WITH PROFOUND SADNESS WE MOURN THE UNEXPECTED JULY 12 PASSING OF DR. JAY D. RAYBURN.
OUR INCREDIBLE FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE IS REMEMBERED IN A BIOGRAPHY PRINTED AT THE END OF THIS SERIES.
ForeseeNow consultants are notable. You will learn why after reading about each. Remarkable achiever, all are honored for outstanding professionalism.
Each was chosen as a Consulting Specialist for this 53-year-old firm. In doing so, they met stringent criteria:
- At least 25 years honing career skills
- Unbending ethical standards
- Vast knowledge
- Varied experiences influencing others, where outcomes, often beyond expectation, were achieved for those being served
- Demonstrated teamwork
- Particular awareness of societal behavior formations, influences and potential trends
Extensively prepared and motivated, FSN specialists accept assignments paralleling their particular zones of expertise. At some point in time each worked for or in concert with this organization or its predecessor entities.
If you can be helped by ahead-of-the-pack practitioners, then start the ball rolling by texting 859-421-2323. A quick summary of your situation will receive immediate attention.
Now, please meet:
Thomas L. Preston
Sixty-three years ago our founder launched what today is ForeseeNow, an extension of his firm, Preston Global. It opened as a one-person, two-client enterprise.
Original designations began as Thomas L. Preston Public Relations, changing to The Preston Group, Inc. and later to Preston Global.
Today’s ever-changing world grows more complex, more challenging for businesses and professions And more unsafe.
ForeseeNow was chosen as a different name for this 21st century of anticipated, often uncomfortable burdens.
But what would those burdens be? And who is most capable to answer, in advance, many of these questions?
Mr. Preston believes his longstanding resolute firm, recently made even more adaptable to encounter yet unknowns, will again guide at-risk clients through severe conditional changes. Upon later review, ForeseeNow will justify its more modern designation.
Doing so further exemplifies our record as an innovative trailblazer constantly preempting the human factor determined to be not in the best interest of our patrons . . . and frequently, the general public!
A bit of explaining.
Indeed, throughout the past 53 years this enterprise has explored and overcome formidable predicaments habitually within uncharted territories that called for new practice modalities.
Every effort was and remains focused on current and future clients desiring problem avoidance.
Crises, emergencies, violence in the workplace and elsewhere, controversial public issues, false rumors, and yes — terrorism — inflict multiple damages. They hastily become repetitive reputational nightmares.
In 1968 Mr. Preston accurately envisioned subsequent world events. One after another resulted from a steady progression of vital discoveries at the enterprises he founded.
Each would elevate his current and future firms’ values to the business community to leaders — CEOs, presidents, VPs, general managers and even high profile individuals in need of FSN services.
Tom’s priority was/is increasing effectiveness when patrons require extraordinary skills and experiences — hence, specialized practices.
His starting point: Merge the ancient Greek philosophy of Heuristic Education into the science and art called Superior Foreseeability.
This novel idea really began during his earliest military days as readers can learn later herein.
As a synergism, the FSN process uncovers deeply hidden answers to complicated questions.
Even when data lacks sufficiency, when calculations are hampered by limited information, conjecture or presumptions become more relevant, accurate and therefore, worthy of trial applications.
Additional information is obtainable in our website library rooms,
ForseeNow continues forging ahead with inventiveness. Heuristic Education in concert with Foreseeability is but one of the firm’s growing inventory of practice applications.
So far, businesses and executives in 42 states, the District of Columbia as well as overseas found this inventory of ideas and techniques invaluable.
We are selected as problem solvers as well as problem preventers.
A foundation of rigor and vigor.
Tom’s career can be traced back to age nine when as a summertime dairy helper, he started understanding the worthiness of hard labor and learning through self-discovery.
He formed a lawn mowing business at 14, and at 15 also unloaded (alone) rail cars jammed with heavy lumber. Lesson learned: Honest work, if physically stressful, gets you in shape for athletic competition!
He also assisted tobacco barn builders, lugging sheets of tin and shingles upon steep roofs. A year later found Tom wielding machetes to give survey crews line-of-sight views in dense wilderness areas. Another lesson learned: Someday you might need a machete in jungle-like areas as a counterterrorist operating solo!
Meanwhile, on weekends, just a few hours after playing varsity football and basketball, jersey numbers 26 and 22 could be found stocking items at a local supermarket.
All this preceded a 1956 University of Kentucky degree, where Tom also gained an Army (armor) commission. At the time he had four, part-time jobs demanding tight schedules, accuracy, and understanding behavioral patterns of people you ‘re involved with.
