Cover Story

Craig Swimm

Age 39. Director of Sales, WMAS AM/FM Citadel Broadcasting

Craig Swimm didn’t see it as a step backward.

Well, OK, from an immediate salary standpoint it certainly was, but not, in his mind, from a career development viewpoint or from the perspective of what was best for his family — although he was more than a little worried about what his wife, Sigrun, would say or do when he told her the news: he was leaving a position as a warehouse supervisor, delivering refrigerators for the old Lechmere store in Springfield, to do sales and marketing for radio station WARE.

He recalls her saying, “what have you done?!!” or something to that effect.

By Swimm’s estimations, he was taking a $25,000 pay cut to do something he’d never done before. But he was nothing if not confident — and adventurous. And he never looked back. Nor, apparently, did Sigrun, an Icelander whom Swimm met while stationed at Keflavik Air Force Base during Operation Desert Storm.

The Swimms and their daughter, Sonja, make at least one trip to Iceland a year — Christmas, Easter, or both. This year, it was Easter, a trip Swimm was looking forward to after another hectic year balancing his duties as sales director of WMAS AM and FM and community work that includes work on the boards for FutureWorks and the Salvation Army.

He told BusinessWest that he enjoys sales, and that when it comes to selling media, he gets an education in how businesses across virtually every sector operate, and how advertising helps them get their message across. And in the ‘life-is-ironic’ category, he remembers applying for a job selling vacuum cleaners at Lechmere, but being told that he didn’t have the personality for sales.

When asked about Iceland, Swimm said it’s a place everyone should put on their ‘must-visit-someday’ list. “It’s a wonderful country,” he said. “It’s extremely clean … there’s no pollution, and the people are incredibly friendly.”

That said, he advises visitors to be aware — and maybe wary — of one of that country’s traditions: an offering to a houseguest of a little vodka (from the freezer) and a large bite of shark meat.

“The vodka’s OK,” he said, “but the shark is the most horrible-tasting thing you can possibly imagine.”