There’s a little-known fact that Pierpont owes a portion of its talent to our Executive Counsel Terry Hemeyer. Many of us, including myself, are “Hemeyer alums,” having studied under him at The University of Texas at Austin’s Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations or in the MBA program at Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business. The rest of us at Pierpont could be considered Hemeyer-recruited and vetted high performers.
A testament to his commitment to teaching and mentorship, Hemeyer was recently awarded a Lifetime Membership on the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College Advisory Council. He shares the Lifetime Membership designation among the likes of world-renown news anchor Dan Rather and Jim Moroney, President and CEO of the A.H. Belo Corporation. The honor is bestowed to council members who have gone above and beyond the council’s mission of being responsive to the needs of the Moody College of Communication and providing advice and counsel for students preparing to enter the communication field.
“I feel fulfilled that I have arrived at a point of ‘respect’ in my career,” Hemeyer said. “This designation means that a lot of people respect me and I feel good about that.”
A “Dog’s Breakfast” of Careers
Over the last four decades, Hemeyer has had what he calls a “dog’s breakfast” of careers. In addition to his tenure as a university professor, Hemeyer served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and his roles included serving as a combat photographer during the Vietnam War. He retired as colonel-selectee in 1980. During those years, he also conducted the U.S. Air Force Academy Band, played at Carnegie Hall and appeared on “The Tonight Show.” He can also designate the title “world traveler” to his resume, having lived and worked in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
From listening to Hemeyer’s tales, you might be more inclined to think of the “Most Interesting Man in the World” of Dos Equis commercial fame – beard and all – than a public relations practitioner.
But when it comes to PR pros, Hemeyer ranks among the best. He’s handled “60 Minutes” producers and has been quoted as an expert source in numerous, major national publications. Additionally, his growing arsenal of well-rounded expertise over the years has allowed him to transition into C-Suites of major companies to fill roles beyond PR.
In all the experiences over his career, however, Hemeyer’s proudest moment is actually one that almost never happened.
In 1992, Hemeyer received a personal call from President George H. W. Bush to assist with a sensitive political issue that needed to be resolved quickly.
“I thought it was a joke,” Hemeyer said. “A fellow employee interrupted my meeting to let me know that the president was calling. I said, ‘President of what? Get his number and I’ll call him back.’ Needless to say, if I would have known who it was, I would have taken the call immediately.”
Hemeyer called the president back and then solved the issue within four days – pro bono, of course.
The Next Era for Hemeyer
Hemeyer has no plans to slow down after receiving this lifetime honor from UT Austin. I asked him, “What’s next for Terry Hemeyer?”
“I don’t know what’s next, but I know good things are going to continue to happen. As long as I’m breathing, I’m going to be working. I’m going to enjoy my family, including my three granddaughters, and continue to be aggressive, positive and looking for more opportunities in my career,” he said.
Based on Hemeyer’s past, it’s anyone’s guess as to where the next decade will lead him. But one thing is certain: his continued support of the Moody College of Communication at UT Austin.
“The University of Texas at Austin’s PR program is among the top three in the country,” he added. “It is the only interdisciplinary program that requires business courses and two internships for credit. I believe that sets us apart.”