Archive for October, 2009

| posted by Joe Hice |

What’s that Ringing in my ears?


Watch the Wolfpack take on North Carolina and Maryland (this year’s homecoming game) and help ring in a campus cause.

The Department of Athletics and student leadership have developed a partnership to contribute a portion of the proceeds from the sale of unused student tickets during the Thanksgiving weekend home football game against UNC-Chapel Hill, part of a “2-Game Tower Package.”   The package includes the Nov. 7 contest against Maryland and will directly help with the “Finish the [Bell]Tower Fund,” a project to install the 54-bell carillon into the Bell Tower as originally designed in 1920. The effort is led by the class of 2010.

For more information or to purchase a ticket package, visit GoPack.

Speaking of Athletics, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Monday, October 26, NC State athletes and “high ranking” members of the Athletic Association will participate in a “Dunk” contest.  No, I’m not talking about dunking the basketball.  It’s a Dunk-em-in-the-water Tank and for $5 you can purchase three tries to put your favs into the drink.  Happening at the Brickyard. Details to follow at GoPack.  I’m going to be there at 1 p.m.  How ’bout you?

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| posted by Joe Hice |

Farm land in the city

Spent time this afternoon at the College of Veterinary Medicine and was struck by the view of the city’s skyline from campus.  It’s not often when you can have a major research and teaching facility literally next door to downtown.  I’m sure pet owners in the area know how fortunate they are (we are) to have the college so close by, but I wonder just how much others in the community know about the research and discovery thaking place on campus.

Last week had a similar experience at the College of Textiles.  Biggest in the nation, I suspect, and the best.  Right next door to downtown Raleigh.  The list goes on because NC State is so close to the city.

At UF, the university is the city…well, almost.  The population of Alachua County where UF is located is about 180,000.  UF has more than 50,000 students.  And Santa Fe College is just up the freeway with another 15,000 or so.  And when you add faculty and staff to the list; well, you get the picture.  Easy to see why people call Gainesville a college town.

Even though it’s larger by magnitudes — not to mention being the seat of government in the state — Raleigh still has a lot of that college town feel.  With two great public universities, a top private university and a number of other private universities and colleges within miles of each other, you can’t miss that hometown support.  Obviously, lots of differences too, but we’ll save that for a later date. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

A little Passion was lost today as Harley closes Buell Motorcycle Company!

About 12 years ago I had an opportunity to meet, then work with Erik Buell.  Erik was one of the most passionate individuals I have ever met.  His passion, Buell Motorcycles.  Today a little bit of that passion had to die as Harley-Davidson announced it was closing Buell at the end of the year.

Erik started the company in his barn near East Troy, Wisconsin, 26 years ago and nurtured it along the way.  Harley entered the picture in the mid-1990s and Buell became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Motor Company in 1998, the year I entered the picture.  I worked closely with Erik to create a brand presence for Buell against some very tough competition.  Companies like Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, BMW.  It can’t get much tougher.  For a time, things were looking up, then…well we all know what has happened to the economy the past couple of years.

Erik never wavered in his belief that an American Sportbike could survive against the competition and just last year Buell won the AMA Pro Racing Sport Bike Championship.  A bittersweet end to a product that was conceived and nurtured on Passion.  But one that, nevertheless, was kept alive for more than a quarter century, by that Passion.  Erik understood that Passion Rules!

In a touching video, picked up by YouTube and spread throughout the industry,  Erik said goodbye.




| posted by Joe Hice |

That Passion thing again

Just back in town from an all-too-short motorcycle fix in Southern California, where natural beauty abounds around every turn.  The Pacific Coast Highway never ceases to amaze me.  Water shouldn’t be so blue (if you get what I mean!)

One of the highlights of the trip was an opportunity to spend some time with the oldest pup in the family who is working in Los Angeles.  Another was spending time with Jay Leno, a buddy from Harley-Davidson days.  There’s one focused individual.  He’s producing five one hour television shows a week, but still finds time to work on his cars and motorcycles in “Jay’s Garage.”  He spent the day we were with him talking about — and riding —  his jet bike.  Yep, a jet-powered motorcycle.  Now that, my friends, is fun stuff.

