We got a Herlehy in the house!
Sixteen years ago, this spring, the founding partners of Tom, Dick & Harry were tunneling out from our big agency jobs in Chicago.
David Yang, Bob Volkman and Michael Herlehy had the vision to create a smaller, craftier agency to serve clients. And we hung out our shingle.
Board meeting item #1: Decide on an agency name. We had just watched the famous World War II movie, The Great Escape, about Allied prisoners escaping Nazi Germany. The POWs dug three tunnels underneath the camp and code-named them, “Tom,” “Dick,” and “Harry.” While that was way more heroic than our desire to liberate advertising creativity, we admired the prisoners resolve and decided Chicago’s newest agency should honor our vets. The entire naming discussion took all of three minutes. Plus, it avoided the trap of which founder’s surname should be listed first in our agency moniker.
Board meeting item #2: Find some clients. We had none. But we started digging and haven’t stopped. Along the way, we’ve had our share of victories and defeats. The biggest setback happened in May 2013 when cancer took Michael Herlehy. He was 46.
In the movie, Charles Bronson played a POW character named “Danny the Tunnel King.” Danny was claustrophobic and yet he lowered himself every night, deep into the dirt under the barracks, to fight his demon by digging. And digging. And digging. When he finally finished the three tunnels, and the escape night came, Danny elected to stay back and let the other prisoners flee in front of him.
We think of Michael as our Danny the Tunnel King. And we’re sure he would be proud that his relentless effort helped create an agency where we still dig hard every day.
Starting Monday, Michael’s oldest child, Conner Herlehy, a Junior at the University of Kentucky, joins us as a summer intern. Conner, we couldn’t be happier to have you aboard. Grab a shovel. Got more digging to do. By the end of summer, you'll be as big as Bronson. Your dad knows that David and Bob’s pecs will never get there.