19 Years Later

It’s hard to believe it was 19 years ago today I started Hubbell Communications.

At the time, life was comparatively simple. Impact was measured by column inches, a story on one of three broadcast networks, generating letters to public officials, or some combination of all three.

To say that advances in communications technology have been anything less than transformative would be a gross understatement.  

These changes have been largely positive. We’ve moved from an analog world to a digital one. From an emphasis on quantity to a greater appreciation for quality. And, thanks to the many advances in communication technology, we are better able to identify legitimate stakeholders and help them authentically share their views in ways that shape public opinion.

This evolution has, however, not been easy.

Those in our profession who have adapted have thrived. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t simply didn’t make it. That’s not uncommon. This is tough work.

I started Hubbell with the goal of creating a company that would grow beyond my skills and influence. Over nearly two decades, we have become a uniquely positioned, leading-edge communications firm with a wide range of skills and expertise. This success is attributable to our ability to adapt.

But that’s not the full story.

Every company needs distinct leadership at various stages of their growth and development. In the early years, a hip-shooting, entrepreneurial approach ensures a business gets established. But, as a company grows and matures, that approach can keep it from reaching its full potential.

To punch through to the next level, you need to scale. You need a disciplined growth plan. You need a clear vision.

Two years ago, I made a big decision. I recruited an agency professional whose skillset was different from – but complementary – to mine. I’ve always been good at creating something from nothing. Zach Hyder, who became our president and chief marketing officer in 2020, is highly skilled at making a good business better.

The combination of our strengths has exceeded my expectations.

Since taking over primary leadership of Hubbell, Zach has assembled a new team with a diverse range of skills – from creative and digital media to policy communications and media relations. Under his leadership, he has broadened our capabilities and sharpened our focus to provide a higher level of service to our clients.

This new direction for Hubbell has led to:

  • The opening of our Seattle office – making Hubbell a regional communications agency.
  • The creation of Studio H, our new in-house creative and digital media studio.
  • The start of The 2120 Initiative, our forum to foster conversation and public education about voting rights.
  • The Better Communities Podcast, where we analyze the complex issues we manage every day on behalf of our clients – from health care and energy policy to land use planning and higher education.
  • Updating our brand to focus less on generic services and more on our role helping make progress happen on our most pressing economic, political and social issues.

All of this has been transformative. And we did it while navigating a global pandemic, shifting to a largely remote workforce, and working through an unpredictable economic environment.

So, what does this mean for me as Hubbell’s founder and CEO?

This new team has freed me to step back and remain the agency’s chief mentor helping guide our growth. Together, Zach and I are planning for what the future of Hubbell will look like. I am lucky we get to work closely on his vision for the company and ensure this is a smooth transition.

Just as parents never want to outlive their children, founders shouldn’t outlive their companies. Going forward, my role will be to help ensure this team can grow Hubbell for a new generation – and beyond.

No question, you will be hearing great things about this company in the coming years.

Stay tuned.

No items found.