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On the Case With…

Each month, as part of “The Business Case for Public Relations,” PRSA asks an industry leader to reflect on his or her career and make a “business case” for public relations.

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On the Case With… Mark Collins Romig, APR

February 1, 2016

Mark Collins Romig, APR
Mark Collins Romig, APR

A native New Orleanian, Mark Collins Romig, APR, is the president and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency.

He has worked in public relations for more than 35 years — from U.S. presidential campaigns to teaching in college classrooms to the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair.

“The necessity and responsibility we have to actively communicate in a timely and respectful way, and to do so honestly,” Romig says of what he’s learned during his career.

In 2013, he became the stadium announcer for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, succeeding his father, Jerry, who served in the same role for 446 consecutive Saints home games over 44 years.

Romig is president and CEO of the 2018 NOLA Foundation and works in a number of other volunteer roles, including serving as vice chairman of the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association Board of Directors. 

As New Orleans prepares for its annual Mardi Gras celebration, Romig discusses what this means for the city and the tourism industry.

“Mardi Gras — for centuries — has been a unique celebration that allows people to express their authentic cultural roots. It sees people of all backgrounds and races coming together to celebrate life in a joyous and colorful manner, and it is one of the largest free shows on earth,” he says. “It also means economics — supporting the more than 100,000 local jobs that are associated with what we call the ‘cultural economy.’ This includes not only employees at hotels, restaurants and attractions, but also musicians, costume makers, float builders and artists.”

Name:  Mark Collins Romig, APR

Childhood ambition:  I went to college to study pre-dentistry at the University of New Orleans. After taking chemistry, and realizing I would never understand how hydrogen and oxygen combine to make water, I turned to hotel, restaurant and tourism administration.

Current livelihood:  President and CEO, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation

What changed:  My dad grew up in the journalism/broadcast/PR arena, so it was ingrained in me from the early years. The combination of the hospitality and PR industries seemed to go hand in hand, especially in New Orleans. While I did not have any formal college training in public relations, I quickly learned from real-world examples and experiences.

First public relations job:  Director of protocol and guest relations for the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair

What you know now that you wish you’d known then:  Learning the value of being true to positive, responsive, two-way communication — this can mean the difference between success and failure.  

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received:  Handwritten thank-you notes mean the world, and don’t go to bed mad.

Greatest professional accomplishment:  Leading the marketing team at NOTMC in their use of social media and the Internet to quadruple the impact of our messaging “Follow Your NOLA” to markets and audiences around the nation

If you weren’t in public relations, you would be:  I was a structural engineer in a previous life, so probably an engineer. I am enthralled with construction projects. Go figure.

Desired legacy:  To be remembered for helping to make the world a little better, and that I loved life and people to the fullest

Make a “business case” for public relations:  Public relations is as critical to the business relationship as oxygen is to humans for survival. In relating and sharing ideas, concepts, products and views with others, we are compelled to initiate a process that calls for two-way communication. It is the core building block on which all human relations exist.


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