JTC Alumnus Named CSU Distinguished Graduate of the Last Decade
Journalism | May 13, 2010
If he were still on campus in a t-shirt and jeans, there’s no doubt that J.D. McCartney (’98), could still pass as an undergrad in search of the secret to success. But McCartney wears a suit these days, and with nine years of full-time public relations experience, it’s clear that he’s unraveled many of the mysteries related to professional achievement.
McCartney will be honored February 9th as CSU’s “Distinguished Graduate of the Last Decade.” The honor certainly isn’t the first, and unlikely to be the last. As CEO of Xstatic Public Relations in Denver, McCartney already has earned a number of awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the Denver Business Journal and the Denver Chamber of Commerce.
McCartney founded Xstatic Public Relations in 2004 after beginning his career as a student intern for the City of Fort Collins, CSU Partners in Parenting, and Hewlett-Packard. After graduating, he worked for Mesa Communications, Law Communications and KNRC-AM before striking out on his own. In the first year of business, Xstatic generated nearly $200,000 in revenue with an increase of 80 percent per year since then. McCartney led five PRSA Gold Pick award-winning campaigns in the company’s first year and the company was honored as the Public Relations Society of America’s Small Practice of the year in 2006.
These awards follow a stellar career in the JTC department, where McCartney graduated Magna Cum Laude with 3.98 grade point average and earned the Public Relations Student Society of America’s Betsy Plank award as top public relations student in America.
McCartney’s life is extremely busy these days, but he agreed to answer a few questions to help current and future JTC students unveil a few success secrets of their own.
1) What were the most important lessons you learned in the Journalism department?
“My professors taught me that above all, writing is the key to success in any journalism career – including public relations. There is so much truth to that and even now, I attribute much of my success to good writing skills. Whether it’s a press release, Web site copy or a new business proposal, good writing takes you places.”
2) What’s next?
“Xstatic is a small firm with big plans. We have plans to grow in order to support our goal of becoming the PR firm with the highest-quality work available in the Rocky Mountain region.”
3) Any tips for current students as they prepare for the working world?
“Be sure to enjoy the little things about being a student and a rookie professional. Always shoot for your goals, but remember to do only what you truly enjoy. Following your passion and what makes you happy is 100 percent effective.”
4) What is the most important skill students can have when they leave the university?
“Marketing yourself is a lifelong skill. Whether it’s finding a job, dating or running for president, developing and communicating your “personal brand” will be important for the rest of your life. It is the core of who you are and all of your relationships, so the more accurately you communicate it the more successful you will be.”