SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/Forty Under 40

Forty Under 40: Jonathan Gibson

WANT MORE GREAT STORIES LIKE THIS?

CLICK ON ONE OF THESE BUTTONS

ALREADY A
SUBSCRIBER?
SEE IF
YOU LIKE IT
GET IT ALL
(PREMIUM ACCESS)


AUTO STOCK / BRIAN CZOBAT

Jonathan
Gibson

Team: Penske Racing
Title: VP, marketing and communications
Age: 39
Where born: Brunswick, Ga.
Education: University of Georgia (B.S.), West Virginia University (M.S.)
Career background: Agencies (GMR Marketing; Pierce, a division of Radiate Group), client (MillerCoors) and property (Penske Racing)
Family: Wife, Jessica; children Graham (4) and Campbell (22 months)

Favorite apps: USA Today, Zillow, Instagram, Around Me.
Favorite way to unwind: Playing football in the backyard with Graham.
Guilty pleasure: Eating peanut butter out of the jar.
Worst habit: Impatience.
Cause supported: Habitat for Humanity.
Person in the industry I'd most like to meet: Russell Wilson.
I have a fear of … : Bad customer service; the quickest way to kill a business.
Most adventurous thing I’ve ever done is … : Hard to pick: Driving an ATV off of a cliff in Costa Rica — not by choice.
2014 will be a good year if … : Team Penske can pull off the trifecta and win championships in all three series we compete in.

In 2007, just an hour after Penske Racing learned that Jonathan Gibson was leaving his position as senior marketing manager of longtime business partner MillerCoors, Gibson’s phone rang. It was Roger Penske. The legendary race team owner asked if Gibson, who managed sports marketing for the Miller Lite brand, would be interested in coming to work for him. After a brief stop at an agency he was already committed to, Gibson joined the Penske team.

“My whole career has been based on relationships I’ve been able to build,” Gibson said. “All the jobs I’ve been able to have have been based on relationships I’ve built with people and people I’ve gotten to know.”

Gibson understands the power of relationships. That knowledge has helped him build a career in which he’s worked on numerous sides of the sports marketing industry — despite not formally applying for a job since his first position out of graduate school in 1999. In the time since, he’s worked on the brand side, the agency side, and now on the team side of sports marketing.

“It’s important to have different views,” Gibson said, “because when you’re sitting at the negotiating table, for me as a property, I can say ‘I’ve been in your chair’ and ‘I know [the] challenges you have,’ and that’s important.”

SBJ Podcast:
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.

The negotiating table is where Gibson makes hay. He played a vital role in signing Ford, Miller and Shell to long-term deals with Penske at a time when financial limitations have left some racing teams desperate for sponsors. The company has brought in $100 million in revenue and sported a 90 percent sponsorship renewal rate during Gibson’s six years with the team.

That marketing success is coupled with on-track triumphs during Gibson’s tenure, including Penske Racing’s first Sprint Cup Championship in 2012. “I personally felt like this is the cream of the crop, both on the business side and racing side,” Gibson said. “Maybe in NASCAR media circles we didn’t get the respect we deserved, and I felt like that right there proved that we can compete day in and day out.”

— Bryan Ives

Return to top

Related Topics:

Forty Under 40

Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug