Celebrating an Anniversary

Basket of baseballs with Gong mallet laying on top

It’s hard to believe that Hodges is celebrating its 20th birthday this summer. Harder to believe is that this year marks my 19th anniversary at Hodges.

I’ve been fortunate to call Hodges home – first above Siné Irish Pub on Cary Street, then here on Broad Street, then across the parking lot in a one-bedroom apartment cozy enough for four Hodgers while renovations were made here and finally back in this building – for all but the first six months of the firm. I joined Jon, Josh and Stacey fresh off of being laid off from a defunct business journal here in town not really knowing what to expect.

I had no idea what I was getting into, and now, 20 years and a global pandemic later, I’m still amazed by some of the things our firm – and the amazing people who have contributed over the years – have accomplished.

Remember that time when we…

  • Worked with Bill Rancic, the Season 1 winner of The Apprentice? Who knew the star of that show would become President one day, and who knew that Snagajob would grow from a tiny office out near the airport into the juggernaut it is in the employment industry? Back then, we enlisted Rancic to help us promote “America’s No. 1 Hourly Worker,” getting him to “work” a few hours at Wendy’s and Home Depot.
  • Enlisted Betty White to read “Goodnight Moon” to kids as part of a campaign for Carpenter Co.’s SleepBetter campaign? Or got Jewel to play a concert in her hometown of Stephenville, Texas, as part of its campaign “Sleep Better. Dream Bigger.” Or connected Carpenter with Rhett & Link for a video that’s racked up more than 23 million views?
  • Brought in Katie Couric to bowl at for AMF’s new brand 300 in Chelsea Piers to raise money to fight colon cancer?
  • Helped ESPN’s SportsCenter conduct an interview with astronaut and former University of Richmond football player Leland Melvin while he was in space? (We like to think we carried the ball to the 1-yard-line but needed help from a giant named NASA to get across the goal line.)
  • Helped welcome the world to Richmond? It still kind of feels like yesterday that we were helping Richmond 2015 with media relations (and a lot of other things) as RVA hosted the 2015 UCI Road World Champions, 10 days of cycling bliss.
  • Worked with our client Rolls-Royce on its grand opening, which included visits from a Governor, Senator and President to Prince George County?
  • Connected reporters from around the world – and at all hours of the day – with ChildFund International folks on the ground in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan?
  • Turned local startup Reginald’s Homemade into Hoda and Kathy Lee’s favorite peanut butter and crashed its site a few times with other big national placements? And helped a who’s who of Richmond startups like Ledbury, Carlotz and Outdoor Access get national attention?
  • Pitched former and famed NPR correspondent Ofeibea Quist Arcton to secure this ChildFund story in Senegal?
  • Interviewed Clay Risen, then NY Times Opinion editor, on stage for PRSA Richmond?
  • Launched an online magazine for Swedish Match North America that celebrates Swedish-American lifestyle and culture and has grown to nearly 350,000 annual page views?
  • Helped increase enrollment 9% in career and technical education program thanks to an integrated communications strategy launching G3 tuition assistance at Virginia’s Community Colleges?
  • Literally launched old dirty pillows with a custom-built catapult in the city center of Detroit, with the help of Krysten Ritter for Carpenter Co. and SleepBetter.org?
  • Promoted the opening of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, the Virginia Capital Trail, Cabela’s, Chuy’s, Cooper’s Hawk, Famous Dave’s, Island Shrimp Co., Fall Line Kitchen & Bar and others?
  • Coordinated an interview with CNN as Zoe Romano ran through the Arc de Triomphe on her 2,000 mile run across the Tour de France to support World Pediatric Project?
  • Created what we think was the first GIF release?
  • Connected local, regional and national media with the Mercy Chefs team during floods, fires, hurricanes and even the war in Ukraine? Good Morning America visited a Mercy Chefs site, and Southern Living named founder Gary LeBlanc a Hometown Hero in its annual Best of the South issue.
  • Told the story of Colonial Williamsburg’s excavation of the site of one of America’s oldest Black churches on the TODAY Show and many other national outlets?
  • Jumped through hoops to make a memorable impact for a local nonprofit? Or provided sage counsel to a small business that helped steer its direction and growth? Or guided a company through tough times, making its crisis a little more manageable?

It’s been a fun 20 years here at Hodges. Thanks to all the Hodgers who have made an impact along the way, and thank you to the hundreds of companies, nonprofits, schools and organizations we have worked with over the years.

Sean Ryan

A former print journalist, Sean joined The Hodges Partnership in 2003 and leads Hodges’ media relations team. He manages media relations strategy and helps place client subject matter experts on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and more. Sean regularly helps place op-eds in top-tier papers like the New York Times, Washington Post and USA Today.

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