Michael Meath is an adjunct professor of public relations in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.  He earned his Bachelor’s in economics and business management from SUNY Empire State College and his Master’s in public relations and mass communications from Newhouse.  Meath worked for 10 years in health care, as well as 15 years in the energy industry, where he was the vice president of business development and public affairs for Agway Energy Products.  He is currently the president of Strategic Communications, LLC, where he provides expertise in organizational change and transition, integrating strategic planning, crisis communications, and public and government relations for clients in a variety of industries.

Q: What is your favorite course you teach in Newhouse?

A: Ethics. It’s applicable to everything.  There are a lot of current examples to talk about in each class, and it keeps everyone on the edge of their seats.

Q: Do you have any particular interest(s) within public relations?Michael_Meath_July2007 (1)

A: I enjoy the four practice areas, including crisis communications, strategic planning, public relations and government relations.  All four are really important, but crisis communications is most exciting for me.

Q: What is your favorite part of working in public relations?

A: The ability to work with senior management and get to that point where you are a trusted advisor.  The greatest client is the one that calls you up because they want to know what you think of something.

Q: What motivates you?

A: A challenge that others have not quite figured out how to address or master.  The more significant or difficult a situation, the better.

Q: Did you always want to work in public relations and/or communications?

A: No, I didn’t really work in that area at all or know what PRSA was until about 15 years ago.

Q: How did you know you wanted to work in public relations and/or communications?

A:  I kind of backed into it.  I did so many other things that were communications-related, and I was involved with public relations all the time.

Q: What has been your proudest moment in your communications career?

A: One would be that situation when someone wants to talk to me, not about preparing a document, but to get sound business counsel.  The other would be teaching.  That’s been the most exciting in terms of being able to bring practical experience to the table and share it with students.

Q: Do you have any fun fact(s) about yourself?

A: I am nearing the completion of my private pilot license, and I once did a 120-mile kayak trip.  I also hold the 1973 freshman mile record from my high school.

Q: What qualities do you think make a student successful?

A: Curiosity, a strong work ethic, and not taking no for an answer.

Q: What qualities do you think make a person successful?

A: Curiosity, interest in other people, and discipline.

Q: Do you have a personal message for Newhouse students?

A: Take advantage of everything that is here for you because before you know it, it’s going to be gone.