2014 ARC Hall of Fame Inductees
Posted by: Kristy on June 30, 2014
Posted in: Updates
“Third Class” of Honorees Named into Ag PR Hall of Fame
The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) is pleased to announce two new members into the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame: Richard Howell and Gary Myers, APR. Both will be recognized on Thursday, June 26, at the annual meeting of ARC in Madison, Wis. This is the third class of inductees since the program was instituted in 2012.
Howell and Myers will join previous inductees Don Lerch, Lyle Orwig, John Harvey and Paul Weller in the Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) and Agri Marketing magazine.
Howell joined ARC back in 1968 as the voice of the Ohio Farm Bureau. He has been a member of ARC ever since (officially retiring from his public relations career in 1992). He served as ARC president in 1982, assisted with – and on – most of its committees, attended nearly all of its early meetings and was granted ARC Lifetime Member Status by the organization in 2001. Each year Howell volunteers to be the ARC Foundation’s agent (the organization is incorporated in Illinois), filing its paperwork and personally paying its annual fee to remain incorporated.
Here’s what Paul Weller, former ARC manager and one of last year’s inductees in the Hall of Fame, says about Howell: “His 35-year career was spent in ag public relations and communications, ranging from broadcasting, to magazine writing and editing, to reach out to consumers and the general public to tell the favorable story of America’s farm commodities. With his faithful wife, Pat, by his side, he has represented the very best in the agricultural public relations profession.”
Another Hall of Famer, John Harvey, had this to say about Howell: “When I admire the award I was fortunate enough to receive last year, ARC memories flow like a waterfall in famed Yosemite National Park. I fondly recall the many meetings loaded with key ag public relations people; all extremely creative, personable and totally dedicated to their profession. One of those ARC pros was Richard Howell – a man qualified and deserving of the ARC Hall of Fame honor.”
Active ARC member and leader Carroll Merry of Countryside Marketing said: “If you’ve been active in ag PR for less than 25 years, you may not even know Richard Howell. Even if you have been in the business longer, you still may not know him well. And that’s fine with Richard. He did a superb job as a public relations professional – everyone knew of his clients and all the positive things they were doing, but no one ever heard of him. And that is the way it was supposed to be – his clients were the focus of the limelight, not him.”
Merry goes on to say that Howell is the person that got “me and my wife, Jean, involved in the ARC.” It was through the intern program, which ran for decades in ARC. In fact, it is hoped that with the resurrection of the ARC Foundation, that programs like the internship effort can be re-instituted in the years ahead. “Richard was the no-headlines-for-me guy who worked behind the scenes for so many years to make sure the stories of agriculture and agribusiness were told correctly and in the proper perspective.”
When you think ag PR, the name Gary Myers is usually connected with it. That’s because a nearly 40-year career has encompassed everything about agricultural public relations – from farmer to farmer and farmer to consumer and all points in between.
Tim Oliver, president of MorganMyers, where Myers served as president for 23 years, says it best about Myers’ career and approach to ag PR: “Anyone working for Gary knew that he set the bar high. His catch phrase, ‘press ahead’ verbalized multiple times a day, serves two purposes. First, to motivate the team to make progress on the task at hand, and second, to always be viewing the task at hand in a larger context, and looking for ways to make the outcomes better.”
ARC member Bob Giblin APR, now manager of global bovine marketing communications at ABS Global, Inc., used similar words to describing Myers’ way of “raising the bar.” Giblin notes that Myers changed the way ag public relations was practiced “through his focus on planning to achieve behavioral outcomes, rather than just changes in awareness, opinions and attitudes.” He adds that while others debated the notion of measurable results, Myers implemented it.
Another attribute noted about Myers was his ability to identify, hire and train team members to become leaders. “They not only led internal teams, but also agricultural industry and communications and marketing groups like ARC, NAMA and PRSA,” Giblin said.
Myers has greatly contributed to ARC through the years. He served as president from 1989-1990, and is a past winner of the ARC Founders Award. Giblin notes that he also led a coalition of several public relations organizations in unifying public relations accreditation under one credential, “thus enhancing the value of accreditation for the entire public relations practice. He also encouraged others to both join and take active, leading roles in ARC and other organizations.”
After retiring from MorganMyers in 2005, he served as an adjunct professor teaching public relations and communications at West Virginia University, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.). He retired from teaching in 2013.
A Dedication to Excellence
The Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame was created by the ARC to recognize those professionals who provided exemplary service to the agricultural industry in public relations. These two new honorees join four others as leaders who took ag communications to a higher level.
“Both of these leaders embody a dedication to excellence that personifies what ag public relations is all about,” said Deron Johnsonof Zoetis, board member of ARC and chair of the ARC Hall of Fame Committee. “It is an honor to recognize both Gary and Richard and we look forward to the induction ceremony in June.”