EPIC Spotlight: Jeff Honea

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Any visitor to New York City would be remiss in not taking advantage of all of the public transportation opportunities available in the Big Apple. After all, some of the most iconic images of the city involve subways, buses, trains, and the magnificence of Grand Central Terminal.

Jeff Honea helps promote these iconic images for the MTA. A native of Little Rock, Ark., he initially chose the University of Arkansas so he could join friends and move farther away from home. He started in engineering because of his interest in technology and science, but was eventually drawn to the social aspect of business. After reading an ad and discovering he was interested in copywriting, he decided to major in marketing. In addition to his academic work, Honea was involved with the Sigma Chi fraternity, attended many football games, played tennis, and met a lot of friends in the dorms. He also developed a unique business plan during his senior capstone class that involved him becoming a writer for a sitcom.

This passion for writing inspired Honea to move to Dallas after graduation, where he worked for the Dallas Times Herald. When the newspaper ceased, he worked for J.C. Penney in their New York office as a copywriter for the catalog. Here he developed a love the city. Honea bought a listing all of the major advertising executives and sent out 90 resumes in the hopes of getting a meeting and eventually a job. At least three replied, including The New York Times and Bantam Books. Honea worked for Bantam for a short time, creating text for book flaps. Eventually, the Times hired him, and he became the executive creative director in Marketing Services. One of the exciting parts the job was participating in the “Page One” meetings held every day with some of the world’s top journalists. Honea said, “The front page is considered a snapshot in history, so it was always an interesting meeting.” He also worked on a major Times TV campaign that required casting actors who also happened to be readers.

When asked to give today’s students advice, Honea said, “The students should be giving me advice because things are moving so quickly.” He added, “Meeting people and networking is the way to get jobs.”

Honea began working for the MTA in 2008. He is excited about this transition because he considers himself a person who knows a little about a lot of subjects. The role is a great fit considering his interest in science and technology and his love for marketing and advertising.

He remarks, “It feels good to promote public transportation when going green is so important.” In his spare time, Honea enjoys writing books and songs, which are sung by his wife, and can be found on his website, www.theriversidedrives.com.