Pam has been a member of the Lubbock advertising community for over 35 years. Alongside being a member of the Lubbock Advertising Federation, she is the COO and Media Director at the Price Group.
Q: Where were you born and raised?
A: I am a product of the Air Force. I was born in Salina, Kansas, moved to Bermuda when I was two, Roswell, New Mexico at five, Northern Maine at nine, and then we moved to Fremont, California when my father was shipped overseas for the Vietnam War. I was about 11 when we got stationed in Clovis, New Mexico. We stayed there until I graduated from high school. I went to college in Columbia, Missouri, and then moved to Lubbock, Texas.
Q: Among all the places you’ve lived, do you have a favorite?
A: I miss Columbia a lot. In Missouri, the four seasons are distinct. Columbia is a small private college with a beautiful campus. It was built in 1850 – the first women’s college west of the Mississippi. It opened up prior to the Civil War, and became a complete four-year co-ed institution in the early ’70s. I received a thorough, quality liberal arts degree. I started off in journalism, segued into technical writing, and ended up taking a lot of marketing and advertising courses along the way.
Q: Is that when you knew you wanted a career in advertising?
Actually, I took a high school course in marketing and advertising, and my teacher found that I had a strong interest in it. She would ask me questions, I would give her answers, and we had a dialogue going my sophomore year. From my sophomore year on, there was a desire that I didn’t even really know that was tickled.
I graduated from Columbia with a technical writing degree with the idea that I could go to work for any company – for instance, a computer company where I would write manuals, helping the layperson understand how to use the product. That was the gist of the degree program. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a strong established venue or understanding as to how to market the degree. So, I tried applying to publishing companies and others on my own. I couldn’t get a nibble, so I went back to Clovis.
Q: So what brought you to Lubbock?
A: My sister lived in Lubbock and encouraged me to come visit and see what I could find here. My first interview was with Womack-Claypoole-Griffin. The company was based in Dallas. It was a huge statewide company with locations in Dallas, San Antonio, Odessa and Lubbock. I knew there was room to grow!
Unfortunately, they thought I was a copywriter, and immediately turned me down because they didn’t need one. Twenty-four hours later, I was walking out the door of my sister’s apartment, when Womack-Claypoole-Griffin called.
We know you’re not a copywriter, but we think we’ve got an opening for something we can train you to do. Would you come back in and interview for this position?
I drove back down to the Court Place Building (now the Lubbock National Bank building) for an interview with Randall Caviness, an account executive. The position was for a production manager.
I took the job, and three months into it I was miserable. It involved working with artists and printers, and required a strong background in printing. I didn’t know anything about printers, the product, or how to communicate with the printer. It was definitely a struggle.
Q: So what did you do?
I went to Dallas and met with Bill Claypoole, the head of the agency. He was a ginormous man – probably close to seven feet tall – but just a big teddy bear. He took me under his wing. We talked, and he asked me what I wanted, or what type of position I was looking for. I just told him that I was unhappy.
On another note, the company had been trying to get the Coca-Cola account here, locally, for years.
Long story short, Coca-Cola finally let local agencies begin to get their own advertising dollars and to use them as they saw fit. Bill had called Jerry Griffin that day (the head of the agency here), and Jerry called me on a Friday afternoon.
You’re going to be a media buyer by Monday!
Q: How did you feel about that?
At the time, I didn’t know what a media buyer was. I remember calling a sales rep who worked for KCBD, a man named Keith Tye. He was so sweet – such a gentleman. He sat down with me for about two to three hours that afternoon. He showed me how media buyers planned media buys – through ratings, program information, and so forth.
Monday rolled around, and the company sent a lady in from Dallas – a person who had been in media buying – to show me the ropes. That woman was a godsend.
When I talked with her, it “clicked.”
Media buying, like technical writing, is very analytical. Instead of words, though, I’m using numbers and research. Good media buying is expertly designed and crafted, much like an ad is expertly designed. It is crafting the buy with reach, frequency and cost per point. Cost per point drives how much money you need to spend. I knew, at that moment, that media buying was for me, and I never looked back.
I started buying for Coca-Cola in January 1981, and pretty much kept that going until I left in 1990 and came over to work for Phil at the Price Group.
Q: So you had heard of Phil (the owner of the Price Group) before going to work for him?
A: Absolutely. Phil was coming up on the rise in the ’80s when I first started. Competitively, Phil always emerged at the Addy Awards as the creative dominance. He was a young, great advertising executive, and was always recruiting young people – giving young account executives and artists from Texas Tech a shot. The art department was large. There must have been ten people in this department alone. It was always cutting-edge creative, and we were getting strong accounts. Price has just grown over the years.
At the time, they brought me over to handle Ruidoso Downs. They were all over New Mexico, most of Texas, and even branching into Mexico. We also rebranded UMC about the time I started. It was unintentional, but I think they wanted me to grow their clients’ budgets because the way I bought media – the clients and agency knew the media buy was expertly designed. I spent a good part of the first five years getting budgets where clients could be successful and confident that I was spending their money wisely.