The jobs? Student-assistant football coach at his former high school, newspaper sports writer, reporter for International News Service, and feature editor then sports editor of UK’s newspaper.
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 duties summoned.
Despite being a “green” 2nd Lt., he was assigned to command a battalion-size unit. Shortly after achieving promotion in rank, another responsibility arose. “Create the first combat-ready chemical, biological and radiological warfare team in the northwest U.S. to combat foreign sabotage.”
More early life lessons self-discovered.
Thus, 1958 entered him into counterterrorism, a term rarely used back then.
With his recently formed chemical, biological, radiological team trained and equipped, recently promoted Preston began interdicting Communist Chinese agents under orders from Chairman Mao Zedong.
Relying on innocuous commercial ocean vessels hidden offshore by heavy rain, fog and low nighttime clouds, the Communists would slip into this country at a Seattle, WA pier.
Their missions varied, ranging from constructing and detonating dirty bombs at key industrial and utility locations (quite vulnerable as still in 2021) or sabotaging U.S. military shipments destined for Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Chinese Government on Formosa. The Commies failed.
Counterterrorism activities originating from the 1950s remain in full force at FSN.
As the clock ticks our knowledge concerning such mayhem increases. Terrorist-related acts can be can be classified as being deadly violent against infrastructure and humans, or digitally focused where each is designed to achieve a political, religious, economic or social objective.
Active military duty evolved into active reserve duty for a while.
Civilian Preston returned to his home state of Kentucky dreaming about two other careers — journalism and crisis consulting. His desire to own a community newspaper seemed unattainable. He had no funds. However, on faith of financial backers familiar with Tom’s work ethic, he acquired a 100% loan to purchase all shares of stock in The Cynthiana (KY) Publishing Co.
Two longstanding weekly newspapers, a commercial printing operation and an office supply firm comprised the corporation. Soon a third journal was bought. Rapid growth in circulation and advertising compelled merging the weeklies into what consistently became the Commonwealth’s highest-rated community paper until 1969.
Venture capitalists ultimately bought all corporate stock. This opened the door for expanded consulting services already underway.
During the 60s our founder was recalled into active duty for secret missions in Turkey and other locations because of deteriorating Cold War conditions. Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev ordered his elite Spetsnaz group to assassinate American troops in that part of the world. They also failed.
As tensions eased and while busy consulting, Mr. Preston formed or purchased ownership positions in several ventures. A couple of smaller ones were break-even-at-best divestitures. The greater reward? Multiple lessons learned the hard way for later achievements.
From that time on, nationwide contracts among patrons, staffing growth, and new facility construction for The Preston Group paralleled his assorted civic and governmental roles. Leaves of absence enabled his joining two governors and a U.S. senator as their senior advisor and head of major agencies.
By then Preston Global was in full swing with TPG. As the 20th century waned, Tom sold The Preston Group while expanding Preston Global. He became executive director (on leave of absence again) of Kentucky’s Office of Homeland Security.
This appointment preceded a rare invitation from the historic U.S. Army War College at Carlisle, PA to participate in a study program emphasizing national security.
- Entrepreneur, founder, organizer, investor in 7 companies including the Commonwealth’s fastest growth new bank, until sold.
- Appointed to first board of Kentucky’s Public Higher Education Council.
- Associated Industries of Kentucky board; two bank boards.
- Member, National Courts and Community Commission for the National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, VA.
- American Negotiation Institute Advisory Board, Ft. Myers, FL.
- Advisory Council, Eastern KY University College of Business & Technology.
- Chairman, KY Press Service.
- Executive editor/consultant to LETTERMAN, a national journal for high school athletes with readership of millions.
- Major surrogate role designated by Wendell Ford following the Senator’s appointment to Aeronautical & Space Science subcommittee during competitive era between the U.S. and Soviets.
- Member, first-elected class of The Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows. Previously accredited by PRSA.
- First non-resident Chairman of the Florida Public Relations Association Counselor’s Network.
- International Association of Counterterrorism Professionals.
- Innovator with respect to his profession in preparing clients for communicative and reputation issues from severe litigious effects when businesses, institutions, and leaderships were victimized by terrorist and other violent sources.
- First in the profession to conduct seminars focusing on strategies and tactics dealing with terrorism, workplace violence, communications and leadership responsibilities relating to lessons learned from such recent tragedies.
- Produced the worldwide Nike Hawk missile introduction event for the late U.S. Senator from Washington State, Henry Jackson; this, when Mao Zedong’s Red China troops were poised to invade Formosa and destroy the Nationalist regime of Chiang Kai-shek.
- Crafted procedures diffusing IRA sympathizers targeting former British Prime Minister Lady Thatcher during one of her goodwill U.S. tours.
