Last night, the founders of GSD&M were honored at the 21st Annual Harvey Penick Award Dinner. Caritas of Austin presents the award each year for “excellence in the game of life.” Past recipients of the award include Bob Bullock, Edith and Darrell Royal, Susan and Michael Dell, Sally and Mack Brown and Lady Bird Johnson.
Steve Gurasich, Roy Spence, Judy Trabulsi and Tim McClure started our agency 41 years ago with the intent of staying together, staying in Austin and making a difference. And what a difference 41 years make. Since their early days, the founders have spent countless hours working on behalf of great causes: People’s Community Clinic, HAAM, Meals on Wheels, Komen Race for the Cure, Texas Mamma Jamma, St. Jude’s Children Hospital and many, many more.
As many people made mention of, community is so important to our agency, it is literally etched in stone on the floor. It’s a part of the foundation of the agency. Last night we heard from Evan Smith, Liz Stewart, Neil Spelce, along with a video featuring Mack Brown, Colleen Barrett and our legendary third employee ever Bonnie Hunter.
Mack Brown said the following about the work the agency has done, “Austin is better because of what you did for this city.”
Neil Spelce talked about what it meant to start a nationally recognized agency in the humble city of Austin. As a fairly new resident here, it’s hard to imagine this place not as the start-up laden, creative class, live music, covered in BBQ culture that it is today. But as Neal discussed, the founders took a huge risk choosing Austin as their headquarters and as a result, ended up making a name for Austin in the national advertising scene.
And so it became their collective goal to spend their lives giving back to the city that shaped them. There’s no telling what our city would be like had they decided to go elsewhere. I’m glad we don’t have to wonder.
Here’s to our community and 41 years of GSD&M.