Jeff Motley grew up in Martinsville, Virginia, and didn’t stray far from the Southside Virginia town after graduating from high school. These days he’s more than 2,200 miles from his birthplace, living his dream as vice president of public relations for Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Jeff graduated from Virginia Tech, about two hours east of Martinsville, with a degree in communications. His first job out of college was with The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia, about 90 miles east of his hometown.
NASCAR soon beckoned though and in 1997 he was named manager of communications for NASCAR. A couple of years later, he made the move to Las Vegas Motor Speedway and that’s been his home ever since for he and his wife, Lisa.
As the track’s head of public relations, he oversees media relations, community relations, the track’s website, publications, social media and credentials.
Jeff, who lists a trip to Europe as his favorite vacation, says the inside secret to doing his job well is simple: “Build good relationships in your field and in your community and you have won more than half the battle.”
Q&A With Jeff:
What is the best lesson from college that still applies to your job? Be organized and prioritize everything.
What is the best career advice you ever received? In our profession, building relationships is the most important step toward success.
What is the accomplishment you are most proud of? Being part of a team that has truly made Las Vegas Motor Speedway an integral part of the Las Vegas community.
What is the biggest myth about your job? That we only work one week a year.
What is the insider secret to your job? It goes back to the relationships. Build good relationships in your field and in your community and you have won more than half the battle.
What is the best part of your job? Meeting new and interesting people all year long.
Why did you choose your career path? I’ve always been a sports fan, and I grew up around NASCAR my entire life, so being a part of this sport was always a dream.
What has been your best mistake? I’m not sure there’s a such thing as a “best” mistake, but I’ve probably made too many to single one out.
What is the best part of working with JHE? The professionalism and the follow-t
hrough. I know JHE works with almost every speedway on the circuit, but they treat you like you are their only client.
What has most impressed you about JHE? See the previous answer.
What is your best tip for success? Ticked off is not a plan. When things go wrong, in
stead of getting angry, start working on a fix. Anger and stress are not tools to fix problems.
What is your personal definition of success? I’ll let you know in about 20 years.
Things people may not know about Jeff: My runner-up career was … lawyer. I loved Perry Mason as a kid and thought I wanted to be just like him.
On my iPod playlist right now is … country and classic rock.
My biggest pet peeve is … people who have no regard for their surroundings.
My favorite vacation yet … European vacation. Visited London, Paris, Barcelona, Monaco, Rome and more. So much history and iconic sites that I had always wanted to visit.
My favorite movie is … The Shawshank Redemption