25 YEARS AND GOING STRONG by Ray Casas

It was 25 years ago today that I left my old job, drove to Biscayne Bay, looked at the water and took a deep breath. A few minutes later I went to join Otis Wragg in our new firm. The next day was my first client meeting. Check our contest on Facebook for the official incorporation date of Wragg & Casas to vie for a prize.

I could not be prouder of our 25 years. It’s been an incredible ride.

Along the way we’ve been fortunate to work on some of the biggest stories in Florida. Helping FPL, Humana, MDX and others communicate after hurricanes. Launching GT USA’s cargo terminal at Port Canaveral. Promoting nuclear power and mineral rights and Everglades restoration. Handling the intensive media effort at the first-ever criminal trial from an airline crash. Defeating the Constitutional Amendment 4 Sugar Tax. Promoting clients’ interests in public referendums.

It’s due to great clients, particularly those long-term clients still with us today – U.S. Sugar, Shutts & Bowen, Ocean Bank, Baptist Health South Florida, Moss & Associates – and many, many others. And to talented, dedicated long-term staff. While Otis and Joanna Wragg retired in 2012, EVP Jeanmarie Ferrara joined the firm in 1996, Central Florida Manager Gail Rayos came on board in 2007 and Mel Lichtenheld in 2008.

We’ve helped hundreds of clients promote their brand…and protect their brand. From publicizing lawyers and doctors and hospitals, to the benefit of salt water-tolerant sod, to land use issues, to branding orange juice to extolling the virtues of community redevelopment agencies. Prep schools, non-profit universities, for-profit universities.

Dolphins and Marlins and Heat. We’ve handled media communications for Buddhists and Catholics and Protestants and Jews.   Pro bono work for the blind and the homeless and numerous community groups. All the while turning down potential clients whose stories didn’t pass the smell test.

And yes, we’ve handled a controversial issue or two, helping clients tell their stories. The best reward is knowing we’ve helped a person or company overcome a media firestorm.

The role and scope of media has changed over the years. Social media has become an essential, if not the primary, way to communicate for many clients. Flex time and remote work are commonplace.

But some things don’t change. Taking pride in writing a particularly good piece of copy, in helping clients overcome obstacles and communicate their stories, and in winning new business.

I want to thank our clients, and our staff, and my wife Ali who’s put up with long hours and weekend work and too many black tie functions. And our kids Christine and Michael who’ve grown up over the years.

Now that I’ve taken another deep breath…onward.

 

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