Thought Bubble

Remembering Andy Cooper

March 14, 2013, 3:35pm posted by Anne Green  |  52 comments

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It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our agency co-founder, dear friend, mentor and PR industry luminary, Andy Cooper.  While Andy lost his battle with cancer at the age of 64, CooperKatz will never be without his guiding presence. 

All of us who have worked with Andy over the years – including members of our CooperKatz family who have moved on to other jobs and life adventures – have first-hand knowledge of his creativity, his passion for his work, his incredible advocacy for his clients, his fierce intelligence and his humor.  We know that Andy will be with us still in every brainstorm…every new business pitch…every company gathering…every client win…and every important decision we make as a firm – whether that decision is easy or hard.
 
Andy Cooper and Ralph Katz first met 42 years ago while in graduate school at Syracuse University.  Andy started his career in public relations in 1975, when he joined Burson-Marsteller in Chicago.  He quickly transferred to Burson’s fast-growing New York City office.  And he encouraged Ralph to join as well, reuniting the two friends in an amazing journey that lasted two decades as they helped to build Burson-Marsteller into a global agency force.
 
By 1996, Andy was done with a five year tenure as president of the New York office of Burson and had risen to become vice chairman of the company, while Ralph headed the Creative Services practice.  It was their deep and abiding love of the work of public relations – that hands-on commitment to bringing strategic thinking and truly creative solutions to client challenges – that ignited the entrepreneurial spirit (and courage!) required to leave one of the largest agencies in the world to strike out on their own.
 
Over the nearly 17 years since CooperKatz was founded, Andy and Ralph worked side by side to build this firm into a well known and highly respected force in the PR field.  The quality of our client roster and the deep dedication and tenure of our team members speaks volumes to what they achieved – and is just one testament to the broad legacy that Andy leaves behind.
 
From all of us in the CooperKatz family, past and present:  Andy, we will miss you each and every day.  Thank you for your support and caring, your insights and perspectives, your commitment and creativity, and yes, even your relentless perfectionism!   Most of all, thank you for making us all better professionals…and better people, too.
 
 
Donations in Andy’s Memory
 
The Weizmann Institute of Science
General donations can be made online at www.weizmann-usa.org
* If the donation is noted as “In memory of Andy Cooper,” it will be specifically directed to fund brain cancer research
 
