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DMA Names 4 to Hall of Fame

A man who founded one of the South's largest publishing companies and the creator of a multimedia teaching program are among four new entries in the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame.

Morris S. Dees Jr., chief trial counsel and chairman of the executive committees of the Southern Poverty Law Center; Richard Hodgson, president of Sargeant House; and Robert J. Teufel, president and chief operating officer of Rodale Press Inc. will be formally inducted at the DMA's 81st Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco on October 11-14. Thomas S. Foster, co-founder and former president of Foster & Gallagher, will be inducted posthumously. He died in 1996.

Sixty-six direct marketers have been honored since the Hall of Fame's inception in 1978. Hodgson was involved in the DMA when the hall was first established.

“It's a great way to single out for recognition people whose accomplishments might be obscured by the press,” said Hodgson, who admitted to being very flattered by his selection.

Hodgson, whose direct marketing experience includes work at The Franklin Mint, R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., and publishing company American Marketing Services, has written books about direct marketing. Since 1975, he has been president of Sargeant House, Westown, PA, a direct marketing and catalog consulting company he founded. He and his son Scott created a multimedia teaching program that is being used by more than 200 colleges and universities and hundreds of direct marketing companies.

However, Hodgson lists as his proudest accomplishment the number of companies that he discouraged from starting catalogs.

“One of the biggest things I tell people [who are considering starting a catalog] is that you have to bring something to the party,” he said. “If you are just going to be a copycat, you have little chance of succeeding.”

Dees founded nationwide direct mail sales company Fuller & Dees Marketing Group while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Alabama. One of its divisions published the first aerospace encyclopedia in conjunction with NASA and the Smithsonian Institution. The company was sold to Times Mirror Magazines in 1969.

At the Southern Poverty Law Center, Dees devotes time to defending the poor, fighting racial crimes and educating young people about the civil rights movement through Teaching Tolerance, a project that distributes magazines, videos and teaching kits free to schools.

Teufel oversees the marketing, advertising and editorial operations of Rodale Magazines and Books as well as Rodale's affiliates and corporate staff. He has been chairman of the board of the Magazine Publishers of America and the DMA and has been involved in several other organizations.

This year's only posthumous inductee, Foster, was president of Foster & Gallagher, the country's largest direct marketer of horticultural products, for 31 years. He later was the company's chairman and honorary chairman. He became an early pioneer of the merge/purge technique. The company also includes catalogs of toys and specialty foods.

Separately, the DMA announced the selection of George S. Weidmann, chairman and CEO of Grey Direct Marketing Group as its 1999 chairman. The board selected Jonathan P. Ward, president and chief operating officer of R. R. Donnelley & Sons, as vice chairman/chairman-elect.

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