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20 Questions - Posted October 24, 2014 11:54 a.m.
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photo by Shannon Richardson

20 Questions with Nick Gerlich, Hickman Professor of Marketing/Marketing Coordinator, West Texas A&M University

What is the best advice you received when you were beginning your career? My father told me many years ago, “Son, you need to go into business.” That’s all it took to set me off on this wild adventure in marketing. I didn’t quit until I had every degree that time, money and dedication could buy.

How do you use social media to grow your network? I use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to channel different “voices” to different groups of friends and followers. Although there is some overlap between them, I create original content for each, as well.

How do you maintain balance? I have huge mental and time investments in bicycling, photography, Route 66 and other old roads, Harvey House hotels, hiking, and beverage industry collectibles. These are my escapes, and keep me grounded.

What has been your wisest investment? Aside from the obvious investment in personal relationships, my best investment was my education. You can never have enough of it. In fact, my “real” education began after I finished graduate school.

How has your past work experience shaped you into a leader? With more than 25 years of both academic experience and event management, I have learned that people are most productive when they have been empowered to do whatever it is that they do best. Just get out of their way.

What is the best part about your job? Academic freedom, which equates into the ability to pursue and study whatever attracts me. It’s not that I have to do research; I get to do research.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and private life? I learned through experience that mentorship is all about investing. I would not be where I am today without the support of those who nurtured me in my professional life. At this point in my career, it is time for me to repay those benefits.

Which living person do you most admire and why? My Dad. He recently told me that he renewed his contract for another 93 years.

How can you argue with that kind of wit? I don’t know anyone who has aged more gracefully. Whatever challenge life brings his way, he just laughs at it.

Which over-used word or phrase makes you cringe? Awesome. Please stop using this word. If you say it around me, you owe me a beer.

What is your business philosophy? It is the job of every marketer to identify and meet the needs of its customers. Anything less is just shameless profiteering.

Which quality do you most value in an employee? Anyone who has excised the word “can’t” from their vocabulary.

What personality trait has most helped you succeed? I am an over-achiever to the core. Anything half-baked is not ready to be served. “Well-done” works for more than just steak.

Who is your favorite author? Donald Miller. He manages to speak to your spiritual needs without being preachy, but more importantly, makes it easy for readers to find themselves in the back seat of his adventures.

What did you learn from your best boss? That it is the job of the boss to find every person’s skills and talents, and to make it possible for her/him to run with them.

Your worst? Chaos and fear are no way to run a business.

How can Amarillo improve its business environment? Amarillo needs to be more open to new things, not just more of the same. Diversity, change, variety … these are all good things.

Most important tech tool: My phone is my most important tech tool, and I do nearly everything from it. AT&T hates me because I still have a legacy unlimited data plan (sorry, stockholders).

Best time management tool: I get the most work done while I am listening to my music. In this regard, Spotify is my friend. You just can’t go wrong with 20 million songs. Turn it up. Loud.

I can’t live without my: My iPhone. It’s the Swiss Army knife of the 21C.

My favorite thing about Amarillo is: It sits pretty much at the middle of Route 66. My biggest question each time I go on an adventure is whether to go east or west. (I usually go west!)

Most unusual job or task: I am currently managing the marketing and social media efforts for New Mexico Fashion Week, which is organized by a good friend. I know absolutely nothing about fashion. It’s a good day when my pants and shirt more or less match. But I do know a few things about marketing.

-- the AM Team

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