Trivial Pursuits?

The requirement was straight-forward. If I wanted to graduate from Bowling Green State University (Ohio) with a degree in Journalism, I had to complete a one-semester paid internship in my field of study.

So, bored and slightly put-out that I would be required to exert effort finding a paid internship for that coming summer (didn’t the administrators know I was busy playing intramural softball and enjoying the occasional adult beverage?), I set to work searching out opportunities near my hometown in the Cleveland suburbs.

As luck would have it, a BGSU alum working in the Cleveland Metroparks marketing department was overwhelmed with all the planning that was taking place for the park’s 75th Anniversary Celebration and had convinced his boss to hire two interns. One of those interns was yours truly.

At the beginning, we both looked upon it as a marriage of convenience.

I needed a paid summer job in my field of study. Bob, my boss, needed someone who could write weekly press releases, staff special events, clean and maintain a file of press contacts, create and design trail signage and generally work to help get the word out about all the fun things planned throughout the massive Cleveland Metroparks system that summer.

Like all convenient solutions, we both assumed we would work together, share some good times, argue over stupid things (I did not leave the coffee pot empty) and, in the end, do our best to fulfill our mission before we went our separate ways.

Little did I know, this one decision – based more on need and convenience than desire, would dramatically alter the course of my life – introducing me to people I would work with for the next seventeen (and counting) years and even shape the direction of the publishing company I would eventually muster up the energy to start.

If you’ve picked up this magazine before, you may know one of the people I met that fateful summer – his name is Ron Ciancutti, author of the only column (A Step Ahead) that has run continuously in PRB (Parks & Rec Business) magazine since the very first issue and now, author of the first book we’ve published, A Step Ahead, Collected Essays.

I remember picking up the phone sometime in the spring of 2002 and dialing Ron’s number. I didn’t know if he could write, but I figured with a name like Parks & Rec Business, I needed a sharp cookie to write about the business side of running a parks and recreation agency – and Ron, as the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks definitely fit the bill – I just hoped he could write.

Imagine my delight when I found out Ron was a fellow BGSU Journalism alum and not only could write, but would love to do so every month. Then, imagine my alarm, when this same man warned me that he probably wouldn’t be writing about the business side of parks and recreation and instead do something a bit “edgier.”

As a new publisher with lots of space to fill, I gulped, told him to do what he thought was best and we’d see how the whole thing went.

As you can see, it’s gone quite well thank you very much. And, better yet, it’s been a lot of fun along the way – and, I’m sure, will continue to be as we move forward.

So, is there a point to this rambling? I believe so. First, treat every opportunity, no matter how seemingly trivial or routine with respect, giving it your best possible effort, because you never know where it will lead. And, second, if you’re a fan of Ron’s writing and would like to purchase his book ($9.95 plus tax and shipping/handling) visit our website ( or give us a call at 866-444-4216 x226 – we try to process all orders same day.

Till next month…

Rodney J. Auth