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Monday, April 16, 2012

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Rick Redman, Emmy Award Winner, Vice President – Corporate Communications, Hillerich & Bradsby Co., Our Coverage Sponsored by Physical Advantage

Rick Redman

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Rick Redman says he is a lucky guy. He’s lead a charmed life, meeting people and seeing events up close that most people only dream about. After growing up in Sandusky, Ohio and graduating from Bowling Green State University with a degree in journalism and communications, he began a journalism career at Louisville’s WHAS-TV. There he covered U.S. Presidents as well as Kentucky and Indiana Governors and legislatures and most major news events in the Louisville region between 1980 and 1987. Rick was the first person in Louisville TV news to report live from a helicopter, something that is common in TV news today. 

He left the world of news to become the Executive Producer of Sports at WAVE-3, NBC. There he covered NCAA Final Fours, Major League Baseball, the NFL, the Kentucky Derby and Indianapolis 500 as well as major golf championships. In 1993 he was recognized with television’s highest honor, an Emmy Award.

In 1994 Rick left television for a career in public relations. He went to work at the Kentucky Lottery serving first as Media Relations Director and eventually became Vice-President of Public Affairs & Corporate Communications. The best part of that job was changing people’s lives as he handed them checks worth millions of dollars! 

While all of Rick’s previous jobs were great ones, he says none were as terrific as the one he has now as VP Corporate Communications for Hillerich & Bradsby Co. and its family of brands including Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball. Daily Rick works with media and the public across the country to promote H&B’s brands through a wide variety of media channels and platforms. He also works on government relations and H&B’s corporate social responsibility.  

Rick and Martha, his wife of 28 years, have three sons, ages 23, 20, and 10. 

Rick’s current civic and community service activities include the Greater Louisville Sports Commission board, Metro United Way, American Red Cross, Trinity High School Foundation Board, and the Bowling Green State University School of Communication and Journalism Alumni Board. Rick is also active in the parish community of St. Albert the Great. We are thrilled to present Rick Redman as our latest Mover and Shaker! Peachy Deegan interviewed Rick Redman for Whom You Know.

Peachy Deegan: What is your first baseball memory? 

Rick Redman: Hitting a rubber ball over my house when I was four years old! That was an amazing feeling and is what hooked me on the game.

What is the best baseball game you've ever played in? 
 This is a tough question because there are so many ball games through the years. But the ones that are most memorable to me are the ones from Little League because they were pure fun. I was playing for the love of the game and with my friends. And win or lose, my Dad always took me for ice cream after my games. That was the best part!

What is the best baseball game you've ever seen? 
 Having grown up in northern Ohio, I am a long suffering Cleveland Indians fan. So the best game I've ever seen was Game 3 of the 1995 World Series when the Indians played the Braves. It was the first World Series game played in Cleveland in 41 years, and the first in my lifetime. The Indians had been really bad most of my life so I wasn't sure I'd ever see them in the World Series. When they made it I had to go. It was a cold night in Cleveland, warmed by the Indians winning the game 7-6 in 11 innings when future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray drove in the winning run. Since then Eddie and I have become friends after several of his visits to Louisville Slugger. He's a great guy who is a wonderful story teller and very comfortable around baseball people.

How do you like the Corvette Factory in Bowling Green? Have you had a custom Corvette built there? 
 The Corvette Factory, as well as the museum there, are each fabulous. They are must-sees for anyone who visits Kentucky. Seeing the quality and care put into building such finely tuned machines is fascinating. The museum has every model Corvette ever made. It's fun to see the evolution of this great American sports car. As for having a Corvette built there, no. With kids to haul around I've not been in a position to drive a two-seater. Maybe someday soon! 

What presidential news did you enjoy covering the most and why? 
 I had an opportunity to cover three presidential visits by President Reagan. Each one was special because he was a quote machine. That's heaven for a reporter who is always in search of that great sound bite. 

Please tell us what it is like to win an Emmy! 
 Winning an Emmy was a bit surreal. I didn't really expect to win because there was some great competition. When my name was announced I was a bit stunned at first. I wanted to make sure I thanked all the people who were part of the effort and was scared to death I'd forget someone. I also wanted to be sure I didn't ramble on with some big acceptance speech because that drives me nuts when I see people do that. Say your thanks and get off stage!

