Tribute To A Pioneer – Ed Lewi of Ed Lewi Associates
I wouldn't normally use this forum for an obituary, but this one I couldn't pass up. I read over the weekend that the founder and mastermind of the well respected Ed Lewi Associates had passed away and I was particularly saddened. I know a lot about this gentleman - in fact I did research of sorts on him once - let me explain.
First of all, for the uninitiated- Ed Lewi was a masterful public relations pioneer in the Capital Region with 60 years of experience to his credit.
I had the honor of roasting Mr. Lewi with a song at his retirement dinner several years ago and in the process of preparing for it, I read with great interest all of the biographical information that both she and Ed's successor, Mark Bardack flooded me with, and it made me realize what an inventive, colorful, influential and well respected individual he really was.
Remember the 1980 Olympics and the "Miracle On Ice?" It was in all the papers. (I'm being sarcastic - of COURSE you do!) But you wouldn't have known too much about it if not for Ed - he handled all of the media relations.
The Saratoga Race Course and all of the attractions at SPAC? - Oh yea. Those were all of his accounts.
There's a HUGE list of not only business relationships but also organizations that he did charity work for, including the YMCA and Double H Hole In The Woods Ranch. An amazing career to say the least, and not without some very funny moments.
Quick story. I remember while researching for the song that, at the beginning of his career he really wanted to land the Great Escape and Story Town as accounts, but owner Charlie Woods was very difficult to pin down to give him his "pitch", so Ed crawled under his pickup truck and hid until Woods showed up. Upon seeing this rather unusual sales technique, Charlie responded "How can I turn you down?". Voila! The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom also was added to his portfolio and remained with him for years.
That's just one of many, many funny components to his long biography. For the full story, you can read this piece in the Times Union.
The ultimate irony here is that Ed Lewi was so well known and loved in this area that this public relations guru wouldn't even need this little piece of publicity!
He and Maureen have always been EXTREMELY nice to me over the years, and on behalf of my family I want to pass my sincere condolences to theirs on this great loss to our community.