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Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself…

James McNeil

Hello, my name is James McNeil and this is my first blog post for Walker Sands and my first blog post EVER, of all-time, EVER!

I will be a regular contributor from now on, so I wanted to give a little background about me, my journey to Walker Sands and how I came to work here.

Here we go…

To say I’m not the typical new hire for Walker Sands is an understatement. I was, until recently, an intern, but not your typical intern. I started in January at the age of 32 (I have since had a b-day) and while 32 is not very old (some of my colleagues will disagree I’m sure), it is very old to be an intern. I did not follow the path of most young professionals starting off in public relations; I chose a far different path.

I am from an industrial wasteland known as Canton, Ohio. After graduating high school I dreamed of playing football for The Ohio State, but alas, it was not meant to be (mainly due to a lack of physical ability). I never attended Ohio State; I instead worked full-time sorting bras and panties at the Victoria’s Secret distribution center in Columbus, OH. Not a bad job for an 18-year-old boy, but I knew I wanted more. I really wanted to be a photographer for National Geographic and travel the world. Obviously, that was not an option, so I took a different route to my dream – I joined the U.S. Navy as a photojournalist.

I wanted to travel and I did; fortunately for me I was a gifted photographer and a not-so-gifted service-member. Basically I achieved a perfect balance of production vs. annoyance with my superiors that afforded me the ability constantly travel so as to ensure I stayed out of their hair. In the seven years I served (1998 to 2005) I was involved in the conflicts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, traveled to five continents, went completely around the world in 2002, visited 52 different countries and countless cities/towns and lived on both U.S. coasts. It was an experience that I cherish, but may never truly be able to appreciate.

After I left the Navy I started a marketing company in San Diego, CA, with a friend, which eventually collapsed. I was part of a team that controlled alcohol distribution for Target; this same group brought you Target’s Wine Cubes and Wine Juice Boxes – you’re welcome America. But during all of these little adventures I knew they were not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

So at the ripe-old-age of 30 I enrolled in college and began working towards a bachelor’s in journalism. And though my path started towards journalism and has ended up in public relations, it was a conscious choice and I am now right where I want to be: Working for a company I enjoy, doing work I enjoy and living in the city that feels the most like home in the entire world.

So that’s me…