By Sheila Abbott Patterson
For Senior Voice 

Jack Roderick and one memorable convention


November 1, 2020

Editor’s note: The recent death of former Anchorage borough mayor and long-time community booster Jack Roderick brought back lots of memories and stories, including this one from Older Persons Action Group staff worker Sheila Abbott Patterson, whose father worked for Jack loading cargo at the Anchorage airport in the 1950s. Many years later, she herself worked for Jack in publishing, which brought about this story.

Alaska in the early 70s, also known known as pre-pipeline. Everything and everyone was high. On optimism as well as trepidation. After all, the pipeline was going to make Alaska rich. However, with so many court battles about rights of way and dozens of other issues, no one was really certain that it was going to happen.

During that time Jack Roderick was publisher and I was the national advertising sales manager for Alaska Industry Magazine, a publication geared toward oil and construction that eventually morphed into Alaska Business Magazine.

The annual Construction Machinery Manufacturers convention was being held at the Palmer House in February, 1972. An enthusiastic Jack decided the magazine needed to have representation with the hopes it would garner big ticket advertisers such as Caterpillar. I was nominated to attend. Please keep in mind that those were the days when we couldn’t spell “demographics” much less know what it was or its importance. Those were also mini skirt days. Being a young female from Alaska selling ads in the oil and gas industry afforded me a kind of unique place amongst advertising sales reps. Much to my amusement I had actually been granted appointments with big name advertising agencies in California, Chicago and Denver simply because people there wanted to see what I looked like and whether or not I spoke English.

I arrived in Chicago full of that old Alaskan self-confidence and bravado we Alaskans are known for. Jack stopped by the convention for a few hours on his way to Washington, D.C. There was a contact board in the main convention hall that listed all sales reps, who they represented and of course, phone and room numbers for their hospitality suites. Jack decided that Alaska Industry should be represented on that board. Since I was staying at the hotel and Jack was only there for a few hours, he decided to list my name, room, phone number and Alaska Industry Magazine.

I can honestly say I’ve never had, and have not had since, as much attention. In between phone calls there were knocks on my door all night long. Until about 5 a.m.

Over the years Jack and I have had several laughs about it and during a tomato soup lunch at Sagaya’s in the summer of 2019, I finally forgave him.

And oh yeah, we never did get any Caterpillar advertising.

Sheila Abbott Patterson is a lifelong Alaskan.


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