- National lecturer and seminar leader. Owner/operator of Blue Grass farm for 31 years. Private pilot. Collector of antique golf equipment, memorabilia, literature and art.
- Outstanding young man of Kentucky, 1966.
- First recipient, University of Kentucky School of Communications Lifetime Achievement Award for crisis prevention, response and resolution achievements.
- First inductee into PRSA Thoroughbred Chapter Hall of Fame as well as its first Lifetime Achievement honor.
- Recipient, The Col. John Dillin Trophy bestowed by the Florida Public Relations Association. Also voted Member-of-the Year by the approximately 1,000 associates.
- New York’s O’Dwyer Executive Achievement honor for exceptional crisis management.
- In excess of 120 state and national journalistic and other communication honors.
- Mentoring recognitions by the American Petroleum Institute, the American Society for Industrial Security International, and various law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.
- Induction, the Woodford County (KY) School System Hall of Fame citing “career.”
- Outstanding teacher recognition at two universities. Invited adjunct professor at four universities.
- The Hellenic Foundation of the Blue Grass Board President’s award for a non-Greek citizen best exemplifying revered traditions and attributes.
- Harrison County (KY) Football Alumni Hall of Fame tribute.
- Various military acknowledgments/awards by the 6th Army and 101st Airborne Division.
- Last year Mr. Preston was elected to the University of Kentucky’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
Of a personal note, Tom’s wife of 57 years passed away in 2013. Their son, Matt, is a recently retired Special Agent with the United States Secret Service after 27 years of service. Now, he is an FSN consultant and advisor as noted on his biography.
He and his wife, Ashley, a special education teacher, are parents of twin daughters, Sarah, a junior at Rice University, (TX) and Emily, a Centre (KY) College junior. One son, Jacob, attends Ravenswood High School near their Brentwood, TN home.
Chris Gorman, J.D. – Consulting Specialist
Mr. Gorman depicts the ideal corporate attorney.
Astute, contemplative, observant, and a skilled debater with 35 years private and public sector legal practice, his professional services and contacts range from coast to coast and beyond.
A former Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, elected statewide, he previously had been voted into office for six years as “A” District Commissioner of the state’s most sizeable county in population — Jefferson.
Among unbridled successes during his term as Kentucky’s chief legal officer he:
- Prosecuted Medicaid fraud, public corruption and other white collar crimes.
- Received acclaim from all sides as a consumer protection mediator and litigator.
- Became eminently recognized for drafting exceptional au fait opinions, whether they pertained to the Constitution of Kentucky or the United States.
- Managed a staff of 238 attorneys and support personnel while supplying administrative hearing officers for 17 agencies and 39 state boards, commissions and their officers.
Among the different stages of his public service and private legal practice, his latest is a partnership with the Louisville firm of Conliffe, Sandmann & Sullivan, which began in 2002.
At ForeseeNow he will be called upon for legal guidance and opinions as they pertain to our consulting activities.
- Worked as a prosecutor as well as a defense attorney, handling hundreds of business law, administrative law, and general civil cases.
- Engaged in crisis management and prevention, corporate organization, compliance, and personnel matters including civil rights issues, personal injury and incorporations, dissolutions, mergers, and acquisitions.
- Received the 1995 Bingham Freedom of Information Award – the highest honor bestowed by the Kentucky Press Association to a non-member.
Professional Leadership Nationally
His impressive involvement with the National Association of Attorneys General began in 1992; it continues today with Emeritus status.
This experience includes, among others, his chairing NAAG’s Southern Region; the vice chairmanship of its consumer protection committee; and membership with the Federal Trade Commission working group.
Also, are his leading the association’s goodwill and education exchange delegation to the Republic of China as well as his being a goodwill delegate to Israel and Jordon.
In 1987 Harvard University welcomed Mr. Gorman to its John F. Kennedy School of Government Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government.
Prior higher education degrees included B.A. with emphasis on state and local government and economics from the University of Kentucky; Juris Doctorate also from UK soon followed.
In a similar setting at the University of Louisville he headed back to the classroom but this time as visiting instructor, teaching political science with emphasis on “problems in urban government.”
With his wife Vicki, whose own career included working as head nurse of an ICU unit and later as director of one of the nation’s largest home health agencies, they find time for foreign travel and activities supporting charitable causes linked to their respective lives.
One lengthy period devoted to young athletes saw Chris in gyms and on fields during early evenings and weekends coaching basketball and baseball teams, depending on the season.
“The presence of someone who has made such a profound impact through the legal profession conveys an important message to those FSN assists.” Tom Preston emphasized.
“That message is we strive diligently to find the very finest in character, qualifications and credentials. Doing so reaffirms our culture; it answers what should be expected of our consulting team.”
