Forty Under 40: Jonathan Gibson
AUTO STOCK / BRIAN CZOBAT
Team: Penske Racing
Title: VP, marketing and communications
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.
“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.”
Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and project editor Mark Mensheha talk about the Forty Under 40 selection process and the class of 2014.
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