Course work: Glickman comes out swinging

Pictures of Dolly Parton, Bill Clinton, and dozens of other celebrities line the walls of Mark Glickman's office at the east end of the Downtown Mall. But this is not a case of a starstruck fan worshipping at the altar of fame. Upon closer examination, it's clear that a younger version of the mustachioed Glickman is in each image, smiling, meeting, and mingling.

Behind every picture is a story from his "wild" days as a Manhattan PR exec, says Glickman, founder of local public relations firm The Glickman Group. Parton, for instance, once "saved my ass," he laughs, when another actress failed to show up on time for a photo op outside a Manhattan eatery. Glickman spied Parton dining inside and interrupted her meal to ask if she'd step in.

Though big melons saved that day, an even bigger fruit brought him acclaim in 1986. To promote the world-famous Tavern on the Green restaurant, Glickman tracked down the "world's largest pumpkin," grown by an unemployed salt miner in Nova Scotia. The miner trucked the 800-pound pumpkin down to New York, where it was on display at the restaurant through Halloween and won coverage from all the major news networks. When the miner got lost in Harlem trying to deliver the massive gourd, his adventure earned a spot in the New York Times as well. The Tavern, boasts Glickman, had its best fall season in history.

But despite the excitement of big city life, Glickman says that after more than a decade in New York he was ready for a change. When offered a job as senior VP of sales and marketing at Wintergreen Resort in 1986, he accepted.

"I'm big on extreme transitions," he laughs.

The adjustment from the bright lights of New York to the rural beauty of Nelson County is certainly extreme, but Glickman says it wasn't long before he learned the ways of country folk– particularly on the road.

"Just wave at everyone," he advises.

That motto didn't serve him as well during a two-year stint in Mazatlan, Mexico, where he was hired in 1998 to advise a family-owned and -operated resort called El Cid. Glickman soon learned things were done a bit differently south of the border.

"I had my own bodyguards," he says.

Though Mexico was a strange new world, it wasn't long before he fell in love with the country, he says, and in fact, he stayed two years.

"The most gratifying thing was to see El Cid go from 45 percent occupancy to 75 percent occupancy," he says of the resort where he worked.

These days, Glickman's back north of the border, doing PR work with the four-person Glickman Group, with clients ranging from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and The Homestead to the Boar' Head Inn. But he's also taking a swing at the Virginia golf industry.

In June, Glickman and business partner Dennis Tracz purchased regional rights to Cypress Golf Solutions, a software package that allows golfers online access and registration for tee times at local courses and helps golf courses maximize revenue.

"Of all the available golf rounds nationally," Glickman explains, "only 40 percent are being used." The idea seems to be catching on, as Glickman and Tracz have signed 30 courses in just three months and hope to see that number rise. In Charlottesville, Glickman and Tracz have teamed up with Channel 29, to enable golfers to book local tee times at

Many people might find establishing an online business enough to keep them busy for years. Not Glickman.

His latest local project: a "Rebuild the Coast" charity golf event on October 10 at Wintergreen featuring John Grisham and survivors of Hurricane Camille.

And once that wraps up?

"There's a new golf course down in Panama," he says with a smile.

Looks like a new adventure's come calling.


Age: 12 years younger than Mick

Why here? We like the mountains and the outdoors and knew the area from when we lived at Wintergreen. Also, the accessibility to DC for my wife's work.

What's worst about living here? No ocean, and winter

Favorite hangout? Jefferson hiking trail/Wintergreen and the Rivanna River Bike Trail

Most overrated virtue? Makes my head hurt to think about it.

People would be surprised to know: I was one of the early Elvis impersonators and performed Elvis when I was in high school and he was still alive.

What would you change about yourself? My Spanish would be better.

Proudest accomplishment? My wife, Liz, and two children, Sebastian and Juliana

People find most annoying about you: I'm one of the last of a dying breed of punsters.

Whom do you admire: My mom and dad... they were married for 58 years and taught me about love, respect, and the importance of family and friendships.

Favorite book? Don't Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk

Subject that causes you to rant? The Bush years

Biggest 21st-century thrill? The Internet

Biggest 21st-century creep-out? The Bush years

What do you drive? 2000 Montero Sport

In your car CD player right now: Two quarters that my two-year-old daughter shoved in there. Before that, a bizarre mix of Black Eyed Peas, Gloria Estefan, Kinky and Dexter Gordon

Next journey? Panama or Mexico, whichever project breaks first

Most trouble you've ever gotten in? I banged up one of my dad's new cars from his car dealership on the way back from a late night out.

Regret: Life's too short to waste energy on regrets.

Favorite comfort food: Chocolate anything

Always in your refrigerator: Milk

Most-see TV: Bad TV movies, bad reality shows, and all comedy shows on FOX, since my brother-in-law, Jeremy, is head of comedy for FOX

Favorite cartoon: Mighty Mouse (may he rest in peace)

Describe a perfect day: Waking up to my wife, children, and dogs

Walter Mitty fantasy: Being the winning pitcher for the Phillies in the seventh game of the World Series

Who'd play you in the movie? Bill Murray

Most embarrassing moment? It wouldn't be fair to pick just one.

Best advice you ever got? "Keep your chin up!" from my dad. (Good advice except for the year I boxed.)

Favorite bumper sticker? I hate f-ing bumper stickers.

Mark Glickman