Israel Cancer Research Fund
 
 
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Steve Rubel on March 14, 2013, 6:07pm
My deepest condolences on your/our loss. Andy was a great man who - at times over then five years I worked for him - pushed this inexperienced one to the brink but it was all for everyone's good and a relentless pursuit of excellence. I will never forget how years later he and Ralph gave me the freedom to dabble with blogs which opened my eyes to all kinds of new ways to engage stakeholders through social media and led me to where I am today. He played a huge role in my career and he will be missed but we continue to carry his spirit of creativity with us forever. Steve Rubel Chief Content Strategist Edelman
Mike Graul on March 14, 2013, 6:46pm
So very sorry to hear this news. Though I was only with CooperKatz a few months, I have fond memories of Andy and had nothing but great interaction with him during my time at the agency. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the entire CK family.
Hallie Deaktor Kapner on March 14, 2013, 6:47pm
I'm so sorry to hear this news-- I will always remember Andy. He was wonderful to work with when I was at the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. He was smart, passionate and a good listener-- the PR industry has lost a truly great practitioner. My deepest sympathies to you all, and to Andy's family. Hallie Deaktor Kapner
Mike Hardy on March 14, 2013, 6:50pm
I never had the privilege to meet Mr. Cooper, but my son is a relatively recent employee of the firm. From what I know about CooperKatz from my son, the firm, its employees and its business model are manifestations of what a fine gentleman Mr. Cooper has been through the years. I am sure that the many many young and up-and-coming PR stars that he has mentored are a reflection of his excellence in his field and his fine character as a person. My condolences and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time. Sincerely, Mike Hardy Salt Lake City, Utah
Lindsay Listanski on March 14, 2013, 7:22pm
I am so sorry to hear about this loss and send my thoughts and prayers to the entire CooperKatz team and family.
Nadia Leather on March 14, 2013, 8:16pm
It was an honor to meet and work with Andy for many years in the health industry. I was so impressed with his brilliance, excellence and passion for creative ideas that were always on strategy. I will miss him in many ways. He was a fine man who mentored so many of us. We are all better people because we knew Andy. My deepest sympathy goes out to his CooperKatz family and to Andy's wonderful family in CT. Nadia Leather, PricewaterhouseCoopers
Nancy Rueth on March 14, 2013, 8:44pm
I am so sorry and sad to hear this! We would like to do something. Is there somewhere that we can send a donation in his memory?
jon morgenthau on March 14, 2013, 9:10pm
Andy was such a kind and gentle man and a warm part of my childhood and many others. My condolences to his family. I will always carry his memory with me. Bless you Andy.
David Landis on March 14, 2013, 9:12pm
We are very sad to lose our New York PR colleague. . .a great man and a PR mastermind. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone at CooperKatz and with Andy's family. From all of us at LCI in San Francisco and all of your Public Relations Global Network friends. Sadly, David Landis
Anne Green on March 14, 2013, 10:26pm
Thank you so much to everyone who has posted for your wonderful thoughts and memories. All of us here at CooperKatz greatly appreciate hearing from you. And we know that Andy's family will as well. To answer the question about donations in his memory, Andy's family has selected two specific charities: Israel Cancer Research Fund www.icrfonline.org/ The Weizmann Institute of Science * General donations can be made online at www.weizmann-usa.org * To specifically donate to brain cancer research, call 212-895-7931 and ask for Aspen Jordan who will help to direct your donation They also encourage donations to any brain cancer-related charity that has meaning for an individual or family. Thank you again. Every message of support means a great deal. - Anne
Richard Ridgway on March 14, 2013, 11:08pm
It was an honor to work with Andy on the year-long Grinnell College Sesquicentennial Celebration. His creative ideas and his dedication to his alma mater made the project a resounding success. He was an inspiration to me as a public relations practitioner and he will be sorely missed.
Alysa McKenna on March 14, 2013, 11:21pm
A beautifully written tribute that perfectly captures who Andy was both as a man and as a professional. He was the best mentor I could have ever asked for and I will never forget him. This is a sad day for the entire CK family, both past and present. Sending all of you my love and prayers. -Alysa McKenna
Rob Flaherty on March 15, 2013, 1:03am
I am very sad to hear about the loss of Andy, a great person and professional. I benefited tremendously from his creativity, sharp mind and high standards during the five years we worked together and many years after that from his active involvement in the industry. Sincere condolences on your loss to Andy's family, to Ralph and the CooperKatz family from everyone at Ketchum.
