Tuesday, February 28, 2006

THF, MS4MS, TeamMS and Team MS Foundation

As you can tell, I've been a little busy at work the last month or so. Not much has been written in the blog other than a random post here or there. To be honest, I haven't had much to say - oh, I've thought of a few things, but didn't really feel the need to take the time and write them out. Maybe there was a little burnout happening.

But, in the last couple of days I've been inspired by a group of people that deserve to be talked about. I hope you will all agree.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is...well...yucky. I know that isn't a great term, but it fits. For those of you who don't know about MS it is "a chronic, unpredictable neurological disease that affects the central nervous system" (definition from the National MS Society). Doesn't sound like fun now does it? Yucky is seeming like a good word now, right?

MS doesn't get as much attention as some of the other diseases that you might hear about but it is amazing how many people are affected by this disease, one way or another. Someone very close to me has lived with MS for 30 years. Not an easy road, which is why he's my constant inspiration. He'd tell you he's not amazing, just lives his life and deals with what he must, has a great attitude about it and moves on with his life. To me, this is truly inspirational.

There are a few other people I know who have been touched by this disease either because they have been diagnosed or have a loved one who has. They have put their energy into doing something - raising money and awareness to end this disease. I'm very lucky that they have come into my life in a variety of ways. They are all truly special and deserve to be talked about.

If you are a reader of this blog you know about the Tyler Hamilton Foundation. It was started in 2004, to, in the words of Tyler himself, "champion the two causes closest to my heart - competitive cycling and the fight against Multiple Sclerosis." The THF has been working hard on helping those with MS stay active and believe in their own abilities. Their fundraising auction ends tonight, but their mission continues on a daily basis.

Recently, I've been fortunate to get to know two energetic people with very kind hearts - Kory Souza and Jody Perewitz. MS has touched their lives and they, too, chose to do something about it. They organized an indoor motorcycle race, MS4MS, this past weekend with all of the proceeds going to the MS Society. They estimate that nearly 1,000 people attended, including racers and spectators. Not bad for something they whipped up in six weeks! They worked their butts off to get great prizes for the entrants and cool things for the raffles. They also organized a silent auction which had some unique items and drew quite a bit of interest. It was a great way to spend a cold Sunday afternoon. The final totals aren't in yet, but I'd venture to say they raised thousands of dollars for the MS Society. Congratulations to them both!

I met Jim Haraughty through work - our companies are partners. Over the past couple of years Jim has been working to fight MS, too. He started TeamMS Racing and has been working to promote the team's mission:

"Team MS is made up of a passionate group of athletes who are dedicated to
increasing the public awareness of multiple sclerosis and it's treatment
while setting an example that an active lifestyle is not
something that needs to be given up."

Jim and his team of racers has been very successful in educating their fans about MS and will continue to do so - their season starts in a couple of weeks in Daytona. However, this just didn't seem to be enough for Jim so he took it a step further....

I'm very happy to announce the start of the Team MS Foundation! The logo isn't quite done yet and the link on the website isn't there yet, but all the other ducks are in a row. Logo and web info will be coming within the next few days, but here's the mission statement straight from Jim:

The Mission Statement for Team MS is two fold. It is to drive awareness about
the illness and to promote an active life style for those individuals and
families living with this disease. A hunger for life is essential to a positive
mental state when living with MS. MS is an illness that does not
effect just one person, it effects an entire family when it strikes.

Jim goes on to say that the foundation will, "supply individuals and families living and dealing with MS, but who are being prevented from an activity because of financial hardship related to MS, an opportunity to participate."


As soon as I have more information on Team MS Foundation, it will be posted here.

Each of these people: Tyler, his wife Haven, Jody, Kory and Jim are wonderful people working to make a difference. Thank you all for your kind hearts and dedication.

Just a heartfelt tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 24, 2006

THF Online Auction - Only a Few Days Left!

The Tyler Hamilton Foundation (THF) "believes in the power of the bike! The Tyler Hamilton Foundation is dedicated to empowering lives through cycling. THF believes that cycling can heal and cyclists can help."

For the second year they are running an online auction as a fundraiser for the foundation. Over the last couple of years they have helped many people, including young cyclists and people with MS, which is a nasty disease.

