Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Macbeth Spotlight Spies and Spectre

Somewhere around 1600, Macbeth receives a prophecy from three witches that he will become King of Scotland in William Shakespeare's Tragedy of ambition and murder (in Macbeth, the Movie). In 2001, The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church in the movie Spotlight. Spielberg’s movie, Bridge of Spies, begins in 1957, During the Cold War. New York lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) is recruited by a CIA to negotiate a prisoner swap for the release U.S. pilot Francis Gary Powers. In Spectre, the timeless and ageless James Bond uncovers a sinister organization (Spectre) while the secret service faces a giant merger in the latest installation in the 007 series.

A Shakespearean tragedy beginning with witches spreading hearsay to old time investigative journalism to the vagaries of cold war intelligence to issues of good and evil controlling global security --- It is the holiday movie season. This sampling of features suggest that communications are at the heart of dramatic story arcs still. What is kind of amazing in our digital age is how dated word-of-mouth, fact-checking, military intelligence and keeping the world safe from the bad guys starts to feel. I’m wondering if timeless tales and non-fiction will yield to fantastic blockbusters with only a sketchy attachment to the human condition on the planet earth.

Here's to wishing us all PEACE ON EARTH. See you at the movies.

Also recently viewed the latest in the Rocky series - CREED and the BI SHORT about the financial house of cards around mortgages including sub prime investments of which hardly anyone understood except a handful of shrewd people betting on wholesale failure of the system in 2008.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Speeding Ticket

I drove my car and my heart was a little bit broken

A brief siren, flashing lights, hardly a word spoken.

Driver’s License and proof of insurance from the glove box.

Hiding in front of a gated community. where the cop stops

Velocity on Highway 40, changing lanes and green lights past

Creve Coeur officer claims --- “You’re going too fast.”

“Really, you got me timed on a half mile stretch of road?”

Nothing will stop him from completing this quota load

Paperwork says more than one hundred bucks I should pay.

A citation at high noon on a November Sunday.

A speed trap - this isn’t Rock Hill? I’m just sayin’

Who really wins in such a frivolous violation?

The lawyer, in 30 days time, --- revenue he will see.

The judge will be faced with a December docket and a plea  

Amended ticket, off the record, status quo

Don’t argue. Get a lawyer – It’s the place to go

Time will pass and the leaves will fall.

No point, no points, best of all.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

My Boy Ben

I cannot tell you about my boy Ben
without bragging again and again.

I cannot tell you he is without flaw,
Nor would he --- he is so humble and all.

He smiles --- he laughs at every kind of joke.
Elephants, Hookkah bars, cigars up in smoke.

As I recall, he wore a tie under his hood and gown.
The U was lucky he decided to stay around.

In a hurry to excel and to succeed;
On a casual walk he stops to see graffiti.

I said “You will be tested.” --- Your life will have surprises.
Yet he shows support for all around him --- He always rises

Crunching numbers in valuation math,
With a sensibility closer to a visual artist’s path.

What a silent leader looks like and can be;
I love what he does and anyone can see;

The sense, the humor, the love, the design
Simple pleasure and economy of line.

The years go by --- a priceless legacy;
My boy Ben. Look, a Selfie --- You and me.     

Happy Birthday Bubba 10-12-2015

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Best for Last

Poem for Rob
What does it mean to be the best?
It isn’t a contest among the rest.
It happens when fate meets the test of time;
One in a million -- with faith, hope, and love - it shines;
The crème de la crème always rises.
Such is Life, with its periodic surprises.
Who do you want on that wall? Red Sky at night or squall;
On the horizon - one who stands tall;
Laughing out loud, the last -- youngest but never the least;
Strong and smart -- as a gentle beast.
Propose a toast to all that is great;
Family, friends and twist of fate.
Pop the cork, rock solid and steady, willing, able, always ready;
Bang on copper-bottom pots and pans, throw confetti.
A year older. Another year wiser. Never give up the fight.
You are proof that mom and dad would eventually get it right.

Happy Birthday Rob Morgan August 30, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lynn Mary Lynn Zsa Zza

Atom Bomb anniversary. KA-BOOM!
Lynn is born – make some room.
You thought her older brother had center stage?
Well -- welcome to another age.