Jim Moldow on March 15, 2013, 1:09am
To all those present and past employees at CooperKatz, you truly lost an amazing and spirited man. I didn't get to know Andy very well, but in the companies initial years I took great pride in sharing business leads with Ralph, and working on many projects with him. When spending time with Ralph at video shoots, or in the many edit sessions, he always spoke so fondly of his business partner. Ralph and Andy created a top agency, but it was built on the principle that people matter, and that allowed CooperKatz to always bring on and keep such great professionals. That vision will always carry on. So sorry to learn of the passing of Andy.
Bob Feldman on March 15, 2013, 1:32am
From my first day at Burson in 1978, I seemed to regularly go down to the 15th floor to see Andy and Ralph. We did Owens-Corning Certified Roofing Contractor workshops (or something like that!), "mindblower presentations" for many clients and more. Recently I saw Andy and Ralph at CooperKatz thanks to a shared client. Andy was a sweetheart. A bright, creative, gentle, thoughtful guy of whom I was always very fond. He will be missed by many. My condolences to his close friends and colleagues at CooperKatz and, of course, his family.
Karen Haines-Pressman on March 15, 2013, 1:47am
I wish I could put into words how saddened I am by this news. I send my deepest condolences to Andy's beautiful family and his dear friends and colleagues. What a tremendous loss. He was a wonderful mentor to so many of us and I was very fortunate to spend time with him not only at Burson, but even more so at CooperKatz. He was such a treasure and will be missed but not forgotten. With love to all, Karen.
Bernadette Walsh on March 15, 2013, 2:29am
I am so sorry to hear of Andy's passing. He was one of the smartest people I've ever worked with and his passion was contagious. I admired his fearlessness and his ability to branch out and build his own business. Andy could be very serious at work but he had such a great smile and when we had a victory at work, I loved to see it. My deepest sympathies to his family, Ralph, the CooperKatz family and everyone who knew and loved him. I am really sorry.
Lois Rosen Pasternak on March 15, 2013, 2:40am
Dear Ralph: The Pasternak family is so sad to read about Andy's passing. Another bright star from our Burson days gone far too soon. Please pass on our condolences to his family and friends.
skylemar camper on March 15, 2013, 4:04am
They say when a star dies, its light continues to shine across the universe for milleniums. Andy Cooper died yesterday, but his light (and the flash of his camera) will continue to brighten our lives forever...and ever.
Andrea Martone on March 15, 2013, 6:18am
Having migrated from Howard Rubenstein to CooperKatz as Media Director, my experience in public relations was heightened and honed thanks to my great mentor, Andy Cooper. I'll never forget our first major project together, "The Bunker Bob Tour Across America" and the many adventures as a start-up boutique PR agency that grew over the years to represent some of the most prestigious companies in America. I'm proud to have been a part of that journey, and honored to have had such a great man as a teacher and as my boss. I pray that his family finds the strength to cope with their loss.
Mark Bain on March 15, 2013, 10:59am
Others posting here have done a great job of capturing the Andy I knew as a superb boss and advisor. I would just add that creativity comes in many forms. And while Andy didn't dress or act the creative part, he was one of the most creative thinkers I have ever had the good fortune to know. I have been blessed to have worked with Andy, and I hope and pray that he's leading a brainstorm session wherever his spirit now resides.
Jim Lindheim on March 15, 2013, 12:33pm
I am so saddened to hear of Andy's death. What a fine person he was. One of those people who cross your path and leave an indelible imprint -- in Andy's case of integrity, humor, talent and compassion. We're all lucky to have known him.
Peter Heymann on March 15, 2013, 1:00pm
I was saddened to hear about Andy's passing. I was so impressed with his presence, his intelligence, directness, quiet command and the respect his colleagues had for him. My warm thoughts and sympathies go out to Andy's family and CK friends.
Gary Burandt on March 15, 2013, 1:22pm
I have nothing but good memories of working with Andy when he was at B-M and I was at Y&R. He understood integration and practiced it long before it was everyone's favorite word. A true gentleman and professional. My sympathies and best wishes to his family an colleagues.
Tom Miranda on March 15, 2013, 1:23pm
Please extend my condolences to the Cooper Family, and the Cooper-Katz staff. I did not have the opportunity nor the privilege to meet Mr. Cooper, however; I have learned thru one of your employees what a great humanitarian he was. It is an indication and a great testament on how the employees feel about ‘Andy’, as I have learned to know him. I am saddened for you, and your loss. Regards, Tom
Carol Levine on March 15, 2013, 2:13pm
