Orlando Area Chapter Historical Perspective

November 5, 2012

Insight from longstanding FPRA members: Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC and Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC

Compiled by Nancy DeVault

In honor of FPRA celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Orlando Area Chapter (OAC) is pleased to share insight into the history of our chapter. In 1956, the Orlando Area Chapter (formerly known as the Orange Blossom Chapter) was among the first to be established ­– a founding year for fellow chapters Tampa, Jacksonville, and Capital. Special thanks to two dedicated members for sharing their insight into Orlando’s success: Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC, retired division head of the Advertising/Public Relations program at UCF, and Roger W. Pynn, APR, CPRC, president of Curley & Pynn.

Reflections of Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC:

In the early to mid-70s, the FPRA Orlando Area Chapter (then known as the Orange Blossom Chapter) was comprised of a few true public relations practitioners and a variety of sales/marketing representatives from hotel/hospitality, retail, real estate organizations, and some retired journalists. Many of these members had some “community relations” responsibilities, yet few were the specialized PR professionals that we encounter in our association today.

As years past, OAC member Dr. Bob Davis spearheaded a group of PR leaders in an effort to expand the ranks of FPRA locally, restrict membership to appropriate PR professionals, and build a profile for the association within the business community. This re-organization led to the change of chapter name (from the Orange Blossom Chapter to the Orlando Area Chapter), rapid membership growth, and the development of key projects that became the centerpieces of our ability to engage prospective members. Some of the association-changing activities included:

  • The Orange Blossom Roasts & Toast (original title), with OAC member Joe Curley, APR, CPRC serving as the first chairman in 1978. The event objective was to demonstrate that PR could be a powerful tool to unite the community in support of higher education. Specifically, the proceeds provided scholarships to future PR practitioners at the University of Central Florida and eventually Rollins College. In addition to raising funds for higher education, the Roast & Toast proved to be the catalyst and model for what became a statewide network of dinner functions to honor community leaders. Honorees included FPRA Founder Dick Pope, Sr., golfing legend Arnold Palmer, various mayors, bankers, theme park executives, and many others. Contributions from the Dick Pope Roast were used to establish the forerunner of the Rosen School of Hospitality at UCF by creating the Dick Pope Institute for Tourism Studies.
  • Professional development workshops, which continue within the association today, became the heart of our programs, to put emphasis on continuing education for our members. Specialized workshops now also offer insight into the role of public relations for non-profit managers and others.
  • Member communication was not an initial priority for the OAC, but it became the central theme of FPRA efforts to build a dynamic chapter. Joe Curley stepped up and said “if you are willing to be the first ‘new era president’ I’ll give you a newsletter that gets the members connected and excited.” He kept his word to establish such communication. It was that FPRA partnership that led to the development Curley & Pynn Public Relations Management…a company that lives on today more than 28 years after we jumped corporate ship in 1984! 

As I recall, people who were critical to our success during that ‘new era’ were: Truman “Duffy” Myers, now retired VP of PR at what was Y Partnership – a former Disney PR exec who made things happen; the late Nick Gornell (one of those old time “sales” members who also had PR experience)  – who pitched in tirelessly to manage projects, including the Roast of the late Frank Hubbard; Jean Glascoff, former PR director for a local savings & loan and the Orlando Regional Chamber — though now living in Atlanta, Jean was an energetic force behind membership development; Dave Wilson, partner in Fraily, Wilson, Shadduck & Roether…and other committed advertising and public relations firms that poured resources into FPRA and specifically the Roast & Toast program.

There were so many more FPRA game changers and successful, plus countless stories to tell; but, my personal favorite was the “wine we kept on drinking.” At the Orlando Area Chapter’s first Roast & Toast, a local wine merchant – a client of one of our members – donated 50 cases of red wine (a kind none of us had ever heard of before called “Zinfandel”). The host hotel waived the corkage fee and allowed us to make a huge profit on the event because we didn’t have to pay for liquor or even a fee to bring it in. The event had so much wine left over, that our members drank it like soda pop at that year’s holiday party. We still had several cases left that finally ended up gifting bottles to chapter officers. I still have one bottle of that 1974 Sonoma Zinfandel in my wine cabinet! It turned out later to be a classic California Red Wine featured in the Wine Spectator as the best Zinfandel ever (thanks FPRA).  I’m sure it has turned to vinegar by now, but it’s kept as a memory of what my fellow FPRA members and I created all those years ago.

Of course, the story has continued, as did our FPRA-OAC successes. Joe Curley went on to become FPRA State President. Since that time, the Orlando Area Chapter has won countless awards, provided association leaders for decades, and remains a powerhouse resource for professionals. 

Take a look at all 30 years of Orlando Area Chapter Roast & Toast!

“The Roast & Toast event was held annually until 2008, an impressive accomplishment for FPRA as not many fundraisers in Greater Orlando have lasted 30 years,” explains Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC. Dr. Davis, who worked on all Roast & Toast Committees, also served as the advisor, from 1981 to 2008, for the Quotes, the FPRA student chapter at the University of Central Florida.

Reflections of Dr. Bob Davis, APR, CPRC

When I left UCF in 2008, we had awarded 214 scholarships through this program to impact future PR practitioners. In recent years, the Orlando Area Chapter transitioned the Roast & Toast program into the MERGE Networking & Scholarship Series. Though less formal, this program effort still continues to engage members and award student scholarships.