What do you like more and less about being in Corporate Communications compared to being a journalist? 
 The thing I like most is that I can have a more regular schedule and go home to spend time with my family. That's not the case when you're in journalism. The stories don't end in a nice convenient time frame so journalists can go home. 12 hour days were normal in journalsim. 16 hour days were not out of the ordinary. That's tough when you have kids playing baseball and soccer and you want to be there to coach or watch. I gave it up and made the transition to PR so I could have a more balanced life. I wouldn't give back a single day I spent in the news business. It's a noble profession and vitally important for being the watchdog to help us maintain the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. My experience in news has made me a better PR/media relations person because I understand what news people need and are looking for. And that experience helps me guide our leadership team at Louisvile Slugger in decisions we make.

What is the craziest and/or funniest thing that happened to you when you handed out a $1 million check? 
 The craziest thing was dealing with a guy who won $57 million and came in to claim it in drunken state. He was in no condition to make sound decisions about whether he wanted to take the payout in a lump sum or an annuity paid over 25 years. So we put his winning ticket in the safe, gave him a photocopy, and put him in a taxi to a hotel. He came back the enxt day and was sober. We then handed him his check for $57 million. 

What should most Americans know about baseball that they don't know yet? 
 Well, with a game that's beem the national past-time for 150+ years it's hard to say there's not much that Americans know about the game. But I do think that most Americans don't know how hard it really is to hit the baseball at the highest levels. Facing 95-100 mph fastballs, breaking balls, change-ups with crowds yelling at you is probably the hardest thing in all of sports. Think about it, batting .300, whihc means being successful 3 out of 10 times, is tremendous success in this game. In any other profession you'd be fired for only being succesful 30 percent of the time. 

How can baseball become more popular in other countries and what should non-Americans know about baseball? 
 Baseball is very popular in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Caribbean countries. It is growing in popularity in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe, especially The Netherlands. Non-Americans should know that it's a fabulous game to watch because it's a game of skill and strategy. It's like a chess match played by world class athletes.

How would you compare and contrast your love for baseball with a possible love of Cricket and do you think you'll ever make bats for Cricket? 
 Cricket is a great game. But there are many companies already making cricket bats so there's a pretty significant barrier to entry in that market. I'm not one to ever say, "never," but it is unlikely. It would be much like a cricket bat company trying to enter the Major League Baseball bat market. It would be very difficult to be successful.

What should the world know about Hillerich & Bradsby Co and Slugger that they might not know yet? 
 That we are a fifth-generation family-owned company. That's remarkable because research shows that less than 5 percent of family owned companies make it post the third generation and less than one percent make it past the fourth generation. We have defied the odds, but it is because we are owned by a family, the Hillerichs, who feel a stewardship to the game of baseball, baseball history, American history, and our company's unique role in all of it. We are humbled and honored to be in this unique position.

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
 I was very fortunate to work with some of the very best people in the TV news industry early in my career. WHAS-11 was owned by the Bingham family that also owned the Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper. They were Pulitzer Prize winners. They hired the very best to run their news organizations. When I was at WHAS-11 we had the highest local news ratings in America, 48 and 50 shares. We had an incredible staff of people who went on to work at places like CBS News, CNN, NBC, and some of the top stations in the country. I made a lot of mistakes, but I had great people who showed me the right way to do things. 

What are you proudest of and why? 
 I am proudest of my family. I have a wonderful wife: she has has an outstanding career in marketing and is part of a team from Humana that is currently nominated for Sports Event of the Year, The Humana Challenge, a PGA Tour event in Palm Springs in conjunction with The Clinton Foundation. It's up against the Super Bowl and NBA Finals, among others. Quite an honor. She was pivotal in Humana's planning and execution of the event. And I'm proud of my sons Zach, Tanner, and Wilson. Great kids who have great, giving hearts and are fun-loving guys who also happen to be outstanding athletes. Zach played college soccer and Tanner was on two Class 6-A state football championship teams. His school, Trinity High School, was number one one half the national polls this past season. Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, NJ was number one in the the half. 