Dear Ralph, I did not have the pleasure of meeting Andy since our association with the Public Relations Global Network is relatively new. However your glowing description of him and the story of how you built CooperKatz painted a beautiful picture of both him and your partnership. I know first hand that a longstanding, successful business partnership is special and rare and I am sad for your loss. Sympathies to the entire CooperKatz family at this difficult time. Warm regards, Carol
Arash Khurana on March 15, 2013, 2:39pm
I was fresh out of grad school when CooperKatz hired me...and though it has now been six years since I parted from the CK family, some of my most vivid memories/lessons in PR emanate from team meetings in Andy's office. I remember his quiet yet intelligent sense of humor, decisiveness when discussions started to wander aimlessly, and his passion and creativity behind every new business pitch. I have been lucky to have worked with him and learnt from him. All my best wishes to his family and friends. You will be sorely missed, Andy.
Rick Leonard on March 15, 2013, 2:45pm
I too had the good fortune to work with Andy at Burson, on a macro level when he ran the NY office and on a micro level when he would lend his insights and creativity to the Black & Decker business. He was never the most voluble person in the room, but he was one of the best idea guys around and invaluable in a brainstorm. He moved quickly, was tireless and helped steer B-M in new directions as the business continued to evolve, through good years and leaner times. A big loss for the industry, a bigger loss for his family. My deepest condolences to all.
Scott Hanson on March 15, 2013, 3:59pm
A tough loss for everyone. Andy leaves his mark on the PR community and the Public Relations Global Network family will miss him. Our thoughts are with Andy's family and the CooperKatz team.
Leslie Lautin Davis on March 15, 2013, 4:05pm
I'm so sorry to hear about Andy's passing. A great loss to the creative community everywhere. I look back at my brief tenure with CooperKatz with fondness and appreciation.
Jonathan Andelson on March 15, 2013, 4:10pm
I've known Andy since 1966, the year we both matriculated at Grinnell College. We lived next door to one another in our freshman year and remained fast friends through all four years. Together we "invented" the game of Bed Badminton, formed a jug band (Andy played banjo), debated the relative merits of psychology (his major) and anthropology (mine), studied hard, horsed around with friends, and tried to make sense of the late 1960s social turmoil and changes. We remained connected after graduating, though we saw less of each other after Andy moved to Burson-Marsteller's New York office. The meteoric rise of his career was well-deserved. Andy was smart, savvy, generous with his time, creative, a good mentor (see many of the comments above), an excellent boss, a skillful handler of people, and a great leader. He was also a loving husband, a devoted father, and a generous citizen. He remained devoted to Grinnell throughout his life, serving a term as a Trustee of the college and chairing the college's Sesquicentennial Committee. Had I known the end was so near I would have called him to remember old times and think about what lay ahead.
Lisa LoPresti on March 15, 2013, 4:53pm
I was so sorry to hear about Andy. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.
John Weckenmann on March 15, 2013, 4:54pm
I am so sorry to hear of Andy's passing. Over 18 years at Burson, I worked with Andy many, many times and reported to him when he ran the NY office. He was a true professional and, as evidenced by the many comments here, an important influence on many of our careers. I will always value his friendship and extend condolences to Ralph, his colleagues at CooperKatz and to his family.
Sharlene Spingler on March 15, 2013, 5:29pm
Sad to hear of the vanishing of another visionary of the PR Industry. We have lost a significant few in the past few months. It makes me wonder if they are forming some sort of Discarnate Agency in this era of the disruption and evaporation of invisible media. Don't be surprised if we start seeing strategically placed lightening bolts! May his spirit rage on in the lasting influence that he had on his colleagues and clients.
Amy Will Karen Stu on March 15, 2013, 5:36pm
As Ralph's extended family we have been fortunate to witness the amazing bond and relationship between Ralph and Andy throughout the years. Their friendship and success in partnership, was based on mutual respect, the creative process and an abiding passion to provide the highest quality services and products for their clients - big and small. We mourn the loss of Andy, yet are confident that his legacy at CooperKatz will long endure.
Joe Pachino (Camp Skylemar) on March 15, 2013, 6:18pm
In 1968, Coopino Baggage (COOPer and pachINO) was born as Andy and I filled a need. As a counselor and junior counselor (19 and 17-years old, respectively), we rented a truck, picked up Baltimore area campers' baggage from their homes and delivered it to several nearby camps in June. In August we reversed the process. Year by year we expanded, adding new territories, camps and trucks. I have vivid memories of Andy's home directly across the street from Pimlico Race Course, having him teach me how to drive a stick shift, sleeping on duffle bags, setting up Whiskey Radio, his incredible talent on that banjo and...his devilish side! I'll certainly have Andy in my thoughts this summer as Coopino Baggage enters its 46th year of business.
