Since forming Corporate Relations Management in 1978, Bucky Murphy has had a number of partners, many of whom became close personal friends. But when he talks about his newest partner, he gets a little misty-eyed.
Fathers will do that.
“I couldn’t think of a better person to have as a partner,” said Bucky Murphy, speaking of his son, Camp Murphy, who recently joined his father at Canton-based CRM, a lobbying firm. “He is his own man — everything he’s gotten, he’s earned.”
“I always knew I would come to work with him, it just took a little longer than we expected,” Camp Murphy said. “Growing up, he attended every one of my sporting events, and we lived comfortably. I found that attractive.”
Bucky Murphy, who grew up in Starkville and is a Mississippi State University alumnus, began his career as a lobbyist and in-house attorney for the Mississippi State Medical Association, positions he would hold for a decade before deciding to put out his shingle and form CRM. Over the years, Murphy built a thriving firm, landing such clients as AT&T, R.J. Reynolds, MetLife and General Motors.
When CRM was established, Cliff Finch was governor. This legislative session will mark Murphy’s 36th session since launching CRM.
Meanwhile, Camp Murphy grew up in Canton watching his father with admiration. He, too, attended Mississippi State, earning both an undergraduate degree and an MBA in four years. However, he didn’t immediately come on board with his father, instead accepting a position with the Legislative Budget Office in 2006.
He got the LBO job without any influence from his father.
“I didn’t help him at all,” Bucky Murphy remembered. “After he was hired, I had a lawmaker tell me that if he had known Camp was my son and wanted the job, he would have made a phone call. But, I didn’t want that. He earned the job.”
After more than six years with the LBO, Camp Murphy was offered the opportunity to join newly elected Gov. Phil Bryant’s team as a policy advisor. He had doubts that he would get the position, and the decision to hire him was delayed as the administration searched for a policy director.
By the time Camp Murphy knew the job was his, Bryant was preparing for his inauguration. That left the team with a mere 21 days to craft an executive budget. It meant long days — and nights.
He also was made public safety liaison for such entities as the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Department of Corrections and National Guard, meaning he was on call around the clock. During all natural disasters, emergencies and executions, Camp Murphy was on the job. It was a tough transformation as he had a new-born at home.
“I thought my wife was going to divorce me,” Camp Murphy said with a grin. “There are parts of the job I miss, mainly the people. It was a pressure cooker — always a fire to put out.”
The position also meant a delay in joining CRM. When he accepted the position with Bryant’s office, he committed to remaining at least one year.
Last September, having met his obligation, Camp Murphy joined his father in the family business.
“I am excited about it,” said Camp Murphy about coming to CRM. “It’s the same building, the same people, but I have a lot to learn.”
With Camp Murphy’s background and Bucky Murphy’s experience, both men have high expectations as the next legislative session gets underway.
“He is his own man,” said Bucky Murphy. “When he was growing up, he cut yards for money. He learned the value of a dollar. He is smarter than I was at his age and has a better temperament. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather work with.”