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Special Report: Segal rides wave of optimism

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Who: Rick Segal

What: chairman-CEO

Where: HSR Business to Business Inc.

MARKETING SERVICES

Weathering the pullback by dot-com companies in public relations and advertising was crucial for HSR Business to Business Inc. during the second half of last year. That’s why company CEO Rick Segal was pleased when none of his clients went out of business, got bought out or markedly changed business plans in 2000.

"[The year] began as a monster wave with a phenomenal amount of new venture capital and IPO money," Segal said. "It was a wave that everyone knew would break, but we caught the wave, road it all the way to the beach and managed to keep our surfboard intact."

Using Net marketing techniques, Cincinnati-based HSR helped position start-up client Agilera Inc. as a stable, growing brand well before that became in vogue in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile, established clients such as Hobart Corp. were prompted to develop Web and print collateral materials. By year-end other clients, including GE Plastics, were broadening their relationship with HSR, a trend that Segal sees as a harbinger of great days ahead.

"If last year was one of exuberance, the year ahead is one of growth," Segal said. "When the market recalibrated, it forced businesses back to fundamentals. B-to-b marketing and communications remains an area of expertise with tremendous opportunity."

—John Evan Frook

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Who: Larry Weber What: Chairman-CEO Where: Allied Communications Group Why: With the merger of Weber Public Relations Worldwide and Shandwick International, Weber finds himself presiding over a global PR agency with billings in excess of $300 million.

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