Tropic Topic Author of the Day: Ed Porcelli
Turnbridge properties, Inc.
I thought during these times of difficult economic conditions, riding unemployment, and uncertainty for many, that we could all use a great story of inspiration and most of all . . . hope. This article was written by Edward D. Murphy of the Press Herald in Maine dated July 1, 2003. Anyone who thinks hard work, or a simple effort at work, is a waste of time should consider the story of Brian Corcoran. His story relates to Real Estate and every other line of work.The Old Orchard Beach native's cold call - actually a cold e-mail - led to a new sponsorship agreement, worth a reported $750 million over 10 years, between Nextel and NASCAR. It's considered the biggest sponsorship deal in the history of American sports."The stars just aligned," is how Corcoran modestly puts it.Cold-calling is the practice of calling potential customers, not knowing if they're in the market for your product or not. Most salespeople eschew the practice, saying the results rarely justify the effort.Corcoran's cold call is probably the most successful in the history of sales.Corcoran grew up in Old Orchard Beach, graduating from high school in 1987. His father, a retired police officer, and mother, who owns a beauty salon, still live in the beach town, as does his brother, who is lifeguarding for the summer.Corcoran went to Eastern Kentucky University, where he earned a master's degree in sports management. He helped to market the school's teams and then went on to work on partnership marketing between companies and the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.Other jobs - with a communications company in Dallas, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and CBS - followed. He raced on over to NASCAR in April, just in time for the organization to start searching for a new sponsor.Winston had sponsored the racing tour and its annual championship, the Winston Cup, for more than three decades. But the company and the racing circuit decided to part ways.Winston's parent, R.J. Reynolds, was reportedly concerned about the rising cost. NASCAR, Corcoran said, was looking to broaden its audience and felt somewhat restricted in promoting the sport with its prime sponsorship coming from a cigarette company.Reynolds made the decision official in December 2002, and Corcoran, NASCAR's director of corporate marketing, was one of those focused on finding a replacement.Nextel, he said, was on the list of 60 or so likely candidates. He sent an e-mail to a casual acquaintance from the company in early March, suggesting a get-together to discuss the possibility of a sponsorship.From there, NASCAR and Nextel courted for the next few weeks, culminating in Nextel signing the huge deal on June 17.Corcoran said NASCAR and Nextel are a perfect match - he prefers to refer to the arrangement as a marriage."We've been dating a few other people along the way," he said of the process that led to Nextel's offer last month. "Just based on multiple criteria, they're really our kind of people."NASCAR gets a pile of money and stepped-up advertising to promote racing. Nextel gets a direct connection to the fastest-growing spectator sport in the country and its rabid fans."NASCAR has 75 million loyal fans," Corcoran said, and to Nextel, "our fan is their customer."He said the tie-ins are numerous, with NASCAR increasingly relying on technology, such as the way pit crews and drivers communicate during a race.He said Nextel could feed off that and offer NASCAR fans extras, such as daily racing updates delivered via text message on cell phones, or perhaps a recorded message from a fan's favorite driver left in the voice mailbox.Those ideas might have been some of the calculations that went into the sponsorship, but Corcoran believes something else was at play."Being an Irishman, I feel there's some luck tied into the equation," he said.Corcoran, who admits he was - at best - a "passive fan" of racing while growing up, still manages to get back home from time to time. In fact, he said, he's nursing a bit of a sunburn from his visit this past weekend.He'll be back at the end of July, Corcoran said, in time to lead a family group to Loudon, N.H., for the New England 300."I'm a hard-core fan now," he said, not surprisingly. "It's very addictive." I believe the moral of the story here is that your life can change with one phone call, email or in person contact. Those who work diligently and believe that they are making a difference through their efforts are the ones who will be rewarded in the end.
Recipes of the Month
White Bean & Prosciutto Bruschetta
Strips of prosciutto top each toast and are topped in turn with a mound of creamy white beans and a sprinkling of crisp red onion. If you like, serve these with the Bruschetta Duet to make a tantalizing trio.
RECIPE INGREDIENTS2 cups drained and rinsed canned cannellini beans (one 19-ounce can)1 1/4 teaspoons wine vinegar1 tablespoon olive oil3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme1/4 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley2 ounces thin-sliced prosciutto, fat removed, cut into thin stripsBruschetta2 tablespoons minced red onion
Place the beans in a medium glass or stainless-steel bowl. Using a fork, mash the beans to a coarse puree. Stir in the vinegar, oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley.Put some of the prosciutto on each of the bruschetta and top with the bean mixture. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 tablespoon parsley and the red onion over the beans.