In his own words: Greg Fine of Ding Communications

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company.

Greg Fine: Ding began with Larry, Kimber and me sharing the common vision of building a better mousetrap by providing our clients keen marketing insight and solid creative execution. Over time I became the sole principal, until Shelli, my wife, assumed ownership of the other 51 percent. Ding has stayed quite true to its origins. Our clients expect us to ask "What if..." in our desire to broaden the results and improve their marketing programs. Business has steadily grown over the years, and we've enjoyed exponential increases each year, with two exceptions: Following the 9/11 attacks and the latest "Great Recession." In both instances, marketing budgets dried up dramatically. But we seem to be back on track now; business is picking up.

NNBW: What role do you play in the company?

Fine: In addition to serving as creative director and overseeing all the creative executions for Ding's clients, I am copywriter-in-residence, and I take great joy in writing compelling advertising. As well, I listen attentively when Shelli reviews the company's numbers and forecasts with me. I frequently tell Sarah stuff she usually already knows. I sometimes peek over Kelly's shoulder and then close my mouth as she diplomatically explains to me why what she's doing is the best way, which it often is. And I really enjoy crafting marketing that works for our roster of clients. That's quite satisfying.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession?

Fine: I like to write. Plus, I'm the product of two generations of salespeople. When I discovered that cowboying wasn't truly my career calling, I had nowhere to go but advertising and marketing.

NNBW: What is something no one knows about your job?

Fine: I'm convinced that no other profession reveals a person's true nature like advertising. It's a divining rod for character. When you come across the evil people, they can really drain the life out of you.

NNBW: If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn't it your first choice?

Fine: I have no idea what else I'd do. Maybe, just maybe, if I could make a living at helping kids understand the importance of eating good stuff and living active, physical lives, I could warm up to that as career.

NNBW: How do you spend your time away from the office?

Fine: Cooking and eating with my family. Climbing mountains and skiing down them with friends, when I get a hall pass. Mountain biking, soon as the ski season wraps up.

NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation memory?

Fine: It was either my honeymoon when Shelli and I invented Honeymoon Bagels, or the trip to Hawaii where my girls learned how to skin dive. It was the last trip I was able to take with my Dad, too.

NNBW: Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?

Fine: "Sell the sizzle," from my Dad. If you're going to sell something, you have to first hold your prospect's nose over the frying pan so they can literally breathe the steak's heavenly vapors. Effective advertising does that. "Screw it, just do it," from my mom. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump.

NNBW: What is the quirkiest or oddest job you've ever had?

Fine: Buckaroo at Squaw Valley Ranch, outside of beautiful downtown Midas, Nev. I shortly realized cowboying wasn't in my future. So I went into advertising.

NNBW: What person, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with, and why?

Fine: Well, I'd like to have one more dinner with my Dad. Soon as he died I realized I had so many questions I needed to ask him. Dad, if you could just check in with me, I'll be quick.

NNBW: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Fine: "Learn how to breathe..." from various yoga instructors, and "Don't ever lie to me..." from my Mom. Both have served me well.

NNBW: What do you like most about your job? What do you like least?

Fine: Sometimes I write an ad, a word, sentence, headline and/or paragraph that should probably find its way in the Bible. And I love the incredibly smart colleagues and clients I work with. I'm amazed at the brilliance that surrounds me.And then there are the unscrupulous, the egocentric, the arrogant/ ignorant sorta-human types who are ultimately blinded by their own ridiculous self-anointing.

NNBW: What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

Fine: I always tried to tell the truth.

The basics

Name: Greg Fine, principal/creative director Ding Communications, Inc.

How long have you been in this job? Since March 1998

How long in the profession? Almost 20 years

Education: Bachelor of arts,journalism (emphasis in advertising), University Nevada, Reno

Best book you've read? Three-way tie between "Catcher in the Rye," "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "The River Why."

What's on your iPod? Hundreds of little snapshots of the things that make up my daily life (kids, sunsets, sleeping dogs, wife dodging the camera); a lot of music; podcasts; and silly apps my youngest subversively downloads without me knowing.

The best movie ever? "Star Wars" followed by "Jaws."

Do you have a nickname? If no, have you ever? Next question...


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