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Agency Nation Meets: Rod Hughes

Rod Hughes is president and principal of Kimball Hughes Public Relations and has consulted with Fortune 500 corporations, startups and nonprofits alike.
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agency nation meets: rod hughes

Get to know the individuals that ignite the insurance industry as they answer our icebreaker questions.

Rod Hughes is president and principal of Kimball Hughes Public Relations, a national agency specializing in business-to-business brand, reputation and crisis communications management for the insurance, legal, technology and professional association industries, among others.

Hughes has consulted with Fortune 500 corporations, startups and nonprofits alike across many industries focusing on the strategic creation, management and development of brand reputations and messaging. He spent a decade as a journalist before turning to public relations in 2003.

Hi, Rod! Thanks for joining us! Writers are notoriously well-paid, but if money was no object, what are the first three things you would buy?

A 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL; a little cottage in Carmel, California, near the water; and probably a lot more books.

What are some of your favorite books?

I am an avid reader, so it's hard to choose. “Growing Up" by Russell Baker is a long-time favorite. And I would be remiss not to mention Edmund Morris' three-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt. “Theodore Rex," in particular, is probably my absolute favorite of Morris' series.

Have you ever interviewed or met a famous person?

I once accidentally pushed Fred Savage into the street in Chicago at a St. Patrick's Day parade. I also nearly hit John de Lancie with my car many years ago as he was crossing an intersection in Santa Ana, California. Clearly, I am a danger to the Hollywood set.

Fred Savage was probably in the middle of a monologue ... Speaking of TV, what film have you watched the most times and will probably keep watching over and over again?

There are two. The first is “It's a Wonderful Life," which is a family holiday tradition. The second is “Goodfellas" because, well, Scorsese.

Naturally, we have to ask: What is your favorite pizza topping?

Mushrooms. As many as they can fit on a slice.

And when you go to a fast food restaurant, where do you go?

I spent my high school and college careers working in fast food. As a result, I do not go to fast food restaurants. Ever.

Are you telling me that the sign that says “employees must wash their hands" is merely symbolic? No ... On that note, what's your biggest pet peeve?

Wasted time. It's simply too precious on many levels. I don't ever want to waste someone's time, and I really prefer that others not waste mine.

Agreedwe'll keep the quick-fire questions coming. Which sports teams do you support and why?

I am legally obligated to root for Penn State's Nittany Lion football team, and the Big Ten more generally, as my spouse is a PSU alum. In any relationship, you have to pick the battles worth winning, and I'm simply not a big enough sports guy to care. Also, it's not a battle I could win even if I wanted to.

Do you have any pets?

I have a one-year-old Golden Retriever named Theodore Rex—Teddy to his friends—who is absolutely the apple of my eye.

If you could stop aging at any age, what age would it be?

Frankly, I'm not sure because I don't feel I've hit my zenith yet. I feel very fortunate to say that each year has been better than the last, and I'm incredibly grateful for that reality.

We love that energy. Lastly, what is the most-used emoji on your phone?

The laughing emoji with tears.

If you don't laugh, you'll cry tears of a different kind. Thanks for joining us, Rod!

This is a monthly column for Independent Agent magazine and To be featured, email

Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Sales & Marketing