In the ’70s and ’80s, Edwin Moses was a lean, 6-foot-2 human coil terrorizing the competition in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles on a remarkable winning streak that included two Olympic gold medals and four world records. Around the same time, when Greg Matusky was running the 400-meter intermediate hurdles at the University of Pennsylvania, he was a 5-toot-8 overachiever whose best finish in a significant competition was fifth.
No matter. Matusky kept attacking the hurdles. “I was a member of the team,” he says.
Matusky could’ve chosen to run other events more suited to his frame. But he wanted to clear those obstacles, just as he does today in keeping his Ardmore-based Gregory FCA, one of the nation’s 50 most successful public relations firms. “We always have a knock against us about our location,” Matusky admits. “But we try to be bigger than the Philadelphia region.”
Begun in 1990 one mile from its current location on West Athens Avenue, Gregory FCA has plans to double or even triple its size. And it may just open offices in other parts of the country, including New York. Matusky launched the company after spending seven years working in PR and freelance writing. He wrote his first magazine article, about the Phillie Phanatic, in 1987. “Our DNA is in storytelling,” Matusky says. “We do it in all forms.”
That will be easier thanks to a recent $11.4 million infusion of cash from the Boston- and Denver-based Copley Equity Partners. More recently, Gregory FCA acquired KM Digital Relations, a marketing agency based in Fort Washington. The six-figure deal vastly improves the firm’s resources and capabilities when it comes to social media, search engine optimization, digital marketing, web design and more.
February’s KM Digital acquisition involved former Gregory FCA employee Kwan Morrow, who ran KM. Matusky refers to the move as an “acqui-hire,” indicating the company’s willingness to grow by acquiring talent. Right now, resumes are flooding his inbox, an indication of the buzz surrounding the firm. “We’ve had a lot of suitors over the years,” Matusky says. “An endless number of venture capitalists contacted me. When Copley contacted us, we didn’t have to make a presentation to them. They gave us a presentation.”
When Joe Anthony used to go on vacation as a boy, he was just as likely to be found on the porch reading the Wall Street Journal as he was digging in the sand. “I grew up a news and media junkie,” he says.
So it made sense that he would major in finance at Villanova University. The second semester of his senior year, he landed an internship with Gregory FCA’s investor relations department. A little over a year later, the recent graduate had a key supervisory role at the company.
Since then, Anthony has moved steadily forward. In 2014, Matusky and then-partner Doug Rose offered him a minority ownership stake. Two years later, Rose stepped away from the business, and Anthony bought him out. Now, he and Matusky hold “approximate stakes” in the firm, with Copley’s investment being the third leg of the ownership triad. “We have between 77 and 82 employees now, and I feel we could have 100 to 125 employees within the next 12 to 18 months,” Anthony says. “We have to be strong locally, but we also have the capacity to take on global and international clients.”
Though the “FCA” in Gregory FCA stands for financial communications agency, the firm isn’t providing services solely to the money sector. The company has clients in healthcare, information technology, e-sports and more. Anthony’s financial background works well with the storytelling strengths of Matusky, who’s written several books and was still penning articles and advertorial pieces after he started Gregory FCA. “Greg has a tenacious energy for the business and boundless creativity,” Anthony says. “He’s always trying to do something new.”
Among those fresh approaches is a workplace that promotes health and camaraderie. In earlier incarnations, its unique headquarters involved a bowling alley and an arcade. These days, you’ll find a gym, along with a kitchen that offers free breakfast daily and access to nutrition and fitness counseling from Matusky’s wife, Judy.
The space is a labyrinthine network of staircases, corridors and offices. And despite the fact that getting from one end of the building to the other might require a guide, there’s a clear attempt to build togetherness. The firm hosts bowling and miniature-golf tournaments, outings to Union games, spin classes, group volunteer projects and more. “It’s all a worthy investment to make,” Anthony says. “It cultivates a community. People are getting together—it’s an organic way for them to interact.”
When team members aren’t bonding, they’re training executives for television appearances, creating footage that’s dropped into business news accounts from the company’s in-house studios. They’re also growing their client base and besting bigger firms’ bottom lines. And they’re telling stories—always telling stories.