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The FPRA Legacy
A Leader and Visionary
The birth of the oldest public relations association in America took place in Tampa, Fla., thanks to the vision, intellect and discipline of one man: Lt. Col. John W. Dillin. Founded in 1938, the Florida Public Relations Association was formed for one sole purpose: to help its members do their jobs better.
Dillin, then director of public relations for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, took things into his own hands, as it became apparent that Florida Chamber executives were not devoting enough attention to publicity and tourism.
A statewide meeting at the Tampa Terrace Hotel was held in late 1938, where 45 attendees voted to form the Florida Association of Publicity Directors and elected Dillin as the first president.
From the beginning, Dillin never missed a meeting, except during the war. In World War II, he saw combat at Anzio Beachhead. Then, upon learning of his journalism and public relations background, top brass made him the public relations officer with the 57th Bomb Wing in Naples, Italy.
A creative thinker, highly disciplined and deeply interested in those seriously pursuing public relations, he was extremely devoted to the concept of "reputation over image."
FPRA honors the spirit and dedication of its first president and founder, Col. John W. Dillin. He devoted a career of service to and support for FPRA, an organization he cherished for more than six decades.
Lt. Col. John W. Dillin
FPRA Cavalcade of Presidents video
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