By Megan Hamby, Editorial Director
At Hammock, we like to think of ourselves as a 31-year-old startup organization. Although we have a long history of serving clients and delivering powerful content marketing solutions, we strive to be “disruptors” in the industry—changing the ways organizations think about content.
This philosophy comes from Hammock’s founder, Rex Hammock, who announced his retirement from Hammock on April 6, 2022. More than 30 years ago, Rex saw an opportunity for brands to go direct to customers—initially with print magazines. When he started Hammock Inc. in 1991, it was a custom publishing agency, utilizing the then novel technology of desktop publishing to create creative media that was every bit as good as what was on the newsstands. Today, Hammock Inc. is a unique agency that creates content to be deployed across a diverse media landscape—and we owe that reputation to Rex’s strategic vision and leadership over the past 31 years.
Rex was a pioneer in the content marketing industry. Prior to founding Hammock, he was the founder/partner of a public relations subsidiary of one of the largest regional advertising agencies in the South, a congressional speechwriter and a press secretary. In 1999, he co-founded the national trade association that today is called the Custom Content Council. That same year, he started SmallBusiness.com, a site dedicated to helping small-business owners and managers get the right information for important decisions. Rex was a trailblazer in blogging—in 2004, he became the first person to blog a meeting with a president, when he met with President George W. Bush.
Most importantly, Rex created a positive company culture at Hammock—one that values teamwork, engagement, communication and collaboration. In an industry where people change jobs every few years, Hammock’s employees have stayed on board—with some celebrating 25th anniversaries. He has cheered his employees on in professional and personal achievements, celebrated marriages and growing families, and made us laugh more times than we can count.
On April 6, 2022, Rex and John Lavey, incoming CEO, announced the completion of a management buyout. The transaction is part of a long-term succession plan that Rex and John developed together over many years—and it allows Hammock Inc. to continue successfully executing their strategic vision, aligning it with the market’s need for effective and innovative content marketing solutions. Although Rex will no longer be driving Hammock, his legacy lives on in the way we approach content marketing and deliver the highest-quality service to our clients.
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Transaction strengthens Hammock’s strategic focus on delivering innovative content marketing solutions for industry-leading clients
Nashville, TN (April 27, 2022) – Hammock Inc, a leading provider of content marketing solutions for businesses and association organizations across the U.S., announced today the completion of its management buyout.
The buyout was led by John Lavey, who has been employed at Hammock since 1996, most recently as president and chief operating officer. Exiting founder and CEO Rex Hammock formed the company in 1991. The transaction represents the culmination of an ownership and management succession plan that was developed over many years.
The new ownership structure will completely align the executive management team’s strategic vision with the market’s need for effective and innovative content market solutions leveraged across a rapidly evolving media landscape.
“Rex Hammock started this business 31 years ago and was a pioneer in the U.S. at building out what we know today as content marketing,” Lavey said. “Rex saw the opportunity for brands to go direct to customers, initially with print magazines, and today, with a whole host of digital media assets, to build loyalty, support branding and drive leads.
“Hammock has become a unique publishing platform that delivers valuable solutions to a marquee client base. Now, with 100% ownership by a committed management team, Hammock has a renewed energy to continue developing the most effective and powerful content marketing solutions to help our clients succeed and grow.”
Hammock is investing in new talent acquisition to provide clients with the latest needs in media creation and the measurement of ROI around investments in content marketing.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
John Lavey and management were represented in the transaction by Silvermark Partners LLC as financial advisor and Hughey Business Law, PLLC as counsel. Rex Hammock was represented by Wood Stabell Law Group, PLLC as counsel.
One of Hammock’s favorite parts of helping the Daughters of the American Revolution to publish American Spirit magazine is finding those little-known stories of women of the Colonial and early American period. Because these women are under-represented in historical accounts of the period, we also don’t know what many of them looked like! Portraits were painted of First Ladies Martha Washington, Abigail Adams and Dolley Madison, but obviously those were unique circumstances. Francis Lewis, like many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, had a portrait painted, but his wife, Elizabeth Annesley Lewis, one of the March/April issue’s featured women, did not.
Back in 1996, during the earliest days of the web browser, the magazine-business B2B magazine, Folio:, featured a youthful-looking custom publishing “pioneer” named Rex Hammock on its cover as part of a story on the nascent move by custom magazine companies into digital media. Earlier this week, 20 years later, the author of the first story, Tony Silber, caught up with Rex for an update on whatever happened to that thing called the internet.
Here’s Tony’s introduction to the updated Q&A with Rex. The full story can be viewed here.
In September 1996, nearly 21 years ago, Folio: published a cover story on the state of custom publishing. The article was organized as a quasi-Q&A, posing 10 questions custom publishers were asking themselves at the dawn of the digital age as their businesses were fracturing. Suddenly alien ideas like HTML — and alien platforms like Compuserve and America Online — were emerging, and print-based media services firms were worried about the impact on their business.
The article asked several custom-publishing sources to provide answers for each question. The most prominent of those sources was Rex Hammock, owner of an eponymous custom content agency, and one of the pioneers in a nascent market — using high-quality content in a magazine format as a communications vehicle for marketers. Hammock is also the founder of Rexblog.com, which goes back to the year 2000, and has been consistently and faithfully maintained in all those years — a rare accomplishment by itself, without even considering that it’s also been a media-business thought leader all that time.
Recently, Rex suggested to me that we revisit that Q&A, and try to make sense of the questions and answers from the nineties and seek their corollaries for 2017. The frequently fascinating results follow.
Continued | Foliomag.com
Happy Valentine’s Day! For the folks here at Hammock headquarters, today started like any other Tuesday. Well, that is, until a special visitor dropped by the office around 9:30.
