In 1994, I was a snot-nosed rookie PR hack trying to learn the ropes and earn my keep. I was assigned the Village Green account – a still young company already revolutionary in the luxury apartment realm. My direct contact? Tim Smith. Younger than me by a year but already operating at a much higher level, I noted in particular his calm, grace, professionalism, respect and drive. I would learn a lot and begin a valued friendship spanning nearly a quarter century.
Learning today of his passing at 54 years of age I was utterly speechless. Numb. Then incredibly sad. From a professional standpoint he would exit Village Green for Plante Moran where we again worked together. When Matt and I made the decision to start our own firm, it was Tim we confided in and met with after hours to develop our brand and craft our logo and first website – award-winning and perfect like everything he did.
We confided in each other often over both work and life. When we talked about the possibility (before Tanner Friedman) of my coming to Skidmore as a partner. When he was considering whether to purchase Skidmore and become its leader. On being husbands, fathers, authors and business owners.
I last saw Tim at last year’s Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference where he always made a strong impression. This time it was for the release of his book, “Dare Mighty Things” – essentially a guide for millennials. Speaking to young professionals at the conference about the book, he had them captivated with lessons learned but also in his asking for their input and perspectives. He knew a lot (more than he gave himself credit for) but knew he didn’t know it all.
Words cannot express the kind of person Tim Smith was. If you had the good fortune to know him, you know. He was humble, kind, visionary and a leader. The world (and I, perhaps selfishly) will not be the same without him.