David Vogin


My Toughest Challenge: Carol Reed

The chairman and CEO of the Reeds Public Relations Corp. on reinventing the company after circumstances nearly knocked it out of the game.

“In 2002, the sponsors of a new Fourth of July celebration in Dallas called Trinity Fest—including the No. 1 sponsor, a company called Daisytek—asked us to help draw attention to the festival, which was to present the largest fireworks show in Texas history. We took it on and attracted 300,000 people to the event. We agreed to help the following year, too, but soon discovered it was going to be way more expensive in 2003, because DaisyTek went into bankruptcy and security costs probably tripled. We had to decide whether to plunge my company into debt—$250,000 worth—to pay the suppliers … or to walk away. I took out every credit card I could find and we did pay the suppliers, because our reputation is everything to us. But, because of the large debt, I then had to lay off everyone at our company—I found them all new jobs first, though—and start over. We went through a period of reassessing and cleaning house, and we stopped doing things we didn’t want to do. In about a year or so, we had rebuilt the company and were out of debt.”