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Kent Hollenbeck 12 November 2012

Kent Hollenbeck

Communicator, PDX believer, Mid-west transplant, amateur cyclist & golfer

Kent Hollenbeck was raised on the plains of Iowa and South Dakota (the one with Mt. Rushmore) and all he knew of the Pacific Northwest was that there was a football team named after an odd bird (Seahawks?) located somewhere in the area.

After starting his career in public relations at Gateway Inc., and declining the opportunity to move with the corporate headquarters relocation to sunny La Jolla, California – Kent found himself in Portland, Oregon quite by chance.

He continued his career as a communicator at one of the largest independent PR firms in the world for nearly 13 years, working with brands large and not as large while expanding his experience across product PR, financial and crisis communications, executive messaging & thought leadership and marketing.

After several years of leading teams that showed great creativity in garnering attention (e.g. he launched a new initiative at his former employer to provide high quality communications support to brands that were just getting started. Specifically the start-up market in Portland and Seattle.

The work with these brands was invigorating, fun and, in part, became the motivation behind the launch of his own agency, The Hollenbeck Group, in August of 2012.

Since launching Kent’s company has secured one major brand, HTC, and has begun project work for other companies – with a core focus on having a select number of ‘large’ clients and a strong base of Portland and Northwest based companies that are getting started but have great promise.

In his spare time he enjoys golf, bicycling and running. The last one far less than the others.

What are you up to?

Learning how to be an entrepreneur each day with the launch of my own business. People have regularly asked me what it’s like and I say the same thing – “It’s thrilling and terrifying, occasionally at the same time.”

When I was working at large companies, the work often became about managing expections, reports and general ‘management’ more so than helping a client actually do something special. That changed when I started talking more with people who were starting their own companies.

They were passionate about what they were doing. It was not just a job, it meant something and helping them succeed felt like it was accruing to something real and tangible. It fed my professional soul and I wanted more of it.

I also learned the beneift of taking the strengths of the startup environment – nimbleness, optimism, willingness to take chances…and applying those to my larger clients needs and the business of ‘PR’ and communications overall. Plus the benefits of connecting large brands to those that are just emerging is a unique value-add that I enjoy helping foster whenever possible.

In short, I’m continuing to be thrilled and terrified daily and I have no interest in having it any other way.

Why Portland?

I grew up on a farm, and the nearest town was about 1000 people. My wife grew up in LA.

Portland is that perfect sweet spot of large and small for both of us. There is also a real sense of community that can only come from naked bicycle rides, more amazing restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. and beer. Oh boy, the beer.

It’s an amazingly cool town that knows it, but doesn’t necessarily like to advertise it and I hope to stay here for the rest of my life.


Tags: #publicrelations #entrepreneur #athlete #passionate

Now that we’ve met Kent, we’d love to meet you.

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