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? 
 Own my own business. I've had a thousand people tell me I should go out on my own and create and run a PR/media firm. I haven't yet because I've been fortunate to work for great companies and with outstanding people and I've always had fun in all the places I've worked. But someday I'd like to venture out and do that. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
 I've never been one to seek awards, but if recognized for good work I'm humbled to accept. In addition to winning an Emmy for my work at WAVE-3 NBC I also won several Asscoiated Press Awards, Society of Professional Journalists Awards, and an award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews for my reporting at WHAS-11 CBS (now ABC). I also received The Powers Award from the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries as the oustanding public relations professional in the industry for 2002.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? 
 Times Square. So much enegy, so much excitement watching people who are there for the first time next to people who've been there a million times. It is the crossroads of America!

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? 
 Modell's on 42nd Street. Great location, awesome store. And they sell Louisville Slugger products. Plus, Mitchell Modell is one of the best human beings to ever walk the earth. Heart of gold. He loves people and helping people.

What is your favorite drink? 
 My ancestry is German, Irish and English. So beer is in my DNA. I love good beer. I love trying beers from all of the great micro breweries. But my favorite beer is Bass Ale. Nectar of the gods! Seccond favorite drink is a great Kentucky bourbon on the rocks, preferably Maker's Mark.

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 

 Probably being mistaken for an old Hollywood actor named Michael O'Shea. I had someone from the film industry telling me I was a dead ringer for this 1940's, 1950's actor. I'd never heard of the guy. Of course, with today's smartphone technology it was easy to Google him. I was shocked at how much I did resemble Michael O'Shea. He could've been my dad. Maybe he was! 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? 
 Mickey Mantle's by Central Park South. Hey, I'm a baseball guy! I just love being in the presence of all that history. And the food and coakctails are darn goof too!

What is your favorite Manhattan book? 
 Rather than a Manhattan book, it would be a baseball book by Babe Ruth; Babe Ruth's Book of Baseball written through his eyes after the 1927 Murder's Row season and reviewing what he learned from some of the early greats of the game. The Babe was larger than life.

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
 Donald Trump. It would be fun to have that much power and cofidence for a day. And I'm a pretty confident guy, but few people are as confident as The Donald.

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? 
A drink! Since we all can enjoy a Manhattan cocktail, how about a Rick Redman? It would be Kentucky bourbon and Coca-Cola on the rocks. That's my college football watching drink. 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? 
Meeting Darelle Revis last summer at an event to honor am Iraq War veteran from Louisville who hiked 7,800 miles across the country to raise money and awareness for struggling military families. Revis was a charming guy and very nice to me. He gave me some tips to take back to my football playing son.

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? 
 Take a walk through Central Park where you can enjoy the beauty of Frederick Law Olmsted's amazing park design while seeing the breathtaking view of the Manhattan skyline. Unequealed, unsurpassed, and unbelieveable. I love it!

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? 
 It would have to be Jesus Christ. There are so many questions to ask of someone who has had such an impact on the world.

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? 
 The Guggenheim. Maybe it's cliche for New Yorkers, but it is an amazing place, expecially for a guy like me who was born in Virginia, raised in Ohio, and lived most of his adult life in Kentucky. Muscially, I was within a whisker of seeing the Dave Matthews Band in New York. I've become friends with some of the guys in The DMB after they visited us at Louisville Slugger a couple of times. I was set to come up for a DMB show, then work got in the way. But one of my favorite live concert recordings is Dave Matthews Live in Central Park. I listen to it all the time.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
 I'm fortunate in my position to oversee our company's corporate social responsibilty. We do a lot, But I also try to live by the biblical teaching that to whom much is given much is expected. My mother had Alzheimer's so I was actively involved with the Alzheimer's Association for many years, serving as a board member and as chairman for three years. I've als been on numerous other boards an committees ranging from United Way and American Red Cross to my alma mater's school of journalism alumni board.

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite Whom You Know column and what do you like about it? 

Why, Sporty Peachy, of course!

Have you drank The Peachy Deegan yet and if not, why not?

I have not, but would love to try it! It sounds delightful!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
I learned work ethic from my father who was a blue colar laborer. He worked his tail off to support his family. That was supported by my first jobs working at Cedar Point, the greatest amusement park in the world in my hometown of Sandusky, Ohio. At age 15 and 16 I was wokring six days per week, 10 hours per day. It was an incredible place to get my feet wet in the real world Plus, when I was off I could ride all of the roller coasters. 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers?

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