The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maurice Fitzgibbons dies, created Plainfield UEZ marketing program

UEZ logo captured Plainfield's several facets.

Maurice Fitzgibbons designed the Plainfield
Urban Enterprise Zone's first (and only) marketing effort.
Maurice Fitzgibbons, creator of Plainfield's Urban Enterprise Zone's only marketing program to date, died Sunday evening at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City surrounded by his family, according to a news obituary on filed Monday evening (see here).

Known throughout the state as a longtime Hudson County Freeholder, Maurice was also famed for his sunny disposition, knowledgability on many topics besides government, and his successful marketing consulting business, FitzMedia, LLC.

It was through FitzMedia that many in Plainfield's UEZ community got to know and work with Maurice and his talented staff.

Under the late Mayor Al McWilliams, Maurice undertook three notable projects for work marketing Plainfield's Urban Enterprise Zone.

The first was to develop a branding strategy and logo for the Urban Enterprise Zone. The logo was developed by the FitzMedia team, with input from City of Plainfield staff -- including Economic Development Director Pat Ballard Fox, UEZ administrator Jacques Howard and myself as the city's public information officer.


Great care went into the design of a UEZ logo that would brand
Plainfield as welcoming, historic and brimming with economic activity.

The logo is in bright, welcoming colors featuring representations of Plainfield historic commercial buildings, the conical roof outline of its famed Victorian mansions, and welcoming trees and sunshine of our many neighborhoods.

The second was to develop a portable display for use at both outdoor and indoor community events, street fairs, and other opportunities to either publicize the UEZ program or recruit new members.

Pat Ballard and Jacques Howard showing off the modular UEZ display booth.
The third was the development of the 'Home Arts of Plainfield, New Jersey' brochure. Featuring scores of Plainfield UEZ businesses engaged in providing goods and services for home restoration, remodeling or restyling, the brochure was targeted at homeowners in a market area centered on Plainfield and designed to entice buyers to the many offerings to be found in Plainfield (see copy of the brochure online at end of this post).

You must remember that this was at the height of the housing market and homeowners were spending significantly to add to, enhance or upgrade their homes. Plainfield had the perfect mix of businesses set to help them fulfill their dreams for their homes.

Though the logo, the booth and the brochure disappeared shortly after Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs took office in 2006, the map of the city with a street index, also prepared by FitzMedia and keyed to the marketing campaign, is still available on the handout racks at City Hall. (Realtors covet them to this day as handouts to prospective homebuyers).

Besides being a consummate professional in the marketing field, Maurice was something of a bon vivant. Every joint working session would begin with the arrival of Maurice and staff with huge bags stuffed with fresh Italian bread from his favorite Hoboken or Jersey City bakeries to be given out to all. (When I remarked once it seemed unusual for an Irishman to have an Italian signature item -- 'where's the Irish soda bread?' I joked -- Maurice said it was natural because he was half-Italian. Which perhaps explains the sunny nature.)

Maurice brought an instinctive understanding of how to market Plainfield to its strengths -- its diversity of residents and businesses, its architectural heritage, its downtown full of promise, its constant influx of newcomers with their cultural contributions. We certainly benefited from the help he gave.

All those who knew him in Plainfield will surely miss him, as I do.

Farewell, Maurice, and thank you for everything you did for Plainfield.

A viewing is being held today (Wednesday) from 3 to 8 PM at the Lawton Turso Funeral Home, 633 Washington Street, Hoboken.

A funeral Mass will be held Thursday at 10 AM at St. Ann's Church, 700 Jefferson Street, Hoboken. See full information here.

Below is an online copy of the Home Arts brochure.

UEZ HomeArts Brochure

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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