Yacht Club, The Leprechaun, S&H stamps.
Couches, ash trays, end tables, alabaster lamps.
My sister Lynn - It has always been;
Lots of laughs, bubble gum, Rin Tin Tin.

Andrews. Augustine. Horace Mann.
Kool Aid Stands, Terry the milk man, Kick the Can
Marlboro cigarettes, Roll-on deodorant -- Ban
Just in time to tease the oh so sensitive Dan

“Walkin’ through a meadow - a bird flew over me”
Rob performs 4 all to see - Rip Van Winkle-Rip Van D
Boot’s Theater or Boots Made for Walkin’
Arts and Drama - Everybody’s Talkin’

Captain Penny or Kangaroo, Combat, Ghoulardi  
If we’re the sum of these parts, I wonder -Who are we?
Teenage angst – I’ve got Friday on my mind.
Race to the moon -- a giant leap for mankind

Stop the war! – Especially if it means skipping school,
Saddle shoes, uniforms and golden rule.
This is the Age of Aquarius. Be nobody’s fool.
Bell bottoms, 45s, late at night, oh so cool.

Bustin’ out at eighteen -- you wanna be free
Four Alter boys -- all in -- Let it Be
St. Luke the Evangelist writes it down;
Lickety–split -- married -- out of town.

Time goes on, smile, remember the joy, be happy
Life is a journey, lots of livin to do -- make it snappy
Ice cream, chocolate cake and birthday wishes;
I think it's Greg's turn to do the dishes.


Love ya Lynn – Wes. (Did you really convince me to get into a cardboard box and ride in it like a roller coaster down the basement stairs?)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

At the Trainwreck

It is July in St. Louis. The American Marketing Association incoming chapter President Pier Alsup calls an informal gathering to order at the Westport Trainwreck Saloon.  The heat index is in the high nineties but it is a welcome contrast to perhaps the rainiest June on record in Mound City.

Board members file in casually. Over quesadilla, mushroom poppers, chicken drummies and a beverage of choice you get a preview of the coming year. Angela, Bob and Pier attended the Leadership Summit and the take aways are parceled as topics unfold. Molly and Wes have provided some input as membership co-chairs. Wes, of course, is compelled to again revisit the leaky bucket metaphor that addresses the essential two part strategy for any successful chapter membership plan: 1. Retention and 2. Member Acquisition.  

Bob is a fan of a strategy that allows our chapter to get recognition many of us feel is long overdue. We deserve to be on one of those Chapter Excellence Award banners but have only submitted the required paperwork a handful of times in recent history. Wes recalls a year when the submission earned special recognition for collegiate efforts.

We celebrate the success at UMSL and look forward to steady progress at Lindenwood University where we hope we can grow and mentor future marketers and maybe future chapter leaders too. The marketing roundtable program is re-tooling. Dan reported on the roundtable at the Conference last February and results were highlighted on the AMA St. Louis website. The website features a new look and the chapter logo which was rolled out last year.  Bob is convincing in his assertion that the site has enhanced functionality as well.

This local branding may be a bit of a sore point at International Headquarters. IH has a new CEO and it is clear the larger association is wondering if positioning itself as the most relevant source of marketing knowledge in the world is strong enough.  The power in 75 regional chapters does not go unnoticed. The CEO diplomatically suggests that we are “better together” and the Professional Chapters Council (PCC) leadership seem to concur. (A curious thing, given the fact that PCC is made up of leaders of exceptional chapters, many of whom have worked their way through their own divisive branding exercises.)   

The chapter year is officially underway. The annual golf classic at Creve Coeur Golf Course managed to happen  July 3, 2015 with 30 golfers on a holiday weekend. Now the beginning of strategy ideation begins as the torch is passed.  Good call Pier! And Pier, Greg, Mark, Bob, Courtney, Amanda, Kym, Dan, and Wes disperse from the Trainwreck. They are sure to start the word-of-mouth, social media and committee conversations that gets us on track one more time. 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Rangers in a Time Machine

We were just kids in the 1960s. We were well into a new decade when we entered the big factory that was Lakewood High School. The school was busting at the seams with the decision to admit both freshmen and sophomores beginning in 1970. We felt that new decade was mostly dull in comparison to the tumult we came to know and love of the rebellious wonder years prior. That decade gave birth to considerable angst.

