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February 11, 2009 04:50 PM Eastern Time

Canadian Barbecue Guru Mixes Business with Brisket

Rockin’ Ronnie Brings His Meaty Motivational Message to Houston

HOUSTON --In his day job, Ron Shewchuk is a business consultant who helps organizations communicate better with their employees. In his spare time, he’s built a second career as his alter-ego, Rockin’ Ronnie, international barbecue champion and bestselling cookbook author.

A few years ago Shewchuk had a crazy idea to combine his lifelong passions for outdoor cooking and indoor business communications. The result: a combination multi-course meal and keynote address called “Everything I Know About Communication, I Learned From Barbecue.”

Shewchuk is bringing his smoke-infused business wisdom to Houston’s famed Armadillo Palace on February 26, where he’ll deliver his talk to the local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. His visit is timed to coincide with The World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, the first big event of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

“If famous motivational speakers and self-help gurus can use mountain climbing or sailing or soup to bring home their messages about making life and business better,” says Shewchuk, “why not use backyard cooking?”

In what he calls a “communication cookout,” Shewchuk serves up his winning grilled and barbecued dishes using each course of the meal to illustrate a message about how cooking is a lot like communication.

Fresh asparagus, seared for just a minute on a hot grill and served with a squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil, becomes a metaphor for the simplicity and power of face-to-face communication. The contents of a tasty grilled quesadilla serve to illustrate the importance of having the right content – in this case, the cheese filling represents information – to meet the needs of today’s employees. And the traditional cuts of meat featured in a barbecue contest – chicken, pork ribs, pork butt and brisket – become the four personality types found in every workplace.

“The session is a delicious and fun way to get some important messages across about what businesses can do to improve communication with their employees,” says Shewchuk, who first brought his sizzling session to a global conference of business communicators in Vancouver, British Columbia. His talk was one of the highest-rated sessions of the conference.

Shewchuk is delighted to be taking his unique show on the road. “As a barbecue competitor, I’m thrilled to come to Houston, which is home to one of the world’s biggest barbecue contests. And as a Canadian, I know it’s a bit of ‘coals to Newcastle,’ but I can’t wait to cook some barbecue for a group of Texans at the Armadillo Palace!”

Location: The Armadillo Palace, 5015 Kirby Drive @ Barlett, Houston, Texas

Date: Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lunch event: Registration 11:15, lunch runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Afternoon event: Ron’s Communications Cookout will be followed by an optional afternoon workshop on employee communication from 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

More information and event details: www.iabchouston.com

Media contact: Tracy Torma, Torma Communications, 713.526.8509

About IABC/Houston

With more than 300 members, IABC/Houston is part of a global network of communications professionals committed to improving organizational effectiveness through strategic communications. IABC/Houston offers a range of local services, including professional development meetings and workshops, member newsletters and awards programs. The chapter also provides an excellent opportunity for local networking with peers. For more information, visit www.iabchouston.com.

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