Meet PR Director, Allen Haynes

Posted on October 17, 2017

Meet PR Director, Allen Haynes

By Sherri Simmons, President and CEO

As a child, Allen wanted to be a baseball player – who wouldn't if you had your own Louisville Slugger in little league? But now that he is grown up – and Duffey's director of public relations, we thought it might be interesting to learn a little more about Allen and what makes him tick.

Where did you grow up?

I’m from all over. Most of my family is from the Chicago area, but I moved to Gainesville, Fla. when I was 13. That’s my hometown, and where my immediate family still lives.

Where did you attend college?

The University of Florida. Go Gators! It’s the only school I applied to and the only one I wanted to attend.

Why did you choose public relations as your specialty?

I actually started as an advertising major. I guess I watched one too many Mad Men episodes. During a conversation with an advisor, she asked if I had ever given public relations any thought. I said no. After an afternoon of speaking with the dean of the college and a few professors, I made the switch and never looked back.

What intrigues you most about the field of public relations?

This is a great question. The public relations landscape is ever-evolving. New channels are being created daily to influence business, consumer and other audiences. There is great opportunity to use these platforms to tell clients’ stories with greater impact. This new era of communication is forcing innovation in message delivery. One thing that will never change, however, is that “content is king.”

If you could have lunch with a famous person – dead or alive – who would it be?

Just one? I’m going to change the question. Instead of lunch, I’d love to have beers with members of the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs. I grew up as a Cubs fan. The night they won the pennant, I cried. I was up until about 3 a.m. calling family members and discussing the team’s greatness. I was fortunate enough to attend game 6 of the World Series in Cleveland, which was such an incredible experience. And the night the Cubs won the World Series is easily one of greatest nights of my life. My wedding, maybe, is the only one that trumps it. Maybe. My wife was there for both. She understands.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

I was the captain of a traveling puppet team that performed song covers. I’ll just leave it at that and let your imagination go from there.

What’s on your bucket list?

A year ago, it would have been to see the Cubs win a World Series. Now, it’s travel to Europe. My favorite whisky is Lagavulin. I’d love to visit the distillery.

What’s your favorite hobby?

I have a lot. Instead of picking my favorite, I’ll just list them. Fitness, sports, Netflix binges, traveling, visiting breweries, collecting typewriters, video games, hiking, playing music, reading, movies and more. I’m all over the place, but I like to lock in one for a year – sort of slide the scales so more percentage of my down time goes in that direction. In 2016 it was whisk(e)y – learning about it, trying new ones, taking photos of bottles, etc. – and 2017 was the year of fitness.

Where in the world are you headed on your next vacation?

My wife and I have narrowed it down to the following possibilities: Europe, Vancouver, The Grand Canyon or an East Coast road trip ending in Niagara Falls. One of our bucket list goals is to see a baseball game in every MLB stadium. We’d like to coordinate said road trip so we stop in cities along the way to catch a game or two.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Baseball player. Easily. I watched The Sandlot every night before going to bed. All of my best childhood memories involve baseball. I was able to throw out the first pitch at a minor league game, and my little league team all had Louisville Sluggers, thanks to my dad. We were the only team that used wood bats and we all had our own. We felt like big leaguers. In fact, I would use Sharpies and white T-shirts to make jerseys of my favorite Cubs’ players for practices like Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson. My mom wasn’t super thrilled I kept “ruining” my clothes, but my friends thought they were awesome.

What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?

I love living in a city with professional sports teams. Although I am a Bears fan, I’m hoping the Falcons can win the big one. I’d love to see a parade here. 

One more question, why are you using your shoe as a phone in that picture?

Ha! The photographer wanted me to do a pose inspired by those Saturday Night Live stills of the hosts that are shown when going to commercial break. The shoe phone thing just happened to be one of the ones I did when he said "go."

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