In the 1970s, the generation gap widened with the onset of anti-war sentiment. We wanted peace. The music of the Youngbloods singing “C;mon people now/Smile on your brother/Ev’rybody get together/Try to love one another right now” gave way to the sardonic Woodstock anthem by Country Joe and the Fish“What are we fightin for?/Don't ask me I don't give a damn, the next stop is Vietnam/Open up the pearly gates. Well there ain’t no time to wonder why ---.WHOPEE we're all gonna die.”

That bleak view of the future evolved nevertheless. Even though we weren’t fully aware of it we were at the nexus of larger counterculture generation. We had strength in numbers – Boomers, born between 1946-1964, ready to change the world. With time: The war ended. Nixon resigned. the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War was a distant memory.

Blink -- dozens of channels to choose from on TV. Cable programming made media buyers scramble. It was nothing when compared to what was to come. Print media, notably the daily newspaper became obsolete.

Blink --  digital disruption, brought on by an onslaught of technology we never would have imagined. We saw the Kodak moment completely overtaken by social media. We saw the explosion of Blockbuster retail movie rentals replaced by a variety of online alternatives. We saw land lines, once an ubiquitous presence in every home, become unnecessary. The telephony monopoly that we busted up in the 1980s reemerged as an insidious essential utility with clean white AT&T retail spaces in strip malls and gallerias around the nation. Apple made Forrest Gump rich.  

Blink -- we like, tweet, pin, post and crowd-source everything. We connect with our classmates in ways that are ironically both genuine and artificial. We get and give a glimpse of our kids and their kids. It becomes crystal clear the future does not belong to our bloated generation.

Blink -- we are out of our element. We have to ask a twenty-something how to operate our intuitive smart phones. We have to go online to get almost any kind of service. We are forced to interface with tech specialists offshore or around the world to connect our internet router.

Meanwhile, marketing mavens blog about engaging and influencing conversations about anything and everything, all the while, never looking up to make eye contact.  It makes me happy to think about that time in the 1970s when we were High Schoolers with an opportunity to change everything. Now I can’t help thinking how much fun it would be if nothing changed at all. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Accountability Sam

Sam Silverstein agreed to meet me for coffee this warm St. Louis morning in June. He has just has just released his book Non Negotiable The Story of Happy State Bank & The Power of Accountability. He is at home between speaking engagements, working with clients and promoting his book No More Excuses and Making Accountable Decisions. He is past president of the National Speakers Association and clearly knows a thing or two about public speaking.

It is this point that struck me as an insight into Sam’s world as he reveals just how he met the CEO of Happy State Bank and how that encounter became the case study for this straightforward business book. What is telling, for me, is the humility with which Sam confesses to being astonished as he observed the presence of this banker from Texas. Non-negotiables transform everything and everyone for the better. The book explains in plain terms why. He offers a powerful example that reads like a best-selling business parable.

Amarillo is in the center of the Texas Panhandle, a 26-county area that is bordered by New Mexico and Oklahoma. Here, where the southern plains meet the desert, is where Sam rolled up his sleeves. The book is a by-product of this engagement. Offered for the reader are the 20 Non Negotiables for this successful Texas Bank as guided by the Chairman and CEO. Offered to the reader is food for thought. Sam preaches Accountability and with his book has a powerful  substantiation of how it works.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Leelinau Falls

Alison Saar was born in Los Angeles in 1956 to a well-known African American artist, Betye Saar, and an art conservationist, Richard Saar. Alison became a sculptor. Saar earned her B.A. from Scripps College in California and an M.F.A. from Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles. She began making sculpture that focused on the theme of cultures of the African heritage. Her work has been exhibited and is represented in collections including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

The sculpture she created for Laumeier was carved before it was given its name, while perusing a book on mythology, Saar discovered Leelinau, a North American Indian legend, the story spoke to her work and gave her sculpture its name. It was added to Laumeier Sculpture Park’s collection in 1997. Saar learned of the ledgend of Leelinau. She was attracted to a nearby sacred grove that was inhabited by spirits and fairies.

