Finally, my cell phone is starting to quiet down—and trust me, I’m not typically this popular.
For the past week, I’ve morphed into Dr. Abi Aghayere’s personal secretary.
You may have seen Aghayere in the news recently. He’s been hard to miss. Aghayere is a civil engineering technology professor who specializes in bridge safety. So, when news broke of the Minneapolis bridge collapse, it didn’t take long for us to realize that Aghayere would be in demand.
But it did take longer than any of us probably would have liked.
I didn’t learn of the tragedy until the next morning, when colleague Susan Gawlowicz pointed it out to me in USA Today. Within a few minutes of digesting the information, I sprung into action and tried to track Aghayere down. It took a little more than an hour before I was able to reach him at his home.
Then we were off to the races. I issued a news release that contained Aghayere’s reaction to the tragedy through our AScribe wire service, which reaches thousands of newspaper, television and radio stations across the country. It didn’t take long before calls began flooding in.
Here’s a list of some of the outlets who have featured Aghayere in their coverage of the tragedy: 13-WHAM News, News 10 NBC, WROC-8, Fox Rochester, R News, Democrat and Chronicle, New York Daily News, The Wichita Eagle and The Congressional Quarterly Report. He’s also been a guest on radio talk shows in Pittsburgh, Calgary, Connecticut, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
But the most exciting moment of the week didn’t come from any news hits. Instead, it came from a “near miss.”
A producer from NBC’s “Today Show” contacted me last Thursday night and offered to fly Aghayere and myself to New York City so that Aghayere could be live on the Today Show set the next morning. I was home, packing my bag when my phone rang again.
It was the producer. They opted to go with a local guest instead. Bummer.
Nonetheless, it was a fun week playing secretary for Dr. Abi (not a single caller ever even attempted to pronounce his last name).
My only regret was not learning of the tragedy sooner so that I could have gotten a head start on the competition from other universities. But the UNS team has huddled and formulated a plan to make sure we’re not caught napping again. Stay tuned for more RIT experts in the national media the next time a major story breaks.
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