Bridget Conroy Edwards on March 15, 2013, 8:17pm
I am terribly sorry to hear about Andy's passing. He was a wonderful mentor who truly helped shape my career, both during my time at CooperKatz and beyond. Although I eventually went back to school to earn a master's in education, I brought much of the advice and guidance Andy shared with me to my teaching career. I feel lucky to have known and worked so closely with Andy. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire CooperKatz team, especially Ralph, as well as Andy's family.
Jon Shaw on March 15, 2013, 8:57pm
I was shocked and saddened to hear of Andy's passing. He was very influential in the early part of my career. I am very grateful that as President of B-M NY he took an interest in me when I was still wet behind the ears, and imparted his wisdom and advice, even if I didn't always take heed. I am equally grateful that he came back into my life in 2002, and for all the terrific work he, Ralph and the CK team did on the 100th anniversary of Willis Carrier's invention of air conditioning. To Andy's credit, it was as perfect a day as could be -- 95 degrees! It will always be one of the proudest accomplishments in my career, and Andy's creativity and relentlessness played a very large part. Andy was always thoughtful and studious in his approach to understanding the needs of his clients. Well, now he has graduated. While we mourn the loss of this quiet, humble and dear man, I'm thinking that God must be planning a big global multi-media campaign of some sort, and he needs Andy to see it through. My heartfelt condolences, thoughts & prayers to the CooperKatz team and of course, Andy's family.
Kevin Foley on March 15, 2013, 9:07pm
I met Andy on my first day at B-M 32 years ago. He was a kind and generous mentor who showed me the ropes and pointed me in the right direction. I recall he played a mean banjo too. Andy made the people around him better. Rest in peace, my friend.
Jon Green on March 15, 2013, 9:07pm
Andy was my camp counselor the year he graduated from Grinnel. Every comment made here about his kindness, his intelligence and how fun he was to be with was equally true when he was 21. He was a truly exceptional guy.
Shawn Sites on March 15, 2013, 11:01pm
I so love that photo of Andy! He looks like he just cracked a joke, or read a particularly witty game show clue (that he’d written, of course) at one of the holiday parties. I’m so grateful to have known, worked with and learned from Andy at both Burson-Marsteller and CooperKatz. The culture he and Ralph have created at CooperKatz -- of exceedingly-high standards for client work coupled with extraordinarily-high regard for employees – is a rare, but clearly successful combination. Despite being based 3,000 miles away, I feel like I’ve always been treated as an adjunct member of the CK family for years . . . lucky me. My deepest condolences on this heartbreaking loss to Sharon, Emily, Danny, Ralph and everyone else in the Cooper and CooperKatz families. (And thank you, Anne and Ralph, for the thoughtful tributes to Andy. . . I'm sure one of the tougher writing assignments you've ever had to take on. Very much appreciated.)
Jim Siegel on March 15, 2013, 11:09pm
Like all who have written in tribute to Andy, I am stunned and saddened by this news. Andy was a gracious and decent man, and a professional who engendered trust.
Brian Baum on March 15, 2013, 11:49pm
Andy was quite simply a “best friend”. He was always there for me. In fact as I reached out to him over the last week for just a bit more “guidance and direction” on my latest business endeavor I heard of his condition. To say I was stunned would be an understatement – Andy is always there. As I struggle to come to terms, my heart goes out to his family who I know how dearly he loved them as they were frequently the topic of our non-business discussions over a “Manhattan on the Rocks” we’d have over dinner – as Andy and I enjoyed the rare special occasion of getting together for dinner to catch up. And for the CooperKatz family – I cannot imagine the inspirational loss. Andy was truly one of a kind. I am a better person for having known Andy.
Susan Pralgever on March 16, 2013, 5:37pm
My deepest condolences to Andy's family, and to Ralph, Anne, Dorothy and to the CooperKatz team. As one of the early employees at CooperKatz when there were only six of us, I had the fun of working closely with Andy when he and Ralph were just starting out and during the next nine years. Every day was an adventure. Andy was always available for a debate about the issues at hand -- as long as we got to the point quickly! He had a special ability to zero in on the essence of a subject, often turning conventional wisdom upside down in the most creative and surprising way. His endless curiosity and laser-sharp insights made him a great colleague; his honesty and loyalty made him a trusted friend. Goodbye Andy. You'll be missed and remembered well by all of us whose lives you touched.