He will be one of the first to tell you that his love of cars and motorcycles helps him maintain his perspective when the world around seems to be going mad.  That passion thing again.  The oldest in the Hice pack is in LA because of passion as well.  She wants to make movies and is passionate about it. Rather than staying put in New York City, she said she needed to be where the action is…LA.  That Passion thing again.


The passion people have for this university has also been demonstrated the last couple of days and, no, I’m not talking about football, though I could hear the cries from LA.

The Chancellor had to make some tough decisions about the university and the emails and phone calls he has received are just gooey with passion.  Some good, some bad.  What you’d expect with something like this.  But he made the decision he thought was best for the university.  He is passionate about the place and he wants what is best for NC State.  I think that’s what we all want and I’m looking forward to a rousing conversation next Wednesday when the communicators from across campus get together to start work on a new Strategic Communications Plan for NC State.

Don’t know if it will be gooey or goofy, but I know the people here care about NC State…that Passion thing again.

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| posted by Joe Hice |

Headed to Raleigh

Just finishing up a great motorcycle ride in Southern California.   The weather out here really is amazing.  Never got above 80 or below 60.  Marine layer blew in most mornings, but burned off by noon.  Made for some spectacular riding conditions.  While the riding was great the camaraderie was even better.  Saw guys I haven’t seen in several years yet it seemed like we were working (or riding) together just the other day.  It’s that Passion thing I like to talk about at NC State.  There are things we all do that are just part of who and what we are.  Things we care about but can’t always explain why.  Sound familiar.  As one of my old agencies used to say, Passion Rules!

And can anyone tell me how to spell check on Word Press.

Al for now.  Back in the office on Wednesday after the long day of travel home Tuesday.

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| posted by Joe Hice |

Time for comments


I was pleased to see comments about the strategic planning timetable in my mail this morning.  Three actually.  And you guessed it, all three were different, well, at least sort of different.

Comment one:  “Looks good to me.”  To the point, no ambiguity.  I get it. Lets rock.

Comment two:  ” Overall, I think the schedule could work, but I am concerned about faculty input.”  Ah, faculty input.  Faculty do have a lot on their plates and timing could be a factor.  That’s why we’re starting to let people know today what we want to accompllish by next April or May.  We’ll use the blog to provide updates, email, large and small group meetings, etc., to keep people in the loop.  We also plan to include several faculty members on the various committees being created to work on the plan.  Faculty must be involved in order to create a realistic plan and I hope these measures and any others we can think of will encourage that participation and awareness from faculty.

Comment three: “Given the new senior staff that will be joining the university later this academic year, your timetable may be too aggressive.  Will the new Chancellor and Provost have an opportunity to participate in the process?”  Good question and I would say they will definitely play an important role in the strategic communications plan but that will come later in the process.  But we can’t wait until those positions are filled to begin our work.  A good strategic planning process should actually make it easier for them to slide into life at NC State.  As part of the process we will spell out — literally spell out — the key goals and objectives for the university from a communications standpoint. We will include an action plan for disseminating those messages and we will explain how it will all work.  We may also delve into ways to improve the efficiency of the communications process.  Not sure exactly how we’ll be doing all this, but it seems that issues like this must be considered as part of the strategic communications plan.  If they are not in the mix, it’s not a true strategic plan.

I know we’re just beginning, but please keep your thoughts and suggestions coming.  Check out what our peers are doing.  We’re not that different than other land grant universities.  My former home, UF, is very similar to us and I plan to use a lot of the materials created in Gainesville to help us through the process.  Through the examination of others, they will help us focus and fine tune.  And before you know it, a long-term strategic communications plan will emerge.

Almost forgot to mention that today will be the last “one-of-100” post for about a week.  I’m headed to California tonight for a motorcycle fix.  You know, wind in your hair, sun on your face, “live to ride, ride to live” kind of experience. Are you gonna miss me:-)

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| posted by Joe Hice |

Timetable for Change

Spent some time today talking about time…how much time we need to implement a strategic communications planning process on campus, I should say.