Leelinau loved  the solitude of the forest. Her parents arranged for her marriage but she was quite distressed and went to the woods to find solace. Leaning up against a tree, she heard the voice of a tree spirit whispering to her. Leaving her family and friends. Leelinau, on the eve of her wedding day, fled to the arms of the Tree Spirit instead of meeting the man her parents had chosen, Leelinau, which means delight of life. Saar intended that the wooden female figure and the oak tree would increasingly becoming one over time through natural degradation.

Tragically, Leelinau fell from her perch high in a tree located in a special place along one of the trails at the Laumeier Sculpture Park. At a recent meeting of docents at Laumeier, there was a sigh of relief and some bittersweet laughter about the ephermeral nature of life and art. And so we mourn the loss of treasure hidden away at our jewel – part park – part museum – all St. Louis. 

(above) Leelinau in better days was installed in the height of an oak tree along a trail at Laumeier Sculpture park, Now on the heels of the Mother's Day Art Fair in May of 2015 she lies in pieces (middle) and a last peek of the wire hair with leaf detail (bottom). Below: Laumeier e-newsletter in February 2016 copy.

Alison Saar, Leelinau, 1997

Alison Saar's Leelinau, 1997, formerly located in Laumeier's Eastern Woodland, was inspired by the legend of Leelinau, a North American Indian girl who was enticed by the sacred wood inhabited by spirits and fairies. Growing up, Leelinau preferred the solitude of the forest to the company of people, so she escaped to the woods for comfort when her parents arranged her marriage to an older man. There, she heard the voice of a tree spirit whispering to her, asking her leave her family and follow him. On the eve of her wedding, Leelinau retreated to the sacred wood to be with the tree spirit forever. Fragments of lore and myth like this one, as well as the customs from culturally diverse backgrounds, echo in Saar's powerful artworks.

 was hung upon the side of a tree along the Art Hike Trail, with her long hair hanging almost fourteen feet from the top of her head. Saar intended for Leelinau to be an ephemeral artwork which would decay with exposure to the elements over time, and the artist confirmed this intention during her 2014 visit to Laumeier. In May 2015, a storm destroyed Leelinau past the point of repair, and she was respectfully de-commissioned from Laumeier's collection on her 18th birthday.

Kelsey McGinnis, Graduate Research Assistant

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Judging the Show - Art Fair 2015

Typically, 15,000 come to the annual three-day Mother’s Day weekend Art Fair at Laumeier Sculpture Park in Sunset Hills. This is the 28th annual fair -- food vendors, a wine garden, live music and 150 exhibitors add to the experience. Ceramics, textiles, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, drawing and sculpture are on display and for sale. The effort for Laumeier and each participating artist is significant. It’s a big deal.

Laumeier Sculpture Park is a living laboratory where artists and audiences explore contemporary art. It is one of the first and largest dedicated sculpture parks in the country. It is an institution of international significance as well as a unique complement to the cultural landscape of the St. Louis region. The Art Fair is one of those times the general public comes to visit this regional (arguably international) treasure. This perennial showcase is an important part of a larger conversation about contemporary art.  

Laumeier Sculpture Park will complete construction of the Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center and renovation of the Kranzberg Education Laboratory for Art this year (2015). Ambitious plans on the horizon that will provoke dialogue about art and its very real impact on how we view the world. It is an exciting time at Laumeier Sculpture Park. So here we have a community engagement that is truly a celebration of art and artists. All of the exhibitors are winners but a short list are recognized as those judged to be among the best of show. The process, of course, is somewhat secretive. It involves scrutiny of work on display prior to the show in full swing. To win recognition is a validation that doesn’t compensate for the expense and commitment of traveling from points near and far -- Creve Coeur, Chesterfield, Ballwin in our back yard to U.S. points  midwest, west, southwest, southeast and northwest and northeast.       

This year, rain is in the forecast but it is unlikely that it will dampen the spirit of what it means to be an artist. Laumeier nurtures emerging artists at art camps, it offers docent tours of its collection and welcomes guests to study and view monumental and contemporary sculptural art in an inviting public place. But it is this showcase of these passionate artists turned merchants over this weekend that reminds all of us of the dedication it takes to be a be a viable artist. Of course, jury recognition and/or revenue from sales at this show has little to do with acceptance of  the artist vision consistent with curatorial platforms. That is another matter entirely. Regardless of your position on what is or is not ART – pay your ten bucks, have a glass of wine, purchase something for your living room that matches your couch, have some fun  In that context you are still contributing to the discourse. Your opinion matters! And maybe (hopefully) you will come back and visit Lauemeier when it is FREE and the sun is shining.   

