PR advice – from a Former “Revenuer”

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Jack Powell writes about public relations in “Roadblocks.”
Jack Powell writes about public relations in “Roadblocks.”
Jack Powell writes about public relations in “Roadblocks.”

Jack Allen Powell made his living an agent ATF agent – a “revenuer,” as they used to say, often tracking down local moonshiners. After retirement, Powell wrote about his adventures in “A Dying Art,” parts 1 and 2.

Powell, a Roanoke County resident, has also been involved in several television projects on moonshining in recent years, including one for an Italian production company.

Along the way, Powell learned a thing or two about the art of public relations, and now he’d like to share some of that wisdom with his new book, “Roadblocks to Success: A Treatise in Public Relations – Public and Private.”

In 26 short chapters, the Jefferson High School graduate rattles off tips and homespun observations that he says will help people get ahead and influence friends in many professions, be they civil servant, physician, or sales person.

“This [book] defines more or less how to get along with people,” said Powell of “Roadblocks.” Completing 35 years in law enforcement, and, “knowing something about people,” gave him the motivation to write his 68-page treatise.

Powell has heard some criticism of his book, which he has attempted to introduce to police departments. Some have resented his “two cents”, but Powell contends it is just a series of tips on how to coexist more peacefully in any profession. It covers things like flexibility on the job, controlling tempers (Powell lost his several times as an ATF field agent, landing in jail once) and giving and receiving criticism,

“Taking criticism is sort of like taking a laxative,” Powell notes.

Its okay to be “gracefully mean,” when needing to make a point, but there’s an art to it. That’s what “Roadblocks to Success” is all about.

“Public relations is the act of winning public favor for people or an organization,” writes Powell in the introduction.

Even college programs teaching public relations “[don’t] tell you everything,” he insists.

Powell will speak at the History Museum of Western Virginia Thursday, June 18 at 7:00 pm (Center in the Square) and at the WVTF Public Radio studios (Kingsbury Lane, off Franklin Rd. SW) June 19 from 5:00 -7:00 pm. Ram’s Head bookstore at Towers Shopping Center also carries “Roadblocks to Success,” and the History Museum sells “A Dying Art,” parts 1 and 2.