James Murray, ’09, originally from Manchester, MI, and now living in Ashland, graduated from Randolph-Macon Cum Laude and with honors. A double major in Drama and English, and a minor in music, Murry currently is a faculty member at R-MC and works in the library as an Audio-visual Specialist. He was recently running for a position on the Ashland Town Council committee.
Before coming to work at R-MC, Murray spent six months in Russia where he interned for the two largest advertising agencies in the world, BBDO and McCann-Erickson.
“I didn’t really like the traditional advertising business model, which is very heavily focused on the big fish in the sea, but it completely issues the smaller businesses that if you don’t have the money you don’t actually get to play the game,” Murray said. “When I came back to the U.S. I decided that I was going to start working with small businesses to try and find a new model to be able to get small businesses to sit at the same table with some of the bigger businesses.”
Even though Murray decided not to stay in Russia, he enjoyed his time there and was able to make many connections.
“My now fiancé flew over to join me about three months in, and as much as I enjoyed working for the ad agency, it was when she arrived and we started to reach out and network more, as some of the people over there were really fascinating,” Murray said. “There was a bar right down town in Moscow, and while, it was wildly expensive, the people that go there are from all over the world and I started a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He happened to be the guy in charge of all of the advertising for Russia’s largest airline terminal in all of Europe.”
Murray also said that two of the people he worked with very closely ended up being in charge of all of the advertising for the Olympics, and that one of the bartenders that worked at the bar was on the Russian Olympic luge team.
During his time at R-MC, Murray was heavily involved with theatre, including being involved with every single show during his four years on campus. He even continues to play Scrooge in A Christmas Carol every year. He was also a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, president of the Drama Guild, president of the Debate Society, president of his class, and was also the Editor-in-Chief for the Yellow Jacket for a semester.
Murray explained that R-MC hired him in early 2010 when he came back to be the media specialist.
“After Randolph-Macon hired me, I started getting involved with businesses around the area, and so very quickly after I started working here in 2010, I started the Adggrandize company which is currently going under rebranding to become the really smart media company,” Murray said. “The job at Randolph-Macon is traditionally the one that focuses on media and traditionally its supposed to be more projectors and cameras, and we’ve really transformed it during my time here to really focus on all types of media.”
Outside of working for R-MC, Murray has also successfully started his own business called Adggrandize, which is currently being rebranded to focus not only on small business advertising and web design, but also providing media services for higher institutions such as Randolph-Macon.
“My company does the video scoreboard during football games and some of the lacrosse games,” Murray said.
Murray said he’s been able to tie that into what he’s been doing outside of R-MC, including working on documentaries in town.
“In 2011, I directed a documentary about the motel homeless population in Ashland as an awareness piece,” Murray said. “The year after I directed a documentary about the history of the strawberry fair at the request of the strawberry fair committee.”
Murray went on to explain that by doing these documentaries they were the two entry points to working with the town and getting interested in running for Town Council.
“Besides wanting to become more involved with the town, Ashland is a great community and it’s a great place to live. As soon as I bought a house and I realized how much there was in the town, and how much there was to offer, I started to get involved. Once you get involved a little bit it’s easy to get involved a lot and I wanted to continue doing that,” Murray said. “The town council has five positions and it goes on cycle. You’re elected to a four year term but elections are every two years, so there’s three people getting re-elected one set of years, and then two people the next set of years so this is a two year.”
Murray was elected to be one of the next Councilmen for the Town of Ashland and will start his term on July 1.
He said that there were 458 voters total, and 430 of those showed up out of about 4000 voters. The results including absentee ballots are: Mr. James Murray- 260 votes, Ms. Faye Prichard- 294 votes, Ms. Terri Winston-Abri- 222 votes, and the Write-in- Candidates had four votes.
“It was an educational campaign, a fun campaign, and a successful campaign at the end of the day and I am really excited about the next four years,” Murray said. “I’m really looking forward to getting started with one more orientation and starting work.”
-Anna DeLoache ’14, Senior Features Editor