Sunset Hills (MO) – Artists at Art Fair 2015 included Jane Johnson from Port Charlotte, Florida Mark Waninger from Jamestown, IN with cheese plate made of woods; Leonard Tinnell from Missoula, MT; Holly Foss from Minneapolils, MN 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Failure Coach by Wes Morgan - Available Now

Alan Edgewater finds himself a best-selling author and motivational speaker. His base of operations in St. Louis, Missouri allows him to stay somewhat grounded but with growing influence and aspirations he becomes something of a local industry. His team of advisors and a hapless mega lottery winner influence his marketing strategies as he builds on his business. At the core of his enterprise is the idea of embracing failure instead of fearing it. Surprising outcomes come as Alan lends his name to an unconditional scholarship program and the scholars provide insight into unfettered life choices. Alan’s journey and that of his close-knit associates create a tapestry of extraordinary events in this thought-provoking novel.

Wes Morgan is a marketing communications specialist whose career is built on a foundation of education (University of Miami B.A. and M.B.A.) followed by New York full-service advertising agency experience and marketing communications leadership roles in west, southeast and Midwestern regions of the country. Experience spans packaged goods; kids’ marketing; promotional planning and implementation; new product development and launches; business development; and more. As a corporate executive he lead corporate communications for A/E/C firms and global communications for a metal welding and cutting hard goods manufacturer. Morgan is founder of Morgan Studio/East, a firm dedicated to helping companies with planning, design and execution of sustainable strategic marketing communications. Morgan volunteers as docent at Laumeier Sculpture Park and is a substitute teacher and para-educator with the St. Louis Special School District. He is an avid writer of poetry, blogs, and strategy. He is husband to wife, Lynn and father to two remarkable adult children Lindsey Morgan Dewey and John Benjamin Morgan.

The novel, Failure Coach, is available now on now. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Docents Touring Docents

Of Mere Being
By Wallace Stevens

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor.
A gold-feathered bird
Sings in the palm, without human meaning,
Without human feeling, a foreign song.
You know then that it is not the reason
That makes us happy or unhappy.
The bird sings. Its feathers shine.

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
The incomparable Ann Bauer was as the edge of the parking lot as the scheduled tour began to assemble. The students from Washington University, St. Louis arrived in two or three separate cars. At least one had time considerations because she had return for an evening class. 10 students in all with Ann, two Laumeier docents in training and myself. Ann was already teaching the group with an overview of what the tour might include. She pauses only briefly to suggest that I would take the lead after she – on doctor’s advice – heads to the hospital. (My goodness, we are fortunate to have Ann as our kick off presenter, but by all means Ann, listen to your doctor. I am happy to take the lead and hopeful that Ann seeks appropriate medical attention. It seems reasonable for a ninety year old to do so – even if that ninety year old has the spirit of the very college students listening intently.)
Ann asked me to elaborate on the Jackie Ferrara second original. She wanted to make sure this tour included the Sam Durant Free Hanging Chain, the newly refreshed Donald Judd and what Ann referred to as the Juan William Chávez ghost piece. I obliged Ann, in due time, over the course of the next 90 minutes. Along the way this group of youngsters exuded the joy of being outside together. They are docents too (at the wonderful Mildred Lane Kemper Museum located on their campus) – some for only a semester – and by show of hands most self identify as artists in their own right.
The youthful energy resulted in smart phone group photos, selfies, and childlike joy in discovering Ian Hamilton Finlay’s site specific Four Shades and finding Vito Acconci’s Face of the Earth. We walked around Charles Ginnever’s Crete as the views frame the lush green Spring landscape against the patina of Cor Ten Steel – an especially beautiful site this day because of the light and energy this group brings to the work.  
I assigned Of Mere Being as homework -- the Wallace Stevens Poem that inspired Richard Lobe’s Palm at the end of the Parking Lot along with the challenge to return to our sculpture park again and again. I hope they do. We are a better place for having them as guests.    