Teri Hansen, APR, CPRC, is an award-winning communications and marketing professional.
Throughout an amazing business and personal career, high praise instantly became the foundation for Teri’s reputation as a foremost thinker and innovator in branding and positioning, business strategy, crisis communications, media relations, and of course, marketing consultation.
Her venture, Priority Marketing, represents the broad spectrum of for-profit and nonprofit clients throughout our nation. Patrons receive impartial expertise through counseling as well as creative services. The practice reaches deeply into government, education, health care, senior living, hospitality, tourism, retail, construction, legal, financial, and other commercial pursuits.
“Teri is tendentious whenever expressing opinions formulated in helping those relying on her judgment. She reasons deeply before espousing directions one should go in achieving objectives,” said Tom Preston.
He recognized her professionalism and intellect before Priority Marketing existed, and wasn’t alone. Dr. Jay Rayburn, another FSN Consulting Specialist, predicted immense success for Teri even before she began growing her organization.
“She gains confidence among those relying on her insights — creative ideas. Teri doesn’t settle for just going for the gold; she believes each client deserves platinum! Mr. Preston added.
TV and Marketing
Her early career involved roles with a CBS television affiliate where she was director of community services. She also led marketing activities for one of the nation’s largest master planned community developers. After earning impressive credentials within that industry, Teri formed a small business in Ft. Myers, FL.
It was an entrepreneurial dream, beginning at a dining room table. But a question kept surfacing: Should I remain as is or risk the unknown requiring significant resources for expansion? The answer was as expected.
Soon, this enterprise became Southwest Florida’s largest full-service marketing, public relations, advertising and digital marketing firm. As president and creative director, Teri leads a team of nearly 50 talented individuals serving more than 175 clients. Yet she asked to join Foreseenow as part of the consulting team.
“What a compliment to all of us here from one so multi-talented,” Mr. Preston commented.
“I envision Teri’s values with respect to branding crises, digital/social media applications and furthering our emphasis on combining Heuristic Education with superior foreseeability.”
The entire marketing/branding institution has evolved significantly since Teri founded her firm in 1992. Rather than merely being a witness to the evolution she leads change while setting trends evidenced by so many honors and awards bestowed on her firm annually.
Always a Forward-Thinker
Clients quickly discover her operational standards of not making recommendations because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Instead, she provides forward-thinking services to those counseled; she is well-known for bringing new ideas and innovative techniques to the forefront.
Her business philosophy is based on genuine interest in successes for individuals, businesses and organizations served. This, in part, prompted selection by PRNews as one of the ELITE Top 100 Companies in America for 2020.
With a sustaining reputation for exceptional integrity, leadership and spirit, she recently, was recognized by PRNEWS as a Top Women in PR in the U.S. Similar accolades include:
- University of South Florida’s designation as one of the top 56 fastest growing alumni-owned businesses in the world;
- Finalist in 2019 & 2020 for Florida Small Business Development Center’s Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year;
- A 2020 Grow Florida Company To Watch;
- Uncommon Friends Foundation’s 2019 business award for ethical leadership;
- Women in Business’ 2018 Apex Award from the Greater Ft. Myers Chamber of Commerce;
- Florida Public Relations Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018;
- Plus hundreds of local, national and international industry awards.
Committed to furthering the communications industry, Teri took a major role in founding the Southwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) in 1985. Her efforts were especially instrumental in bringing programs and activities further enhancing successes of individuals engaged or soon to be as PR practitioners.
She also is a member of FPRA’s Counselor’s Network, holding organizational offices at the state and local levels.
Of singular noteworthiness, for many years Teri competed nationally in ballroom dancing.
Endless practices, often requiring long road trips to studios, resulted in hundreds of medals and trophies. But a crowning achievement was when she and her partner held the rank of No. 2 in the U.S. for American 9-Dance.
Raymond R. Hornback
Raymond R. Hornback Ed.D. – Consultanting Specialist
A veteran higher education administrator and public speaker/roastmaster well known for his successful innovative public relations programs, Dr. Hornback offers a solid communications background.
His occupational career began almost with overlapping duties. During the summer before his senior year at the University of Kentucky he was hired by the Associated Press. When school began that fall he requested and was granted delayed entry because the AP needed him as a staff writer until they found a capable replacement.
Concurrently, he was to be managing editor of Kentucky’s largest weekly newspaper. Somehow it all came together without undue distress; Ray gained an A.B. degree on schedule, later earning an M.A. from UK and later a doctorate from Indiana University.
