Dan Jacobs, Newsman, Communications Specialist, Friend

Dan Jacobs
Dan Jacobs with grandson Taylan.

It’s never easy starting your own business, tougher perhaps when you decide to move that business from the basement of your home, yet more challenging when you’re a former newsman segueing into public relations. Lots of accomplished journalists. Lots of accomplished public relations pros. Very few can make the transition from newsman to communications guru. They’re different worlds. Dan Jacobs did that and did it well representing Connecticut businesses, major regional corporate institutions and several smaller firms in Bridgeport. On Saturday afternoon he passed away from cancer. He was just 59.

Dan Jacobs created opportunities for his clients and his employees. I was one of them. Our paths had crossed more than 20 years ago. Both of us had been newsmen who transitioned to public relations. We liked news. We also liked framing messages on behalf of people, places and things. Public relations was much simpler back then. Jacobs was on the front end of trying to change that. He realized there’s so much more to public relations than persuading a reporter to cover a story on behalf of a client. So you get a nice story placed for the client … then what? Jacobs reasoned. He wanted to help build the brand. He was a communications specialist.

In 1991 Jacobs was operating out of his home. He wanted to branch out of the basement. Even before he had settled on an office in Stratford for his company Jacobs & Associates, he was interviewing prospective employees. There was no real office so interviews took place at the Trumbull Marriott. He asked me to meet him there. A job interview in a hotel? I asked. “You have a better idea?” he replied. The interviews led to a business association and better yet a friendship. I’ve never been much for a 9 to 5 job, five days a week. Jacobs was flexible. You can work at the office a few days, work out of your home office a few days, he’d say. The days would change and the terms of our business relationship would change. He had a sense of humor about it. “What arrangement are you proposing this week?”

Dan Jacobs was a competitor in just about everything he did: business, baseball, blackjack, bowling. One day he decided he wanted to try his hand at golf. I took him to the black course at Bridgeport’s municipally owned Fairchild Wheeler golf course. On this day the wind and rain on the course reduced us to wet rags. Jacobs swung his club, the rain loosened his grip, the club soared longer than the golf ball. He looked at me. “I have a better idea, let’s go bowling.”

Jacobs didn’t quit. He persevered at golf and it became one of his loves. He also didn’t quit on people. He gave them opportunities.

In 1991 Jacobs hired a bright English major with a fierce entrepreneurial spirit who had just graduated from Miami University in Ohio. He didn’t know Jennifer Prosek and she certainly didn’t know him. In short time they created opportunities for each other. Restless to build a business to a whole new level, Prosek became a relentless rainmaker on behalf of the firm. He made her a business partner. Jacobs & Prosek took off. An office in Manhattan followed and national brands and international clients followed. While Prosek had a lot to build and a lot to prove, Jacobs had proven plenty to himself. He stepped back. She assumed control of the firm now called Prosek Partners based in Manhattan with a local office in Fairfield that caters to the Connecticut-based clients that had been Jacobs vision for the firm.

During the last several years Jacobs was able to enjoy time with his friends, family and so much time on the golf course. Dan Jacobs was so proud of his children Matt, Sarah, Rachel and Amanda.

Jacobs never walked away from the people he cared about, even those facing extreme challenges.

Thank you, Dan Jacobs.



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