In 1968 our founder launched what today is ForeseeNow, a Preston Global Extension. It began as a one-person, two-client enterprise. Client #2 sought speechwriting and help with local media. However, client #1, an incumbent office holder seeking reelection, was mired in crises ranging from issue distortions to dual attempts against his life.
Immediate necessities meant neutralizing the heavy burdens of Client #1 — patron safety, reputation preservation, and reversing his opponent’s momentum. Safety measures plus positive reputational reminders generated rapid improvement as evidenced statistically. Momentum reversed, but the period between when we were retained and election-day proved too brief.
Nevertheless, our client voiced sincere gratification. Ninety days before the election, he trailed his foe by 62-30 percent. He lost by merely seven percent.
That ordeal was prophetic to a 34-year-old already entering his third career. The first two had comprised Army command duties as well as newspaper ownerships. Why prophetic? Tom knew his consultancy and tactical actions would combine the most serious ordeals with audacious, internally created strategies benefitting a host of diverse enterprises throughout the country.
Simultaneous military obligations and eventual assumption of heavy financial debt associated to his purchase of a corporation, challenged, tested, and at times required considerable steadfastness.
Yet, each display of attentiveness solidified critical instincts concerning unusual situations affecting businesses, industry, and other professions. Such insights as well as skills gained early on, helped brand his consultancy as “one-of-a-kind nationally.”
The original name, Thomas L. Preston Public Relations, soon became The Preston Group, Next, Preston Global symbolized growth. The current title looks ahead. Our website explains further.
Triple practice units consumed 90 percent of agency initial activities: crisis prevention and response, voter campaign managing, and communications. New ones evolved: research, vulnerability assessments involving at-risk facilities, and counterterrorism expertise plus workplace violence prevention or response.
Another initiative focused on leadership dilemmas whereby impartial second opinions would benefit C-Suite decisions. This generated immense interest. Concurrently, Mr. Preston fervently was researching the ancient Greek philosophy of Heuristic education, i.e., self-discovery. He saw benefits uniting “HE” with another inventive item in the firm’s toolbox – Superior Foreseeability.
A Foundation of Rigor and Vigor.
Tom realized the merits of hard labor at age nine. A dairy farm helper during summers, he often came upon unfamiliar situations and conditions requiring trial and error. Both demanded quick yet sound decisions.
At 14 he borrowed money for equipment to tend lawns. He mowed in late afternoons, but not before either emptying rail cars jammed with heavy lumber or lugging bundles of shingles and sheets of tin upon steep roofs for tobacco barn builders. A year later the job was wielding machetes so survey crews could have open views in dense wilderness.
From all this, maturity leaped. During sports seasons, after getting home late from playing varsity football and basketball, the guy who wore jerseys 26 and 22 would be seen on Saturdays unloading truck containers holding weighty supermarket goods.
All those times paid dividends years later. While holding two part-time jobs during college days, Tom somehow found time, to help coach football at his old high school. Later, for eight years, minus pay, he helped build another high school’s grid program into one of Kentucky’s finest.
“Intense physical work early in life prepares one athletically as well as militarily. Fitness, endurance, and willpower are priceless for overcoming intense fatigue. An extra edge against your adversary means the difference between winning or losing . . . between surviving and suffering grave harm.” Mr .Preston says rather frequently.
These self-teachings preceded a 1956 University of Kentucky degree, where Tom also gained an Army (armor) commission. Three days after graduating, he became the youngest professional editor in Kentucky when hired to publish The Carrollton News-Democrat. Nine months later active military duty summoned.
Top priority: The U.S. Army Armor School then assignment with the Sixth Army. Command of a battalion-size detachment soon followed. Marquis Who’s Who reads:
“At that time 2nd Lt. Preston began preparing for additional yet unrevealed tasks. He completed chemical/biological/radiological warfare courses, studied propaganda [and Heuristic education techniques]. All while creating a unit to defy Cold War enemy agents.”
Doing so meant precise time-management between major command responsibilities and new skill-set training. After promotion in rank, transnational military counterterrorism operations soon emerged. Initial solo missions put Tom against Chinese Communist agents infiltrating the U.S. Ensuing orders sent him into Europe and Asian regions.
At one stage he was attached to the Turkish Army. Nikita Khrushchev had dispatched Spetsnaz, ultra-elite Soviet operatives, into that country on covert assassination tasks against American troops. Neither the Soviet Premier nor Chairman Mao Zedong succeeded.
Mr. Preston’s experiences later validated a 2008 Executive Director appointment to Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security. Several months afterward, the U.S. Army War College invited our founder to participate in its National Security program.
Given what transpired previously in Mr. Preston’s younger life, the next five-and-a-half decades simply were larger mirrors. His business, government, and civic involvements grew extensively. They included commercial partnerships, state and national government roles, civic activities, board memberships, and adjunct professorships.
Equally important were Mr. Preston’s never-ending innovations, bringing much acclaim to his firm. For example, he was first to:
- Discover how Heuristic self-discovery concepts can blend into the art of anticipating individual and group behaviors, and therefore create crisis control methodologies for Superior Foreseeability.
- Adopt benefits of counterterrorism expertise as a public relations and crisis management program, which includes causes and effects impacting executive leadership.
- Produce the worldwide Nike Hawk missile introduction media event for the late Henry “Scoop” Jackson, U.S. Senator, Washington. This, when Red China was poised to invade Formosa and overthrow the Nationalist regime of Chiang Kai-Shek.
- Warn against a same-day, simultaneous terrorist attack in multiple U.S. locations before 09-11-2001. Unfortunately, few listened.
- Conduct video strategies, methodologies and leadership responsibilities based on lessons learned from various bombings and other hostile acts on American soil. His partner in this series assisting first responders was the late Jon Hansen, then Oklahoma City Deputy Fire Chief, and “voice of the Murrah Federal disaster.”
Married for 56 years to the former Carolyn Points of Ashland, KY ended with her death in 2014. One son, Matt, United States Secret Service, and a senior advisor at FSN, is featured elsewhere in this section.