"WE" Help Business!


“Wordwizard Enterprises” is a 41-year-old one-man public relations and sales company which has been Dennis A. Benfield for all that time. The name derives from an old nickname, and the enterprise started out “part time” when Dennis graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1971 with an AB degree in journalism. It is inactive today, for the most part, as various disabilities have very loudly shouted “retirement” at him.

Almost immediately after graduation from college, a large Hickory-based corporation sought Dennis’ help in putting together its company employee publications and some advertising. His energy as a young man led him to take on several other clients for various types of “promotional” writing, or public relations.

From 1972 through 1975, he published the football game program at Lenoir-Rhyne College, writing all the copy, handling some of the photography and even selling the ads. During two of those years, Dennis also put together the Lenoir-Rhyne Basketball Network on 11 western North Carolina radio stations—he even handled the “color commentary” himself.

It was in the 1970s that Dennis took his first interest in local politics—not as a candidate, but as a promoter. He conducted the public information campaign in 1974 that resulted in the overwhelming passage of a $12½ million local bond referendum in Catawba County. That financing package built about one-third of the current campus of Catawba Valley Community College and the Catawba County Justice Center in Newton and refurbished several Catawba County school buildings.

Later in the ‘70s, a friend asked him to manage a successful campaign for a seat on the local school board. During the 1970s, Dennis also earned a master’s degree from Appalachian State University in political science, concentrating in public administration, and minoring in junior college education.

Dennis’ “WE” business really wasn’t very active in the 1980s, mostly because of family responsibilities and demands of his full-time career as North Carolina public relations manager for Centel Corporation (later Sprint/Embarq/CenturyLink). Still, he found time to provide color commentary on Friday nights for Hickory High School football radio broadcasts for 19 seasons, 1971-1978 and 1991-2001. He also offered color commentary on both Lenoir-Rhyne football and basketball radio broadcasts from 1991 through 1995.

Beginning in 1993, “Wordwizard Enterprises” made a transition from “part-time” to “full time.” When Sprint acquired Centel in 1992, the company asked him the next year to take a promotion to the Raleigh area to manage company publications in a four-state region. Wanting to stay “at home” and not wanting to relocate his wife and four children, Dennis turned down the Sprint position and “experimented” in several sales jobs, including insurance. He essentially elected to follow several part-time pursuits rather than go into another full-time corporate PR position.

“WE” became his full-time career in the early-1990s instead as he wrote free-lance newspaper and magazine articles, took on specialized public relations and political projects and began publishing seasonal sports posters, supported by advertising sales, for a number of local high school athletic booster clubs. Some of these activities continued even as Dennis went into the automobile business for three years, starting in 1998.

Since the new millennium, Dennis has been a Nationwide associate agent and small business insurance broker for Jeff Kincaid Insurance Agency in Hickory. He's also been a part-time instructor at CVCC, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Appalachian State University, Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and Cleveland Community College, altogether for about 20 years. He has taught the community college “success” class, journalism, public relations and political science.

Today, “WE” takes on limited projects, but still seeks to help local businesses, institutions and individuals with specialized promotional writing, advertising and brochures, digital photography and other communications materials. Dennis also takes on occasional writing and promotional projects for political candidates with whom he shares philosophical compatibility. Much of that work has turned up on a variety of websites.


HickoryRecord.com: Local News