THEN : In 1987, Greg Praske was vice president of finance and administration, and Bill Power was vice president of government affairs, for National Air Transportation Association (NATA), a trade association representing 2,500 corporate air charter companies, flight schools and aircraft fueling and maintenance companies. It had 23 employees and a budget of approximately $3 million. In 1987, NATA launched a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to encourage people to learn to fly and utilize air charter as an alternative to airline flying. Christopher Reeve was still making Superman movies and was our national spokesperson for a PR campaign promoting learning to fly, recalls Praske. In one day alone, we were able to book Christopher Reeve for over 30 major market news interviews. Our air charter campaign made the front page of the Wall Street Journal as well as nearly every major business publication. This effort elevated the profile of the association and allowed us to achieve continued growth of our trade show that had grown over 500 percent in five years.
Praske (left) and Power in 1987.
NOW: Today, Praske and Power are CEO and president, respectively, of ARG, a full service voice and data consulting and brokerage company with 35 employees and 2006 revenue of more than $5 million. The company started out by leveraging its association ties to provide services to association headquarters. Today, it has expanded its scope to include a range of SMBs. ARG sees 2007 as a huge swing year for our segment of the industry and more specifically for our company, says Praske. We feel the only option for a medium-sized business to optimize their voice and data services and establish a high-level support structure is to work through a competent channel partner. We’ve built up our team in preparation for a break out year in 2007 — forecasting new business growth of 120 percent over 2006, which was a record-setting year for our 15-year-old company. (Read more about ARGs success as a telecom agency in the December issue of PHONE+.)
Power and Praske in 2006.