Chuck Faush

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The Magazine of Metro Birmingham Living

FAUSH The Many Lives and multiple hats of Chuck

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March 2010


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mAn television host, producer, pastor, community advocate, family man and the chef of staff for birmingham’s new mayor: the many hats of chuck Faush. by Ashley Fulmer


ith a calmness that seems as if it would exude from him in any circumstance, Erskine “Chuck” Faush, Jr. begins a new day serving as the voice of the newly elected Birmingham governing body. Sitting down at his desk in the mayor’s office downtown, the recently appointed chief of staff for the William Bell administration takes off his grey fedora and places it on a stack of papers in front of him. It is a sort of symbolic action for his new role, taking off one hat of professional life for another. But this is no skin off his back—Chuck Faush knows how to adapt, how to adjust and how to do both seemingly with grace and enviable ease. “Though my experiences have ranged from media relations to journalism, corporate relations to production, I’ve always had a passion for the City of Birmingham,” says Faush. “Although I’ve been working in L.A., Atlanta, Miami and New York in the past—Birmingham is my city, my home, and I want to give my best everyday in making


our space in the world an incredible place. I’m very excited because I finally have an opportunity to work with a great leader— William Bell—to move the city forward.” That’s a tall statement from a man who has experienced much of the more glamorous side of each of the aforementioned cities. As managing partner of Ramsey & Partners in Birmingham, Faush was not only responsible for overall operations including budget, investor relations, development, production, distribution and marketing, but also served as the host and co-executive producer of BET Networks nContrast. Since 2002, his resume boasts 500-plus broadcast hours interviewing some of the biggest celebrities in the entertainment industry, including Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Oscar winners. Weekly, from Hollywood, Faush sat down with famous names such as Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Tom Cruise, Beyonce Knowles, Kate Hudson, Alicia Keys and Halle Berry (to name a few), Faush built a reputation as a true journalist searching for the deeper meaning

behind urban-focused film and fashion, all while successfully managing business operations. The business of entertainment makes behind the camera as exciting as in front of the lens with studio, distributor and agency negotiations. Faush’s credits include FOX Sports, Tribune, Simmons Lathan Media, BET Networks/Viacom and ESPN. “I’ve been blessed to do what I love. Of course there are some days I question who, what, when, where and how people and things would come together, but developing a message and working through people and priorities and delivering what will be a life changing moment is an awesome feeling that I am grateful for everyday,” says Faush. “The camera is great, but it’s all the moving parts and the enormous amount of effort and people that go into a project’s overall success that makes it worthwhile.” Those valuable logistics will transfer to managing both the messaging and the operations of Birmingham’s new mayoral team. Faush possesses the know-how to ensure his messages and execution on the dayPhoto: Liesa cole

ncontrast host chuck Faush with musician bobby Valentino at club noir in Atlanta, with eddie murphy at the premiere of his new film “meet Dave”, interviewing celebrities at the behind the Lens Awards, including famed director, Spike Lee.

to-day happenings of Mayor Bell are heeded. Experience with executing marketing, public relations and public affairs campaigns for companies like Young & Rubicam, BBDO Worldwide, J Walter Thompson, and locally with Southern Company, has prepared for him for City Hall. This is not Faush’s first foray into politics, however. He served as one of the first African-American SGA presidents at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. And while serving as Chair of the Council of SGA Presidents, Faush led an effort to bring notoriety to the university. “That was great time because UAB was on the cusp of establishing its football program. The school was building a new arena, and we were seeing a city college become a real campus. While I was proud to have the office I was driven by people and the power to change our world for the better,” says Faush. “We all knew at the time that other people considered us to be step 54

children of Tuscaloosa and Auburn, but we felt empowered to contribute because we could see the future.” Faush is quick to point out his deeply rooted faith as part of his professional repertoire as well. After graduating from UAB in 1989, he worked for the new president of Miles College, Albert Sloan, who at the time was trying to define his presidency and ultimately, his legacy. Faush was a part of both. Fast forward, and now completing his fourth year studies with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Faush is ordained clergy, a pastor and sits on the Board of Directors for AME Zion Christian Education in the Alabama Florida Conference. “Servant leadership is by far the most rewarding experience because you remove yourself and put someone else first. It takes a while to understand this when you’re striving for that promotion, title or pay increase, but when you truly understand that by serving