In short order, the president of Morehead State College [ultimately Morehead State University] recognized how his new assistant was rapidly establishing impressive credentials. Combining public information duties with teaching journalism courses, and overseeing editing and production of the school’s newspaper, he also helped reduce the president’s heavy load of challenges and issues.
Later, he moved to the role of vice president at Morehead after obtaining a leave of absence to gain an Ed.D. degree from Indiana University. There, he was named a Fellow, the highest award for an IU doctoral student. His major was in higher education with a minor in public administration.
Dr. Hornback then returned to Morehead, assuming not just his former role but also additional duties. Especially worthy of notice is while at MSU Ray coordinated most strategies to assuage local student unrest regarding the tragic May 1970 Kent State University shooting and riot.
On to UK
Eventually, Kentucky’s flagship university acquired new leadership. The incoming president, Dr. Otis Singletary, chose restructuring his internal staff as a top priority. He hired Ray as vice president for university relations and advisor to the president.
The next 17 years saw many whirlwinds. Among a plethora of significant events calling on Ray’s abilities were:
- Managing local, state and national media, parental, student and faculty inquiries while helping with strategy during a sniper attack on campus. Click here for details.
- Investigating theft of athletic tickets and catching the perpetrators.
- Serving as liaison with the United States Secret Service during two appearances, one by the President of the United State and the other by the President’s wife.
- Coordinating UK’s involvement with the NCAA during the Final 4 Championship round.
- Successfully moderating union disputes while heading United Way of The Bluegrass, just one of many university outreach endeavors where he promoted community goodwill.
Next, The Private Sector
With nearly two decades at MSU and 15 years at UK, Ray entered the private sector, becoming a vice president of The Preston Group, Inc.
Much of his time was spent with Fortune 500 companies where he represented both as counselor and practitioner in legislative matters as well as in crisis control and policy formations.
After five years at TPG he formed his own professional firm, Hornback & Associates where one of his signal achievements was finally convincing the Kentucky General Assembly of the safety aspects from 3M’s reflectorized vehicle license plates.
He also was responsible for a national coal mining company’s media and community relations agendas.
- Among other requests for his talents, Dr. Hornback served as:
- National Vice President of the American Chestnut Foundation.
- President of the United Way of Kentucky as well as the Bluegrass
- President of the Kentucky Woodland Owners Association.
- Chairman of New Club Building for the Kentucky Optimists.
- National Trustee for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
- National board member of the American College Public Relations Association.
- Board member of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.
“Ray and I go way back to our days at UK where a brother-like relationship developed,” Tom Preston said. “We frequently debate topics ranging from A to Z without personal resentment. I believe one reason for this is depth of mutual respect plus the fact we each believe that when everyone thinks the same, no one really is thinking!”
A similar friendship between his wife, Betty, a secondary school educator, and my late wife existed for decades . . . but they didn’t argue.”
At ForeSeeNow, the latest extension of Preston Global, Dr. Hornback’s primary activities range from crisis evaluation and strategic planning to reputation management, especially as he advises higher education and other leaders about protecting reputations or repairing damaged ones.
Pat M. Melton
Pat M. Melton – Consulting Specialist, can be described as a cop’s cop, detective’s detective, and a sheriff who made thoughtful, non-biased decisions on behalf of community security.
Law enforcement throughout nearly two decades consumed many of his working hours, a sleep deprivation commonplace in Pat’s three separate yet demanding positions dedicated to public safety. It still does.
High Pressure? All in a Day’s Work
Nevertheless, he retains all-important personal priorities – family, church and boating – despite seemingly endless 24-7 calls.
Demands for his services never ceased amazing those who knew him well. Tom Preston recalls.
“We periodically scheduled working lunches. However, between visitors stopping by our table, often asking Pat to investigate this or that, as well as his taking incoming phone messages, little work or munching of food materialized. But those times reinforced how much this man was looked to for help. Citizens depended on his reliability and advice, although he seldom received enough accolades.”
After three years of study at the University of Louisville with additional academic work at Eastern Kentucky University, much pertaining to law enforcement, Melton entered state government, where vehicle safety became a prominent issue.
He moved steadily from two assistant positions into a division directorship in the transportation department.
Pat oversaw special investigations conducted by department officials; he envisaged a statewide comprehensive highway safety program, Drive Smart.
After organizing, introducing, and growing his concept, Drive Smart proved so effective under his management that the most recent Cabinet awarded it Division status.
In addition to ensuring internal compliances with rules, regulations, policies and procedures, he cultivated discipline throughout his areas of operations. Discipline is a quality Pat took into law enforcement first as deputy sheriff, then police officer and as the elected sheriff of Kentucky’s state capital city.
Melton’s capacity as a crime-solver and spokesman who excelled with media relations was obvious early on.
