Executive Spotlight

Jonesing for Information

by Anna Purdy

A former sportscaster turns PR specialist
By Anna Purdy

Amy Jones, once known as Avry Jones the KATC-TV3 sportscaster, is the new public relations force to be reckoned with in Lafayette;

A former sportscaster turns PR specialist
By Anna Purdy

Amy Jones
Senior Partner Jones Communications
Age 37

Amy Jones, once known as Avry Jones the KATC-TV3 sportscaster, is the new public relations force to be reckoned with in Lafayette; in fact, she's just been named communications director for Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser's campaign for lieutenant governor (he's the rotund politician who rose to fame as the voice for struggling Louisianans in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill). Her clients include several restaurants and political figures. She is co-founder of Jones Communications, a partnership that includes Nicole Begue Hackmann and William Bailey. The company both is and isn't her namesake - it's a reference to the slang term, as in "jonesing for information." Tall and blonde with a direct and friendly demeanor, Jones is someone you notice in a crowd because she commands - not demands - it. We sat downtown, and I asked her how a Lafayette girl like herself landed a sportscasting gig in a Top 20 market on the West Coast then came home again to do something completely different.

What drew you to sports broadcasting and what age were you?
I always had a natural love for sports. Women in sports was starting to be the trend when I was a junior in college. I had a professor who asked if I was interested. I started doing sports for the college TV station and I was hooked. I was 22 when I was named sports director at KATC here in Lafayette and 23 when I was hired to cover the NBA, the NFL and MLB in northern California.

From where did your sportscaster handle, Avry, come?
I did a conference with ESPN and major sports producers the summer before my senior year in college. Their biggest piece of advice on how to break into such a traditionally male dominated business was to have a gender neutral name so my audition tape would at least be viewed. I was a huge fan of the show Murphy Brown at the time and she had named her child Avery, so when I had to pick a name for on air use, I chose "Avry."

What was the most staggering experience you had as a sports broadcaster?
I walked a round of golf with Michael Jordan, had Kobe Bryant come up and hug me in the middle of a live shot during the NBA playoffs and got one of the first interviews with Pete Rose actually acknowledging his betting on baseball. Those are all great memories. I also did a one-hour sit down interview with Billie Jean King about women in sports and her match with Bobby Riggs. But no big name athlete will ever top the memory of being the only person to be live at Cajun Field when Jake Delhomme led UL to victory over Texas A&M in 1996.

Parlaying sports journalism into a public relations career seems like an intriguing fit that actually makes sense. What did your former career inform about your current?
My years as a sportscaster taught me to be prepared for any situation. Sports happens fast and you never know the outcome of the event you are covering. It got me ready to handle communications for three members of Congress. After you've worked in sports and politics, you are prepared to handle anything.

What do you most want your clients to take away when they deal with Jones Communications? What sets your company apart?
I want them to know they are working with a group that thinks differently. We use an incredibly creative mind set to work for our clients' businesses as if they were our own. We want to do exceptional work at a fair price and create lasting messages that will establish a company's brand. We also want to be known as the company that can create moments that both the press and the public will remember.

Describe Lafayette in five words:
Entrepreneurial. Eclectic. Independent. Resilient. Vibrant.

You live and work downtown. What sort of businesses do you think need to inhabit downtown Lafayette in order for it to thrive and become the city this deserves to be?
Before I moved back to Lafayette, I was running the campaign for another doctor (Jones successfully ran U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany's first campaign for Congress) for Congress in Tennessee. I lived in downtown Chattanooga and saw a great example of what a revitalized downtown can do for a city. We need more residential life in downtown Lafayette. We need more affordable condos and apartments, and then the businesses that support the lifestyle, like a grocery market and even more retailers.

What one business ideal did you learn on the fly, on your own, that no school or person could teach you?
Nothing matters more than humility.

What motto do you live by, either professionally, personally or both?
I lost my dad, Dr. Robert Martinez, in 2004. I'd like to think that he taught me that life is the art of drawing without an eraser. I try to remember that every day.