Never have I been more excited about a job in my career than the opportunity at Townhall.com/HotAir.com/Townhall Magazine. Great job that I poured my heart (and often 60+ hours a week) into. The unfortunate part is that the housing market in Atlanta is impossible and selling a home there, with the hopes of MOVING to Washington DC, is a lost cause right now. So....I'm going back to work in Atlanta and to be home with my family every night. Here are a few memories of my time at Townhall: (it's also a chance for me to say some things I wouldn't be able to say to peoples' faces without getting all teary-eyed like I do...)
- I will likely never forget packing up my truck (bed and all) to go up and set up at my brother-in-law's house in Chantilly, Virginia so that I could work at TH until my family could move up. I remember the Saturday morning when I pulled out of the driveway and my daughter Madeline stood in the yard waving good-bye and crying her eyes out. I cried too as I drove down the street and stopped to look back to see her standing there like a little lost girl whose Daddy was leaving. One of the saddest moments of my life. 15 months later, after many Sunday afternoons of driving back to the airport to fly to DC for another week's work has taken a toll on me that I couldn't have imagined that first Saturday morning.
- My first day on the job I was so freaked out that I would be late that I actually arrived at Townhall's offices in Rosslyn, Va at 5:45 a.m........just me and the dark office.........and a big lump in my stomach from the nerves.
- One solid year, then ensued, of absolutely kicking ass. Sorry, that's what happened. The Sales Team, me, the company, the conservatives that retook control of the House, the Tea Party activists, all of us.....just blew it out in 2010. What a year. Wow....
- I learned more about politics and online advertising than I thought ever possible. Yikes.
- Some of the people I met at TH were: George Will, Dick Morris, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Andrew Breitbart, Herman Cain, Hon. Ed Meese and so many more that I can't recount them all......it was like being in political Hollywood. Amazing...
- The people I have come to know. The people I have grown that care about. The people I have gained huge amounts of admiration and respect for:
- Jonathan Garthwaite - Good, solid, Christian guy that didn't know what he was getting into hiring me. He taught me a huge amount and I hope I did as good of a job for him and I tried to do.
- Chris Field - runs a GREAT magazine. Super nice guy and good Christian family man. Lots of respect for this guy.
- Kevin Glass - good guy that I hate to leave. Kevin, wishing you the best in your bright future, my man.
- Katie & Elizabeth - I'm lumping them together because they're just both equally sweet, smart, talented and the future of the conservative journalistic movement. (is that a term?) They make me look old and nerdy.....(easy people...no need to read into that one)
- Guy Benson - there's my first INNOCENT bro-mance. ha I'm proud to say that I know somebody that talented in conservative politics. Keep up the great work Guy!
- Magan Young - This chick is my home-girl. That was kind of blunt. One of the funnest people I have ever worked with. My sushi buddy. I would work with, for, over, under, beside Magan anytime. I could do a whole blog post on just Magan but I'll save it......I'm on the second encore with the Robinson brothers. Just let me say that Magan Young is the reason why I enjoyed Townhall. Period. She cared for me as a person when the job had really started to wear on me. Love ya, mean it. Call you tomorrow.
- Scott Kline - This guy is probably the smartest hire I ever made. I say this because how often do you hire somebody that absolutely JAMS at his job and you turn around and realize you also have a real friend in that person. I'm proud to call Scott (and Magan) my friends. I don't call people "friend" lightly, just a thing about me. But Scott is a super nice guy that not only has real talent but he's a real good person that has made my time at Townhall (at the end, when I was really kind of over it) bearable and fun.
- Chris Malagisi - Leadership Institute and YCC (http://www.theycc.org/) - one of the nicest guys I met in DC and I hope to keep him as a friend for a long time. Sharp guy....
- Sarah Smith. The lovely and talented Sarah Smith of AFP - Americans For Prosperity. Some nice young guy please marry Sarah. Do yourself a favor. She's awesome! But be good to her or several of us will break your neck.
- Linlee Dubard, my little Southern buddy. I don't know where to begin so I won't. You, my dear, have your whole life ahead of you and I'm glad I got to meet you before you are rich and famous. : ) Good luck to you darlin'. I am your biggest fan. Seriously.
- There are a ton of talented people like Ed Morrissey, Ricardo Pontes, John Hanlon and others. There are a ton of nice people like Caroline Ambrose, Alan Moore, Joanna Rutkowska, Drew London and the always-sweet Lauren Veneziani. There are the people that are no longer there like Mr. Magic Stick, Ms. Barnes, Matt Bower, the coolest journalist in the world Jillian Bandes and my pal Steve Newton. Steve....that was another deal. Toughest conversation I ever had to have in my career was when Steve left Townhall. I hope to stay in tight with him too now that I'm back in Atlanta.
- I got to go to RightOnline in Las Vegas, CPAC in 2010 in DC and The Money Show in Las Vegas back in April. All good trips. Oh, Right Nation in Chicago, that was fun. Interviewed Andrew Breitbart and Herman Cain and a few others that I am SURE had no idea who the heck I was or what I was doing interviewing them. ha
- There was when I wrecked the crap out of the rental car in Hollywood. What I was doing in Hollywood in the middle of the night is another story for another blog. ha It was no Eddie Murphy kind of junk. Honest.
- Glenn Beck Rally and countless dinners to hear George Will speak, Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Tim Phillips and some other great voices in the conservative movement like Judge Napolitano and Tim Pawlenty. Oh...Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich. Great to be in the room with them.
- I remember the first networking event I went to at Townhall at the Leadership Institute. I thought it odd, in a good way, that the Pledge Of Allegiance was recited and that a prayer was said at the beginning of the meeting. Of course conservatives don't have the market cornered on patriotism or a reverence for God but how refreshing it was to be in rooms that had the same values that I have. Kudos to everything that LI does.
- When the end came and it was time to give notice I was treated with dignity and kindness. Thank you Townhall. I will always have fond memories of my time in your service.
- Oh, one more thing. 35% revenue increase in the worst economy of our lifetimes. We did good.
So it was a good run. Sad to leave but...not that sad. I'm leaving out the people and memories that are less-than-positive. Eh...we're all an incomplete package and I wasn't always the best boss. Granted. But even though this is my personal blog and I could rip on some people/situations it's just not what feeds my soul.
So I racked up some Skymiles, made some friends, made some memories, got to know a little about politics, got to see some NEAT things in DC and hey....I put a chunk of money in the savings account. Not a bad 15 months for being in the middle of the worst economy of my lifetime. I'll post more as I think of it. Like elevator-pitching the House Majority Leader in the mens' room at the airport and when I told off a group of ladies on the Metro right before the door shut, locking me on the train with them for another stop. Smooth Burkey.
Ok, so one last thing to my team. Thanks for giving me a wonderful year and making it exciting and rewarding. I miss you guys already. I just left the office less than three hours ago and I'm already missing you. Best of luck and keep in touch, please.
Maddie, I'm coming home!