Coca-Cola: Hometown Hero
by Kevin_Foley
 Buy Local
December 09, 2011 01:31 PM | 2706 views | 1 1 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Many folks in Cobb County work for The Coca-Cola Company directly or indirectly, so our local economy is buoyed by what happens on North Avenue in Atlanta. I've had the pleasure of being associated with Coke for some 25 years, handling a variety of PR assignments that have taken me to a half dozen Olympic Games, three soccer World Cups, Final Fours, Super Bowls and places as far flung as Beijing and Cape Town. Coca-Cola always seems to be at the epicenter of places where people are enjoying themselves, and that's made my association with the company all the more special.

On December 8, my firm was fortunate enough to be part of a very special moment at The World of Coca-Cola when company CEO Muhtar Kent hosted the opening of a new exhibit there, where the world's most closely guarded trade secret - the original Coca-Cola formula - was locked away in a specially built vault surrounded by a wonderful interactive experience where you learn the story behind Doc Pemberton's recipe for the world's most popular soft drink. The event capped off the company's 125th anniversary celebration. Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reid, Sam Nunn, Martin Luther King III and many other national and state luminaries were in attendance.

I think about other cities I visit and the company's associated with them, but no city and no company are as closely linked as Atlanta and The Coca-Cola Company. As Don McKee suggested in his Friday MDJ editorial, how lucky are we to have Coca-Cola anchoring our business community?

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Laura Armstrong
December 13, 2011
My stepdad, Bruce Gilbert, worked for Coca-Cola for decades. He married mom when I was 15, and we learned immediately upon moving here that we were never to have Pepsi or another soft drink in our home. He was incredibly loyal to the company, lecturing us in his kind and mostly humorous way (though this was dead-on serious) that Coca-Cola paid for our food, lights and general well-being, as well as our educations (he always credited Coke, but we knew he worked his tail off because he wasn't home any night before 8:30 or 9). After I got married and was among the working poor, I made the mistake of bringing a 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi to a family beach gathering (it had been on sale). Oops. He saw it, he took it, he dumped it into the palmetto bush, and I was shamed. Now, all four of my children know that if you drink Pepsi, your ear will turn green and Papa (who passed away six years ago) will look down on you from heaven and cause the glass to tip over on its own. We're a Coke family, and I know there are others like us.

Thanks for reminding me of Bruce today, Kevin. And that corporations are people, people we love.
Kevin Foley is a 1979 graduate of the University of Connecticut and a former newspaper reporter. In 1981, he began his 30-year career in public relations, working in account management for Burson-Marsteller and Ketchum, two international PR firms. In 1986, he launched KEF Media in Chicago, a firm specializing in broadcast and Internet public relations. He moved the company to Atlanta in 1993. His career has taken him around the world and to every major city in America. Along the way he has worked with celebrities and public figures like Hank Aaron, Jane Seymour, Bob Dole, Nolan Ryan and Ryan Seacrest. Kevin went into semi-retirement in 2009 to pursue his long delayed writing career. In 2008 he published his first novel, "Where Law Ends," and has three other novels in various stages of completion. Kevin serves on the board of directors at Pinetree Country Club where enjoys golf and tennis. He and his wife Susie live in Kennesaw. The couple has two grown children.

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