AMA Tampa Bay’s Member Spotlight:
Gary Beemer, Marketing Faculty at The University of Tampa – Sykes College of Business
A monthly feature for our members to learn from the insight and experiences of other members
Gary, what is your professional background and current position?
GB: I started and operated my own financial services business in my 20’s for eight years. I sold the business to take an offer from Mars Inc. where I held multiple Sales and Marketing Management positions over 24 years. Working with brands like Snickers, M&M’s and many others was truly a life changing opportunity to become a highly skilled sales and marketing professional. During that time, I also had the opportunity to write a column for the Tampa Tribune and blog for TBO. I am currently a faculty member in the Marketing Department at The University of Tampa Sykes College of Business where I combine theory and practical marketing application to help students prepare for careers in the marketing field. I also consult with student startups as well as established businesses in developing strategic marketing plans. I have continued to write and edit for AMA Tampa Bay, and am available to write on a freelance basis.
What has been your most memorable career moment?
GB: When I was in high school I wanted to write and teach, but my well-meaning guidance counselor told me that most writers fail and that teacher pay was awful. He encouraged me to go into business which I did. Starting my own business at an early age gave me a huge leg-up in the business world as entrepreneurship is the driving force behind most successful businesses. Working for Mars was like being an independent entrepreneur with the financial backing and brand recognition of an industry giant. I continued to pursue additional formal education while at Mars and earned an MBA, then continued on with concentrations in Marketing and Information Technology Management. The most memorable moment in my career actually came when I early-retired from Mars and had the chance to come full circle in a third career as a teacher. It was if every step that I took in business prepared me to come back to what I had originally wanted to do – teach and write.
What do you think has been the most innovative change in the marketing world over the last 5 years?
GB: The most revolutionary changes in marketing didn’t come from Marketers, but digital technology that was able to attract and engage large numbers of people in highly targeted ways.
How long have you been an AMA Tampa Bay member? And, what do you value most about the chapter?
GB: I was a member many years ago and rejoined three years ago when I began teaching. The AMA nationally has so many great opportunities to learn and grow as a marketer and being a Tampa Chapter Member has allowed me to mix and learn from some to the best marketers in our area and beyond.
What resources do you use to stay current on marketing best practices? (e.g. blogs, newsletters, websites, conferences, books, podcasts, etc.)
GB: I’m a voracious reader/viewer/participant of anything and everything – hard copy, digital, seminars – you name it. I read the WSJ, Fortune and Forbes for business news, the Economist for world news, AMA magazines and journals for marketing news, USA Today for national news, the daily paper for local news, and attend monthly AMA Tampa Bay luncheons featuring top-shelf marketing experts. Digitally I consumer material from various credible sources including AMA Tampa Bay blogs. Being at UT affords me access to nearly an unlimited supply of academic and commercial databases for in-depth reading and study. As a teacher, I have to be on top of the latest trends in marketing and business, so reading isn’t an option for me, but a necessity. Thankfully I have always enjoyed doing it and understanding the importance and value of being a lifelong learner.
What do you like best about living in Tampa Bay?
GB: I’m from NJ and my wife is from NY. We moved to Tampa many years ago and raised our children here. Tampa is a mid-sized city with many of the benefits of city life but without some of the problems or larger cities. The population is wonderfully diverse, the weather is beautiful and there’s always plenty to do. I’m very excited about the proposed $2.1 billion investment in downtown Tampa as it will make an already nice city even better.
What has inspired you lately?
GB: I love to teach and my students are a constant source of inspiration. They are intelligent, engaged and are ready and willing to take the baton when we pass it on to them.
This monthly feature is presented by Alison Clinton.
Over the past 20 years, Alison built a marketing career that has included marketing strategy, advertising, tactical planning, competitive analysis, promotions, and campaign management. An exciting new venture for Alison is Champ Boosters to support Tampa-area businesses and youth organizations. Alison also supports AMA Tampa Bay by leading the communications content team. LinkedIn
AMA Tampa Bay is accepting nominations for future Member Spotlights – please submit your nomination to [email protected].