If you've done anything in the Barbecue & Grilling industry in the past 35 years you have probably bumped into Donna Myers. As spokesperson for the Barbecue Industry Association (now merged into the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association) her name appeared in thousands of articles, in the dedications of dozens of books, and on hundreds of news programs. Donna knew almost everything and everyone in the backyard cooking industry. Her DHM Group, marketing company represented dozens of companies over the past 30 years and was instrument in creating the trade organizations that exist today.
I first met Donna 10 years ago when she contacted me as a member of the media about attending the HPBExpo, that year in Salt Lake City. What I quickly realized about this woman was the depth of her knowledge. When I referred to a company or a product she used the first names of the people behind them. If I asked her about the Brinkmann Company she talked about Baxter (as in Baxter Brinkmann). Over the last ten years Donna has been a wealth of information for me and anyone else writing about backyard cooking. Always willing to chat about whatever was going on in the industry, she proved to be an invaluable resource for me and my site, but was also a good friend who always seems genuinely happy to see me. When opportunity presented itself we would sit down for a meal or a couple of drinks and just shoot the breeze. From her I got an the back story of barbecue and grilling. Unfortunately I only had time to scratch the surface of her vast experience.
Donna had two passions, barbecue and pickles. Despite the fact that over her career she handled marketing for clients like Best Foods and Burger King, these two topics stuck with her, not because they were big ticket items, but because they were fun. She frequented festivals and events surrounding these foods. Though she had a keen business mind and almost limitless energy to pursue virtually anything , Donna wanted her work to be enjoyable. She strove to surround herself with people she actually liked and focused her time on subjects she liked. You could really tell that she was having fun in everything she did.
This morning I received word of Donna's passing after a short illness. While it comes as no surprise it is still a shock. She will be greatly missed for her humor, her knowledge, and her continual willingness to talk about the things she loved. No one will fill her shoes and barbecue has lost someone that can not be replaced.