Shanley Stern on March 16, 2013, 6:13pm
There are no words for how sad I am to hear this news. Andy was a tremendous influence in shaping my professional aspirations, skills and overall confidence. He was compassionate but tough, encouraging yet challenging and above all, Andy was always willing to give me a chance and lend a hand along the way. I often think of one particular conversation that to this day still comes to mind whenever my opinions are about to get me into trouble. I marched into Andy's office one afternoon and launched into all the reasons why I thought a certain new assignment should not be a priority. I didnt even get the first sentence out when Andy stopped me, and in his quiet, but very direct way said "Shanley, you have a really big mouth and 99% of the time, thats a good thing in this business, but thats not the case right now, this is that 1%." And he pointed to his door. All I could do was nod, apologize, hang my head and walk out that door. He didn't yell or even raise his voice, but he made his point loud and clear and I have never forgotten it or the respect I felt for Andy as I left his office that day. When Andy spoke, everyone listened because you always knew it was going to be impactful. What can you say about a man who taught you so much about not only being a professional, but also about the world, about people and about believing in your ideas? I guess what I really want to say is thank you. Thank you Andy for building such an amazing place to work, for giving me a chance, for teaching me, for putting up with my big mouth and for all of your creative, fun and inspiring campaigns that I was so lucky to have been able to take part in. With great sadness, Shanley
Trudi Schutz on March 18, 2013, 2:28am
I learned, collaborated and am proud to call him my friend.
Ann Kilbride McCarthy on March 18, 2013, 11:47am
My Andy Cooper Rap/ Andy Got Knack. In the spirit of Sir Mix A Lot/Baby Got Back... He liked a big pitch and we can-not lie Creative genius was this guy When a client walked in with a frown on his face Andy put thought bubble in-to place Creative juices were a showin’ White board pen was flowin’ ‘cause Andy’s soul was buried deep In client oppor-tun-it-y Get TeeVee, Facebook, blogs and Tweet feature his client, ain’t that sweet? Andy Cooper Yeah! Andy Cooper Yeah! This founder had the fo-cus And then like hocus pocus … Andy say, “Branson man! You want some press?” “A Time Square crane! And do un-dress!” “Clients use me, use me” “CK ain’t those average grou-pies” Andy had the PR knack And also had his Ralphie’s back for pranks Cooper no-tor-ius no limits; triggered cur-i-ous An-dy loved his fam-i-ly Marty, Sharyn, Danny, Em-i-ly His CK gang? Adored them too Behind @ Burson left a crew… Not to mention Sky-le-mar And global fans from near and far Andy Cooper (yeah!) Andy Cooper (yeah!) We must remember what he taught And how he walked the genteel walk Andy got the PR knack... The PR knack... The PR knack
Patty Hennessy Hughes on March 18, 2013, 1:17pm
My time at Burson-Marsteller, New York was filled with wonderful experiences working with creative, smart, fun and inspiring people. Andy is one whose example left an indelible mark. I fondly recall the time we presented together to the Black & Decker CEO. I was so proud that Andy, President of the New York office, was joining my client meeting. I also was a little nervous! I remember his reassuring, professional, intensely focused, caring approach -- a model to me of what client focus was all about. I learned much from his example that day and over the years we were in New York together. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Andy's family, Ralph and his co-workers past and present.
Tony Grass on March 18, 2013, 2:24pm
Andy is (I have a hard time saying "was") with Ralph, a singular person, smart, 'big idea' creative, a master of organization, with tremendous integrity and always a gentleman and friend. I had the great privilege of working with Andy through the entire gamut of relationships - first as my contact when B-M Chicago was my client, then I reported to him when I headed our TPS profit center at B-M NY, and then as a client of CooperKatz for projects with two companies. My family and I send our deepest condolences, and know that Andy will be inspring the CooperKatz team through continued successes.
Betsy Pohl on March 18, 2013, 3:05pm
My sincere condolences to Andy's family--those at home and at work. When I first came to NYC in 1988 and was interviewing at B-M and H&K, Andy was the tie-breaker in my decision to join the Burson family. His intelligence and wit sold me then and I'm forever grateful for his influence on my career. Andy will live on through all of those he touched.
Ray Kotcher on March 18, 2013, 7:39pm
My deepest sympathies to Andy's family and the staff at CooperKatz. I got to know Andy well when we served together on the executive committee of the Council of Public Relations Firms. Andy was a man of integrity, intellect, humility and was a great professional. He had a deep love and passion for public relations and contributed so much to our industry. Thank you, Andy. We were enriched by your presence.

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