Quotes started as the Ad/PR club in 1981. In 1983, the board voted to affiliate with FPRA and with Orlando Area Chapter as sponsor and FPRA chartered the club. Kay Bartholomew, APR, was the state president and an Orlando Member and presented the charter. The club grew to become the largest chapter in FPRA (150 members). During the period when I advised the club (1981-2008), the total membership reached 1,586!

The club created Intern Pursuit, Communication Day, and the Knight Images Awards. FPRA-OAC members, many of whom were alumni of both Quotes and UCF, came to campus to present programs to students. Quotes members enjoyed the opportunity to serve as volunteers on Roast & Toast and Image Awards. Eventually, many of these students went on to join FPRA-OAC committees and boards following graduation, and several even become chapter presidents.

View images of Quotes through the years with this slideshow!

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Chapter Rewind: Members Attend PR NOW! Professional Development Workshop

November 5, 2012

Approximately 67 public relations professionals attended the PR NOW! Professional Development Workshop held last month at Rollins College. Attendees enjoyed a variety of sessions and a captivating keynote presentation delivered by Wawa’s public relations manager and area manager. Attendees were engaged with topics that are important NOW in the evolving environment of the public relations profession. Program topics included:

  • Wawa Fever: Creating Buzz in a New Market – Lori Bruce, Wawa Public Relations Manager & Charlene Marko-Heim, Wawa Area Manager
  • Crisis Communications – Sara Brady, Sara Brady Public Relations
  • Working with bloggers/social media – Rachelle Lucas, travel blogger
  • Learn How Research Can Generate Mouthwatering PR – Lynnette Leathers, Mindspot Research
  • Pitching to the Media – Marni Jameson, Orlando Sentinel

Click here to view event photos.

This event raised $140 for student scholarships. Special thanks to the event co-chairs — Julie Primrose and Lauren Hyer, APR; and to our sponsors — Rollins CollegeHard Rock, Kissimmee Utility Authority and The Printers.

Member Profile: Jean Kingsford

November 4, 2012

Professional Role: Communications Manager, MVP Sports Clubs at RDV Sportsplex

Years in FPRA: 6

Favorite FPRA Event: “My favorite FPRA event was the Roast & Toast. The year I chaired the event, we had the privilege of honoring legendary Orlando restaurateur Manny Garcia. We had an amazing time raising $35,000 for scholarships at UCF and Rollins.” (FPRA-OAC will host the next scholarship fundraiser at the RDV Sportsplex Ice Den on December 7, 2012.)

Explanation of your job: “I love my job! I manage internal and external communications promoting health and wellness at MVP Sports Clubs — the sports facility management company of RDV Sportsplex and eight other athletic clubs/sports facilities in Central Florida and West Michigan equating to more than 30,000 members. I perform a myriad of functions (just like all my FPRA peers) including writing/editing two regional magazines, community relations, media relations, and managing/expanding MVP’s social media presence (through 10 Facebook pages, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and anything else that was invented between the time I sent this in and the time you are reading it).”

Exciting Achievement: “Hands down…my most exciting achievement has been raising my three amazing sons — David, Sam and Jake. I took a break in my career to stay at home with them and am grateful to have had the opportunity and privilege to be a full-time Mom.”

Fun fact: “While visiting Los Angeles, my fiancé, Dave Collins, and I met and had dinner with D-Day from “Animal House” and his wife, Gloria. She even gave me her gazpacho recipe which I plan to try.”

Contact info: jkingsford@mvpsportsclubs.com and on Twitter @jeanbrinker





FPRA Toy Drive at Member Breakfast

November 4, 2012

The University Club, host to FPRA-OAC breakfast programs, is leading a toy drive to benefit Toys from Tyler Inc and you’re invited to contribute. Tyler Youtz beat stage IV neuroblastoma in 2005. During treatment, he decided to bring a toy to his friend who would be spending Christmas in the hospital. This single act of kindness has evolved into a remarkable toy drive that impacts many Central Florida children affected by illness during the holiday season.

To support the cause, please bring a new, unwrapped toy to the FPRA-OAC chapter event on Thursday, November 15.

Toys from Tyler Toy Drive Flier

MERGE Event: Family Skate Night & Scholarship Fundraiser

November 4, 2012
FPRA-OAC members and their families are invited to a fun-filled night of ice skating, sponsored by Bright House Networks. Join us on Friday, November 30th at 7 p.m. -9:45 p.m. at the RDV Sportsplex Ice Den. Enjoy hot chocolate, coffee or popcorn and brave the ice while socializing with public relations professionals. To help support the FPRA scholarship fund, entry donations are requested: $10 adults; $5 children.

Proceeds to benefit UCF’s Nicholson School of Communications Roast & Toast scholarship and the Organizational Communication Program of the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College.

MERGE Family Ice Skate & Fundraiser – Event Flier

It’s Not Too Late To Renew Your Membership!

November 4, 2012

Did you miss the October 31st deadline to renew? Don’t worry…there is still time to renew before a $25 late fee is assessed. Your membership offers a multitude of professional resources including local and statewide networking, professional development workshops, a recognized job bank, first-class industry events (members receive a discounted rate), an opportunity to attend annual state conference, leadership opportunities, committee involvement, and much more. If you have any questions about renewing your membership, contact Sara Channing, Vice President of Membership at 407-303-8213.