Some call him the Fox, but we call him our fearless leader. Today we celebrate his 30th anniversary at MP&F by sitting down—in his corner office—with the man himself and reflecting on the last few decades.
Is it true that you left a well-paying gig with a corner office at a reputable agency for an optimistic (yet not profitable) startup with a card table and folding chair for a desk?
DF: That’s true. I had a great job, but McNeely, Pigott and I had talked about going into business together for a long time, so I went with my gut, and so glad I did. We were a three-man consultancy when we started, with an office in the back corner of The Fulton Group. Things have certainly changed.
What has been the most memorable moment here at MP&F?
DF: Looking back over the past 30 years, I tend to “segment” the history of the agency into time periods. There were the “scrappy startup days,” and then the “infancy” when we grew to a small staff, and so on. I’d say one defining moment was when we went from “McNeely & Associates” to “McNeely Pigott & Fox.” We’d discussed the change, but we still had all the original M&A stationery, which, as Mark liked to remind us, wasn’t cheap, so we held off until an opportunity presented itself to pitch our first potential national client (ADT Automotive). It took us about 20 days to rebrand the company, print new stationery and pull together our pitch for the business. And, we won it. I’m proud to say that client (now Cox Automotive) is still a client today.
When the going gets tough, what keeps you going?
DF: Everyone has their own personal motivators. Mine were instilled in me by my parents. My father always said, “If you say you’re going to do something, you do it.” I stand by that and have tried to teach my girls (ages 24, 20 and 17) to do the same.
What’s your biggest blunder at MP&F?
DF: Missing that one trivia question at Fall Retreat 2019.