On This DAY in History: January 1992

You’re probably reading this on your iPhone. But did you know that AT&T came out with a videophone long before Apple? The idea of video calling was around long before the 20th century but it wasn’t until January 1992 that it became a reality. The VideoPhone 2500 sold for $1500 and was discontinued three years later due to poor sales.

It was this year that the Washington Redskins won their third and last Super Bowl championship. Led by coach Joe Gibbs, the 1991 Redskins team is widely considered to be one of the best teams in NFL history.

.

image3Most importantly, though, this is the year Diane Devaney, our founder and president, said yes to starting her own agency, Devaney & Associates. Having worked for a number of agencies over the years, Devaney made the leap of starting her own business after being approached by a client, who offered to help her get started. 25 years later, she looks back on that night in Little Italy fondly.

The year was 1992. A new year had just begun. Diane Devaney tightened her grip on the steering wheel of her Toyota Corolla, waiting for the light to turn green. In 20 minutes, the FedEx office at Baltimore Washington International Airport would close and the artwork on her backseat would not make it in time to the publication the following day. Finally, the light turned green and she floored it, the city of Baltimore disappearing in her rearview mirror.

Less than a year before, Diane had sat at a table at Dalesio’s with her husband David and another couple, Fritz and Beth Satran, who owned student travel agency, AESU, one of Diane’s biggest clients. When the coffee came the Satrans reluctantly announced that while they loved working with Diane, the agency she was with was charging too much and they were considering taking their business elsewhere. Why didn’t she start her own agency? With their help?

As reluctantly as the Satrans broached the subject, Diane accepted their offer. They reached an agreement that included a lot of support from AESU, as well as working out of their office. Devaney & Associates was born.

Among the agency’s first clients were Health Care for the Homeless, GBMC, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, WBFF Fox45, The Rouse Company, Sarova Hotels, STX, and, of course, AESU.

“It’s always been about what works for the client,” says Diane, looking back on that time period, which defined the agency’s ethos.

Diane’s other priority was hiring good people. Hard workers who worked well together were key to success. First, Diane hired a graphic designer so she could spend more time tracking down leads and generating new business. This paid off when, after a year in business, Devaney & Associates turned a profit and was soon able to move into their own space in The Village of Cross Keys, where Diane’s golden retriever, Chardonnay, resided.

She knew then that Devaney & Associates was going places.

But on that cold January day 25 years ago, she couldn’t help but wonder where. The front door of FedEx was locked so she drove around back and parked, grabbing the artwork and jumped up onto the loading dock. She ducked under the overhead door, which had been left partially open. A FedEx worker she knew saw her and took the package. She thanked him and climbed down to her car, loosening her grip on the steering wheel.

Today, Diane no longer ships artwork via FedEx (thanks internet!), but she and her 12-person team go the extra mile every day for their clients. Now in its 25th year, Devaney & Associates is an award-winning, full-service advertising, marketing, and public relations firm with a diverse clientele. In celebration of our 25th anniversary, we’ll share more of our story over the next year, as we remember the moments that made us who we are today. Stay tuned!