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Have You Met?

Have You Met Preston V. McMurry, Jr.?

Preston V. McMurry used his marketing genius to found McMurry Inc. and to benefit Arizona’s nonprofit community. In the process he has built the largest marketing communications firm in the southwest and was named Arizona’s 2002 Philanthropist of the Year. Preston can talk endlessly about charities. At the same time he insists “It’s not how much you earn that matters, but rather how much you give that makes the man.”

Preston traces his dedication to charities to the legendary Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes, who “dragged us out to visit patients at Columbus hospitals in all kinds of weather.” McMurry was a running back for the Buckeyes on the 1957 Rose Bowl and 1957 national championship teams. Following graduation and careers as a professional fundraiser, a copy writer/creative director, and hospital administrator, he eventually arrived in Arizona during the early 1980s and launched his firm in 1984 and his foundation, Theresa’s Fund in 1991.

Today, Preston is a member Greater Phoenix Leadership (aka the Phoenix 40), Arizona Grantmaker’s Forum, Phoenix Baptist Hospital and Medical Center, Theresa’s Fund, The Italian Resource Center, and Jewish Family & Children’s Services. He also contributes as a frequent guest lecturer on the subjects of board development/responsibilities/fund raising/corporate values/ and mission statement development.

Preston has channeled more than 19 million dollars into combating child abuse and domestic violence within the State of Arizona. His charity is funded through the Company as well as 100 percent voluntary participation of McMurry’s staff. Every five years the McMurry team makes nonprofit decisions with guidance from some of the state’s largest grant making foundations.

In 1984, Preston V. McMurry Jr. created Vim & Vigor magazine as a custom marketing magazine for his then health-system employer. McMurry bought the property during 1989 and with four staff members set out on his own. Preston says “I was given one chance in 10,000 that I would succeed!”

Today the company has more than 95 employees and is the nation's leading custom publisher and the largest marketing communications agency in the southwest. Besides Phoenix, there are also offices in New York, Boston and Atlanta, serving customers all over the globe.

Among McMurry’s clients are The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, CBS, Reader’s Digest, Russian Highway Heritage Foundation, 24 Hour Fitness, STMicroelectronics, Amtrak, University of Phoenix, GlaxoSmithKline, VistaCare, Cactus Flowers, MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving) and The High Altitude Sports Training Complex at Northern Arizona University.

McMurry Inc. was recently named one of Coolest Companies in Arizona by bizAZ. This tribute followed by just a few months being named The Best Place to Work in Phoenix by the Great Places to Work Institute. McMurry says “My company operates on an eight-point value system. In fact, we have replaced rules with values that guide our actions and interactions.” The McMurry, Inc. mission is: “To earn a profit. First yours. Then ours. We do this by creating marketing communications appreciated by audiences everywhere and by providing selfless service always.”

Clearly the McMurry mission transcends business by helping to make Arizona a better place to live. “A life well lived, says Preston, “is a life lived for others.”

What are your volunteer activities? Phoenix Volunteer of the Year (2000); AZ Philanthropist of the Year (2002); Phoenix Volunteer Company of the Year (2003); Ohio State University Alumni Citizenship Award (2002); 67 Engagements as guest speaker on the subject of board development/responsibilities/fund raising/corporate values/mission statement development.; 1 of 7 Founders of the Arizona Grant Makers Forum; Founder of Theresa’s Fund; Have Donated and help raise $19,000,000 for causes related to family violence since 1991; Have Been on Dozens of Non-Profit Boards Currently Serving On: *Greater Phoenix Leadership *Arizona Grant Makers Forum *Phoenix Baptist Hospital *Theresa’s Fund *The Italian Resource Center *Jewish Family & Children’s Service

Which social event is your favorite? Italian Spring Dance – Black Tie; Son Chris’ professional racing career; The Ohio State vs. Michigan Football game.

Favorite Restaurant? Tomaso’s and Fontanella

Who is your hero and why? 1. Alexander the Great – Because he truly was great. 2. Emperor Hadrian – Because he ruled the Roman empire by walking around, from Rome to Egypt to Greece to Britain and back and in the process designed and built a list of enduring Italian art treasures. 3. Michelangelo – For his enormously imaginative and diverse artistic and engineering genius. 4. John Adams – For his thoughts others put to practice while building America. 5. George Washington – Because he refused the offer to become America’s King. 6. Abe Lincoln – Who changed the phrase The United States “Are” to the United States “Is” and in the process saved the democracy he referred to as “The world’s last great hope.” 7. Harry Truman – For his desk card that read “The Buck Stops Here”.

Who is the most interesting celebrity you have ever met? Our client Mikhail Gorbachev.

If your life were a movie, who would you want to play your part? Who cares. But the movie would be titled “Hill of Beans” since that is what my father insisted I’d never amount to.

What gives a woman/man style? Just about everything he or she does and says or doesn’t do or say.

When you move, what will your home tell its next owner, about you? He was a bachelor who was deeply devoted to his reading.

What words describe you best? Eccentric, energetic, generous, driven, passionate, creative, hard working

What words would you like others to use to describe you? He was a good and loving man.

What was your first job? Age 15 sanding cars by hand at an auto repair and paint shop for $.95 an hour.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Impatience.

What traits do you most deplore in others? Lethargy and imbecility.

What is your greatest indulgence? Chocolate.

What is the greatest gift you have ever given and received? My love and values to my children and my work ethic from my father.

What or who is the greatest love of your life? Former wife.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement? To have the love of my three children, all of whom are educated, successfully employed and have never been in jail.

What is your most treasured possession? My 1957 Ohio State University national championship football ring.

What is the quality you like most in a man? Honesty, intelligence, courage

What is the quality you like most in a woman? Honesty, intelligence, courage.

Favorite books/writers? Shakespeare, Dickens, Mark Twain, Steinbeck, Michener, Shara, Avel, Dan Brown, Toni Morrison … to name a few.

What is the one thing you would like to change about yourself? I wouldn’t be dyslexic.

What is the best advice you have ever received? “All you have to do is get up one more time.” Woody Hayes, legendary Ohio State University football coach and friend.

Are we related my grandmother is Tress. aMcMurry
Eugene w Mcmurry

Hi Preston-- I don't know you, but I must say that it's a refreshing delight to read a profile such as yours! I'm 24, not in the Scottsdale social circle, but how nice to hear about a (handsome!) self-made philanthropist who remains humble, charasmatic, and focused on intellectual pursuits, family, and respect for all! I'm proud to share my community with people like you. Blessed holidays, and may you find that second special "someone" you deserve!
Hannah B.

Dear Preston, Happy New Year, my friend. You look well! May the New Year bring you good health, great friends and whatever fills your heart with joy! Warm regards, Carole
Carole V. Bartholomeaux