Tuesday, July 17, 2007

It’s déjà vu all over again…

by Richard Sweet, Associate A.D./Marketing & Public Relations

Eight months ago I was writing a blog entry for “Nuts about Southwest” announcing my plans to leave a life-long passion (Southwest) for another life-long passion (SMU Athletics). I sit here today trying to write the same post, but this time reversing the passions.

I’m headed back to Southwest. As they call it, I’m “boomeranging.” From a career standpoint, they made me an offer I couldn’t turn down. Southwest is truly the best company in the world to work for and the airline business is in my blood. Call me a masochist, I left when oil was $60 a barrel and I’m returning at $74. And who knows – it may be even higher when I start back August 6th! (My last day at SMU will be August 3rd.)

This move is equally as emotional as the day I left Southwest. I have made great friends in the Athletic Department, friends that have done remarkable things in the past year to get this program headed in the right direction - the top 25 direction. Working with Steve Orsini has been great. He is relentless and will not stop until we reach and exceed our goals. He has put together an incredible staff and I plan to help them as much as I can in a marketing advisory capacity (now they get me for free). I also get to be a Mustang fan - something that is difficult when the games become the job.

Being able to work at SMU has helped fill a void… a need to help this program from a brand standpoint. One of my regrets is not being able to actually be here when the upcoming ad campaign is running in full stride. I tried, but my friends at Southwest wanted me back sooner. I couldn’t afford to pass up this invitation to go back. The good news is that the campaign is in very capable hands (we shot two television spots last week). Monica Contreras gets it… she has a great marketing mind. Brad Sutton gets it… you all have seen some pretty good feature articles and reports done recently and that didn’t happen by accident. Both Monica’s and Brad’s staffs have done a great job formulating their plans and now are ready to execute those plans.

The table has been set, the foundation has been laid and I’m glad Steve gave me the opportunity to lead it. I believe the convergence of winning and branding will put SMU in the position we, as fans, have hungered for for years.

Now it’s time for me to go “pony up” and renew my season tickets. I think I’ll buy an extra one - it’s going to be a good year. Beat Tech!!!!!!!!


Blogger Thaddeus said...

Good luck Richard!!! We loved having you for the time that we did.

I am crestfallen.

9:06 PM  

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