May 6, 2014
My first-ever experience with NCMPR came in March of 2007 in San Diego. I had only been on the job here at Dixie for four months, this after spending nearly 12 years in the world of sports information, and I still had that fresh "deer in headlights" look on my face when it came to actual college PR and marketing. I was a little early to the hotel resort the NCMPR conference was being held in, so I did what any other guy would do on a Sunday afternoon in March. I went to the hotel bar and started watching NCAA tournament games. It was there where I met Anne Hansen (from Western Nevada CC), who had been the president of NCMPR the year prior. She introduced herself to me, and those she was with, and when she found out where I was from and that I was a District 6 (the best damn district in NCMPR BTW) member, we became fast friends. She told me stories about how active Dixie State was in NCMPR and that my predecessor, Mark Petersen, had been NCMPR president in 2002-03. She then introduced me to Andrea Hanstein, who ended her term as NCMPR president in NOLA in 2014. I have to say that if it wasn't for Andrea and her friendship and support, I probably wouldn't be writing this today. Two things about me you may not know. First, I'm initially very shy and quiet, until you get to know me. Second, I'm probably one of the very few PR professionals in the world who is deathly afraid of public speaking. I know what you all are probably saying -- that I picked the wrong career path. Which takes me back to Andrea. She took the time to welcome me, include me, and most of all, befriend me. She also got me involved with NCMPR at the district level as the Utah rep on the D6 Council, and because of her tenacity I am a current member of the national board. She is one of the best brand ambassadors in telling the story of what NCMPR has to offer. Thanks to Andrea and many others I have met along the way, I look forward to attending NCMPR district and national conferences each year, not only for my own professional development, but also to the benefit of my great staff at DSU. I have become comfortable making my own connections and friendships with colleagues from across the country, and I look forward to seeing them and getting reacquainted with them. (Especially my “Kyle’s Parents’ Basement Bar” crew!) NCMPR has given me the opportunity to learn and grow in this profession -- to step out of my "comfort zone" and network, make new friends, and to learn about how to better serve my institution and its students, faculty and staff through all the great programming year in and year out. Yes, the programming, which highlights the innovation and ideas from a talented group of professionals, makes NCMPR great! Thank you NCMPR for all that you've meant to both me and Dixie State University. Happy 40th anniversary!
By Steve Johnson
Director of Public Relations, Marketing, Publications, Trademark
Dixie State University, UT
St. George, UT