All the great items they have for people to bid on just amazes me. Check it out:
Adventures - hot air balloons, deep sea fishing...
Electronics - televisions, DVDs and...
Plenty of cycling items - Shimano, Pedros, Kryptonite, Trek are just a few companies here
New items include some fun Boulder items and a home theatre, but that's not all...
Pets are included, of course - Tanker and Anchor wouldn't have it any other way.
Tanker & Anchor are even throwing in dinner at their house , which includes Tyler, Haven and dinner cooked by Andy Hampsten! Here's how Andy sees the evening: "Expect stunning Italian food paired with superb wines. The rest will be very unexpected."
As if that isn't enough...
The Memorabilia section includes items from Jan Ullrich, Robbie McEwen and David Ortiz

That is just a small sampling. There is a full list of categories on every page.

Good cause. Great items. Go on and get bidding. Yes, I've been bidding and will continue to do so - I even may have a strategy. See you there!

That's just a little tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tradeshow, Perewitz, NASCAR, Jeff Gordon, Lee Hopkins and more

Although it looks as though I've abandoned this blog that isn't the case at all. Just busy getting ready for a tradeshow. For those of you who work tradeshows you know how much goes into getting ready - for those of you who don't, maybe that's something I'll blog about when I get back!

But, there hasn't been a lack of things floating through my brain. Here are just a few - some that may get expanded on later - in no particular order.

Congratulations to Lee Hopkins on his high position on PubSub's PR ranking! I've been reading him daily for months. If you haven't read what he's written yet, please pop over there often; he's fabulous!

Yes, I'll be at a tradeshow for the next few days and NO I'm not bringing my computer. I think I can live without it for 2 days. I'm sure that I will be cursing myself when I want to check the status of my flight home or the weather or whatnot, but some of that's what CNN is for, right? And staying connected is easier than ever with cell phones and texting. I'm getting the hang of texting, which can be fun.

Over the last month or so I've been fortunate to get to know custom motorcycle fabricator Dave Perewitz and his family a little bit. They are a wonderful, warm group of people. Dave is going to be with us at the tradeshow this year along with one of his newest custom motorcycles. I have a feeling things might be more busy than normal.

My friend Dave McGillivray let me know that the book he's been working on for quite awhile is about to be published! "The Last Pick" can be pre-ordered on Amazon now. It says the book is going to ship on April 4th. I don't need to read it to know I'd recommend it to everyone. Obviously, I will read every word, though. There will, absolutely, be more on this later, but for you cycling fans here is what one person you may know says about Dave.

"Dave's message is consistent with most of us who set lofty goals....to have the guts to make a commitment, to prepare like no other, to accept the consequences involved and to never rest on your laurels."
Lance Armstrong

And, yes, cycling fans, I still believe Tyler. More on that later, too.

No, I didn't forget to mention NASCAR, you silly reader! Jeff Gordon not only will start on the outside of the front row on Sunday, he won his Gatorade 150 today! For those of you new to NASCAR, the Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year. Unlike other sports, this isn't at the end of the season, but, rather, the first race of the season. Qualifying for Daytona is different than any other race. Drivers run qualifying laps the week before the race. The top two fastest cars get the pole position and the 'outside pole' and are locked in for the race. All other drivers get their times wiped out. The rest of the field is then set by two races later in the week where the drivers are split into two groups and race for position. Jeff's spot is locked in, but by winning today he has momentum moving into Sunday. And, he's a 3-time winner of the Daytona 500. I'd say he's a favorite for Sunday.

We might be at the tradeshow, but I will be watching. We have a tv in our booth specifically for Daytona viewing. If this year is anything like last year, we'll have a crowd hootin' and hollerin' at the tv for the last 50 laps or so, cheering on their favorite driver. It's a good time. Get your munchies and soda and watch along with us. You might be surprised what you see - fans from all walks of life and sponsors that you might not expect. It's quite a spectacle.

Yes, I'll be away from home for the next few days, but remember this.

Those are just a few random tidbits for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, February 10, 2006

And now for something different....

As you all know, there are a few smart cookies posted to the right that, as I've mentioned, are the reason I have this blog. Then there are those that keep encouraging me along, some in the blogosphere and some not. Probably my strongest motivator is my cousin, Ed. He faithfully reads every day and, when there hasn't been a post in a few days, he'll mention that he hasn't had anything new to read, which will push me to take the time to sit and actually write what's been going on in my head.