Again, trust came into the equation; reporters found him candid, thorough, and available. Among his responsibilities as policeman, deputy sheriff and sheriff, Pat:
- Spent enormous amounts of days and nights perfecting skills as a patrolman, accident investigator and traffic control officer.
- Mentored on-scene witnesses in how to present accurate descriptions of criminal case events.
- Selected to a detail as a narcotics detective with the State Police drug task force.
- Specialized in grant writing to acquire state and federal funds for his agencies.
- Led formal accreditation for his agency when becoming sheriff.
- Had a flawless record of accountability in collecting $38 million tax dollars annually.
- Was deeply engrossed with child advocacy programs, particularly to conduct on-site forensic interviews. Sheriff Melton originated the first “safe places” for child custody exchanges to eliminate sudden violence, hostile arguments and scenes adversely affecting emotions of children.
Solving An Enigma
Perhaps the pinnacle of his law enforcement career has been leadership and cleverness in solving one of the most perplexing property crimes in America.
Barrels, cases, and individual bottles of the famed Bourbon, “Pappy Van Winkle” disappeared from two world renown distilleries, primarily an inside heist eventually resulting in 10 indictments and a 15-year prison term for the ringleader.
The “Pappy-gate” mystery drew national attention from newspapers such as the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and New York Times plus key network radio and TV coverage. This rare, very limited brand is both difficult to find, and pricy.
Pappy Van Winkle is considered iconic in Kentucky, the birthplace of bourbon where 95 percent of all the world’s supply is produced.
Pat Melton is another part of the Commonwealth’s grand folklore.
Phil Osborne, APR, PRSA – Consulting Specialist
Mr. Osborne is a national award-winning communicator adaptable to almost any matter requiring special attention.
After making a name for himself in radio and television, both on-air and as assistant news director, he joined The Preston Group, Inc. (TPG) as senior account executive.
He began with FSN’s parent organization in 1985, moving swiftly up the ladder in responsibilities, accountabilities and overall authority.
One of Phil’s earliest achievements was establishing a public opinion/market research practice unit, which grew into the largest stand-alone facilities of its type in Kentucky.
Quickly to VP
Client development hastened by research and utilities interested in the firm’s capabilities earned a promotion to vice president. He held that post until 1989 at which time the board of directors promoted him to president.
Further diversifications and satellite office openings in new territories aided TPG’s branding efforts. New or augmented classifications included equine activities, travel and tourism, energy and environment, association management, plus TPG’s longstanding political and public affairs practice group.
It should be noted that when TPG [then Thomas L Preston Public Relations] opened in 1968, its initial focus areas were political and public referendum campaigns as well as crisis, terrorism, and workplace violence control.
Soon afterward the original name changed to The Preston Group, Inc. In that time period counterterrorism activities were internally referred to as Preston Global, which was one of the semi-independent practice units.
Becoming an Owner
In 1997 Mr. Osborne began purchasing TPG common stock. That followed Preston Global becoming a stand-alone entity in preparation for Mr. Osborne’s eventual acquisition of all TPG stock, unanimously approved by board action.
The parent name changed again – twice – to Preston-Osborne and its current, Osborne & Associates.
“Phil’s impact from day one helped give us longevity, a national prominence and ever-increasing growth,” CEO Tom Preston praised. “He still owns Osborne & Associates, and we value his continuing skills, talents and friendship with ForeSeeNow.”
FSN clients expecting the very finest in research development, methodologies, and interpretative accuracy based on interviewee responses won’t find greater capabilities than those under Phil’s and Dr. Jay Rayburn’s planning and execution.”
“Phil also is keenly masterful in getting to the heart of public issue controversies,” Mr. Preston points out.
“His years with political and public affairs projects plus his sense of history fit perfectly into our emphasis on Foreseeability. Unique insights are vital today concerning why society responds the way it does,” he stressed.
As for the many odd nuances of brand reputation successes and failures, Phil’s news media background – radio and TV — coupled with personal interactions among diverse groups, reinforce why his talents are so worthwhile in planning strategies.
Among a plethora of honors, awards and other recognitions, Mr. Osborne owns four Silver Anvils, the highest citing for excellence in communications and reputation management given by the Public Relations Society of America.
One of his productions, a poster announcing the 2000 Vice Presidential debate at Centre College, is displayed in at the Smithsonian Institution. A rare accomplishment, indeed!
He also holds the PRSA Thoroughbred Lifetime Achievement award and the Commerce Lexington Small Business of the Year trophy.
A visiting instructor at the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University, he contributes time and other talents to many charitable/civic activities.
Mr. Osborne and his wife, Jennifer, a public secondary educator, reside in Louisville.
