Special Report: Segal rides wave of optimism

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Who: Rick Segal

What: chairman-CEO

Where: HSR Business to Business Inc.


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: Bill Furlong What: CEO Where: B2Bworks Inc. Why: The leading b-to-b Web ad network continues its rapid expansion under Furlong. He was able to rack up publishers, customers and partners last year, and will look for more capital and profits in 2001.

Who: William M. Godfrey What: President-CEO Where: Aprimo Inc. Why: Godfrey helped create Aprimo’s enterprise marketing management software, which can run all aspects of a big marketing operation. As CRM competitors close in, watch for Godfrey to make a difference.

Who: Evan Grossman What: Senior VP-director of operations Where: Hook Media Inc. Why: Grossman is one of the most experienced people in developing b-to-b media plans for the Internet. Hook claims American Express Co. and McKinsey & Co. among its clients.

Who: Ross Halleck What: President Where: Halleck Why: Halleck’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based company uses interactive strategies and old-fashioned marketing know-how to build brands. A partnership with Viant Corp. means it’s backed with technology to keep up the quest.

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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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