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Silhouettes Profiles Travis Horn

Travis Horn

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 19, 2018 edition of La Gaceta

By: Tiffany Razzano

Though Travis Horn is a native Floridian, born and raised in Kissimmee, he fully embraces his “hillbilly roots.”
His family hails from Franklin County, Virginia, in the heart of Appalachia. “The moonshine capital of the world,” he said, made famous in the movie “Lawless.”
Now a Tampa resident whose life centers around Ybor City – he’s director of public relations and business development for S3Media, which calls the neighborhood home – he’s struck by how his family roots “are in one area known for bootlegging and I end up in another place sort of known for that kind of thing as well.”
Though his parents didn’t have many educational opportunities – his father had a sixth-grade education and his mother eventually earned her GED – they were hard workers dedicated to building a good life for their family.
After high school, uncertain of what his future might hold, Horn enlisted in the Army. His decision was influenced by his family’s military history. His father had served in the Navy, and “every generation of my family served in the military going back to the American Revolution,” he said.
He added, “I didn’t really know what I was in for. But I knew when I got off the bus that I was not going to be a lifelong military man.”
Still, he’s proud of his service. “It’s an experience I wouldn’t change for a million bucks,” he said. “It’s something that always stays with you. I wouldn’t want to do it again – there was a lot of sleeping outdoors and not eating good food and being cold and wet – but it’s an experience I’d never want to change.”
Horn enlisted in 1990 and served as an airborne infantryman with the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment during the Persian Gulf War. “I was a grunt,” he said. “I carried a rucksack. I jumped out of a plane and when I hit the ground, I was a regular infantryman.”
After leaving the Army in 1994, he attended Valencia Community College, where he earned his associate in arts degree, before completing his bachelor’s degree in political science with a history minor at the University of Florida.
While working as a library technical assistant at UF after earning his degree, the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center occurred. He’d always dreamed of being a fighter pilot and considered enlisting in the Air Force. Though he scored well on the entrance exam, he learned that when flight school began, he would, unfortunately, be one month too old.
So instead, he went on to earn a law degree from UF’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law. He wasn’t certain he wanted to practice law, but “I was young and I was interested in politics,” he said. Also, knowing his parents’ personal experiences when they were growing up, he also had “an educational chip on [his] shoulders.”
“I knew where my folks were from and they didn’t have these opportunities,” he said.
While in college, he worked in radio advertising sales. “Even in law school, people said I should be in public relations,” Horn said.
This is exactly what he did. After earning his law degree, he went to work as director of advertising, marketing and public relations for Point 2 Point Communications in Gainesville.
At one point, he did actually work for a law firm – but not in a legal capacity. Instead, he worked briefly as marketing director for the first Austin, Ley, Roe & Patsko, P.A., handling all aspects of marketing planning and implementation for the firm.
In 2006, following a divorce, Horn decided to relocate to Tampa. Initially, he’d been considering a move to Jacksonville, but his cousin lived in Tampa and advocated for him to move there instead. Tampa’s history and culture won him over quickly. “Jacksonville doesn’t have an historic area,” he said. “So I decided Tampa was the place for me. Jacksonville is essentially South Georgia.”
He focused on his consulting firm, which he founded in 2005, and worked with political figures and business leaders throughout the state. He served as CEO of this company through 2012 when he was hired by S3Media.
Located in historic Ybor City, the company works with a range of businesses – from small to large – throughout Tampa Bay and nationally with a focus on new online media. Clients range from the International Diamond Center to iHeartRadio, a deal he helped broker.
The company has grown significantly since he joined the team. There were four employees when he joined and more than a dozen today.
He’s proud of his work with the firm, and was humbled when Tampa Bay Business Journal readers honored him as the top public relations professional in the region last year. “It really meant a lot to me,” he said. “It was something I was honored to receive.”
And while he loves working with the company’s larger clients, he’s glad that it allows him to offer his services to nonprofit organizations either pro bono or at discounted prices. Many of these involve veterans’ causes, which are close to his heart, such as Stay in Step, a nonprofit organization that works with those suffering from spinal cord injuries, and local Special Forces groups. “We do it because it’s the right thing to do,” Horn said. “These groups are doing so much good in the community. So this is our way of lending a hand.”
He’s also involved in the community in other ways. He’s a new member of the Tampa Bay area chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “I’m their lay member,” he said, “which is pretty cool.”
Additionally, he’s a member of the local chapter for the American Advertising Federation, which was recognized for its work in government relations, an area he led for the group.
A member of the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, he’s also currently chair of its marketing and public relations committee. He’s also in the line of succession to eventually take over the chamber as board president.
Through the chamber, he’s launched several regular events in Ybor City. One is the monthly Lectura Tuesday series, a monthly panel involving community leaders in a discussion about the area’s history.
The other regular event is the Ybor Heroes Award, which honors those who are doing good work in the community, often military veterans, each month.
For Horn, whether it’s his work with the community or his work with S3Media, he’s happiest helping others share their stories. “I love what I do,” he said. “It’s fun. I love helping business people share their stories, pay the bills and employ people. And I love the stories of Ybor City. It’s such a fun place with so many cool stories, so much history.”

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