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FMA Announces College Essay Contest in Honor of Doug Damerst
The Florida Magazine Association will honor the life and career of Doug Damerst by awarding a cash prize to the journalism/communications major at a four-year Florida college who best answers an essay prompt that speaks to the professional qualities embodied by the longtime editor-in-chief at Florida Realtors (and vice president of FMA's Board of Directors), who passed away Sept. 9 at age 64.
The Prize: $1,000.00
Eligibility: To qualify, students must meet the following requirements: 1) enrolled at a four-year Florida-based university; 2) expected graduation date of no earlier than December 2015; 3) majoring in a field related to the magazine publishing industry (journalism, photography, graphic design/arts, marketing/public relations, etc.).
About Doug: During his 10 years as editor-in-chief, Doug Damerst set an award-winning standard for the Orlando-based publication of the Florida Association of Realtors—no surprise given the excellence that distinguished each adventure in a communications career that spanned four decades. Whether working as a freelance travel columnist, public relations manager or managing director of communications (the latter, during a 12-year stint with AAA National), Doug brought an enthusiasm and curiosity matched only by an uncanny ability to see the big picture while grasping the smallest details. As his wife, Lisa, notes: "As a supervisor, Doug encouraged his employees to share their opinions and ideas, no matter how small. He was a great listener, always patient, respectful and non-judgmental, but at the same time he knew how to motivate and bring out the best in people. … He was a trailblazer and employed new methods and technologies wherever he could—but only if they streamlined the operation and made sense. He saved thousands of dollars for the companies he worked for by planning carefully but also [by] following his instinct. Doug was committed to ensuring that editorial integrity was not compromised in any way, and he was a stickler for getting the facts straight and triple checking his sources. I was always amazed by Doug's abilities and was fortunate to not only work for him but to be married to him for 28 years."
The FMA presented its inaugural (2015) Doug Damerst Scholarship to Brittany Valencic, a journalism major at the University of Florida, wrote the winning essay for the $1,000 scholarship. A sophomore at UF, she has interned at FLA-TV in Tampa and the Gainesville Sun newspaper, and written for several publications in the Gainesville area.