Barbecue and PR expert Donna Myers dies
Staff Staff -- Casual Living, March 9, 2011
DONNA HOLCOMB MYERS, 72, died Jan. 7, of Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease at her home in Holmdel, N.J. The former Casual Living grill columnist was remembered as a leading expert on the barbecue industry and a pioneer for women in public relations.
Myers started her career at Theodore L. Sills, Inc., later acquired by Burson- Marsteller, the nation's largest public relations agency, where she was tapped to handle the company's biggest account, Burger King. In 1979, she opened her own agency, serving such clients as Quaker, AT&T, Gerber, Tropicana, P&G and Hershey. One of her longest client relationships was with the Barbecue Industry Association, which later became part of the Hearth Patio & Barbecue Association. She also provided marketing communications services for numerous individual manufacturers of barbecue grills and accessories.
Her final project, and one of her proudest achievements, was helping to develop and shepherd the Big Green Egg Cookbook from inception through production.
"Donna's magnificent media skills helped bring our company to the attention of the barbecue world," said Ed Fisher, chairman of the Big Green Egg. "She was a master of her craft. We were fortunate to partner with Donna in our early days, and her marketing expertise was a very important factor in the growth of our company."
Many other manufacturers, retailers and inventors, hoping to break into the industry with a brand new product, praised Myers for her willingness to share her time, expertise and advice.
"I will always be grateful to Donna for her dedication to the barbecue industry," said Mike Kempster, executive vice president and CMO, Weber-Stephen Products. "Her energy and commitment were instrumental in forming an association that has benefited all manufacturers. Over the years Donna dedicated much of her time to helping consumers become better outdoor grillers. The rich barbecue culture that exists today in the USA is her living legacy."