Perks of the Job
The headline of my column this issue might be a bit misleading. Most readers could infer that as the publisher of a magazine I would recount stories of meeting celebrities like Matt Lauer or boast of free trips to The Greenbrier resort and traveling to exciting cities like Los Angeles to cover a story. While it’s true I’ve enjoyed opportunities such as these, the perks I am referring to deal more with the company I keep.
As publisher of the Huntington Quarterly, I am fortunate to work with a number of talented professionals who help make this publication a success. Many of them are at the top of their fields and I am honored to work with them. Here are just some of their stories: HQ columnist Matthew DeBord moved next door to me when I was in high school. We quickly became friends and spent many a night holed up in his basement watching the newly-launched MTV and discussing music. After earning his master’s degree in English from NYU, he worked as Associate Editor for the renowned Wine Spectator magazine. He has authored two books: New York Book of Wine and Wine Country USA, both available at amazon.com. As a highly-respected freelance writer on an array of subjects, his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, New York Observer, Food & Wine, Conde Nast Traveler and other publications.
When I became old enough to care about more than the Sports section in The Herald-Dispatch, I began reading Jim Casto’s column. I especially looked forward to his Sunday piece and the reaction he got from local readers. Now retired from the newspaper where he worked for 40 years, he is a regular contributor to HQ. It’s hard to believe. Jim is also highly regarded as a local historian having written a long list of books including Huntington: An Illustrated History, The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, Marshall University, Cabell County, Southern West Virginia: Coal Country, and West Virginia: Mountain Majesty. While you can purchase many of his titles at local bookstores or online at amazon.com, others are out of print and considered “collector’s items.” For more information on Jim and his work, visit his website at www.jimcasto.com.
I grew up listening to Clint McElroy on the radio. I thought then, as I do now, that he was the funniest man on the face of the earth. His cast of characters, razor sharp wit and dead-on impressions on his morning show kept me and my friends in stitches for years. We couldn’t wait to hear what Clint was going to do the next morning. Here’s a guy so talented that he landed an audition for Saturday Night Live. And while I think he could have been the next Steve Martin, it wasn’t meant to be. But NBC’s loss was HQ’s gain. Today, Clint’s “Last Laugh” column rounds out each edition of HQ. We’re lucky to have him.
Ironically enough, HQ Photo Editor David Fattaleh was my Buddy Basketball coach when I was 10. Fourteen years later when I decided to launch this magazine he was the first person I called. His work has appeared in Wonderful West Virginia, Newsweek, Southern Living, Blueridge Country, Ohio Magazine and Louisville Magazine. Despite those credentials, for several years he worked for pennies on the dollar as I struggled to get the business off the ground. In those early years, David was as busy promoting the magazine as I was. I respect David for a myriad of reasons. In addition to being one of the state’s most highly-respected photographers, he is also one of the finest men I have ever met. You can see more of David’s work at www.davidfattaleh.com.
Photographer Rick Lee is the only colleague I didn’t grow up with – that’s because he hails from Charleston. Despite that shortcoming, he is one of the most talented professionals I have ever met. He possesses the rarest of gifts in having an “eye” for space and balance, light and composition. This enables him to find the best in others. Those of us who work with Rick like to say that he can make anyone or anything look good. In addition to being a technically superb commercial photographer, he is an accomplished artist working with pastels. A bit of a Renaissance Man, he is well-versed on a wide variety of disciplines and one of the brightest individuals I know. You can see more of his work at www.rickleephoto.com or,better yet, visit his blog which posts new photos each day at http://rickleephoto.blogspot.com.
These are just some of the talented professionals, all with ties to the state of West Virginia, that have helped make this publication a success for nearly 20 years. Their contributions to the Huntington Quarterly are countless. And I think you will agree that I have been fortunate to enjoy their work – as have you.