Matthew T. Preston
Matthew T. Preston, Consulting Specialist and FSN Advisor, has devoted an entire adult career serving his country as a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service.
For the past 27 years he investigated, pursued, and brought to justice domestic as well as foreign white collar criminals while also protecting an array of national and international government leaders.
During those periods whether stationed in Los Angeles, CA, the Bay area, Washington, DC and Nashville, TN his missions also required presence in 28 foreign countries.
A graduate of Woodford County (KY) High School, he earned a BA degree in International Studies at Rhodes College (Memphis) with emphasis on the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc. Soon he became a candidate for entry into the United States Secret Service.
Investigating and Protecting
Following preliminary and advanced training, first at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and then to the Rowley Center in Beltsville (MD), Matt’s initial assignment was the USSS Los Angeles Field Office.
During three years there he co-founded and organized a fraud task force, which resulted in the arrest of more than 60 individuals committing various financial schemes. He also served on the GOP Presidential nominee’s protective detail.
From L.A. he moved to the San Jose, CA Resident Office, continuing his work in diffusing financial crimes. While there he acquired an additional role of mentoring newer agents and conducting protective intelligence investigations.
These complex investigations encompassing threat assessments and planning mitigation would become a common thread throughout his career.
In January, 2001, Matt transferred to the White House in Washington, D.C. where he held various responsibilities for the next five years.
On 9-11 as a member of the USSS Presidential Protective Division, he was part of the team taking the President to the Pentagon shortly after terrorists crashed an airliner into that facility.
The image of destruction — part of a coordinated offensive against New York and elsewhere – “is one I’ll never forget,” he said.
During that first tour in D.C. Preston also was assigned to protection details for both the Department of Homeland Security Secretary as well as the National Security Advisor.
This was before being called to a unit specializing in risk assessment and threat mitigation . . . a seminal moment in Matt’s nearly three decades as Special Agent. During a 30-month period he conducted 27 major risk assessment/threat mitigation surveys for Presidential visits, including six overseas missions.
One foreign trip, initially veiled in highest level secrecy, occurred when he and another Special Agent suddenly were ordered – with less than eight hours’ notice — to Joint Base Andrews.
There they boarded a military cargo plane. After a period airborne, they were informed of the assignment: Conduct part of the advance for the Summit at Lajes Air Force Base, Azores, which involved three international leaders.
It was at there that the decision was made to invade Iraq and rid the world of Saddam Hussein’s global terrorism and mass murders.
The Azores wasn’t his only Summit responsibility. During 2004 when the G-8 was scheduled for Sea Island, GA, he and another agent were responsible for all risk assessment and threat mitigation activities at that successful international event.
Upon completion of diverse duties in D.C. Matt transferred to the Nashville Field Office where he once again investigated financial crimes and helped mentor new agents.
Nevertheless, his multiple jobs also encompassed protective/preventive measures on behalf of U.S. and foreign dignitaries. One particularly notable event was conducting risk assessment for the Queen of England’s Kentucky Derby visit.
Back to D.C.
In March, 2008, he was promoted to a supervisory position at the USSS training academy. From Nashville, Matt headed back to where he once was a trainee, but this time he would lead the section devoted to investigative tactics.
He was given hands-on chargeability for the Control Tactics Section. Within that distinctive unit students were taught self-defense as well as how to protect leaders assigned to them while always performing in a tactically sound manner.
Year 2010 found the Special Agent in the Dignitary Protective Division. Alternatively, he was responsible for security of foreign heads of states from throughout the globe visiting this nation.
The same was true on behalf of American officials traveling abroad. In that one period he made 14 trips overseas with U.S. dignitaries. Those adventures included missions to China, South Korea, Belgium, France, Germany, Russia, England and elsewhere.
Throughout his career he guarded more than 40 Kings, Prime Ministers, Premiers, and of course, Presidents. Matt was directly involved with security of every living U.S. President as well as several now deceased.
Home in the Nashville Area
Following years of multiple responsibilities in the nation’s Capital City and elsewhere, Matt applied for a return to the Nashville, TN field office. Busy times continued until his recent retirement.
Family life includes marriage to the former Ashley Mickle of Kankakee, IL, whom he met at Rhodes College.
She teaches grade school special education. They are parents of twin daughters and a son. One daughter attends Centre College (KY); the other goes to Rice University (TX). Their son is a Brentwood (TN) High School student.
Always an avid reader of varied subjects – especially military history – Matt was a high school three-sport varsity letterman before hitting the college links for four years where he gained first-team All-Conference honors when Rhodes earned a top-25 ranking.
Federal duty greatly limited his golf until retirement but no way did it diminish his determination to compete in and enjoy the sport after a lengthy layoff.
