Obituary of Brian McAdams
Brian McAdams - business executive, community leader
Brian McAdams, 80, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, died peacefully on April 19, 2023, with his wife Jennifer by his side.
His career spanned over 50 years of leadership in corporations, charitable organizations, and civic associations. He graduated from St. Joseph's University in 1966 and went to work for Hunt Wesson Foods, where he rose quickly to become National Business Development Manager. In 1970, he was recruited by JM Korn & Sons, an advertising agency that specialized in packaged food products, as Executive Vice President. He and award-winning creative director Tom Ong later founded McAdams and Ong, which quickly became known as one of the hottest creative agencies in the region. They acquired the Mel Richman Company in 1987 to become McAdams, Richman & Ong. MR&O won more than 1,000 creative excellence awards over 20 years. In 1992, Brian became Chairman and CEO of National Media (NYSE) - one of the first and most successful Direct TV companies in the country. In 1996, he became CEO of My Help Desk Inc. in Norwood, MA. After selling that company, he became CEO of Passport Express, the country's largest expediter of passports and visas. After the sale of Passport Express, Brian became Vice Chairman of technology company, Emtec Inc. He went on to found numerous technology companies with partners and, at his death, was still an active partner in two companies.
Throughout his successful career, Brian received many awards and recognitions: induction into the St. Joseph's University Hall of Fame, the Excalibur award from Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America, and being named "Communications Man of the Year" in 1995. He was an avid sportsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing across North America with his friends. He served on many corporate and nonprofit boards over the years, acting as Chairman of both the Cradle of Liberty Council for Boy Scouts of America and the Southeastern Better Business Bureau.
When asked by a graduate student what he found to be the key to success in business, his response was, "It's simple. Surround yourself with great talent, point them in a direction, then get out of their way." Another student asked him about his happiness quotient, to which he responded "Business was mostly fun and the people I worked with along the way were fun. But my happiest moments were time spent with my wife, Jennifer, just talking and time spent with my three children doing the same."
When asked how he enjoyed his later years, his wife Jennifer said, "He loved sitting on the terrace in the summer and in front of the fire in the winter, entertaining friends and family with his tales of adventure."
He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Colen; two sons, Brian Jr. of Haddonfield, NJ and Maxwell Taylor of Philadelphia, PA; and a daughter, Georgia Zhang of Seattle, WA. He is also survived by a sister, Joanne Gahran; two brothers, Martin McAdams and Terrance McAdams; as well as 14 nephews and nieces. He is preceded in death by his siblings, Harriet McAdams, Leonard James McAdams, Jr., and Gregory McAdams.
A celebration of Brian's life will be held at St. Christopher's Church in Gladwyne, PA on Saturday, April 29th at 10am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Christopher's outreach program or to Project HOME.
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