Staff members whose work for CFM spanned the past quarter century mingled over wine and munchies, trading war stories, catching up and recording reflections on something called SpeechBooth.
The CFM alumni event is part of the firm's 25th anniversary celebration. Each staffer received a bottle of Oregon Pinot noir and a wine glass carrying CFM's special 25th anniversary logo. Many attendees shared reflections of their time at CFM, which were recorded and will be posted as a video on CFM's website landing page devoted to the anniversary celebration, along with 25 "milestone" stories about the firm's work.
"We're very proud of our alumni," said CFM president Gary Conkling. "We're here today because of the contributions of the many people who worked for the firm. Our culture, our reputation and our collective skill is a reflection of all the talents who have been part of CFM."
Alumni who attended included Donna McClelland, CFM's first employee, Laura Imeson, an early member of the firm's state lobby team, and Patty Farrell, a key early member of the PR team.
Nate McLemore (Columbia Pacific Management) came from Seattle, Ken Strobeck (Arizona League of Cities) from Phoenix and Darrel Buttice (chairman of the Bend-area Habitat for Humanity program) from Central Oregon. Dan Keeney, formerly vice president of public relations at CFM before moving to Texas where he set up his own PR firm, is now back in Portland and affiliated once again with CFM.
Chuck Frost, who convinced Tektronix management to allow CFM's principals to effect a friendly spinout from the technology giant, attended. Frost has served for years as a mentor and example for the firm. Doug Babb, now retired, joined the party. Babb was a long-time anchor and conscience of the firm's public affairs practice.
Erika Hetfeld (Oregon Business Council), Joel Fischer (Oregon Business Association) and Elizabeth Remley (Thorn Run) attended as former members of the state lobby team. Ashley Sherrick (Koopman Ostbo), Suzie Giacomelli (Waggener Edstrom), Michelle DeLude (professional hypnotist) and Madeline Turnock (Concordia University) represented former PR staffers.
Partner emeritus Dave Fiskum, still smarting from his surprise retirement roast last month, attended, as did all current staff members based in Portland or Salem. Several alumni who were unable to attend sent congratulatory messages on CFM's 25th anniversary milestone. One of them said, "I loved working at CFM. It is a hard act to follow. It is a hard place to forget."