Mark Plungy, Former Vice President, The Hoffman Agency

Above photo: Mark Plungy, in one of his more celebratory moods during his days at Hoffman.

20 years? Can it really be 20 years since The Hoffman Agency opened its first office in Singapore? It seems like just yesterday that Lou was announcing to the Agency his vision for how one agency could truly deliver Pan-Asia PR for technology clients.

Wow, now I’m starting to sound a bit like some old guy who complains about how fast time goes by and yells at kids to “Get off my lawn!” I wouldn’t say I am there yet, but the neighborhood kids really have no respect for the time I put in on lawn maintenance. But that’s beside the point. Now what was I talking about? … oh yes, The Hoffman Agency celebrating its 20-year anniversary in Asia Pacific.

I was excited when Lou contacted me asking if I would be willing to write a blog about my memories of Hoffman AP. And I’m happy to contribute because it presents the opportunity to give credit where credit is due.

I joined The Hoffman Agency in January 1995 to be part of its small, but expanding semiconductor business. One of our clients, Hyundai Electronics America, was about to embark on a worldwide launch of its MPEG-2 chip, and since Hoffman had just the one San Jose office at the time, the agency had partnered with other agencies in AP and in Europe to help. Plans for the launch were well underway when I joined. Lou had determined that one of my colleagues would go on the Europe trip, but who would go on the AP trip was a tossup between Lou and me.

Now here is where the giving credit where credit is due part comes in.

While we were still trying to decide who would go on the AP trip, Lou and I joined the president of the agency we were partnering with in AP for dinner at Birk’s, a legendary Silicon Valley restaurant. While at dinner I asked this gentleman a simple question. How important was title in meetings in AP? He said very important. That answered for me who should go on the trip. The next day in the office I reminded Lou of the comment and said he should be the one to go on the AP trip. Little did we know that that one trip would change the course of technology PR in AP. As Lou outlined in his blog, during that trip he saw the opportunity to create Hoffman Asia Pacific and deliver high-quality technology PR across AP.

From the time the first office opened in Singapore and in the years to follow, I would hear during new business pitches and from fellow PR professionals after I left the agency, that Lou would give me credit for getting Hoffman AP started. While flattered, there is no way I could claim any credit. All I did was ask one question and say,

“Lou, you have president on your business card. You should go on the trip.”

Lou, it is you who saw the opportunity and had the vision of what was possible. You were the one who pulled together an amazing team of PR professionals who I feel honored to have worked with, and got them all to buy into your vision and make it happen.

Congratulations, Lou! And Congratulations to The Hoffman Agency on 20 years in Asia Pacific!