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John Heagney, a bio


I have an uncanny knack for founding successful companies in the  middle of recessions.  I have done it twice.  Once in 1982, then again  in 2009.  The first company -- John Heagney Public Relations -- is  celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is one of the Tampa Bay area's oldest public relations firms. The second company -- an Internet site called mousethruthehouse.com -- seemed a more unlikely (even quixotic) venture as it focused on marketing video tours of builder model homes amid the worst housing market since The Great Depression. Still, it has expanded to seven central Florida counties, showcasing nearly  500 model-home video tours by about four dozen builders in a relatively short  period of time. And the housing market is showing signs of life. Go figure. There is a fine line between foresight and dumb luck and I'm still not sure which I can claim for these successes.  


However, I am certain of  one thing: None of this would have been possible. If not for my termination as a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, now The Tampa Bay Times, three decades back. I was tired of daily journalism and, obviously, daily journalism was tired of me. We parted ways, but I  never lost my love for the news business, which explains my jump to the  closely related dark side -- public relations. 


I've always loved to write, but didn't realize I wrote well enough to make money at it until I was told so by Virginia Martin, an English professor in my sophomore year at central Pennsylvania's Lock Haven State College, now Lock Haven University of  Pennsylvania. (Whew! Another institutional name change). She convinced  me to change my major from geography (long story) to humanities.  And here  I am:  A transplanted Pennsylvanian, who's a Floridian, entrepreneurial centrist running two businesses, teaching PR  at the Corporate College at the University of South Florida, and living in Tarpon Springs with my wife of 37 years. With a nod to Jerry Garcia and the gang, what a long, strange trip it's been.


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by Dr. Radut.