Ed is also one of the people I admire most in this world. He's an incredible person and one that I think should start a blog. I've been doing my own bit of encouraging there, but so far it hasn't worked. However, this week I've been slammed with work and such and when he mentioned that he hadn't heard anything from the blog I offered to have him as a guest writer and he took me up on it! Below is something that is on my cousin's mind today. Something a little different, but I think it's a good reminder to us that family is important. Even when we are busy we should keep up those connections. Thanks for that reminder, Ed. I love you, too.

Please do make Ed feel welcome....maybe if we encourage him he'll start his own blog, or at least come back here once in awhile and write a few more things for us here....

What is really important?

Yesterday morning I woke up a bit earlier than usual. While I had a some extra time on my hands before heading off to work, I started to think about my family. My father's side in particular.

Two years ago I helped to plan and organize quite a large and successful family reunion. It took a lot of hard work from a small committee of cousins who really wanted this event to be a great one. We succeeded!

While planning this event, I realized how many of my family members I had not seen for many years, or had never even met before. I was actually amazed on how quickly this family had grown right before my eyes. Cousin's children were having children and so on! What happen here? Where did the time go? I still remember everyone so happy to be together that special reunion day, exchanging telephone numbers and emails. "It's been way to long", and "we only get to see each other at Weddings and Funerals" was the popular phrase heard everywhere that day.

A couple of years have passed now and I wonder how some of my cousins are doing. I have emailed a few in the past, and never got a reply. I guess we all have other priorities in our lives. For some, to take a moment to send a quick email or make a simple call seems to be a chore. For others it may be important to keep in touch.

That's my thought for today.

Thanks for reading us both today.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Congrats to Jake and Jeremy

I'm a little late, but congratulations to both Jake McKee and Jeremy Pepper. They will both be starting new jobs soon!

Jake reports on his news in this great post last week. He's leaving LEGO after five years to do something different and challenging. He'll be joining Slingshot, which looks like a funky marketing agency. I'm sure Jake will be a natural there.

Jeremy was very sly in his approach to his news. He slipped it into a post, but directed everyone to this post by Kevin Dugan, which was very informative for those of us who missed the release. Jeremy will be joining the Weber Shandwick team and working on some large accounts right off the bat.

Both Slingshot and Weber are lucky to have found you two. I know their agencies will be better for having you join their teams. All the best in your new adventures!

Just a little tidbit. Thanks for stopping by.

Superbowl wrap-up

Congrats to Zeus' dad, Ben, on the Steelers' Superbowl win. I must say that I'm glad all the hype is over. Although, we did not get as much of it in New England this year for obvious reasons.

I do have a couple of comments on the ads, which is what I concentrated on last night. I'm sure you can view the ads many places, but here's one link that lists them by quarter and you can vote on them, too. There may be many places that rate the ads, but I've been using USAToday's Ad Meter for a few years because they have rankings first thing in the morning and are usually in line with what I think. They weren't far off this year either.

My favorite ranked number 6 on their list. Budweiser's 'Streaker' was a very cute ad that wasn't offensive, but made me giggle. Budweiser got me again in the third quarter with "Barn", which ranked number 2 on USAToday's list. This wasn't funny, just touching.

Where I didn't agree was with their 35th pick. Toyota's commercial for their Hybrid Camry showed a bilingual dad and son. Bravo! This is a company that is 'getting it' in their advertising. I had them ranked much higher in my mind, but I guess it wasn't entertaining enough for the audience. However, as a marketer, I thought they were right on.

Those were my three favorites. What were yours?

Just a post-game tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

17 days and counting...

...until Daytona, of course. As you can see, I get a little nutty this time of year. It won't last past the Daytona race but right now it's like a kid waiting for Christmas. Ok, maybe not that bad, but if you are into football and look forward to the Superbowl for weeks, well, this is the same thing to a NASCAR fan.

I'm sure you all think I'm a little nuts; that's ok. I still maintain that NASCAR is one of the smartest marketing companies around and will write more on that as the weeks go on. But here's some information for you from my NASCAR calendar that should get you thinking....

1976 was the first time a NASCAR Cup Series race was shown live on television; only the last lap was shown (and I know we watched it at our house).

Less than 30 years later, in 2003, there was $2.1 billion worth of NASCAR merchandise sold. That's billion with a "B".

No, it wasn't all purchased by the stereotypical 'redneck'. Professional men, mom's, kids - people from every walk of life and every age and both genders purchase NASCAR items.

If you can't wait for Daytona the 28th running of the Bud Shootout is in 10 days!

Just a racing tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.