Contact: Allison Fricke
Work Telephone: (314) 935-5624 
Complementary Tour for Student Docents with
Allison Fricke, Assistant Educator @ Kemper. Collection Highlights Tour/Info on LSP Docents
Lead Docent:  Ann Bauer
Docent 2:  Wes Morgan (Q’s about Docent Program)
Docent 3: Loren Ludmerer/shadow
Docent 4:  Florence Kramer/shadow

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A message from Ron Unterreiner

To my HBE friends:

With the recent news that this company we all know well will cease to accept new business which ultimately will mean operate at a level somewhat foreign to all of us and/or drift off in a Colorado sunset in some manner, I started having many reflections.  Wes has inspired me to share some of these.  I promise to be brief which for all who know my writing style is a promise most likely to be broken.

I suppose many of these thoughts and reflections came about from reading all of Karen’s updates on Gary which triggered many memories.  Gary’s situation is so unfair as he deserved many good years outside of the pressures of high level design and construction.  We all wish we could wave some magic wand over Gary’s tangled up brain and bring him back to his cussin’, pleasin’, sometimes ornery personality.  Personally, I hold out some hope that one day in the future that will happen—time does wonders for many.

I wish there was some way to elevate the reputation of HBE in this marketplace as we (I am going to regress and use the word “we” which certainly includes anyone reading this) have made and continue to make such a significant impact on design and construction in the St. Louis region.  The talent that we brought to St. Louis is quite staggering really and there is not a week that goes by that I do not feel the presence of HBE employees helping to keep the design and construction business happening in our area.  On the massive Wash U/BJC Campus Renewal project, HBE alums have their stamp all over this building, both on the design and engineering side as well as the construction side.  Bill Wagner is one of the key leaders of ACW Alliance, the GC, and Dean Foth will be the lead field guy putting the pieces together.  I could quickly name a dozen more HBE alums that have shaped this project---one of the largest game changing healthcare projects ever in our city.  A little closer to home, Rhodey is about five weeks away from finishing over $35M of improvements at the St. Louis Zoo, all under the vision and the guidance of a kid (David McGuire) who used to  build models in our model shop.  And that ever changing campus at Wash U School of Medicine is all pretty well under the control of ex-HBE professionals who consistently treat all of their HBE brothers and sisters with respect.  Personally, all this HBE induced involvement throughout the St. Louis landscape makes me proud.

I have been missing from the halls on Olive since September of 99 and in my fifteen years of working in St. Louis since, I have watched, met with, worked with, reported to, drank with, lunched with and partied with innumerable HBE alums.  One thing that always hits me when I run across an old friend from the war (pretty close metaphor I suppose) is the level of professionalism, knowledge and work ethic as compared to many others in my path.  We hired some good people and no question, gave employees some outstanding lessons in healthcare design and construction.  You have to admit, we seemed to have no shortage of clients and projects to practice with.

Another observation would be that the quality of documents put out by HBE architects and engineers takes a back seat to no one.  The clarity, completeness and simplicity of our documents is something that others in our marketplace should emulate.  We certainly were not perfect but compared to what I deal with on a daily basis, believe me, we did a professional job and were a credit to our respective professions.  For sure we did not play the “alternate” game that seems to be the way of the times in this market and our addendums, seemingly many through the years, probably pales in number to what I see happening.  The recent Arch Museum project bid by City Arch River had over thirty addendums, sometimes two and three in one day right up to bid time.

I realize the times have changed and hard to compare one era or one client to another but the point I want to make to all ever employed at HBE is to always hold your head up high and be proud of your work and your time helping the clients of HBE realize dreams they never thought possible.  The company may wind down to a fraction of what it once was but there are hospital buildings across this land that never would have existed had it not been for the ability of this company to practice discipline in our work and work within budgets and schedules at no sacrifice to quality.  Through the many years we brought new life and hope to quiet country towns with simple, affordable buildings—buildings with interior spaces that met their needs and that worked well.  That is the way I see it anyway and I would sit and discuss nicely that opinion with anyone that wants to challenge it.