you receive the ultimate reward,” says Faush. “I learned the hard way that if you want to keep all the marbles, people will let you have them….all by yourself. Here’s the best quote I know: ‘One plants, another waters and God gives the increase.’” It was first his father, Reverend Dr. Erskine Faush, Sr. that laid the cornerstone of faith as an integral part of his son’s life. Dr. Faush, Sr.—a revered pastor, community leader and entrepreneur—is also a legend in Birmingham’s broadcasting industry. He and Shelley Stewart—hosts of WENN AM’s Gospel Cavalcade and Shelley “The Playboy” Show—were cornerstones of Birmingham black radio, serving as messengers to the public as to where community meetings would take place during the Civil Rights Movement. “The plight of those during this time— the dark days of Bull Connor and the fight to desegregate—was instilled in me through my father and Shelley; I literally grew up in

chuck Faush in the crowd at the bell inauguration; at right photographed with mayor William bell.

the WENN studio,” says Faush. “I had a deep conviction in recent years to make a keepsake video about this fundamental time in Birmingham’s history and what my father and others did to contribute to desegregation. I began to sift through interviews I’d done in the past with national and local black history leaders, and what started as a simple memento turned into a full-blown three-part documentary.” As part of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Centennial Celebration, the first of this documentary series, On Air: 1960’s Black Radio in Birmingham, premiered February 5 at a black-tie event held at the Alabama Theater. The event was a mix of reflection, remembrance, joy and promise, ending with a unified crowd holding hands and singing “We Shall Overcome.” “Imagine a Birmingham that will bring each other up instead of bringing each other down,” Faush said at the event. “This is the time to take the city to a new level, knowing where we came from and what we’ve been through, but knowing where we’re going and who we want to be as a unified people. It’s been an honor and privilege to tell this story; this project has definitely been one of the most personal and rewarding of my career.” It has been a rewarding career by anyone’s estimation. In 2009, Faush was presented with the NAACP Leader of the Year Award for his contributions locally in both media and civil rights. Additionally, he was chosen as a finalist for the 20092010 Best in Minority Business Award for Encouraging Diversity, namely due to his

commitment to improving Birmingham education by providing an outlet for students to be encouraged and empowered through media. He recently partnered with Atlanta’s “Communities in Schools,” the nation’s leading community-based organization helping kids succeed in school and prepare for life, to champion a national program connecting corporate America and the entertainment community to talented students. This project included Southern Company, Universal Pictures and Georgia Public Broadcasting, and as part of the initiative, Faush decided to put it to a local test by partnering with Birmingham City Schools. With the help of Taylor Hicks, the BJCC and BET, area students were exposed to studio, stage and live performances that included parents, community and civic leaders and elected officials. The outcome was an enhanced arts program within Birmingham City Schools that empowered students to fuel their own unique voices. “We want to take our initial work with ‘Communities in Schools’ and look at what that program can potentially bring to the entire Birmingham School System,” says Faush. “Our first project was a phenomenal success, so we want to take other successful initiatives established by this incredible program and aid in enhancing our education system here.” Faush, a father of two girls, Brittany and Tyler, is committed to providing every resource available to educate, encourage and empower. “As a father, you want to ensure your

children are given everything and more that you were in terms of education,” says Faush. “But we can’t forget the rest of the children in our community. They are all ‘ours.’ A family unit doesn’t necessarily mean your own family unit; it means a family unit of the community as a whole. Today, more than ever, we must be beacons of hope and love to those less fortunate.” Maybe it’s his strong family ties, both those instilled in him by his broadcast and pastor father or those learned with his wife of 21 years, Andrea, but Faush is determined to create a better community for each and every citizen, young and old. “There’s no doubt we have work to do, but we have a visionary. We have an experienced leader. We have a thinking Mayor who I believe in and will spend every day, every hour and every opportunity to make our City a place we all can be honored to call our own,” said Faush. “I have been privileged to know the Mayor for a while, and although we already know he has a heart for this city, we are finding out together just how big his heart is. He’s ready, and I’m ready to stand behind him.” At the end of the day, Chuck Faush will pick up his hat, place it atop his head and travel home for a restful evening. And the next morning? What will it be like? It’s really no matter. Whether empowering students, producing civil rights era films, interviewing Hollywood and music celebrities, being a husband and father, spreading the gospel or being the man behind the mayor’s message, Chuck Faush will have a hat for everything. • 55

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