The Chancellor and his staff were pretty stoked that we actually had the outline of a plan and a rough schedule.  More to come during the meeting with the NC State Communications Network on Wednesday, Oct. 21, but strategic planning will “officially” begin that day.  We’ll use the rest of October, November and December to organize the committee structure, then get to work in earnest in January.  Goal — no, the Deadline — is to have everything completed and ready to launch around the end of Spring semester.  I’m thinking mid-April. Milestones will be targeted along the way.

I know it’s going to be a challenge, but if everyone from the NC State Communications network is involved in the process and plays an active role in the changes, we’ll meet that deadline without any trouble.  And the Chancellor has been very clear, we need to make some changes.

Speaking of change, those of you on Campus know that Hillsborough Street is in the midst of a major change.  Yeah, it’s  a mess (a construction mess) and a challenge to navigate, but did you know that the Homecoming Parade is going to happen on that very street…construction and all.  On Nov. 6 around 6 p.m. the marching band will lead the way.  Should be an interesting site.

Preparing for my trip out west to do some motorcycle riding.  Lots to think about on the road.   Lots.

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| posted by Joe Hice |

Fun with Time Warner Cable and State COMM

Well,  the cable TV system here in Raleigh has let me down…briefly  I brought my new computer home to do some work tonight, but couldn’t get online via my cable modem.  Called the help line four times and each time was put into never never land, then hung up on.  Way to go Time Warner.  Then went to the “high speed” online help through a wireless signal I’m stealing from a neighbor.  High speed my arse.  I was on line for 30 minutes with Julian and Audrey only to be told to try again later.  Our Technical Experts are working on the issue.

Well my faith was restored about an hour later, when I turned the modem and computer off and back on again, and everything worked.

Discussion continues around the State COMM communications network ideas provided last week.  Mostly good reports from people.  I think it’s interesting that people are reluctant to respond on the Blog, but okay with doing so in person or in an email.  I’m getting questions about how I’m going to decide specific issues, but I maintain that I don’t want to be the sole decision maker.  This should be a team effort.  Thus, a team decision.  If I have to make a decision to keep things moving, so be it, but universities like this are not like big corporations.

Decisions are not very popular if dictated from on high in this kind of environment.  At Harley-Davidson, Sea-Doo, even Segway, that would not happen. The CEO says it will be and it will be.  That is one of the biggest challenges of people making the transition from corporate to higher education I think.  Many, no most, are not accustomed to that type of reaction and it can be a challenging transition.

So, meetings will continue this week as will the discussion.  A meeting of all members of the NC State Communications network has been scheduled for later this month so we’ll have a chance to ask questions and provide answers face-to-face so to speak. And so it goes.

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| posted by Joe Hice |

State COMM outline, part II

I’ve modeled the following presentation and the State COMM organization from work done at UF.  The universities are very similar and the process works well there.  It’s worth a try here.


The North Carolina State University Communications Network (STATE COMM) will be made up of NC State Communicators including information officers, news writers, public relations professionals, publications and marketing professionals and others from across campus. By working together, STATE COMM will provide news and information about NC State and enhance communications both within NC State and with the university’s critical publics. The network will be charged with providing more efficient and effective communications, greater use of existing resources and enhanced public relations to strengthen the university. (more…)


| posted by Joe Hice |

NC State Communications Network — 1st Draft

So I tossed the idea out a few days ago about putting more form and function behind the NC State Communications Network.  I’ve talked about the group with a number of people and talked about some ideas on how we can use the larger organization to develop a strategic communications plan for the entire university.  I’ve pulled information we used at UF and Harley.  I’m talking to the Chancellor’s office, administration, colleges, units, alumni association, Centennial Campus, libraries, the whole ball of yarn, so to speak.

Now’s the time for comments or forever hold your peace.

I’m out tomorrow and because this post is so full of beef and because I’m posting it so late, I’m counting it as today’s and tomorrow’s.  I do get to set the rules here at, don’t ya know.

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