Meet Duffey Communications Vice President, Paul Fulton, Jr.

Posted on February 20, 2014

Meet Duffey Communications Vice President, Paul Fulton, Jr.

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It’s no surprise that this master of PR turned his own name into a personal brand. As the youngest of three generations of “Paul Fulton,” even the simple things – like mail and phone calls – could cause confusion in the Fulton family.
 
This was ingrained in the back of Paul’s mind as he sat down to write the byline on his first article for The Red and Black, the independent student-run newspaper that covers the University of Georgia community. “Will people think my dad wrote this?” he wondered. 

So, on a whim, he added the formal title, “Jr.,” to the end of his name. As stories continued being published under that byline, his fellow writers – and readers – eventually started referring to him as “Paul Fulton, Jr.” which later became the shortened version, “PFJ.” 

Nearly 15 years later, and the name still sticks – even as Duffey’s vice president. Below is a little more insight into who Paul Fulton Jr. is:
 

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Jesup, a very small, conservative town in southeast Georgia where everyone knows everyone. It’s definitely a great place to raise a family. For some reason, people usually think I’m from the north. That is, until I open my mouth and my southern accent gives away my down-south upbringing. 

Where did you attend college and what degree did you earn?
I left Jesup after high school to attend the University of Georgia. I graduated in December of 2001 with a Bachelor of Journalism in Public Relations. It took me an extra semester to graduate because I changed my major from business to journalism and mass communications. Or as I like to see it – it gave me an extra football season. 

How did you end up in this industry?
Initially I thought I wanted to study international business and then accounting. During my sophomore year, I realized neither of these industries was the right fit – but I knew I loved to write. So I joined the student newspaper as a contributor and changed my major to pre-journalism. 

Why did you choose the field of public relations as your specialty? 
While writing for The Red and Black I had the freedom to explore topics that interested me personally, but affected the university community at large. Student journalism also gave me the responsibility to cover important issues that impacted UGA students’ lives. This job required a lot of dedication – I was juggling a full load of classes, working against nightly deadlines and the fast-paced environment of journalism, while attempting to maintain a social life. Although I enjoyed journalism, I found that with PR I could still have the creativity of communication, and the science of business I initially pursued. With PR, I got the best of both worlds.

How long have you been with Duffey Communications and what is your role at Duffey?
I have worked for Duffey for more than 10 years! UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication heavily markets the value of internships, so in the summer of 2001, I interned with Duffey Communications. At the time, I had no idea that years down the road I would be the vice president of the agency.  

What is the best part of your job here at Duffey?
Duffey allows me to work with clients from different industries, some of which I didn’t know existed and many that I never thought I would be interested in. I have now realized that I not only enjoy consumer PR, but also technical and industrial PR. My favorite part of this job is writing and editing, especially when I’m writing for a client in a very complex industry.

If you could have lunch with a famous person – dead or alive – who would it be and why?
Michael Jackson – who is the most-listened-to-artist on my iPhone. His career was built around influence and change. He set a new expectation for entertainment, and the ripples of his work can still be seen, heard and felt among today’s pop stars – it’s a brilliance that only comes along every so often. I’d be fascinated to learn how his creative mind worked.

Who inspires you? 
It’s too hard to narrow this down to one person. I find inspiration in real, everyday people who stand up for what they believe is right and fair – regardless of if they succeed or fail.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Although I was shy in high school, I joined theater for three years, which actually helped me find my own voice. Aside from PR, I have more awards in theater than any other activity I’ve participated in. 

What’s your favorite hobby? 
I like to go to the gym. Working out gives me an hour or so with my own thoughts. I actually come up with some of my best ideas while I’m at the gym because I have the time and mental space to think there.

Where in the world are you headed on your next vacation? 
It’s a coin toss between L.A. and Toronto. I have friends in both cities – we’ll see who wins.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an architect. I loved building and creating with Lincoln Logs®, Tinker Toys®, blocks and Legos®. I also drew a lot. Although I did not pursue that career, PR is still very much a “building” industry – we build reputations and make change that lasts. Like a new skyscraper, effective PR can permanently change the view. 

What was the last book you read?
The last series I read was the Hunger Games. I’m fascinated by the PR undertones – particularly the mockingjay, which becomes a symbol for freedom. It’s also a lesson in opportunistic PR – taking something that is happening organically and maximizing its potential. I can’t wait to see the next movie.

What is your favorite television series?
I only watch two television series, but I can’t choose between the two. I currently watch “American Horror Story” and “Scandal.” I especially love “Scandal” because the main character is a PR powerhouse – and I understand her penchant for red wine.

If you could trade places with someone for a week, who would you choose and why?
I wouldn’t trade places with anyone. I love my job, friends and family, and really can’t imagine being anyone else but me. I would be OK, however, if “me” won the lottery.

What’s your favorite thing about Atlanta?
I love Atlanta because to me it feels like one of the smallest big cities in America. When I moved here it was fairly easy to get to know people, and they are from nearly all walks of life. I think the airport is our greatest asset. It’s easy to go anywhere in the world from here – and easy to get home.

Duffey’s specialties are public relations, public affairs, crisis communication and cause marketing, so what’s your cause? 
Every year I like to pick one charity and give my full attention to it. This year my cause is the AIDS Walk and 5K Run. I have participated the last four years and am excited to walk it again this October. I am a part of the largest, independent group participating – Team LemonAIDS. Last year, our team exceeded our financial goal to fund HIV and AIDS treatment, education and prevention – and we look forward to raising even more money this year.


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