or I’m in the middle of a particularly meeting-laden workweek, I’ll use my train ride for email correspondence. In either case, my Spotify playlist comes out. Having Juan Wauters, Low, Beck, Real Estate, and The Men sing to me while I type "Great, thanks" centers me as I prepare my mind for what lies ahead.
While I live and work in Brooklyn, a cruel trick of geography forces me into Manhattan for the most efficient way to work. Going against the grain, I arrive on Bedford and 7th for a short final walk to the Brewery. I usually arrive at the morally superior time of 8:50 am and am able to take my seat before the rest of my team arrives.
Daily required reading
I am able to squeeze in two to three articles using The New York Times and Gothamist apps. The Harry Shumaker- and Jenn Litz-penned Beer Business Daily is usually in there. I scan my "Brooklyn Brewery" Google alerts, paying more attention to those that cover our food and arts festival, The Brooklyn Brewery Mash. Lately, I’ve been checking Brew York, New York, a local craft beer blog. I’m also a big fan of Grubstreet and First We Must Feast for foodie stuff. I’m obligated to skim Eater.
Best career advice
In high school, my mom had me visit a father whose kids went to my sister’s school. He ran the FOX affiliate in my hometown of Grand Rapids, and I went to his office to get career advice. Being from a mid-sized city in the Midwest, you don’t have a sense that working in a field like TV is even possible, so I thought my trip to the modest station was about the coolest thing. My interviewee was clearly busy as he was all business. I think he was running through the business model of local TV and talking about his day-to-day but honestly that’s just a guess. The only thing I really remember was this: "You know your dad is a doctor, which is a really great job. He’s got to work very hard at what he does in order to succeed. A career in TV may sound like a lot more fun to you, but I promise you, you have to work just as hard, in some ways even harder in order to be a success."
I recall being stunned by such a serious statement from a representative of what I thought was a career of fun and games. I couldn’t really imagine what he meant.
Years later, I work in an exceedingly fun industry with perks galore. But, I also work hard to maintain a quality of work that yields results that I and my superiors are happy with. Thankfully, not as hard as a TV executive though.
Biggest surprise on your iPhone/iPod
13,000-plus unread emails.
First PR job
I’ve never exclusively worked in PR but aspects of public relations began to enter my career when I helped get The Onion bureau off the ground in San Francisco in 2005.
Most distinct aspect of your personal office
Besides my gritty/cool view of Greenpoint’s smokestacks and church steeples, I have a Chinatown sign that says, "No Promotion" with, presumably, the corresponding Chinese characters below. Jamie Borschuk gave that to me.
First website or app checked in the morning
Weather or Spotify.
Most regrettable career moment
I’m blessed enough that nothing significant comes to mind right away. I’m sure it exists though, and one can probably place a wager on that moment being linked to a righteous hangover.
Ideal job if not in PR
I have a very loosely planned exit strategy that lets me off at goat farmer. This switch affords me the ability to live the gentlemen farmer lifestyle, enjoying triple crème goat cheese, and only the fluffiest of rugs. One imagines that a small-scale brewery would also make its way onto this ideal plot of land. I could probably barter for crackers and want no more.
Proudest career achievement
For a while, it was the time I organized the Extra Action Marching Band aboard an amphibious tour bus, flanked by old timey newsies in order to announce the arrival of America’s Finest News Source in San Francisco. Currently, though, I’m pretty proud of The Brooklyn Brewery Mash. The best marketing team in craft beer, Brooklyn Brewery’s Marketing Unit, is pulling together, along with some of our closest friends in Brooklyn and each city we visit, to produce the world’s largest traveling food and arts festival. The result has been a bevy of PR that clearly and truthfully tells the story of our brand.
Ideal day off
As a lifelong fan of rest, sleeping-in and naps have risen in stature past many other values as my family has grown. Brunch is also something I rarely get to enjoy. We’ll start with those two and then include park time with the kids and grilling in the garden.
Guilty TV pleasure
There’s so much quality TV programming on that I barely have enough time to watch the good stuff. A show that’s getting backed up on the DVR is one that my wife would definitely qualify as a guilty pleasure on account of all the scantily clad Scandinavians: Vikings.