From Job Loss to Online Empire

With the economy throwing everyone for a loop, public relations, marketing and media professionals need wise counsel to help us make the best decisions for our readers/clients and ultimately our careers.
Paul Duning is the founder of the DC-area’s communications resource Capitol Communicator. Duning founded CC after he lost a senior communications job during the economic downturn of 2001. Instead of getting defeated, Duning got busy creating one of the most exciting platforms for communications networking in this region. Read more about Duning’s creative lemons-to-lemonade story of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mopwater asks: What do you do when you get laid off from your media or PR job?

Answer: Take time to regroup, get creative, and get to work on a completely new endeavor.

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Paul Duning, Founder of Capitol Communicator

Prior to starting Capitol Communicator, I spent 30 months as the merger & acquisition lead for a company consolidating communications-related companies in three markets. During that period, I met with several hundred communications companies across a broad spectrum of disciplines and was instrumental in bringing together 17 companies.

Then came the bust of 2001 and 2002.

My role quickly changed from integrating to re-organizing, which resulted in multiple rounds of difficult layoffs including, in the end, my own.

So I took a bubble-imposed sabbatical and spent the summer traveling with my family. During that time, I was struck with this idea to create a resource for communications professionals. [I wanted] to bring a community back together that had been terribly fragmented by 911 and the economic downturn that followed.

In early 2004 I met Phil Rabin who, for many years, was co-author of the region’s most respected and longest-running advertising and public relations column. In May 2004, Phil & I launched DC Communicator, an e-mail newsletter, with the sponsorship support of EFX Media, West Glen Communications and Real Magnet. In February 2008 Phil & I launched Capitol Communicator. In a partnership with r2integrated, the Capitol Communicator online community was created using the most current social networking technology available.

Today, Capitol Communicator serves as not only as a community for communicators but as a platform for communications technology exploration.

Duning has had a media diverse career working in production, marketing communications, advertising, media communications and public relations. He started his career as a multi-media producer, designer and photographer, moved into business development and later, management. Duning was an early adopter of multi-media, electronic publishing, digital printing and new media technologies in the 80s and 90s and then was involved in merger and acquisitions for an integrated communications company in the late 90s. In the new millennium, Duning repositioned a traditional video firm into a full-service marketing communications agency and served as COO for a technology-focused public relations firm. He’s a native of Tennessee and graduate of the University of Tennessee with an individualized honors degree in multi-media and business.

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