DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- A public relations firm and a former Poughkeepsie Journal publisher are teaming up to expand its reach into Dutchess County.
Focus Media, a full-service public relations firm based in Goshen with more than 20 employees, announced they have hired Barry Rothfeld, former president and publisher of the Journal to manage business development on its behalf in Dutchess.
"We think there is a lot of opportunity in Dutchess to bring what we do to companies and organizations to help them grow in these interesting times, "Josh Sommers, President and CEO of Focus Media, said.
Sommers said getting Rothfield, who retired from the Poughkeepsie Journal in 2016, on board involved a long courtship. The two had known each other for several years.
"He was vetting me more than I was vetting him," Sommers said.
Rothfeld said he looked at joining several firms before signing on with Focus. He said the fact that Focus offers a full range of services to its clients appealed to him.
"I'm so excited," Rothfeld said. "If I was going to be recommending a firm, I wanted to make sure I was recommending a firm with full confidence. Josh and his team bring a unique skillset and I hope to add an ingredient and round out that knowledge base. I was impressed with the full array of clients they have. It's a very impressive firm."
Sommers said they were looking to expand into Dutchess since they feel they would be filling a void. Clients in Dutchess include Bellefield at Hyde Park and The Chazen Companies.
"There are agencies that do nice work, but we're a 20 plus person firm that can really help a lot of organizations grow," Sommers said. "We want to be part of the community in Dutchess County.'
Having a person like Rothfeld who understands the media world will also be a boost to Focus, Sommers said.
"He really understands what we do," Sommers said. "Barry's a part of the Dutchess County community, he lives and breathes it. His knowledge will be invaluable."
Working for a public relations firm is part of a transition for Rothfeld that saw him spending years in a newsroom before going to the business side.
"It's been natural for me and one that I've embraced," Rothfeld said. "Once you're a reporter, you're always a reporter. You always have that natural curiosity. I hope that's valuable."