For a man who began his own business in his apartment, public relations mogul Robert Zimmerman has made quite a name for himself.
Last week, the longtime Shinnecock Hills resident and founding partner of the Zimmerman/Edelson public relations and marketing firm was presented with the Jack Rettaliata Lifetime Achievement Award—an honor given by the Public Relations Professionals of Long Island.
“Truthfully, I was really, very touched by it, and very surprised,” he said on Monday. “It’s always very meaningful when colleagues take the time to recognize you.”
In 1989, Mr. Zimmerman and his partner, Ron Edelson, started up the very first marketing/advertising/public relations firm on Long Island that brought New York City media to their Long Island clients, instead of simply using Long Island media for Long Island businesses, he said.
Eventually, their business grew to encompass big clients such as Canon USA, T-Mobile, Verizon, Lockheed Martin, and many municipalities and school districts across the island. According to PRPLI, his counsel is sought by the heads of national corporations, law and accounting firms, real estate developers, multi-national energy companies, senior White House advisors and elected officials.
Mr. Zimmerman also was elected in 2000 to serve as a Democratic National Committeeman from New York, and still holds the position. He has worked on numerous presidential campaigns, including those of John Kerry, Al Gore and President Barack Obama.
He often makes appearances on cable news programs like CNN, FOX and MSNBC, to discuss public policy issues, foreign policy and the role of Congress.
In addition to the colleagues who spoke positively about him at the awards ceremony last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, comedienne Joy Behar and radio personality Joan Hamburg sent letters congratulating him.
“You have been an incomparable leader in your industry and an invaluable source of advice to corporations, firms, and elected officials, of which I count myself as one of the fortunate few you have selflessly offered your time and counsel to,” Ms. Clinton wrote.
Mr. Zimmerman remains humble. “It’s important to put this into the perspective of today’s culture and climate—you’re only as good as your next act,” he said. “It’s what you’re doing in the future that counts.”