Q: How many years have you been involved in AAF Lubbock?
A: I was involved from 1980-1986, then got involved in Venture Club for about ten years. The company I worked for offered to help me pay for one or the other. I returned to Ad Club in 1996. Fun fact: I’ve never missed an Addy Award ceremony since 1981 – 35 years as of last February.
Q: What encouraged you to get involved back in AAF?
A: My friends told me I needed to be involved. Sherry Saffle, Nelda Armstrong, and several others in the industry encouraged me to join. Because of my position with International Venture Club, I knew how to run an organization. I decided not only to join AAF Lubbock, but to run for Second Vice President.
Back then, we did campaigning. That year, Texas Tech went on to the Sweet Sixteen in basketball. There was a player named Darvin Ham. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, because he jumped up, and when he dunked the ball, it shattered the backboard. It made national news.
For my campaign poster Sonia Aguierre, a designer at Price Group, took my head and superimposed it on the photo. We created posters and buttons. It was funny. The theme of the campaign was Pam Dunk for 2nd VP.
Q: What was one of your favorite memories or accomplishments during your time with AAF Lubbock?
A: Well, one of my favorite memories was the year I got to be in charge of the Addys. I had never been involved in the planning process before. The Addy Awards have always been a big production in Lubbock. It wasn’t just the board. Ten people would come out from the club, just to help on the day of the Addys. Many hours are spent together, and because of that, you develop close friendships with people you might not have had the opportunity to know otherwise. We all became really close.
Anyway, we came up with the theme through the agency: Viva Las Vegas. Everybody in the agency participated in it. I actually had a committee of fifteen people: five committees with three people on each committee. It ranged with everything from dinner to entertainment arrangements.
We had a big casino at McInturff with fake money. We also had music playing. Over 400 people came that year. There was a big advertising community.
We had a big party afterwards. We didn’t make much that year, but we wanted to showcase the work, and show everyone the style and sophistication that this Ad Club could bring. It was fun. It was a great night. I think it ended about 2:00 in the morning. People were just having fun.
I loved working and pulling together to make this big show happen. It was a great experience, and something I will always be proud of.
Q: What is one of your favorite accomplishments outside of LAF – work or otherwise?
A: My work with Venture Club. Venture Club is a service organization for young women. It is my proudest accomplishment. The goal of Venture Club was helping women and children throughout the world.
During my time as the international president, I went to the Philippines where I saw poverty at it’s lowest level. I had the opportunity to motivate young women who were in this service organization to try to help their people overcome poverty. It was an honor to be able to help provide funds, leadership and encouragement.
I also went to Japan where the economy is strong, but women take a back seat in terms of the pecking order. I got to watch young women emerge as leaders, gain respect in their country, and become dominant. That country has emerged a strong force for women.
Being able to look back – even though it’s been 20 years, and even if it was only for a few kids – knowing we made a difference is one of my proudest accomplishments. It was absolutely God’s leading.
Who was your mentor or role model growing up?
My parents – both of them. My dad for the leadership he had with his men – quiet, unassuming, but impactful. I have tried to emulate that. And then my mother – just her strength. Having a military family and keeping it together when my dad was gone so much. Both of their strength.
If you were on and island and could bring only three things, what would they be?
- Plenty of water
- …and wine. Who cares about food? …if I had a choice of just three things!
What one famous person would you like to have drinks with, and why?
I don’t know if Jesus would drink. I would sit with Jesus and drink water.
I mean to actually see Him in person…
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
My bucket list is all travel-related.
- Go to Boston. I actually accomplished that back in September.
- Get back to Italy. I went there in my early twenties, but I want to go back and see Rome.
- Go to Paris.
It’s Friday afternoon. What do you typically do over the weekend?
I am an extremely active person. I love people, and I love my family. I have groups of friends that I do different things with, so it just depends on the mood. Socialization with a lot of laughter. Movies… I’m also a huge jazz fan! There are times that I just go home and crank it up and sit in my chair and veg out.
So jazz, huh? Do you have a favorite artist?
It’s varied over the years. I actually got to see Wynton Marsalis in New Orleans. Jana Hill, Jona Janet and I went and saw him at a jazz restaurant there. He was fantastic! He’s a trumpet jazz master.
What is a unique thing about you that most people don’t know?
I played the clarinet from the sixth grade through my junior year of college. I went to college on a partial music scholarship. Nobody knows that! My marching band went to Los Angeles my senior year. It was Christmas before the bicentennial kickoff, so we marched in the bicentennial kickoff parade at Disneyland. We were in the Monday night football halftime show!
Any last words or wisdom for us?
Lubbock AAF is unique. It provides a non-competitive environment in which everyone involved can learn, grow, and help others grow.
Continue the tradition. Get involved, and encourage others to get involved. We’ve got great strength, creativity, knowledge and wisdom within the members of our club. Leaders – give every member the opportunity to do something – within the club, and especially with the convention coming up. Experience the joy of working together and seeing something great come to fruition successfully.
If you know a member who would be interesting to showcase next, email their contact info to Kelly Podzemny at email@example.com.