Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
Known for his keen technical abilities and industry knowledge, April’s Member of the Month is a seasoned 25 year marketing professional. In addition to his service to our chapter on the Programs Committee, Jim Kent is a published science writer. He was previously head of communications at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, director of communications at Thomson Reuters, and held various communications and marketing roles in a 15-year career with Schlumberger, the oilfield services company. He is currently serving as the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer at Thornton Tomasetti. Let’s read below as Jim has shared some of his thoughts and ideas with us.
1. Where are you from originally and what brought you to New York City?
Glen Rock, New Jersey is my hometown, about 12 miles from the GWB. My wife is from the Bronx. We lived in Connecticut for about 18 years then moved to Cape Cod. We returned to the metro area because we were starved for culture (mainly, good sushi) and needed to be closer to our families. I had three job offers and was struggling to pick the right one. I showed the offer letters to my dad and asked his advice. Without hesitation he said: “You want Thornton Tomasetti.” I asked why. “Because,” he said, “the offer letter is just one page.”
2. How has being a member of SMPS influenced your career?
SMPS is the one place where you can find people who understand your pain and your triumphs and can offer an informed helping hand.
3. Can you better describe your role at Thornton Tomasetti and what responsibilities your job entails?
My remit encompasses everything related to storytelling for various audiences: the submittal process, internal and external communications, graphics, media relations, the intranet and Internet, social media, speech writing, presentation training, print collateral, trade show support and mar-comm metrics. I am lucky in that the leaders of our firm see marketing and communications as strategic, so many discussions involve a communications or marketing strategy. I am especially fortunate to be surrounded by a smart MarComm team; I learn something from them every day.
4. As a seasoned member in our A/E/C community, can you provide some advice for those that are new to our industry?
Do you have a job or do you have a purpose? If you want just a job in this industry, you can have a reasonably stimulating and comfortable life. But you will always have just a job. If you have a purpose, others will ask you to take more risk, more responsibility, more initiative. They will seek you because you have made the effort to learn new things. The earlier you decide which is your course, the happier you will be.
5. What are some of your favorite movies and television shows?
My movie tastes are pretty archaic: My Life as a Dog (1985) and The Russians are Coming (1966). The latter movie remains prescient since international relations have unfortunately not improved much in 50 years. Given the choice of watching television or practicing the mandolin, I prefer the latter—but my family would probably prefer to have me watch the mandolin.