Fred was (I am sure still is) tough, demanding and often times off base when compared to conventional ways of doing business but I will always say that his business ideas were right on—it was simply the implementation of those ideas—the total inflexibility in that implementation—that made all of us toss and turn at night and seek work elsewhere.  What a shame—I always feel a sense of failure in that I was never able to change that over the years by way of my position at HBE and my relationship with Fred.  People are hard to change though; especially successful business people.  Personally, I define success in other ways; many of us do.  In my mind, HBE could have been so much better if we would have just backed off the pedal a notch but then none of truly know the answer to that thought. 

Nice of Wes to organize a site where we can share some ideas and some good memories.  I hope many do and I truly hope they are all positive.  I work hard in my business dealings to always talk high of HBE and our work and especially our impact on our local industry.  There is no reason to do otherwise.  To all still employed at HBE, when the time comes to exit due to lack of work, I can assure you that you have many friends on the outside that will guide you to continued employment.  If not, we will certainly share a drink and a story with you.  We all have plenty of stories.

To all those now employed at other firms or out and about realizing their dreams but reaching back now and then for memories, may we all enjoy the moments of life to come in good health, in peace and free of the stress we have all shared and may we always seek to extend a helping hand to those in need.

I wish all well that are closing down the shop and I sincerely hope that the days and months ahead will bring a soft ending for those still engaged.  You are still performing needed work for good clients that depend on you and that will not go unnoticed.

I hope to bump into many of you in the years ahead—it is always a pleasure.

Ron Unterreiner

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Do you want fries with that?

There’s a Starbucks Coffee right next to my office. I have been going there for coffee nearly every work day for the past year. I noticed recently that my usual dull “tall coffee” order is automatically triggering the cashier/barista to ask “Do you want anything from the pastry case?” I think it ought to be clear by now that I am a regular who just wants my morning Joe. Nothing more. Nothing less. Now, I know it’s tough to get by on the 400% markup on the coffee alone but I wish they would spare me the suggestive sell.
The practice of training employees to up-sell is pretty common these days. Maybe it started to become a widespread practice in the fast food business. But does anyone really need to be reminded that the burger place also sells French Fries?

How does all this relate to Marketing? Well, let’s face it “everything is Marketing” and the interaction you have on-premise is an important part of your brand personality and equity in your business. If there is a Marketing Research Student working on a doctorate out there searching for a study topic, how about “the erosion of the brand at point-of-purchase.” Surely you could win a PhD if you could quantify the damage we do at retail.

And it isn’t only the quest for an incremental sale. When you are at the airport, ticket counter people are so burdened with the routine Spanish Inquisition and national security they forget to tell you to have a nice flight. Surely there is a better way to handled routine checks and still provide friendly and efficient customer service.

And the cashier line at the grocery store is either going to ignore my “paper or plastic” preference or roll her eyes in disgust over my demand for paper. (It’s not a “green” thing with me, I would rather have bags that will stand up on their own than those flimsy plastic sacks.)

The point is simply this. We have to find ways to put humanity back into transactions. Let’s throw out the scripts and provide customer service with a smile. We’ll all feel better about the people and the brands for which they stand.  

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Laumeier Docents lead the charge

Laumeier Docents (l to r) – Clara Coleman (Curator of Interpretation), Jahn Epstein, Jody Bailey, Janet Peterson,  Ferda Omurtag,  Wes Morgan,  Tim Reichman,  Mary Hanson,  Mary Drury, June Shaw, Sheila Hoffmeister, Pat Leigh, Barb Flunker, Nancy Linhares,  Mary Brauch, Sari Frieden,  Ann Bauer,  Kate Haggans. Photo © Wes Morgan 

The mission at Laumeier is to be a living laboratory where artists and audiences explore the relationship between contemporary art and the natural environment. Docents at the 105 acre museum – county park partnership are determined to deliver on this promise every day. There is a lot with which to work. This jewel, tucked away in the Sunset Hills suburb of St. Louis, has a committed docent crew who are enthusiastically engaged in nearly every aspect of this enterprise.

300,000 visitors come to this remarkable place annually. They come to be a part of scheduled tours. Many come again and again to enjoy the atmosphere. Residents of the Saint Louis region can take advantage of a range of activities: from Art Camp at Laumeier to walking the family dog and breathing some fresh air. The annual Art Fair, hosted on Mother’s Day weekend, attracts 15,000 to view the work of 150 artist-exhibitors who travel to display and sell their work. Docents are in the front lines and behind the scenes in all cases.

