I was and still am a little shocked that one of my bosses Mike Connell died in a plane crash Friday night. I received a call from Jackie who also works at Connell Donatelli while watching Fred Claus. It was one of those calls that you never hope to get. You know the late night cell phone call from someone that is usually asleep at that time. Mike died piloting a plane on the way back home to Ohio.
I met Mike in the fall of 2005 when I had lunch with him, Becki Donatelli and another employee at dbBistro in NYC. Mike pretty much kept to himself while Becki did most of the quizzing to see if I would be a good team member. Obviously that turned out ok.
Mike was always into new technology and between the two of them really focused on mobile marketing and the underlying web platforms. Mike really ran his shop like a typical technology agency with documented timelines, proposals, and status calls. Definitely not typical in the political industry where a lot of the work needs to be done yesterday with just big picture strategy directions.
I didn't see Mike a lot in the past year as everyone just hunkered down on the roles for the McCain campaign. Mike did take time out of his day to give me a call when in the summer I was a little worried about what was going to happen post election. Win or as we did, lose, everything was coming to the end and I had so many other pressures at the time that I was ready to pack it in. Mike got on the phone and with his reassuring voice told me everything would be OK and it was hard not to believe him.
Mike was one of the nicest people to meet and deeply religious. He was always the most reassuring person and even when faced with tight deadlines, missed opportunities, Mike always was calm in the storm.
I used to keep a Google Alert on "Mike Connell" because in the past couple of years some bloggers in Ohio and elsewhere thought Mike was some diabolical person who was involved in voter fraud. I actually thought it was kinda of fun to read what people thought of a person I knew would never do something so illegal. It just wasn't something I'd ever believe he could willingly do. Maybe some of you lefty bloggers think I'm crazy, but so be it.
The Mike Connell I knew was deeply religious and one of the nicest people around. He loved his family and he cared deeply about people (friend or foe) and certainly loved this country and would never do anything to wreck the election process. BTW - nice profile on Ohio.com if you'd like to read more about Mike; of course the jerky conspiracy people leave silly comments but the story is pretty decent.
Rest in peace Mike. I hope your family copes this holiday season.
Campaign Solutions setup a scholarship fund for Mike's kids. Please give a little bit if you can by visiting this link.