When George Foster took a job as a sports writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald after graduating from then North Texas State University, he never imagined that eight years later he would start his own marketing communications company. Foster credits the university for preparing him for success. "The push for excellence is what I think is best from UNT," he said.
Today, Foster is Chairman of the Board of the Foster Marketing, a business he started in August 1980 that focuses on oil and gas marketing and has offices in Houston; Lafayette, Louisiana; and London in the United Kingdom, with clients all over the world. Foster has also earned the Certified Business Communicator (CBC) designation from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA/BMA).
Foster wanted to become a sports writer but his interests turned to marketing and public relations after he met a sports information director his freshman year at Trinity University in San Antonio. "I asked him how do you get a job like this and he said 'you have to major in journalism'," Foster said.
Foster took the SID's advice and enrolled at NTSU, where he changed his major to journalism. Foster was soon covering sports for the North Texas Daily and eventually became its sports editor.
Following graduation and eight months after joining the Tribune-Herald, Foster was offered the sports information director job at East Texas State University, now known as Texas A&M Commerce.
During that time the school won its first football national championship and Foster created a radio network of five stations in East Texas to promote ETSU sports. He said he learned to be innovative. "Even though we were small school, I thought we could do big-time things - and we did."
Two years later, in September 1974, Foster was hired by Texas Tech University as assistant sports information director. There, he promoted the school's sports teams, writing releases, developing brochures and meeting with members of the press focusing on basketball and the spring sports. "I honed my skills there and also had my own radio show."
In September 1976, Foster moved on to the University of Southwestern Louisiana, where he was the sports information director for four years. In 1980, Foster decided to leave his job because he needed a change. "I had nothing lined up … but I knew what I wanted to do and thought there was an opportunity for an ad agency."
Foster took his expertise and people skills and opened his own business while never looking back. Today, Foster Marketing is the world's largest oil and gas marketing communications firm. "I had a lot of confidence in myself and faith … I just knew what I wanted to do."
Foster's philosophy includes giving back to the community. He has served on several boards of directors, including the Houston Business Marketing Association and the Acadiana Advertising Federation.
In 2004, the AAF recognized Foster with its Silver Medal Award for Excellence in the field of advertising. In 2009, the Houston chapter of the BMA honored Foster with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Vic Cherubini, president of EPIC Software and a BMA member, believes Foster is a marketing genius. "He can take an idea that is just a germ and turn it into a full fledge marketing program," Cherubini said.
Foster believes in growing the next generation of marketers and public relations professionals. He started the Foster Marketing Endowed Journalism Scholarship at the University of North Texas that today awards two scholarships. He also sits on the Mayborn School of Journalism Board of Advisors, most recently as chairman.
Perhaps his greatest honor, however, was to be named a UNT Distinguished Alumnus in 2019.
Foster credits his mentors and his passion for his success. "You have to be lucky, smart and have good people around you," he said. He and his wife, Rootie, live in Sugarland, Texas, and they have five adult children between them.