Palmetto PR Profile – Brett Turner with Jackson-Dawson

It’s Friday, and you know what that means! We are featuring a public relations practitioner to share thoughts about the industry, as well as provide firsthand suggestions to those just starting out. To be fair, Liza and I agreed to call the “dudes” PR Profiles. So here we go!

(Next week, we will feature Allison Skipper, public relations associate for the S.C. State Ports Authority in Charleston, S.C.)

Brett Turner is Manager of Public Relations for Jackson-Dawson Marketing Solutions. His responsibilities include strategic planning and daily oversight of all of JD’s PR clients, including BMW, Michelin, Milliken, the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament and Piaggio America.

Turner has extensive experience in sports journalism and public relations, having covered the North Carolina men’s basketball team and the NFL’s Carolina Panthers from 1994-1997. He then managed public relations accounts for NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series teams from 1997 through the end of the 2000 season, before being named Director of Public Relations for in Charleston, S.C. Turner joined JD in 2001.

Turner is a 1993 graduate of Clemson University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Communications/Journalism. He is married to the former Suzanne Spaulding of Charleston and has a son, William, and Truxton, the family Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

Please provide title and a brief description of what you do:
o Manger of Public Relations for Jackson-Dawson Marketing Solutions. I oversee a five-person department that represents clients such as BMW Manufacturing Co., The BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament, Bloom and Food Lion Grocery stores, The Palmetto Bank, Milliken Napery and one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers.

How did you become interested in the public relations industry?
o I was a sports journalist in Charlotte covering the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and North Carolina’s men’s basketball team. I enjoyed writing, but met a lot of people on the PR side of the business and knew that was what I wanted to do. I started working for a NASCAR-specific agency in Charlotte before settling in Greenville at Jackson-Dawson.

What changes have you seen in the industry that are the most interesting to you?
o The speed in which news flows, is sent and is received. I can still remember reporters that brought typewriters into the media center and dictated stories back to news rooms. I also remember when the fax machine was the greatest invention of its time.

Are you involved in any professional associations? If so, what are they and what do you learn by being involved?
o Yes. I’m a big believer in getting involved. I am very passionate about PRSA and our profession. I serve as the state’s Accreditation chair and am currently the chapter’s President-Elect. I also am involved in my church’s marketing/PR efforts, work with Anderson and Clemson Universities, and volunteer with A Child’s Haven, Meals on Wheels and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

What is the one piece of advice you would give students that are interested in pursuing a career in the public relations/investor relations industry?
o Learn to write correctly and use proper grammar! I can’t stress this enough. I see a lot of talented young people that graduate from college that can’t write and don’t speak correctly. What’s worse is that they’ve been allowed to get away with it for so long that it has become a bad habit. All the good that you will do in the profession – great ideas, building relationships, etc. – will be forgotten the minute you send out a poorly written press release or stand up to speak in front of an audience and use improper grammar/English.

Please describe your experience in obtaining your APR. Was it different than you thought? How has it made a difference in your professional career?
o Obtaining accreditation in public relations has been the greatest professional decision that I have ever made. I use what I’ve learned every day. To pass the test, it takes discipline. You have to set goals and work to achieve those goals. The experience was great, too. It was like taking a graduate-level course at your local college/university. It was a lot harder than I thought, but also a lot more rewarding, too. It is the number one greatest business decision that I’ve made. It has helped me advance, has gained me publicity when I speak to new clients and others in the profession, and has provided me with many tools that I use every day.

What is the best thing about your job?
o The people that I work with.

What is the thing you like least about your job?
o I hate sitting behind a desk. I like to be outside and running around.

Are there any exciting announcements you’d like to tell us about (either with your own practice or one of your clients)?
o We are continuing to grow, which is always good news.

How do you balance your professional career with your personal life?
o It’s very tough and I’m not very good at it. I typically refuse to take work home with me, but that means that there are many nights and weekends that I spend in the office. I’m just not wired to be able to “shut things down,” when things aren’t completed. Like most of us in the professional, I’m also a perfectionist and very detailed oriented. As a 36-year-old husband and father, my day consists of work and family, with an average work day being 11-12 hours. But I’m happy and love what I do. I’m very fortunate to have a loving and understanding wife.

Anything else you would like to add?
o I really like this blog. Keep it up.  (editor’s note:  Thanks, Brett!)