What does it mean to you to be inducted into
the DR Hall of Fame?
Hal Altman: It validates the hard work, creativity, and personal care that we have put into every project. In most cases,
the back end of the business never receives the credit for the
incredible value it adds.
Fern Lee: I am humbled and grateful to be acknowledged
by my peers for the contributions made to the direct response
industry. My first job after graduate school was with The Hammond Company, and we were an original member of NIMA
which morphed into the Electronic Retailing Association
(ERA). My roots run deep.
Keith Mirchandani: It’s a very special honor. The fact that I
have been in this business for 25 years
means not only that I have succeeded
more than I have failed, but also that
I have thrived — and it’s all been tremendously rewarding. Making the Hall
of Fame is as much an achievement
of endurance and persistence as it is a
personal triumph of innovation and pioneering.
Cathy Mitchell: After 29 years in the
direct response television business, being
inducted validates my place in the industry.
Steve Netzley: I feel very honored …
but I also feel a bit guilty. This feels like
I’m being honored by my peers as an
individual for success and accomplishments in this industry that were and
are a byproduct of collaboration with
some of the most amazing, driven, and
intelligent people I’ve ever met. Havas
Edge is what it is today because of the vision, leadership, and passion of so many
people I’m blessed to call colleagues and
Colleen Szot: It’s an honor I never thought I would enjoy!
Creatives rarely are recognized, so this means a great deal to me
— and to my fellow writers.
Dick Wechsler: I’m a cynic by nature, but I would never make
light of the recognition of my peers. It’s humbling that this
honor is a result of the support of my colleagues and competitors.
What professional accomplishment makes you
most proud and why?
Altman: There isn’t any single accomplishment, but I am
proud that we have been responsible for many of the programs
the industry now uses on a daily basis. As an example, MFALS
wrote the first continuity programs and was the first company,
in the late 1970s, to be able to put two different SKUs on the
same billing. Additionally, we have worked on several unique
and rewarding projects, including: fulfilling programs for both
the 1984 and 1996 Olympics; co-producing two television
specials with HBO; being an integral part of 18 years of Comic
Relief; and working with Walt Disney, as well as all the greats in
the direct response business.
Lee: I am most proud of the ability I have to continuously
transition. I was the long-form queen back in the day, helping to
bring business success to The Firm, Billy Blanks, Turbo Cooker,
Richard Simmons, GTExpress, and Leslie Sansone. Once I
left corporate America to start our strategic marketing agency,
THOR Associates, we moved into short-form and digital om-
nichannel integration. We’ve been able to bring in big brands,
such as MetLife, AIG, Tranzact, Balsam
Brands, Kumon, J&J, Mars, and InventHelp.
Mirchandani: One of my most unforgettable
moments was when the Ab Roller became
the No. 1 ab-sculpting product in America.
On a personal level, I couldn’t be prouder
of the family my wife and I have created together. She and my two children have always
been my greatest source of strength, support,
and — always — laughter.
Mitchell: I’m proud of my longevity and,
most importantly, the relationships I have
established with both the marketers and the
Netzley: Seeing so many people build incredibly successful careers, friendships, and
lives at Edge — seeing them develop into
true industry leaders and being able to have
played a role in each of their journeys.
Szot: The MasterLock infomercial, exquisitely produced by Opfer Productions. It is, in
my opinion, my masterpiece.
Wechsler: Building an organization that
To whom or what do you attribute your
provides meaningful and challenging op-
portunities to all my employees. I’m also proud of the long-term
relationships and successes we’ve shared with our clients.
Altman: MFALS has never had a salesperson other than
management, and all of our business for 40 years has come from
referrals or personal contacts. Our reputation, as well as our
practice of treating our clients as family, is our greatest sales
tool. Additionally, we have a highly experienced and dedicated
team in the office and warehouse that works tirelessly to ensure
our clients’ success.
Lee: I’ve been blessed to have mentors, partners, and industry
icons I can call my friends: Peter Hammond, Katie Williams,
Greg Renker, Steve Pittendrigh, Linda Goldstein, Lynn Ham-
DR HALL OF FAME ROUNDTABLE