Tom Preston couldn’t be more pleased with his son’s joining ForeseeNow even if on a part-time basis.
“Matt’s varied achievements have been noted independently not just by an admittedly proud father. He consistently reflects leadership, maturity, skills, true courage, love of family, and devotion to service.”
Jay Rayburn, Ph.D., APR, CPRC, Fellow PRSA – former Consulting Specialist
“Dr. Jay,” as we always shall respectfully address him, was a recently retired faculty member after 35 years at Florida State University (School of Communications). However, his entire professorial career totaled 45 years because of earlier appointments at the University of Kentucky and the University of Miami (FL).
A Providence KY native, he graduated in 1970, earning a degree in political science from from Murray State College (now university).
In addition to various teaching duties, where students (here’s a tough electorate!) voted him “Outstanding Professor,” he also directed the Communication Research Center in FSU’s College of Communication and Information.
But, there’s more. He also was Division Director for Advertising, Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communication.
Jay’s background includes manuscript reviewer for such publications as Mass Communication and Society, Communications Research, Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media and Journalism Monographs.
Executives at Random House, Wadsworth Publishing and Gilford Publishing selected Dr. Jay for editorial review panels.
Rayburn Revolutionized Research
A long-time advocate/leader among those believing communications programming should be based strictly on sound research before implementing plans and policies, Dr. Rayburn became an impressive pathfinder in developing new methodologies and strategies. The accuracy of his findings often astounded Jay’s peer group.
He counseled a wide range of clients about research, tactics, crisis management, and other related disciplines. In many respects Dr. Rayburn reflected the wisdom of the father of modern day public relations — Edward L. Bernays.
Said Bernays long ago, “We must have a base line that indicates how we are to adjust to the public, educate it and inform it. research in the form of public opinion polls, market and in-depth studies of human behavior. . . is the rule.” He added, “Proceeding without a survey is like a medical doctor prescribing medicines without a thorough examination of the patient.”
Formerly an air defense artillery officer, then Capt. Rayburn served as executive officer, Team D, 43rd U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Detachment, Special Ammunitions Support Command in Europe during the Cold War.
After serving overseas under conditions fraught with impending Soviet precariousness, his civilian career ballooned.
Among just a partial list of demands for his time and leadership Jay was: State president of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA), chairman of the North American Public Relations Council, the Founding Chairman of FPRA’s Counselors’ Network, a co-chair of the Universal Accreditation Board (UAB), and remained active in the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) until his demise.
He held designations as Accredited in Public Relations (APR) and Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) from FPRA in addition to his academic titles.
Speaker, Seminar Leader and Mentor
In addition to teaching, writing, and pioneering research Dr. Rayburn regularly presented specialized programs for PRSA, FPRA and many other professional organizations.
Dr. Jay often was asked to conduct seminars on employee communication. Counseling clients about research, communication audits, effectiveness studies and internal communications added to his resume.
Some of his communication audit clients included: Kean University (NJ), American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Florida Department of Transportation, University of South Florida Foundation, Florida Institute of Technology, National Council for Community and Justice (for Cincinnati, OH Police Dept.), Piedmont Medical Center in Atlanta, Progressive Casualty Insurance Company (two divisions), Ask Jeeves, and ARCO Alaska.
And a partial list of his opinion survey/focus group activities revealed: Numerous studies for administrative divisions of his own university, as well as Lakeland (FL) Electric Corporation, Coweta-Fayette EMC (GA), Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, Carroll EMC (GA), Miami Children’s Hospital, (FL) BayCare, Inc., Clearwater (FL), Knight-Ridder Corp, St. Anthony’s Healthcare, St. Petersburg (FL), Central Florida Regional Hospital Lake Mary, Wuesthoff Hospital, Melbourne (FL), Association of Community Colleges (FL), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Offices of The Attorney General, State Courts Administrator, Department of Revenue, and Department of Environmental Protection.
Honors bestowed are lifetime achievement awards, Outstanding Young Men of America, and numerous other accolades from professional and academic organizations, each resulting from his leadership and service contributions.
FPRA committees chose him for four of its highest venerations.
He and Mr. Preston remained close friends and business associates for nearly four decades. “To say Jay was brilliant is an understatement,” Tom notes. “He possessed an uncanny capacity for getting to the heart of extremely difficult issues quickly, comprehensively. His genius as a professor astounds. The greater the rigor he applied in classrooms the greater respect students had for him, while in school and following graduation. I loved him as a brother.”
Dr. Rayburn is survived by his wife, the former Rebecca Humphreys of Owensboro, KY. Two daughters, Jane and Katie, were born into this union.