If you know me at all, then you know I am a hardcore Nashville Predators fan. On the windowsill behind my desk, I have three signed hockey pucks, a miniature autographed helmet, a miniature autographed hockey stick, a sticker and two bobbleheads.
So imagine my surprise and excitement when Gnash—the Predators’ lovable saber-tooth tiger—entered the building dressed as Cupid. There was no doubt who he was coming to see—after all, who at Hammock loves the Predators more than me, right? It turns out my husband, Stephen, arranged this dancing/singing telegram more than a week ago. He called Natalie, our office manager, to check my calendar and make her aware that someone was coming by the office.
Gnash danced as Frank Sinatra serenaded me from an iPod. He gave me a bag of Predators goodies, a box of chocolate, Popcornopolis popcorn and a Hat Trick bouquet (three red roses). We tried dancing, too, but I have to be honest: Dancing with a saber-tooth tiger can be a bit difficult. I have to say, though, that this may be my favorite gift ever. Stephen has never been able to surprise me with a gift, so this was the best.
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t spend all of our time at Hammock Headquarters in downtown Nashville. When we’re not in the office, you can often find us spending time outdoors, watching a sporting event or catching a concert at one of many Nashville music venues.
Before and after hours, our fearless leader Rex enjoys riding his bike to and from the office. “I try hard to do it at least twice a week,” he says. “In 2017, my goal is three. I started doing this about four years ago and it has become a part of my life—a good part. And certainly one of the most fun parts—except when people blow their car horns at me.”
But Rex isn’t the only one who enjoys being outdoors. Our designers, Kerri and Lynne, both love staying active outside. Kerri likes to hike nearby parks and walk and run for exercise. In the summers, you can probably find her relaxing by the pool or spending time with her husband. Lynne enjoys biking with her friends, and she’s also an avid swimmer. Speaking of swimming, Lena does it weekly with a local swim team. She hasn’t competed yet, unless you count competing for craziest person ever by doing a polar bear plunge (water temperature: 38 degrees).
Before 2016 gets too far in the rearview mirror, we wanted to reflect back on some of our favorite entertainment picks from the past year. Here are a few of Hammockers’ recommended movies, TV series, books and (since Hammock HQ is nick-named Music City) concerts of 2016.
John’s top movies were “Hell or High Water” and “A Man Called Ove.” He also loved HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” Netflix’s “Flaked” and BBC’s “Fleabag.” From 2016’s reading list, he enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, but he also recommends Thomas Mann’s classic Buddenbrooks, and a Pulitzer Prize winner, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.
Kerri’s favorite movies were “Moonlight,” “Nocturnal Animals” and “Hell or High Water.” She also became a “Game of Thrones” fan, managing to watch all six seasons in 2016. Her concert highlight of the year was seeing Todd Snider at the Ryman Auditorium for his 50th birthday.
Emily’s favorite show of the year was Marc Cohn, famous for “Walking in Memphis.” “He played at City Winery, a great, new-ish Nashville venue that’s perfect for singer-songwriters like him,” she says. Besides regular check-ins on Nashville’s music scene, Emily has also lately been on an Ernest Hemingway kick.
Happy New Year! After fortifying ourselves with a little more coffee than usual (was New Year’s Eve really only three days ago?), we at Hammock gathered today at our weekly meeting to reveal some of the gifts we received and fun stuff we did over the holiday break.
Puppy love was the theme of Christmas for many. Emily, while admittedly not a dog person, enjoyed snuggling with her family’s bichon puppy all week. Megan (see left) was thrilled to find out she’ll get to bring home a Maltipoo puppy in February. Natalie‘s new German shorthair pointer puppy proved to be the family favorite despite chewing the household’s shoes. John found out his beloved Portuguese water dog is not actually a Portuguese water dog—it’s a poodle, discovered thanks to a friend’s insistence on—and gift of—a DNA test (see right).
We laughed until our sides hurt when Julia told us about accompanying a friend to see a Nashville cat show sponsored by The Cat Fancier’s Association. Because of her, we’ll all dream of bejeweled cat palaces full of fluffy and temperamental Maine Coons.
Kerri spent the break seeing Oscar-buzz movies like Jackie, Moonlight and Nocturnal Animals. Jamie traveled to see family in Los Angeles and toured Griffith Park (see right) and other locations from the movie musical La La Land. Taylor, a New Orleans native, enjoyed a Christmas lunch with friends at Antonie’s, a famous Big Easy landmark.
Some of us were more active than others: Lena braved the Polar Bear Plunge, Steve took advantage of the warmer-than-normal weather to plant trees and bushes around his house, and Rex skiied the slopes of Vermont. (We’re happy to say the boss came home with all limbs intact.)
However you spent your holidays, we hope you had a blast and have returned refreshed and ready to take on your corner of the world!
Pat Summitt, the winningest basketball coach in NCAA Division 1 history, passed away today, June 28, 2016, at the age of 64. The head coach for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols for 38 years, she retired with a record of 1,098–208. She led the Lady Vols to eight NCAA championship titles, and they were the runners-up five other times.
Summitt was known for her stony glare on the court sidelines, but players remember her for the impact she made on their lives, education and athletic careers. In addition to her coaching record, Summitt also boasted a 100 percent graduation rate among players.
In the March/April 2003 issue of American Spirit, which Hammock publishes with our client, The Daughters of the American Revolution, writer Dennis McCafferty spoke with Summitt about her life, accomplishments and coaching philosophy. Continue reading:
Ninety-seven years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, “The War to End All Wars” came to a halt as the Allied powers and Germany declared an armistice—a break in the fighting. From 1919 to 1953, that day was celebrated as Armistice Day. In 1954, following the horrors of another World War and the bitter truce in Korea, Congress voted to change the name to Veterans Day to honor all who had served—and would serve—in our nation’s Armed Services.