In our community, champions of art and culture actively contribute generously to Laumeier Sculpture Park’s legacy. Fundraisers in the Fall and Spring are part of the social calendar but accessible. On any give weekday, you might encounter groups of school children. They arrive in busloads. There is something here for kids of all ages. Open spaces, trails hidden away, a fully renovated estate house (originally built in 1917) and a new fine arts building (The Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center). Docent co-chairs are ex-officio members of the board of this nationally accredited Museum.   

On average 70 monumental works are on display. Some favorites are works by Tony Tasset, Richard Hunt, Mark di Suvero, Sol Lewitt, Dan Graham, Robert Chambers, Jackie Ferrara, Sam Durant, Geoffrey Krawczyk, Robert Lobe, Beverly Pepper, Ernest Trova, Alexander Liberman, Steve Tobin, Anthony Caro, Niki de Saint Phalle, Judith Shea, Donald Lipski and Donald Judd. Docent tours can be tailored by topic, artist or geared toward lesson plans.   

The park is family friendly but it is much more than a successful public space. Make plans to visit us as we approach of 40th anniversary in 2016. A recent $10 million capital campaign which has made construction and renovation possible assures a quality experience for new visitors and plenty of delightful surprises for residents of the region. Docents are poised to help you orchestrate an ideal visit to Laumeier Sculpture Park.

Like docents everywhere, Laumeier Docents share a passion for the museum for which they have pledged allegiance. Like docents everywhere, they are good at communicating information tempered with the ability to facilitate further learning. Above and beyond that, the crew at Laumeier is committed to ongoing enrichment while adding value to the aforementioned mission to be a living laboratory

Wesley A Morgan ( is co-chair of the Laumeier Sculpture Park docents.  Planning a trip to the St. Louis area? Arrange a tour led by trained Laumeier docents by calling 314-615-5267 in advance to reserve space for your group. For additional information visit

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Marketing Advisory at UMSL

Professor Perry Drake started the formation of a digital marketing advisory group at the Universityof Missouri, Saint Louis three years ago. This board of professional marketers is composed of leaders from the business community in our region with ample representation of corporate and agency types. The meeting on February 6, 2015 is symbolic of just how much progress has been made. The meeting includes remarks from the College of Business Administration Dean Charlie Hoffman and is presided over by the board’s chairman -- Fleishman Hillard’s Matt Coble. The group has evolved to become the UMSL Marketing Advisory Board with many irons in the fire.

Curriculum, student engagement, and plans for the annual Digital Marketing Conference are top of mind but subplots include a show of force from the marketing faculty, outreach initiatives and development efforts. “The presentation  from the committee working on cultivating content and expertise from this board is very encouraging. I think all of us on the faculty recognize the study and practice of marketing is changing and this board is a great help. It is very much appreciated” says Professor Frank Fu.

Fu is not alone. The Marketing Department Chairman Haim Mano is enthusiastic on behalf of all faculty members. Board members include Graduate student Brianna Smith and Undergraduate Marketing Club President Patrick Eberle.  Both made presentations.  Anyone can see there is an incredible seamlessness happening even as the essence of what it means to prepare for a career in marketing in an age of digital disruption.

These are interesting and challenging times for marketers. The two and one half hour meeting seems almost historic, if not a bit chaotic. There is optimism as the group absorbs the inevitable politics of running a college of business and university.  Yet in the same room there are interested parties looking for ways to apply the principals of marketing at all levels of the student and community.

My two cents has to do with fortification of the collegiate chapter of the American Marketing Association. UMSL has, in the midst of all these other initiatives, successfully met all requirements of becoming an active collegiate chapter – one of just a handful  in the State of Missouri to do so. This has been accomplished with an incredible partnership with the St. Louis AMA professional chapter.

UMSL St. Louis - Photos above (c) Wes Morgan (from l to r) board members Mark Sanders of Locker Dome; President of UMSL Marketing Club Patrick Eberle; board member and Graduate Student Brianna Smith. Marketing Faculty Gerald Gao, Michael Elliott, Marketing Chair Haim Mano and Frank Fu and a wide shot of the meeting room.